Beginnings #writephoto

Beginnings

dawn

 

He knew where they had met, but he was less certain of when that was. He remembered the small town, and the woods, above all the woods, where they walked, kissed, watched the sun rise, the freezing dawns, enlaced, forever at one, with each other, and with the trees.

She was the one, and those were their beginnings. They watched the sun set, the skies on fire. Her grey eyes reflected the light. He had felt so strong then. He was, so they called him. She watched him go, such a breakup in her heart…

Now, after all the death, the sand, the blood, he was back. Alone, at the end, a fallen hero.

 

Valley #writephoto

Valley

mist-at-sunrise

 

Soon all will be shrouded in darkness, or is her sense of light and shadow, of day and night now irremediably confused? After so long in space this would not be surprising, and what did they say on the training range? “When you’re landed, don’t expect to adjust without pain!” Slowly, the navigator removes the oxygen mask, then her helmet. Her long red hair is still held back, before she can relax she will have to wait and feel how she bears gravity on this planet. Her suit’s instruments said that the atmosphere was breathable. Perhaps the radioactivity level is on the high side for a planet with so few people around…

At least that is what her briefing said. She looks at the star sinking into the luminous clouds, on the horizon. “Earth sunsets can be stunning,” said the brief, “their atmosphere is saturated with thin particles of dust. It is not known if this is the result of volcanic eruptions, or of a human-made disaster, which may also explain the sparsely inhabited continents…”

Arch #writephoto

Arch

arch

 

For centuries the great abbaye had stood, in its majesty and glory, in the peaceful landscape. It was then a centre of faith and science, where wise men worked, and kept the flame of civilisation burning. They were frugal, up in the frosty mornings before dawn, ploughing the fields and teaching the children; their chants filled the vales and forests, rising to the sky.

Then the heretics had come, plundering, burning, torturing the faithful. A dark veil had fallen on the earth, the Dark Lord’s reign had begun.

But today, in the faint light of dawn, I can hear the monks’s voices, the soft footsteps of their sandals. I sense their presence, their curiosity, even, about this strange creature, this human being who survived the fall. Their anthem is but a light breeze through the icy air.

The arch stands, witness to a millennium of folly. And there, on the cold stones, I kneel, praying to the true God, in submission and piety, the last, shivering survivor of the war, that ended the evil empire.

Dedicated to the builders of the great abbayes of Yorkshire, and their defenders.

Between #writephoto

Between

between

 

It was a wonderful day, walking along the ancient path, through the beloved hills. Closer to the village, a helpful farmer had left the way clear, in the middle of the fields of colza. The scent of the crop was strong in the cool air. They stopped, looking at each other.

“We will remember this instant of peace,” she said slowly, “when winter is back, and the ground is frozen…”

He smiled, and took her hand. “Not that long ago, I remember climbing that hill in the snow… And it must have been with you!” They laughed.

Sanctuary #writephoto

Sanctuary

sanctuary

 

“This is exactly how I remembered the mausoleum,” she told him, as they crossed the immaculate lawn. “The trees are a lot taller… so many years have passed since our parents used to come here with us kids…”

“I no longer know whose statue it is,” replied her brother, “I just know we liked running around it, pretending that above the steps we were safe from the monsters, down in the woods!”

“You can see, the park is a lot smaller than in our memories! Then, we imagined all sorts of creatures living in the deep jungle, beyond our sanctuary…”

“… And now, now we know that there is no amazing creature, just us, and the birds, perhaps even a few squirrels!”

They smiled at each other, a very old couple revisiting their childhood.

 

Crow #writephoto

Crow

crow

 

We have known each other for a long time. In the garden of the small house, some distance from here, she used to perch in the old tree, just in the corner, and was able to follow my progress in the morning, making coffee, in the kitchen. Often the Crow and I looked at each other, appreciating each other’s company, and the morning peace.

When we moved here she gave me a recommendation for her jackdaw cousins (large birds with streaks of white on their bellies), who inhabit this neighbourhood, and, to tell the truth, most of the city’s parks and streets.

I think she has a beneficial influence on us, and I have concluded she’s in fact a guardian angel. Her speech is always to the point, sober, if not melodious. I trust her judgement, and whenever she’s unhappy, so am I.

In the little garden we had hilarious moments, for example when she, and her sisters, kept a watch on the local heron… For she’s a good fighter, she looks after her partner and family, and don’t bother her neighbours.

I wish all humans were like her.

DSC_0006

 

Photo: the Crow and the Heron © Honoré Dupuis, 2012

Window #writephoto

Window

winter-rose

 

The house is still there, and the roses. How happy we were then, how beautiful was our life, the sun was shining everyday…

This is what I want to remember, now, after all those years. Of course, I’d like to travel back, to erase what went on, to start again. I want to see your face, your smile, your invitation, at the little window. I want to be that other me, the good and wise one, which I became, finally, but then, still young, still loved by you.

But years have passed. I am wise, and old, soon I’ll be gone.

Alone, the house will stand, children will look out of the window, to a fresh morning, inhaling the perfume of red roses.

Thaw #writephoto

Thaw

thaw

 

He remembered: in his youth, this landscape would have been covered with snow, frozen, for several weeks, even, on a colder year, for months. Now, the thaw had come before Christmas. They’d had two snow storms, and, perhaps, it would be all for the winter…

But he knew. Despite all the speeches, the pledges, the politicians’ grand gestures, nothing really had changed. Nature, the Earth, would wait. It had happened before, long ago, before the great flood. It would happen again.

The old man resumed his walk. The late December sun rays were warm on his skin.

Mists #writephoto

Mists

fog

 

The ground was frozen, and as he looked up at the pale disc of their star, recognising the landscape in the mists, inhaling the air, he remembered the desert, the infinite sand, the temples in the dunes. He was back. After all these years. Who would recognise him now? He had been a young man then, almost a boy still, who liked to play in those fields, who enjoyed feeling his growing strength, his supple body… He remembered their departure, the colours of the flags, the hymns, the long line of young men, just like him. He remembered her face, the laughter, the cries, the prayers – the wind in her hair.

He remembered the sand, rivers of blood flowing in the sand, the scorching heat of the day, the frozen nights… So many dreams scattered to the desert winds. Now, he was alone, perhaps the only one to have come back.

But who was left who would recognise this ghost, lost in the mists?

 

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