The other morning, I went to work and there were dark clouds above, but on the horizon, they broke and the sun streamed through. The play of light made for sharp reflections on the water. A black and white photoscape of trees mirrored in the still of the morning. And then the fog rolled in. Not on tiny cat's feet, but on giant clawed paws. Consumed the landscape, until all that was left was a solid of grey. No reflections left.
Supernatural - Bedtime Stories
One of the reasons that I write essays the way I do, purely aside from a love of language, and the faint desire to capture the reflection of a thought, is it's very difficult to argue with... well, is this the fog or is it the reflection.
And since I'm a busy bee sort of person, I very rarely post about things that don't please me. There's a certain level of effort to writing like this. The house must be quiet. Perhaps music liquid on the ear. The painted red woman on the wall with her lyre, her hair the strings, smiles with her closed eyes and eternally considers the next note.
I consider the next word. At times, it does worry me when I watch Supernatural, and there are those moments, especially this season, where I wince. Not because it bothered me, but because I know my friends list will quiver with the tension of the chord. Will complain that it is misplayed and as I watch, I feel... such analytical joy. I want to dance on those chords.
As a child, I devoured fairy tales. I consumed mythology. It was my fat. It was the gristle that I chewed with my sharp young teeth. It was the bone that I gnawed. Worried at the ends, seeking the sweet salt of the marrow hidden within. When I read those stories, when I consumed those myths, I never imagined myself as Snow White or Red Riding hood. I was always the Huntsman. The belted knight climbing a glass mountain in search of a rose. Or something.
That delicious tension between what we have made of them, where even Disney (especially Disney) is all dead mothers and witches longing for hearts. The stories that we inherited from all our disparate diasporas. Grimm tales and bubbling conscious ooze.
I'll start at the end. Because that's a bedtime story too. Two brothers. Four directions. Once more we come to the cross roads.
I've been thinking on Hecate recently. By the pricking of my thumbs, something choices this way comes. Queen of the crossroads and the night and the wilderness and witch craft, and sometimes of Queen of the underworld. With her three heads: woman, hound, serpent. A goddess vengeance for the wronged. Oh, and directions. Generally 3, three pigs, now 4 for cardinal points. No different. Spread out and which way will you go?
Sam comes to the end of his tether. Like the beginning of “In My Time of Dying,” Dean walks away from Sam down a hospital hallway. But this time, there is no father to make the dire sacrifice. No Yellow eyes to make the trade. Then, Sam would attempt hoodoo spells.
And now... he has nothing left but his brother.
What a strange miscalculation for the Crossroads demon to make. She taunts Sam, but those are the jibes for a Sam that died years ago. We saw it happen. Not in a moment, but somewhere in steps between when Sam did not shoot his father, and the semi (half of something) struck their home/car, and his coffee fell to earth. Awakening. The Sam that believed he could have a white picket life died. We watched that dream go up in smoke. In a pyre of his father's ashes, so often seen at the beginning of each episode.
This Sam has only his brother. Slowly walking away from him. Pushing him away.
It's in our moments of stress that we see the person that we are underneath. Wolf at the door. The witch in the wood. The stepmother. The big bad wolf. There were no little mermaids, no little match girls, but there were two wolves. A quiet watching child.
Three brother pigs. They build once upon a time. They build the homes. The place where families live. (and burn). The ever after that's still only skeletons of shelter. Three, two, until there is only one. Wondering what he's going to do with his brothers gone.
A couple/brother&sister driven off the path. Lost in the woods. That seminal place, the woods. Beyond the pale. Literally. That stake in the ground that indicates where civilization sits and where it ends. The path isn't a path and where it leads is the old woman. The end of life. Sweets for strangers and pie. Last season, before his brother vanished, Dean longed for pie. There it is. Cherry and sweet and a glass of milk to wash it all down. Bitter poison and slash.
The Cinder girl. The place between hearth and home. Sweet Hestia in the hearth. She sits bound to the stove and weeping. Her un-mother has gone mad. Monstrous feminine and menopause and....
