Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wicked Witch

Wicked Witch

From the bridge, the town could be seen on the other side of the river. During the day there were noises of trucks and cars hurrying, horns and blasts, the pounding of construction projects, the smells of restaurants cooking food for busy people to eat. At night lights moved and glared while the sounds of footsteps and shouting voices carried through the darkness as though the most important things in the world were occurring.

The man watched this intently from the bridge rail. “What are they doing all the time?” he asked.

“Oh, everything possible – and nothing really,” the clown answered with a disinterested glance across the waves. “They believe they are what they do.”

“I remember that,” reflected the man. “I made a list every day of things that had to be done, and checked them off one by one. I needed projects all the time and would start to feel anxious if one finished before the next one was invented and ready to begin. I thought life was all about accomplishments and achievements.”

“Where is your list now?” asked the clown.

“It’s right here,” the man said, patting his pocket. “I always keep it handy to jot things down.” Then an expression of surprise swept over his face as he reached into the pocket. “My list . . . it’s gone!”

“Fancy that,” mused the clown. “But do you really need it now? After all – you’re on a bridge. What have you been doing ever since you got here?”

“Well, actually – nothing at all.”

“Nothing in the best sense of the word, let’s say,” agreed the clown. “And how does that make you feel?”

The man turned his attention from the bustling city activity in the distance to consider this question. He looked up at the balloons hovering above his head and tugging his fingers via strings. The collection of bobbing, floating orbs seemed smaller than it had when he first arrived on the bridge.

How did he feel? A sensation of lightness, like particles of dust blowing into the wind, tingled upon his skin from the depths of his body. It was as though a gentle electrical current were pulsating rhythms of energy into and out of his very being.

“I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz,” he said quietly at last. “Dorothy accidentally throws a pail of water onto her and she dissolves away into nothingness. It seems horrible, but really it is the most wonderful experience of her life – to stop being a wicked witch.”

The clown pointed into the sky and the man looked up. Some of his balloons were floating away.


  1. I really enjoy the bridge/clown/man analogy.

  2. Bridges are great. I slept under one once in Sacramento, CA. It was very long night and the ground was a damp,cold reaper. The homeless man said he was going to turn himself into jail to get a hot meal. Smart for him, not an option for me being on the 'run'.Sometimes prison has better food than the sour milk one could get at the Chinese restaurant. How disappointing!