Imagination #writephoto

Imagination

art

 

“It’s a puzzle,” I said as we looked up the victorian wall. “There was something there, before, and the artist…” But I realised my companion was not listening, rather he was looking closely at the colours, and delicately taking small samples of the paint he carefully saved in an envelop. “I wish I could take a picture…” Holmes said finally. “I am sure this has been copied from somewhere.”

Later, at no 221B, as we lit our pipes after dinner, Holmes suddenly declared:

“You were right, Watson, it’s an allegory, and of course you have recognised the pavots, your “artist” is a drug dealer, who advertises his ware locally, and the allegory is about the Nirvana of the opium smoker…”

I sat back, and reflected.

Honour #writephoto

Honour

knight

 

The small crypt was still in darkness  as we approached, on that frozen morning of January.  Every year, on the same day, we gather here, on this desolate hill.

As usual, we were silent, as all of us know the place, the rite, the reasons. Besides, had we anything to say we would have done it, without words.

This year, we noticed the trace. Footsteps, in the fresh snow. Our horses noticed also the scent. The scent of a woman. We are rarely surprised by anything. But we were… intrigued.

We dismounted and followed the small path. A crow, perhaps too young to know, or remember, took fright and disappeared in the deep forest.

Our leader gave the sign. In our minds the words of the litany formed:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer…”

Our leader pushed the door open. In ranked order we entered the crypt.

“Fear is the little death…”

As we knelt on the ancient slabs, around our lord and liege, we saw the rose, and the message.

“And when it has gone past me, I will turn to see fear’s path…”

She was here, not that long before us.

The witch, she remembered. Her scent…

“Where the fear has gone there will be nothing…”

Our leader stood up, then we followed him, and drew our swords.

We let our blades rest on the stone, a faint ray of light illuminated the rose.

Our leader bowed. We left the crypt, one by one, leaving him alone with his brother.

Outside, we, wraith knights, waited.

The snow fell.

We prayed.

Every year, on the same day, we gather here, on this desolate hill, since our lord passed away, and we brought his body here, all the way back from the Holy Land.

“Only I will remain.” 

 

 

Renewal #writephoto

Renewal

morn-005

 

“Is there any other way?”

The voice is a little anxious, searching, maybe expecting a compromise. But there is no other way.

“To be reborn means leaving behind all that was, to give up the old life, to forget.”

“Forget everything, even the good things?”

“Even the good things: renewal is a new start, the dead leaves are left behind, returned to dust.”

“But how do I know…”

“You cannot know, you won’t know before you really start, your new life.”

“Can I go back then?”

I have to smile. You see all sorts in this job!

Setting, a Christmas tale #writephoto

Setting

silhouette

 

It was the time in the evening, when, wherever I may be, whatever the season, I love to wander: when Sol prepares to set, that is when our small globe turns his face away from the star. This was perfect. When you reach my age, a clear sky at dusk, a small cloud lit by the dying rays of the sun, those clichés suffice to make one happy, at peace.

The megaliths stood silent in darkness. I was close to one and started walking slowly around it. Bless this world, I thought, men have walked this ground for tens of millennia, already, four thousand years back, they knew much about Sol, the stars, Space, and the Moon… A tall shape was facing me, but I could not decipher if it was human or… With my stature I am rarely surprised, and most potential aggressors are deterred, but it was human, or, of human shape; as he turned his head toward me, pushing back his hood, I saw a young man, so much like many others, long hair and a short beard, a beautiful, luminous face. He smiled – oh that smile… – and talked. I thought I recognised the smile, I had seen it so often, on those ancient paintings, but I was disconcerted by the tongue he used. At first I could not understand, but I knew. The young man smiled again, walking slowly away, back to the shadows. I knew: it was Aramaic, and then I understood, the words of reassurance, the angel’s smile. His hand was on my shoulder, so strong, so warm, He wished me a happy Sabbath, I was drinking His words.

When you reach my age, you may expect miracles, but mostly, they don’t happen. I fell on my knees, words failing me, He laughed, and glided away. Petrified, I kissed the ground where He’d had His bare feet a second earlier…

“Are you alright Sir?” The young ranger was shaking my shoulder. I had not moved, and it was now pitch dark. “These hills can be dangerous at night, Sir”, said the ranger, who probably meant to add “for an old man like you…” I stood up, thanked him. “No worries, I have a wise guardian angel!” I said smiling, picked up my bag, and started walking toward the hills.

His smile was lighting my path.

Beneath #writephoto

Beneath

P1020805

 

The ancient oak ponders unfathomable tales; near the bank, the shallow water reflects the evening sky. A little further the small stones shine, enticing: come to us, stranger, we are worth more than gold… Soon the sun will sink, behind the hills. You observe, immobile, waiting. Your steed, warped in your Lord’s colours, is as still as you. Silent dwarves guard your precious luggage. This is your land, and the lake is where lived  the mage, he who knew how to read your future.

Onward #writephoto

Onward

p1460213-2

 

We stop at the top of the small hill, and look down at the road meandering away from us. The bikes lie on the short grass, next to tall poles that remind us that, here, the snow can erase everything, and level the landscape, but we are too early for it. The air is cold, the pale rays of the winter sun lit the distant crags. Soon the night will fall. We set the tent not far from here, and lit a fire. Tomorrow is another day.

Our hidden secret #writephoto

Hidden

p1300846

 

The small stream is known to local children, and to the occasional wanderers. For us, I know, it has meaning, one of the places where our spirits shall meet, and remember the past. We once ran over those rocks, splashing each other, in the bright light of Spring. Then, we were happy, we were young, and little did we know about the fate that awaited us. I recall your blond hair, flying in the wind, your little blue dress, your bare feet that seemed to fly over the water.

I remember the day I left, for those far away shores, I remember the sand in the desert, death at every step. I – or rather the poor ghost I became – remember the day I died, alone in a narrow street, in a faraway alien city. I remember not finding you, anywhere, until I visited the small churchyard, not too far from our stream. And now, every Spring, I come here and wait for you. I have time, I have all eternity. I know you will not remain hidden forever.

Dedicated to those who left, and never came back.

Shadows #writephoto

Shadows

 

“I am not sure where to start,” said the old man, looking at me with a smile. “This is an ancient site, and it’s full of memories… of shadows too…” I was intrigued, but waited for him to continue. “A great poet once lived here, and also, later, people I don’t really want to say much about.”

From the edge of the little cave we could see the shadows moving fast across the dry ground. “There are several layers of old masonry below us, but this was never excavated other than just below the surface. You see, the present owners know: there are remains there that are best left, deep, undisturbed, forgotten…”

We moved out in the open, there was no-one around. Finally I asked: “But you are from here, I understand you are the best informed of our local historians here. This place is often visited, and photographed. What shadows are you talking about?”

There was a pause. “I will tell you, but not here. This place is haunted, and they can hear us. We must respect the past, whatever it was, and it is best to discuss these things away from them.”

 

By the riverside #writephoto

Calm

autumn-018-2

 

We walk hand in hand in the peace of the morning. The river flows and reminds us of times past. We haven’t forgotten, but we have forgiven. For us, forgiveness has long been our way to give thanks. After all, the monsters are dead and we are alive, at least alive enough to admire the blue sky reflected in the calm water.