The Earth Awakes

I came across the theory of Gaia, that the Earth is a self regulating entity when I was a youngster and it has always fascinated me. Recent world events reminded me of the theory and prompted this post, 

Gaia stretched and yawned. The sun kissed her bosom and she drew in the heat, waking slowly. The ants were troubling her again, scurrying here and there, tunnelling into her skin, nipping her as she slumbered, stirring  some deep long forgotten anger in her. It had been a long restful sleep this time around; now it was time to wake and scratch and shake. She heaved herself over onto her knees, scattering ants everywhere. She stretched her broad back and stood right up, brushing away the tiny creatures, stamping them off, so they were crushed in their millions. Shaking out her long hair, she stood for a while and let the water wash them all away. Then she lay down to sleep again. Only a very few  ants survived. They touched heads and crawled groggily into her hair and began to build a nest anew.

When Dad died

Dad died as the dawn broke. Before he went to sleep the night before, I spent my final hour with him. Heart failure and whiskey made him ramble, but I got his gist. I tucked him in, as he had tucked me in once and kissed him goodnight.  “Leave the curtains open, would you darling, I want to see the dawn.” Those were the last words I ever heard him say.

Surrounded by his children, it was a good death and with it came a strange release from his paternal authority over us. Afterwards, waiting for the undertaker, we became naughty. My sister, giggling, put on his shoes and glasses and shuffled around, pretending to be him. We raided his pockets for his last thirty pounds and someone went out and bought champagne with it. We played his favourite tunes much too loudly, almost disrespectfully, cocooned in a strange, hysterical grief bubble.

Later, one by one we crept back to see him on his death bed. We smoothed his shirt, combed his hair, inspected his hands, kissed his cold forehead.  The grandchildren, some as young as three came in, curious. We answered their questions as best as we could. After a while, we told the children that soon they’d come to take Grandad’s body away. There was a long silence, then the youngest piped up “But aren’t they going to take his head, too?”

Off track

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Every now and then, on our healthful morning walks, we go off track. Retired life is comfortable, even predictable, but last week, living dangerously, we turned down an unknown path, studded with wild boar hoof prints. The track opened up to reveal a ruin, alone in the field, a byre and a shepherd’s hut with the roof fallen in and a deep open well. I leant over and looked into the depths, but I couldn’t see my reflection. Approaching the ruin alone, I peered tentatively through the byre door and fancied I smelt the ghost of the donkeys that once toiled between the surrounding  walls and terraces, where stunted ailing carobs and almonds grew untended. Then, just by the door, I spied an old pitchfork propped up for the last time and  a lump rose in my throat for he who once wielded it and his lost way of life. I turned back to my man, feeling melancholy for the rich years we’d left behind us and our lost youth and strength.

I always try to see the best in people, and when they do something I don’t expect I try to find a reason for it. So when I am on a packed bus, with no seats available, I have to assume that the two young teenagers sitting in the disabled and elderly priority seats have something wrong with them. So that must be why they sat there for the whole journey, while a number of elderly people stood, clinging into the rails for dear life, while the driver practised his F1 strategies and driving skills – Including trying to take corners on 2 wheels.

If I had been sitting in those seats I would have been using my iPad, so I can’t complain about them using their mobiles the whole time to play games. Nor can I really say anything about their tight black lycra track suits and pure white tee shirts. if I was that slim I might have been dressed like that too. And for all I know they were going to work and that was their uniform.

However, there is such a thing as Karma. As the bus started slowing and coming into the terminus, they started to get up and found me and my case planted across the aisle, trapping them in their seats. I really enjoyed that. And so did the other elderly passengers, who were able to pass me as I turned sideways and lent forward over the teens, and the young mum with the difficult double buggy!

Satisfaction. Job done.

Manners on the Bus

A Memory

Following a similar ‘disaster’ sent from a friend I recalled the time that one wet windy day I slipped in muddy wet manure patch (worn out Crocs, never wise to wear on these sort of days) and was covered in yuck from head to toe. I stripped off, shoved everything into the washing machine, found some rubber boots and trundled the wheelbarrow through the rest of the chores…stark naked! No one around to faint in shock and disapproval!

