The Forest’s Magic
He stepped inside the morning sun, which was glancing obliquely off a tranquil pond and noticed a quietly winding rill was emptying its memories into a moisture formed blueness. He ambled up a pebbled path alongside the rill where the dawn’s dew was glistening on wildflowers in a flower-patterned quilted meadow. As he listened to tiny downy-feathered birds singing amongst the flowers, he spied a vaporous veil of pure cold water tumbling down the side a knoll. While the apricot tinted sun covered the meadow with its brightness, he sat by the side of the waterfall next to another pond, and listened to the basso croaking of lazy frogs narrating a parable about times past, while busy crickets playing Beethoven with their serrated violin legs accompanied the tales. He then heard water gurgling from below the pond and listened intently to the water’s epistle of peace rising to the surface, and wondered why humans spend so little time in beautiful forests, and so much time in the ugly din of cities.
It happened the other day when Sue Anne went down to buy a quart of milk, a pound of ham, and a loaf of bread at the local Piggly Wiggly.
The cashier told her as she handed over her EBT card, “I can’t accept this. This is old news.”
“What, Suzanne stammered, “I don’t know what you mean.” The cashier turned her face toward Suzanne with a sharp nod her pony tail bounced in front of Suzanne’s eyes.
“We are no longer accepting mon-ee. We are in a cashless society as of 12:01 last night standard Eastern time.
“Huh,” Sue Anne just glanced around her at the different nationalities crowding the counter. There were ladies wearing Arabic headdress; there were some kind of European language being spoken; and everyone seemed to be moving very quickly around her. “What is going on?” she stammered to the lady next to her in line. “I just got approved. I am expecting to return to school next week to become a LPN.”
The little old lady rolled her eyes and said, “No cash. We are all in a cashless society. We have lost credit cards, food stamps, cash, that is old school.”
“Old School,” Suzanne questioned as the words ran off her tongue bitingly. As she watched, more customers moved in to take her place. Some were buying things they would never have bought before: chocolates, expensive coffee, meats, everything. It was as if they had won the lottery. The cashier glared at her.
“I need you to get out of the way or show me your voucher.”
“What voucher?” Sue Anne questioned. She noticed that the lady speaking some strange language near here had a pink voucher with the letter “G” on it.
“What does this mean?” she asked her. The lady looked surprised and then stammering told Sue Anne this was her quota and meant that she was gifted in the art of language translation.
“I…I am Slovakian. I speak another language. I translate. I valuable to the people.”
The people, what people Suzanne wondered knowing there were few in her neighborhood speaking Slovakian.
The old man behind the Slovakian woman looked her straight in the eye and said as if speaking to someone very stupid and very slow, “You must be categorized. They must take inventory of you before you get a voucher.” As she pondered upon this news, the cashier impatiently shifted her weight from one foot to another.
Then she looked up at the cameras and despairingly rolled her eyes.
Another one bites the dust began to play and the line shifted forward as she was bumped out of the way of the register. As she desperately tried to keep her footing, the music rolled on with the cashier’s eyes flitting quickly over the grocery to assess if each person’s voucher would be able to pay for the groceries. One man couldn’t and as the music blared louder, he cried aloud with embarrassment as the voucher claimed his inadequacy.
“No, no, I can change my voucher. I can also think two thoughts at once and sometimes I am capable of looking outside the box. I have a college degree,” and he protested as the authorities came to take him away.
“He is lost,” sang the gospel singer next to Sue Anne. “Poor lost soul, “ she continued out the door shaking her head. And as she lost her grip on her groceries, the college graduate tried to grab her supplies only to be knocked down by a burly looking healthy guy whose voucher read “M” for muscles. Evidently, he was strength and his voucher carried some weight.
Just another day in 2060. Sue Anne knew tomorrow would be a better day.
James G. Piatt's poems have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of Web awards, and many were published in The Top 100 Poems of 2016, 2015 & 2014 Anthologies. He has published 3 collections of poetry, “The Silent Pond” (2012), “Ancient Rhythms,” (2014) and “LIGHT,” (2016), and over 970 poems. His fourth collection of poetry will be released shortly. He earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, and his doctorate from BYU.