It’s a Story this Week

Salt Lake Blues

Pink lakes are down south. There’s a red lake on the south-east coast.

Here, in the badlands of salty sands and nothing to hold water on the surface, there’s only the blue salts. Like a cloud of colour. Insubstantial drifts of colour. Blue, the type of blue that comes with summer skies, with warm winds and a tinny in hand, radio blasting out the cricket scores. The sitting-still blue of life.

It’s a lie.

These salt lakes aren’t about life. They take life, suck it down into the sands and send up crystals of blue salt to refract the cold light of winter, the harshness of nothing left to live for; it’s a nothing that’s going nowhere. It’s not a place to stop, to dare, or to stare too long into that bright promise.

It’s where I live.

The blue-lakes district, they call it, marked in black on the maps. But the words leak out. There’s a sign for the blue lakes. And visitors come. The tourists frown, and photographers peer into the distance. They stand near the old railway line and shade their eyes.

“Where are the lakes?” they ask. Every one of them asks it. “Where are the blue lakes?”

What they see through the lens, filtered by red and shaded by colours that daunt the refraction, isn’t what’s there. They don’t see what’s right before their living eyes. They don’t believe, so they don’t see.

“Put that down,” I say, “and see the truth.” It’s a shrug I give, ‘cos they won’t.

They never do. Or they do for a second, but can’t see beyond the haze of their reality.

What is it they don’t see?

The people, old now, wrinkled and frail, the ones who skitter across the salted blues, who dig in the collapsing sand with sharp crystals, crying and calling, digging and falling. “Come home,” they sing, but the children don’t answer. Nothing comes to the call of the ghosts who walked this way, who saw a faster way to a water stop, who dragged children and old people with them in their search for a new life, a richer life, a better life.

The shortest path between two points is never as easy as it appears.

Now, they’re here, with me. Every day they call, they cry, and the blue lakes suck up all the moisture from their pain, and reflect the sky to those who come looking for something that isn’t there, that was never there.

This is no place to be, no place for dreams.

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

13 thoughts on “It’s a Story this Week

  1. Wonderfully evocative piece, Cage. Loved these images:
    ‘the type of blue that comes with summer skies, with warm winds and a tinny in hand, radio blasting out the cricket scores. The sitting-still blue of life.’
    ‘the blue lakes suck up all the moisture from their pain’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Evocative and haunting. Excellent word pictures you painted! 🙂 Now on an entirely different tangent, I admit I saw your title “Salt Lake Blues”, and thought you were writing about Salt Lake City. 😂 Maybe some new jazz and blues club that had opened down there. Life is so much about context isn’t it? Because when I read your post, I ‘got’ your “Salt Lake Blues”… and the whole idea shifted. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.