Choices #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

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“This is only an exercise”, he kept repeating to himself. But he knew that the exhaustion was catching up with him. He still had everything: the map, the compass, enough water, and the grains of black pepper. Black pepper… They’d told him that it would keep him going for miles… So he’d walked all night, and the day before, and the day before that. According to the map he’d already gone for nearly seventy miles, through woods, cañons and swamps. And the bag, the awful bag, some forty kilos of spare clothes and gear…

He also knew he would soon have to kill. Anything. To eat. For in front was the valley, and then he would have to go up, to climb. Now was morning, it would take him some twelve hours or more to reach the hills. He would have to rest, just long enough. Perhaps this was when he would get ambushed. No paintball then, no Sir. Just knives.

He thought back, his school friends, the barracks, at the time he thought it would be a good idea, to become a tough guy: he had choices, but, really, he wasn’t made for this.

Small #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

 

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Emulating Kafka, on the shore, I watch the waves, and wonder.

Is time a mere oscillation of the sea?

Is Gaia alive only for as long as the waves roll in?

This water world, will it dry out, like Arrakis?

Who are the Fremen of this world? 

I do not know.

I am so small.

Transition #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

transition

 

I know, you’re hesitating. For good reasons. It looks familiar, the small neat garden, the lavender, the path that leads to the ancient door… Yet, there is something different, or has something changed? You look at the old stones, at the bench, yes the bench, where you used to sit, next to him, waiting for nightfall. Someone still looks after the garden, and it’s not him.

If he were still there, he would be in front of you, welcoming you, welcoming you back. Or would he? After all, much time has passed, much has happened. You haven’t counted the years, of course not. You just know something has changed.

But, perhaps, it’s you? If he were there, at the gate, would you still see him? Would you acknowledge him? Now, look: you’re staying in the shadow, why? You know this place, you were once happy here, weren’t you?

Ha, I see… yes, I understand why you hesitate. You know why he’s not here. You know full well. And now, I am afraid. I am beginning to understand who you really are. Are you inviting me to sit, on the bench, waiting for nightfall? Are you moving me back, to where you were, to where he was… to where I am now?

 

 

Wicker #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

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Silent, we wait. Sooner or later you will come round. They all do. And our patience knows no bounds. You will come our way, and find us. Whether you recognise us or not, we don’t care. We will draw no pleasure from your destruction. It is your fate, and it is ours.

We are mere facilitators. We undo knots. We clear the way. We remove the pieces that don’t fit. And you and your kind certainly no longer fit.

Between absence and presence

A reading of Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

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This is Mr Murakami’s latest work, published in Japan in 2017, and translated by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen (I guess: a tour de force). First of all, I must say that, in my view, this is Mr Murakami’s most accomplished work thus far, a fascinating, troubling and at time challenging novel. To be sure, long haul readers will find there a familiar atmosphere, but also the unknown. I will not spoil anything, but mention some ideas and metaphors.

There is a young artist, a portrait painter, and his beautiful, estranged wife. There is a, now dead, beloved little sister. There is  a lone timber house, high up in the mountains, which belongs to a famous old painter. There is an owl in the attic. Across the valley, there is a big, strange house, with a stranger owner.

The young artist teaches drawing at a local school. He lives on his own, in the timber house, with the owl in the attic, visits the attic, walks in the woods. Behind a little shrine he discovers a pit, the pit in the woods. There is the start of the quest, with a surprising painting, and a bell.

There is Vienna, at the time of the Anschluss, there is the war in China, but this is the past, with deep consequences for the present. The old painter is famous for his classical formal Japanese paintings, but this one painting…

The novel oscillates between dream and an even more unfathomable reality. There is a lovely, pubescent young girl, her beautiful aunt, and two portraits, or is it three?

Once started this, as with all of Mr Murakami’s work, the book becomes desperately addictive: one dreads the prospect of finishing the book.

Yet the quest has to be completed, through sacrifice and ordeal.

I must add a warning: if readers wish to cross the river, between absence and presence, they must pay the ferryman. So, have your penguin ready!

That’s about the size of it.

Image: der Zeichner (the young draughtsman) by Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin)

Rooted #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

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“We have been here before today, haven’t we?” The question was directed to me, yet I wondered who the “we” included. I guessed perhaps not me, or not just me. For I never was here, on my own or alone with her, but it might have been in a group, in the days “we” were travelling as a bunch of “tree-huggers”, as my son put it once.

Indeed I love trees, and cannot conceive life without them nearby. Trees are sensitive beings, they have their language, their signs, they love, suffer, and die, or rather they are killed. Like us.

I could not recall having been here with the lady, but it did not seem to bother her anyway. We talked about the strange way those trees seem to want to move higher, above the ground, to reach up, maybe for something we could not see. Their roots appear to be gliding, a little off the soil, still keeping contact, as if preparing to float. I had  a vision of this part of the forest, resting on clouds, slowly moving, pushed by the wind…

“That would be something to see!” My companion must have had similar thoughts. Tolkien had written about slow moving trees. I looked again at the intricate pattern of roots, then at the magnificent crown of the trees.

We looked at each other, there was still time to explore deeper into those woods. I knew we were close to where fairies, and maybe even ancient dwarves, lived.

 

Monochrome #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

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“This is where he lives, I am sure of that…” she said in a low voice as they observed the silent house from afar. The front grass was freshly cut, and although it was already dusk, no light was to be seen through the windows.

“There are lots of them there, in the deep cellars, but we won’t see any until it is much darker.” They looked at the sky and the dark clouds accumulating above the property.

“How old do you think this place is?” he asked finally. Their presence was the outcome of a long search. The origin of the house, the people who had built it, how it was finally acquired by the Count, the whole history was shrouded in mystery.

“It goes back at least to Tudor times,” she replied, “although there is disagreement about the exact dates. The Count’s ancestors had something to do with silver mines in South America, and we know that today he is rumoured to be the CEO of a secretive private equity firm…”

“Now is the time. Whoever commissioned us must have good reasons. They knew this sort of operation don’t come cheap.” They smiled.

Calmly, methodically, they pulled out the Uzis from their sheaves, loaded the guns and undid the security, then they started walking toward the building. Their instructions were simple: there had to be no survivors.

Decisions #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

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We are at the crossroad, there is no way back, we have to chose: darkness, or greed, or the Truth. If we chose the Truth we will have to fight. If we chose darkness we will be, finally, hunted down like rats – and we’ll deserve it. If we chose greed, we will be billions. And we will die, miserable putrefying ruins, in the middle of our riches.

So, Truth it will be. Then, along this most arduous of all paths, we will have to fight, against darkness, and against greed. The Archangel will guide us. For this fight began long ago.

But for Truth to triumph, over darkness and greed, we will have to sacrifice ourselves, like Him.

Threshold #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

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There, long ago, when we had space, and the air was pure, there we lived: us, the whole tribe, the children, the very old, the wise and the fools. At night we were safe, the sea protected us. We had many friends, and few enemies. We were poor, and strong.

The cave was our home, where we lived, loved, and died. The world wasn’t ours, but we knew our place, and this place was here, on the threshold. Far beyond was eternity.