Tag Archives: topographia

Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

A tattered carpet with images of Russian helicopters spraying bullets on small crumbling villages. Young girls with shiny black eyes and jingling coins draped from green and red and purple and blue dresses, and boys in baggy pants, white tunics and every color vests. It’s not suburban New Jersey (although it could be). It’s somewhere in Afghanistan where war has been raging for as long as I can remember and it is a miracle that anybody is still left alive.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

Red velour towels. Purple velvet bedspread. Dark blue carpet (wool) with big orange flowers, flying lips and circling cupids with little bows and arrows pointed outward toward the walls.

This was my getaway–my secret paradise hidden on the back side of an elevator shaft, accessible by my little fingerprints or by my guest yelling “let me out of here” when the elevator reached the secret floor.

Tonight was my ‘encounter’ with Stony–a tall, blond, well-built porn star with long blond hair–the kind you see in shampoo ads–beautiful beyond your imagination.

I heard her yelling “let me out of here” and I flipped the tiny black switch. As the elevator doors opened, I opened my red cashmere bathrobe. She stood there looking at me like I was some kind of circus freak.

“Wow! It’s even smaller than your hands would indicate, and they indicate a micro-penis.”

I was humiliated and closed my robe. I picked up the green glass champagne bottle from the chrome and glass end table and hit her over the head. It made a thudding sound and she made a thudding sound when she hit the floor.

She was dead. I was screwed. I thought, “If I were President of the United States, I could pardon myself. But I’m not, and I can’t. Damn.”

So, my Plan B was to escape. I would hide out in a third-rate nursing home disguised as David Dump, half demented cranky old man. Once things cooled off, I would buy a camper van and drive to Venezuela and get a job as a mid-level dictator. “Plenty of prostitutes there,” I thought as I washed my hands, smiled,  and prepared to call a cab.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.

Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

It had one smeared window overlooking a crowded parking lot. It smelled like stale cigarette smoke. The carpet was shaggy brown–I’m sure it absorbed and hid the dirt. The bed was small–a single about as wide as a tight kitchen countertop. The green bedspread looked like a wilted spinach salad–all rumpled up like the last occupant had just jumped out of it as I came through the door. The walls were light yellow–smoke stained. There was a small plastic plant on the dresser and the TV was small–not much larger than a cereal box.

This was the “free room” that I earned by winning the contest where I had to write a vivid description of my ideal motel room.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.

Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

Dante did a pretty good job of describing hell.

But there is a hell he never imagined:

15-year-olds sitting in a classroom, eager to learn. Teacher teaching, asking questions, getting spirited well-framed answers. All is well.

Big windows. Brightly polished floors. Sun streams in on a warm Autumn day.

You know what happens next. They didn’t–they were growing, thriving angels filled with wonder and vexed by the awkwardness of being 15–just like we were when we were teens.

Over as fast as a trigger can be pulled: the banging, the flashing, the wounding, the dying.

15 year-olds in a classroom. Broken windows. Blood-stained floors. Sun streams in on a warm Autumn day.

Dreams disintegrate in the warm Autumn air.

Nothing is left but grief, anger, fear, and despair.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

The Field

I have a seven-acre field that I’ve landscaped in what what I call the “controlled chaos” mode. It’s pretty much on its own with goldenrod, wild grasses, milkweed, nettles, giant thistles, daisies, phlox, alfalfa, foxglove, wild roses, field ferns, wild strawberries, and more. All I do is pull enough of the plants that tend toward making a mono-culture of it–mainly the goldenrod and milkweed–to enable the other plants to thrive. It is populated and visited by birds (goldfinches, field sparrows, crows, a pair of king birds, buzzing hummingbirds and more), butterflies (monarchs, admirals, yellow and black swallowtails, checkered butterflies, sulfur butterflies, and a number of different kinds of moths), dragonflies, spiders, ants, garter snakes, ladybugs, the occasional tick, and more. Turkeys wander across the field.  Foxes hunt for mice. Deer come to graze in the early evening. Yesterday, as I was walking along the field’s edge, curled up sound asleep by a trail leading into the woods was a tiny little fawn.

The field hosts a vernal pond in March when the snow melts–a breeding place for black yellow-spotted salamanders.

At the field’s edge there are two bird boxes spaced about 100 meters apart.  Currently, there’s a tree swallow family nesting in one box and a bluebird family nesting in the other. If things go like they usually do, after the bluebirds move out, a pair of house wrens will take up residence.  I love to listen to the male when he shows up and perches on top of the box and starts to loudly sing for a mate.

I have mowed a trail that winds through the field.  The grass grows shoulder high alongside it. One of our favorite family adventures is walking the trail at night in late spring when there are thousands of fireflies flashing all around us. We stop every few feet and stand there oohing–awestruck over and over again by hundreds and hundreds of tiny random bursts of light.

The field is a hobby, a place to wander and wonder together, and a natural home for insects, birds, plants, herptiles, reptiles, and mammals.

In sum, that’s the field.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

Our cabin in the woods is one mile off the road over a narrow dirt track with a locked chain across its entrance that says in big red letters “Keep Out”. The road winds up a steep hill past huge white pines, maples, birches, and a few scraggly cherry trees. The cabin is one room–12 by 18 feet.  It has no plumbing or electricity. Outside, it’s covered by bat & board pine siding–inside, rough unfinished plywood panels. It has dark-green shingles and a rusty stove-pipe sticking out of the roof. There are seven windows looking in all directions–through the woods, over the valley, across the lake, down the hill. There’s a wood-stove with a dirty blue carpet in front of it, and pushed up against two windows looking over the valley is an old chipped-up white porcelain-topped table with three squeaky white chairs around it. There’s a gun rack, fishing poles, two canoe paddles, a fold out queen-sized bed, a folded-up cot, three sets of snowshoes, and a narrow counter with a Coleman stove on it along with mugs, and a tea kettle.  Hanging from one of the rafters is a kerosene lamp–black and gold.  There’s a small bookcase by the couch filled with children’s books on the top shelf and firewood on the bottom.

Many happy family memories live in that cabin in the woods–hot chocolate, reading out loud, listening to sounds at night–the waterfall, the crickets, the coyotes, the owls. What a place!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.