Scheme Of Things

Once upon a time there was a little Italian boy made out of wood. He wore a pointy hat, also wooden. In this age of grand illusion, he walked into my life out of my dreams, and forced his way into my scheme of things. This was somewhat unnerving, for it is not an everyday occurrence to find oneself in thrall to a wooden boy. But enthralled I was, to the point where the tables were turned and I tried to fit in with his scheme of things.

In order to do so, I felt I needed to gain a better understanding of what it was like to be made of wood. So I drove to the forest in a Japanese car. I parked at the edge, by a pond, and then I walked deep into the forest and stood there, pretending to be a tree, a pine or an elm. At first I was fidgety, but as the hours passed I found it easier to stand perfectly still, as if I were wooden. I swayed slightly in the breeze.

The little Italian boy made of wood had not followed me to the forest, for he could not drive. I wondered what he was up to, back in my chalet, perched on the edge of a glacier. It was a wooden chalet, so it suited him well, better, in fact, than it suited me. I felt so at home in the forest. Oh I so wanted to sprout leaves and buds!

Several months passed before I was forced to admit that I could not fit in to his scheme of things and that I was not, nor ever would be. made out of wood. I trudged back through the forest towards the pond where I had parked the Japanese car. It had been stolen. I sat on a tuffet next to the pond and I pondered. Pondering by a pond, not made of wood. The sky was immense and immensely blue.

It was a small mercy that I did not know the little wooden Italian boy was a delinquent rascal, and had burned down my chalet the instant I screeched away in my Japanese car. And yet the world keeps turning. That, after all, is in the scheme of things, whether one is wooden or – let us be plain – not wooden, not wooden at all, neither pine nor elm nor any of the other types of wood. They all burn.

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