of Dissolved Effigies
By Kevin S. Mahoney
It was one of those things no one thought about, like the lint under the refrigerator, or who cut their barber’s hair. Thousands were made, every year, in any location that would support the art form. Generation schooled generation on the process, families united in cold purpose. Every form was unique. Each artifact was personalized, sculpted by its creators from their environment. Each building block was unlike every other one, from the macroscopic to the microscopic level. Molecules were connected, melding from the warmth of the people, changing according to their whims, each form distinct and temporary.
Those billions of connections of simple molecules, combined with the energy and purpose of so many over many years, had a cumulative effect. The structures began to interact slowly, over the long term, with each other. They weren’t alive, or awake, simply barely aware. But that awareness was parceled out over thousands of miles, hundreds of artifacts each year, piling upon itself for decades. There was no intelligence, but there began a funneling, a gathering, a stockpiling of similar parts. Like ants in a line, or birds flying in formation, like called to like and they began to gather, despite all known physical laws.
The Earth helped, inadvertently. The individual bodies that began to coalesce couldn’t do it when in solid form. But as the solstice surged towards the equinox, solids became liquids, and liquids took flight as vapor. Clouds were their carriers. Rain was their call to action. The united army of a colder time began to mobilize as one fluid, their base of operations an unpolluted lake in a small tourist town.
The lake was not centrally located. The campground around it never made any glossy magazine’s top 10 list. It was large enough for small boats, and small enough to hike all the way around between breakfast and dinner. But as time passed, and the army of winter soldiers began to compose more and more of it, the people who visited noticed something unusual. It seemed too cold for some, but others always found it warm. The temperature of the water was studied, and no deviation from the surrounding bodies of water was found.
But if you had never played in the snow, never sledded down a hill, never shivered with thoughts of hot chocolate steaming up from your winter hat, never built one of their kind, the lake was always cold. If the part of the lake that had awoken recognized you, it held you in its velvet soft grasp, and returned the warmth and love you gave them, possibly years ago. It was a gift as silent as its givers, the warmth of the snowmen returned to their creators, in the hope that once winter fell once more the cycle could continue, and the joy and art would spread.
· This tale (if you can call it that) was inspired by a lot of odd snowmen stories circling my mind lately. The evil monsters from last Christmas’s Doctor Who were in there somewhere, as was Frosty, of course. I thought of phase changes as a transition, subject of the latest vlog of Nika Harper. So this is sort of my entry for that edition of Wordplay.
· I listened to one track (over and over) from the new Neil and Amanda 3 pack of CD’s while writing this, Ukulele Anthem. I didn’t really think this piece was going anywhere but that song prevents discouragement for some reason.
· Oh yeah, I have a Tumblr now. I may end up just cross posting everything, and then again I may not. Watch my twitter @TheSagest. I’m sure I’ll mention all new postings there anyway.
· Finally (and once again) I’m kind of sick of getting no comments. Somebody out there has something to say, I bet. Use the various links on the various pages, or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can do it. I have faith in you!