The 1st of November 1971 – Cold Spring Harbor, New York

Ah,

There is only so much to be done, only so much that can be done, seeing as only twenty-four hours exist. The same twenty-four hours, hour after hour and on and on and on. Today is the same as the day before and yesterday. One o’clock, twelve o’clock. Thirteen. I’ve seen this before. Last week and the month before, next year and the decade after. The same clock with the same hours, the same lady riding slowly on her bike. Regressive infinity.

The world gives us what we get. We have what we are given – Euphoria, Sadness. Reason, Insanity. All determined by the structure of the ground beneath our feet, and all inspired by the whispers of the trees over our heads.

I am no better than what I was at my worst. No worse than what I was at my best. Better than the ways of tomorrow yet somehow worse than how it could have been yesterday.

Wait!

Wait, let the clock run down and perhaps the new sun will bring a new time and a new clock. But the wait is so long, and I can hear the footsteps of the killer sneaking up behind me, with his hands so close around my neck behind me. Ready to strike.

All the same.

And so it goes.

-William James

The 12th of July 2003 – Babahoyo, Los Rios

What, what, what, what do we do?

This place is too, too, much too, too, too big. It always extends. I run up and down and left and right and there’s always more, more, more, more, more to see.

How is it, it, it, it even a possible place?

What do we, we, we, we, we, we do?

Where, where do we look?

To others? To betters? To lesser?

Within? To see our, our, our, our, our own potential as a measure of the high, high, high, highest success, ess, ess, ess, ess, ess?

How though, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh?

Oh the sun! What a suh, suh, suh, suh, suhweet thing!

There it is, is, is, is, is! My huh, huh, huh, huh, huhart!

The lesson to learn and never forget. Simplicity.

Smile, and make friends.

The 19th of August 2015 – Sydney, New South Wales

(found in a ball by the sidewalk of a pathway by the harbor leading to the bridge)

Dear Cindy,

It is one of those nights again when, though I am so tired, I can’t even think of sleeping. I know what will happen.

Even so, it is hard to fall asleep standing up, and you know as well as I do that I haven’t moved from atop this rock you set me on a year ago, staring out at sea and watching the waves, hoping one will carry you upon it.

In a ship of course.

But what’s the use, as I couldn’t even move if I wanted to or tried.

See, Cindy, just as there are two and three, four, five and six types of people, there are also two. There are those who can go on no matter the circumstances and those who can’t do anything but think about how the world can go on no matter the circumstances.

I’ve seen the clouds roll in and out, striking greys and blacks and puffy whites swirling in the sky and seen the blue and the black and foam of the sea crest and fall and dip and slosh and rest against the shore. Going on and going on, and all the while I am standing here.

Thinking, of course, and sometimes dreaming – dreaming, as I have always dreamt – of holding palm-to-palm the Love and watching, finally, pinks and orange and yellow rest upon the horizon while you sit beside me on this rock.

Dearly,

Charles

The 17th of April 1999 – Staten Island, New York

(found by a bucket of water and some twitching remains)

Momma,

Who’d have dreamt up this, and sue as hell, you know I’ve done a lot of dreaming. But who’d have dreamt this up?

I can’t feel anything anymore. My fingers are numb, and my toes. I remember when I first got to this place, how rough the stone was on the walls and how smooth the grout was in between the stones that were on the walls. And the floors! I would have sent you letters about the floors! Except I couldn’t get my hands on a piece of paper. Except I hadn’t figure out how to do any writing. But now I have this penknife, and I have plenty of ink.

But now it’s ending. The man with the hose says he’s all out of food, and he’s soon going to run out of water. The asylum got shut down is what he says. So he took the others, saying that they would come back soon, but maybe with food. But they haven’t come back yet – any of them – and there’s no more food.

I’ve seen him with a big knife, big long knife. Butchering a pig.

So I’m here in the dark, hopefully you get to read this, know that there was a chance, that your boy didn’t need to be abandoned like you did.

