a crack in the surface

As the bus jolts over a bump I am severely awakened from the feeble attempt at a true slumber. On my way out of the city for a long weekend, I figured I should at least try to get some rest but to no avail. As I surveyed the scene I noticed a lady, in pressed, neutral clothing unpacking a pouch and setting up a mirror….

She removes her foundation from her meticulously organized toiletries bag,
The first step in the process to complete modification, the primer, the base.
From this all things will be added upon, but first the blanket must coat the skin,
making the owner forget what lies underneath the the viewer indifferent to the change.
With the blotting, smoothing, evening and leveling done, the slate is wiped clean,
the canvas has been painted white, and the “art” can begin to take form.
Out comes the brushes and the blushes and the shadows and shimmers,
And then there is also the pickers and stickers and the pallets and mallets.
So many tools all with the same task, of creating the mask that covers her up.

Layer upon layer upon layer upon layer upon layer upon layer.
Inches and inches of the beautifying substance that makes everything right?
Uniformity and imperfect perfection is the goal, the reason for all the time.
Seconds turned to minutes, turned to hours putting it all on, perfecting it.

Just as upon the woman’s face of paint, so too has the Earth been subject,
It was all innocent at first, the moving of fallen branches and the tapering of trees,
but gone are those days of simplicity and necessity, and ushered in are ones of consumption,
First the homes, then the wagons, then the roads and the buildings.
The materials are diverse and the designs are numerous but the result is the same,
the ground is covered, and then that is covered, then recovered and all again.
The trees are proved and pruned, the grass is cut, trimmed and plucked.
The beach is softened by the sand of another land, the rivers dammed up,
Natural is redefined and construed to fit what is pleasing to the bare eye and the naked feet

Layer upon layer upon layer upon layer upon layer upon layer.
Miles and miles of innovation and experimentation that makes everything livable and easy?
Bigger is better, being the next best thing is the goal, the reason for all the time.
Hours turned to days, turned to years building it all up, perfecting it.

But do we perfect or do we meddle in things that need not be meddled with?
Does the mascara not wash away with a few moments of soap and scrub?
Does the dandelion not pop up through the cracks in the concrete of the parking lots?
Does the makeup not always crack and the the truth eventually peak through?

The rivers still rage though, they rush and rip through the landscape
The thing most compelling about rivers is that they do not take no for an answer.
If anything they adapt, finding a way to get where they need to go.

The Wind dances through the skyscrapers, hindered but not halted,
He continues his quest to give breathe and spin the globe on which we lay,
his space is occupied by the manufactured steel and iron, but he does not leave.

The Mountain is prostituted to the adventures of the young and old,
Her trees are cleared to make room for the lodges and to occupy the mills.
But she still stands, tall and resolute, knowing her own history and responsibilities.

The Ocean still rocks and rolls the boats that try and take him on.
He crashes against the docks and the seawalls, slowly chipping away.
His depths still lie unchartered and unexamined, mysterious and unknown.

At what level does it get back to the original, and how do we know when we get there.
We cover and cover, cover it all up, hiding the things that scare us and seem imperfect,
but in doing so, we run farther and farther from what it is that makes us us.

What substance is under the concrete we walk upon day after day?
How deep does the artificial sand go before you reach the rough rocks?
What is the true color of natural grass, before it was turned to turf?
If the trees and bushes were not pruned, how far would they reach?
What shape would they take, and what potential could they embrace?
How far do you have to go to reach the earth?

And we hit our stride again, and once again I fall into a light sleep. I hear the lady, clicking away utilizing her tools to apply her mask before we reach our destination. As my eyes flutter from open to shut, I watch out the window as the city rolls by, and we cross a wide bridge over a river, calmly flowing through, on its way to its own destination.


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