Red riding hood. The grand-daughter, with that smile. Skipping because her grand-mother is there. Kind face and such a cruel story. Beaten down by a wolf.
Cruel problematic bedtime stories to bring such dreams for children.
White dress and ribbon. Voiceless. Woman/girl. Her voice bleached away. She acts in sorrow and rage. Summons the wolf. The old woman. The madness. It’s the only way she can be heard. Trapped as she is. Years of listening and trapped.
Wounded and wandering and she's Snow White. Not the one that woke up. But there's a red apple. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (unless you think it was a fig, but apples are easier to weave in a tapestry, but that's Northern Europe for you, it’s all about the tapestries).
Poisoned that fruit. Like the cherries. Like a child's delight.
And there's the frog. The toad. Ugly and croaking. It could be a prince, but they'll not kiss it. It’s a poison high.
The princess made a promise to kiss the frog, but wouldn't. Dean made a promise to give his soul, but will.
What a hard thing. To lose a brother. To watch him walk away. To be told that he can't get over your loss, but somehow, some way to be told that you can. That you are/were that callow person who told gun cracking elder brother caretaker that you just want your life back. The one that didn't involve him. That safe white picket life. Sanitized fairy tale that we tell ourselves in which families lie in sitcoms and everything is fixed by the end of the half hour. Even in very special episodes.
And I do wonder that the Cross Roads demon could be so foolish. Well, no more.
Consider the rage. The anger. Sitting next to someone every day who died for your sin of getting killed. Who is dying for your sin of compassion that cost/is costing the life of the one most dear.
Deer. The huntsman (ever wonder if was the same one?) killed a deer to give in place of Snow White's heart.
At the moment, Dean makes me think of nothing so much as a quote from Dorothy L Sayers. There was a moment in "Have His Carcass" when Harriet Vane says something that Lord Peter considers a bit... off and he asks her if that doesn't indicate a certain coarsening of the fibers. And she quite cheerfully, oh, so jocularly, tells him that yes, of course, just like coconut. What else could she do? She can either become coarse or be masticated by the events of a series of murder mystery plots.
As I was post episode wandering, I came across a comment on someone's board or another, that they could believe the "That's so gay line." because the writers should have considered that if anyone of them had said that in a boardroom, it would have been a harassment suit.
I did just go through "Raising Awareness in the Workplace" training.
Of course Sam & Dean never went through such a training, and never will and further... capricious of k's can tell a story of her brothers when they were children. Running through the house and yelling at each other that this or that they had said or done was so gay. Since her mother is a clever sort, she'd guided them against using those kinds of words. As we were told in Sin City, words hurt. But Sam and Dean, ah John, sometimes I think they were raised by wolves. Although whether that makes them an inverted Romulus and Remus, I can't quite decide.
And that's where I think about national ooze. The ways in which stress and fear bring out the worst in us.
I'm reminded me of what this story is. It’s messy horrible fairy tales where everyone gets eaten and the best you can hope for is the villain gets gutted too. It's problematic bitter noir and they're all going to hell for love and good intentions.
See how coolly Sam shot that girl. That woman worn by a demon. He was worn once. He knows the horror of that too. Shot her dead. Made his crossroad’s choice. Not so simply to sell his soul.
That's an easy deal. Made with a Judas Kiss, and possibly some worn demon tongue. This is a journey made in steps. In bones. Blood on a white road traveled by moonlight.
"How many miles to Babylon.... Can I get there by candle light?" Ancient Babylon.
Faerytale that too.
The stories we tell ourselves in a war without a front. Chaos and a hundred directions and who has Dean's soul's lien? Who must Sam kill next? Sammy no more. -mmy burned away. He's not a chubby ten year old.
The way we use humor that's not funny to drive loved ones away. The way we fall on such solid logic as because I'm the oldest. Because I said so. Because.
So, desperate. Neither can live without the other. While one lives, the other must die. Teetering like children on a seesaw.
Like some faerytale of constant centrifugal motion. Like a story of a feather and a heart in balance. Like a knight climbing a glass mountain. Like a morning, when the trees and their reflection seem the same thing, before the fog rolls in.
We'll see how it rolls.