I’m here in the dark, and my hands and feet are numb and the clothes I wear are wearing through. I think. I think they are. They should be, at this time – at least I’d imagine that they are. It feels like it’s been long. I think that it’s been long.

But here I am. I can hear footsteps.

See you soon.

Love,

Tobey

The 1st of August 1909 – Miami, Florida

(found in a puddle of something undesirable or somesuch somesuch)

Salud Tio,

“Evidence enough that the Lord doesn’t exist and that – if He does – He certainly has no care for us.” That’s what the man said, though I’m sure that you heard him before. I can’t believe what he said, and I can’t believe that he only needed the thermometer hanging on the church porch as evidence for his statement.

I have no retort for the man, yet I am inclined to disbelieve him.

Certainly, for all this talk of intelligence and so on, there isn’t much that has been made so intelligently – or, at least, made intelligently for us. Two-thirds of the year here we are dogged by the discomfort of our environs, either forced to contend with the heat in loose-hanging flannels or tossed out of clothes altogether and allowed to cool, naked, in ice baths.

Yet we are alive, and what more can we ask of Him?

The sweat beads on my forehead like so many pearls on a glistening necklace, so much sweat that by midday the kerchief I carry is of no use whatsoever. It is already soaked and sopping.

Yet I continue to wipe my brow, for there is work to be done. Certainly always work to be done.

I haven’t a point anymore, dear uncle. Be careful of the earthquakes out west, for certainly the Lord may wish to take one of us by force in these coming weeks. I will take care as to keep my brains from leaking out my ears after the heat melts it into liquid.

Sweetly, sweatingly,

Mx

The 19th of July 1883 – Dorchester, Dorset

(found by the skins of three rabbits)

Dearest Mae,

What a thought just struck my mind while on my morning constitutional.

For, as I was walking down the path so briskly past the outskirts of the town, I passed by the figure of a poor and hobbled beggar. He sat there, without even any rough-hewn patches to cover the tears in his pants and jacket – thin enough to be nigh translucent – and he was covered in dust from the road.

It was such a hot morning – with the sun already bleating ferociously from its position high above us – yet this frail man sat there shivering. Doubtless, his teeth would have chattered had his mouth any occupants.

I was so struck by the man’s sudden appearance, as he must have just tumbled out of the long grass bordering my walkway as I came around a curve or somesuch, that I was overtaking in the moment by a dreadful anxiety.

My eyes flickered over the poor man’s face – pouches marked with bold lines hung from his cheeks and from below his bloodshot eyes, his scalp was bloody and well-scratched and nearly uncovered by a few thin strands of straw-colored hair – yet I kept on walking.

What world is this? Where a man can be so assured of his survival that – in the name of health – he burns his fuel with caprice while another, forlorn and outcast, bundles his body with thin and ragged scraps and still shivers in the hottest sun?

Yet I kept on walking, so struck by it all that all I could do was move past with shame and regret.

Dutifully,

Horace

The 31st of January 1915 – Southampton, Hampshire

(found by the thick, green turf that so determinedly covers the place)

Dearest Charlotte,

Have you ever come down to here?

We’ve spent so much time on the western half of the place, the western coast, that coming here to the east is such a delightful treat.

As beautiful as a sunset is, one can quite grow tired of them, and it is a nice change of pace to take in the view of the sun rising.

It may as well be the same thing, or – at least – a reverse of the same thing (or perhaps its mirror), because the same colors come and go at similar intervals: first purple, then a vibrant magenta, bright orange and a pale yellow.

It’s a view that, for once, reminds me of the future rather than the past – of course, unfortunately – it is a future never to be seen, but how could it be seen without ignoring the beauty of the vision hanging there before me.

What a beautiful thing occurs the moment just when the sun peaks up above the horizon – or dips down below it – and the sky becomes filled only with a pallid blue and a throbbing and hearty shade of red.

I can see it glowing there for miles and miles and miles, and it hangs there – alongside your smiling face – with a single problem.

Red was never our color.

Dearly,

George