A smile is borrowed if ash lands on a person’s cheek and they wince in correspondence as wrinkles flick gray sprinkles to the accepting air. But if wincing fails “borrowed” rejects its description and takes on the moniker of stolen. These gestures are formatted like a chess-board to include outcomes when A happens B does too and so forth.
Devoting ash to another responding expression: pollen is swept off a dandelion by a normal gale, down wind a brush fire entices its gluttonous aspirations, consumes foliage like it was a starving prisoner, freed from their captors and fed filet mignon as a first meal “on the outside.” Ash takes to the wind, spins in cyclone patterns, inspires cigarettes to finally announce their betrayal to fire.
Granted, what ash is most famous for is inspiring language to liberate itself through speech. Humans of yore were wrestling beside a smoke pit (for the sake of labels we’ll call them Ooga and Booga). Ooga had Booga in a headlock and using leverage, leaned forward and pinned him to the ground. He grabbed a nearby rock and with the pointy end beat Booga’s head in until it was unrecognizable as a human skull. Ooga, feeling victorious, stood spread-eagle over the corpse, held his hands to the sky and shrieked. He stepped away, looked back to the mangled body, observed from his peripherals bloody footprints leading from the corpse, but the red of the blood meshed with the gray and black of the ash, his footprints were shaded and countered, appearing as if they were rising off the ground. He declared it a masterpiece and signaled to his cohorts by grunting, what would be considered to-day the spoken word, to come and observe the beautiful art he, accidentally, created.
Ash has a long history of enticement, envy and aesthetics. Few reactions are able to share in the spoils, but those that do, humans included too…are grateful, but also fearful. For once it’s all burned away who’ll be left to smile and appreciate the masterpiece?