Jitters (m)

Nervous nibbling of frayed fingernails. Hopping, half-hopefully, semi-smiling from side to side, drawing deep on cheap cigarette (not that any fags are inexpensive these days – perhaps it’s designing the gruesome anti-smoking warnings that makes them cost so much?)

Giggling, gracelessly, despite the litheness of his long legs when he moves, moodily, meaning to appear arrogantly acerbic, but instead evidently empty, envious of everyone else who seems to calm, so content, so clearly complete.

[73 words]

(c) Jane Davis, 2020


 

I took the title of this one from one of Allison’s recent posts, basing it on someone I saw at a bus stop last week. It’s a bit shorter than many of the other posts in this series because my five stray minuteses only seem to turn up when I’m writing by hand!

Two Hours

The orange juice on the tray in front of me starts rippling. Absent-mindedly, I grasp the plastic cup. I hear the engines roar as the plane rocks and shudders. Abruptly, I realize where I am: 38,000 feet in the air, traveling at 700mph in a tiny, fragile metal tube. It’s night outside, but even if it weren’t, all I would be seeing out the Plexiglas windows would be clouds, and maybe mountains.

“My Mom was once on a flight and in just a few seconds the plane dropped about 10,000 feet. Even the cabin crew were screaming!”

Why do I have to remember that story now? It’s just turbulence, it happens all the time. It’s not dangerous!

The rocking intensifies. A part of me knows that it’s safe, but that last voice of reason is stifled by primal fear taking over. I grasp his arm. How long has this been going on? A minute, maybe two?

I glance at the flight information. Eight hours to go. I can’t take this any longer. But there’s nowhere to go. Upon boarding that plane I surrendered my life to the crew and the engineers who built that tin can. Foolishly, I trusted that they knew what they were doing.

The engines are revving, and I can feel the plane accelerating. There is a soft ping and the seatbelt signs light up. The crew are sitting down…that cannot be good. I bury my face in his chest. I cannot lift my head to look at the screen anymore. The primal fear now has me completely paralyzed. All I can do is wheeze with every new jerking.

He reads out the numbers to me. Speed, altitude, trajectory. Over and over, while I am certain that I’ll never escape from this death trap. His voice is soothing, and if I died right now it wouldn’t be so bad…

But the elements aren’t kind enough to end it right here. They keep toying with us for the next two hours. Two hours, each minute of which seems like an eternity, gnawing away my sanity with every bit of shaking and revving and rocking.

And then it stops. Reluctantly, I open my eyes and squint into the unexpected brightness. It’s daylight now, and outside the window I can see clouds and mountains passing by…peaceful and impassive and eternal.

[390 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2020

Away

I have been away for quite some time now. Too much has happened in the last three months, and it has kept my mind preoccupied with things other than writing. Work, the day-to-day nuisances of life, and—most importantly—nesting. For me, the winter months are a time during which I withdraw to be by myself, to enjoy the serenity of the tranquil dark, to wrap myself in cozy blankets, to shut out the world…if only for a little while. The smell of the cold, the gothic gloom brought on by the early nightfall, and the vague excitement about the upcoming holidays always held an almost magical quality for me. Writing about it and thus dissecting it, attempting to put it to paper (or—worse—typing it into an impassive, cold, logical machine and revising it on a bright screen) would rob it of the very magic I hope to preserve. So I simply took it all in, and in time, when the magic has faded on its own, I will be able to write again…about the smell of homemade food, the comforting warmth of Wassail, the purring of the feline companions, and the dreams, slowly fading away in the first light of dawn.

[204 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2020

This is what happens on Wednesday morning in this house.

I rise at 6.15. I’m in my pyjamas and I water the garden; Wednesday is one of the two days we are permitted to water. Wednesday and Sunday are our days.

Watering the garden takes some time because I have to make sure to move the sprinkler every 10 minutes. Apparently overwatering is nearly as bad as underwatering. I’ve applied soil conditioner, so the water sinks in instead of pooling and then running off. This is because the soil in this garden is sand. Beach sand. Hydrophobic.

I finish watering and Yoga asana practice follows. I have breakfast and then get dressed for my volunteer job at the Seniors Centre. So, I get in the car and off I go. My seniors are happy to see me and I get a lot of hugs.

[144 words]