Thursday, September 24, 2015

On the Yellow Brick Road

It was a fine autumn day, crisp and sunny, and I was lolling at the forest edge, trying to catch a nap. A frightened partridge whirred past my head. Then a rabbit ran by, looking perplexed and pointing a thumb back into the woods.

I walked into the bush to see what caused the animals to flee. I had not walked far when I saw a yellowish hue through the trees and heard the rumbling of what I sensed was an argument.

I stepped into a clearing and a most unusual scene. There, on a shimmering yellow brick path stood four people, three men and a woman, gesticulating wildly and shouting crazily.

They looked as if they belonged on a film set. One was dressed as a Lion, another as a Scarecrow and yet another as a Tin Man. The female had long blonde pigtails and wore a green checkered pinafore and ruby red shoes.

I asked who they were and why they were making noise in my peaceful woods.

“Why do you need to know?” growled the Lion, who wore a nametag on which was scrawled: “I’m Stevie. Vote for me.”

“Ignore him,” said the woman with the ruby red shoes and a green nametag with Elizabeth printed in green ink. “Stephen never wants anyone to know anything.”

“That’s right,” said the Scarecrow whose nametag said: “I’m Justin. I’m ready and I apologize.”

“We’re following the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to see the wizard,” he said excitedly, glancing about to see if a crowd was gathering. “He’s going to grant just one of us our fondest wish. . . .”

Elizabeth cut him off by breaking into song:

“Somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high
Oh why, oh why can't I?”

“You looked pretty high at the Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner when they dragged you from the podium, Elizabeth,” sneered the Lion.

“Really Stephen you must learn to control your gas emissions,” Elizabeth shot back.

That set off another argument with both the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, whose nametag read Tommy, jumping in.

They were loud and nonsensical and upsetting the peace of my forest, and frightening the wildlife. So I stepped into their midst and asked them to calm down and cease their gabbling.

“People don’t understand me,” sniffed the Lion. “They say I don’t have a heart. So I’m going to ask the Wizard to give me one. People will vote for me then.”

“No, he’s going to give me a brain,” said the Scarecrow. “Then I will stop saying dumb things like only pro-abortion candidates can join my party. And a brain will help me with math. Like learning that three minus five equals a deficit.”

“So what do you want from the Wizard?” I asked Tommy the Tin Man.

“I don’t know what to ask. What I really need is oil to loosen me up. But some of my candidates keep calling the Alberta oil sands environmentally destructive so I don’t know what to do. I just hope the Wizard will stop my joints from creaking.”

I walked over to a woodpile I had neatly stacked for the coming winter. I sat down to think about how to handle these strange people.

“What is that you’re sitting on?” Elizabeth asked sharply.

“It’s my woodpile for winter burning,” I replied. “A well-planned woodpile is as good as money in the bank.”

“You mean you are going to burn that? Create smoke! Destroy the environment!”

“And wreck our oil-based economy!” roared the Lion.

Scarecrow and Tin Man began shouting at each other. Something about economic theories and the middle class but I couldn’t understand it.

“Well I never . . . .” scolded Elizabeth who glowered then clicked the heels of her ruby shoes and all four of them, and the yellow brick road, vanished.

Peace returned to the forest.
On the walk back out I passed a group of animals huddled under some spruce trees.

“What was all that about, Shaman?” asked a raccoon.

“Nothing to fret about,” I replied. “Just nonsense that we humans call politics.”

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