Wizard Academy architect Marley Porter holds his model of the tower – currently under construction – so that my buddy Dave Martin can see the details. This photo was taken 4 1/2 years ago in what is now Tuscan Hall. It was only a concrete slab and 2 walls at the time.
Marley meets with Pennie and me every Monday morning to make suggestions, additions and changes to the Academy master plan. He donates all his work, easily worth tens of thousands of dollars. In return, I tell him how to be a better writer. I recently told Marley that his natural gift was capturing the flavor of a moment, making it vivid and real. Here's a sample of his writing.
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A new dog, mostly black lab, showed up like our other five friends – our best friends, George, Melvin, Powder, Tommy and Oliver. Maybe we'll find his owner. Maybe he'll stay like the others have. It's his call. It's their call.
Dogs have a way of working out the order of the pack. We try not to interfere too much with the order of things but then, Lynn is Alpha Female and I am Alpha Male and we have a new dog hanging around.
Our five incumbent SOB's didn't like the arrival of new Mr. Black and decided to tear the poor guy apart. We had them all on leashes and they couldn't get to him so they focused on Melvin. The nicest and most decent of the pack. They cut Melvin up, again.
Dogs are simple. Dogs are complicated. Dogs are dogs.
Lynn and I decided the new black dog, who we call Angus, could stay, as long as he was supposed to. So we intervened, with strong intent, in the middle of the pack's struggle for supremacy and right.
A little bit.
The miracle came when the dust settled, when Melvin was licking his wounds and I was dusting off my pants from jumping on the pile of them, when Lynn had put each of them, alone, tied to different trees.
The sunset was one of those you wait for.
We had a bag of old bread, tied with a squiggly, hung on a post, down at the Palapa for feeding ducks or bass or catfish or minnows. Whatever. I tore it up and flicked it into the mirror.
The dogs, finally at peace, dust settled, watched me walk down to the water, reflections in magenta and indignant sky-blue on the still, silent water of Lake Marble Falls. Only the mosquitoes made ripples, tiny circles, disappearing before they relaxed into memory.
A seagull appeared. Floating tidbits of bread on the water. Out of nowhere. Figure eights within figure eights within figure eights within figure eights. He winged close to me and superimposed his reflection of white and grey on the magenta, on the orange and on the blue and the grey, golden furls of sunset, calling.
Three siblings arrived and spun clockwise with their brother, over the water, over the reflections, over the bread.
Diving one. Diving two. Diving three and four, over and over, they accepted the sacrament shared and when the water was clean, the feathered brothers flew into the darkening memory of the sun.
Lynn and I sat with six friends on the shores of Lake Marble Falls.
A grey heron flew over, a silhouette, a comma. The kingfisher barked minnow success to his mate. She nestled, deeply recessed in the bank of mud and roots and river. Period.
And I thought.
Whatever the flip they're trying to do, or undo, in Washington, isn't even part of this moment. That place will never be part of this reality.
So all is well. All our dogs are now friends.
Well, they're working on it.
March 2, 2009