How old is your heart?

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When I first began to teach I rediscovered wonder through a child’s eyes. How immense is the ocean, how fascinating the tiny insect in the grass, how soft a rose petal, how all invading the smell of lavender. God help me as a teacher, mother (grandmother) and inner child never to lose that wonder, and when death calls my name to proceed in intense curiosity, excited by the prospect of new worlds to explore.

The Prisoner.

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from September 2014

Song Bird Songs

moon3

Skinned knuckles clasped the iron bars of his cage, beast like, haggard, grey. His clothes, once immaculate, hung in tatters, stubble and dirt lined his face. He gazed at the moon, pale, imperial, untouched by the hate and anger around him. Serene it floated on high, unsullied, eternal. Against all reason hope stirred in his chest.
Like wolves, eager to feast on his bones, his captors snarled, a rifle butt descending towards bruised fingers. He moved back, back into his isolation, into the darkness, but he had seen the light of the sun reflected in the night sky. He cherished the image of purity in his heart.

Once there had been love and life. Somewhere this moon shone on them still secure and safe in their beds. They would be praying for him of that he was sure; agnostic though he was the thought somehow comforted his heart. At daybreak…

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Alone.

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(From September 2014)

Song Bird Songs

miner

Darkness enshrouded him. Gasping for breath he looked around seeing little in the enshrouding dust of the cave in. The glimmering light on his helmet did little to reassure, catching glimpses of crushed bodies, rock, smashed timbers, and pervading dust.
Heart pounding, he tentatively flexed each limb. Pain throbbed through one leg where a soft oozing spoke of blood, his arms ached but not past moving. He stumbled to his feet seeking a path out, his head spinning as the tiny circle of light focused again and again, scanning the rock where the tunnel had been. He was walled in!
“Don’t panic man! Don’t panic!” he told himself as his pulse raced, and mind swirled.
“There’ll be a rescue party. They’ll dig us out…” Grimly he checked the bodies, some mere hands protruding oddly from the debris, some half buried in reddened rock. He alone was spared, his “five minute…

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A Strange Physician.

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(from September 2014)

Song Bird Songs

oak tree

Leaves rustled in the early morning breeze, the trees seemed to quiver at her approach as if in sympathy. She had to go, come to her special place, the place she felt the comfort of eons.
Sitting beneath the old oak that had sheltered her as a child she let go, face in hands, sobs rending the silent stillness. When she could no longer hold on to her smile, when she felt the pressure build to an unbearable pitch she came here.
John was slowly wasting away and there was nothing they could do to stop it. His giant frame that had once carried her across the threshold was now worn and shriveled like a deceased nut in its skeletal shell, skin stretched over bone in lurid relief, a travesty of her man.

She had to smile for him, had to go on loving till her heart tore in tiny…

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Grains of Sand. (flash fiction)

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rocky

Slamming on the brakes Dee pulled into the curb. Scrambling down the rocky incline she breathed hard, her starved lungs seizing ravenously on the fresh salty air. Wrestling off her stilettoes toes wriggled luxuriously in soft cool sand. Before her stood the ocean, as vast and all-encompassing as it had ever been. Eyes long encased by concrete décor feasted on space, on blue and emerald… At last here she was alone with the ocean. It hadn’t changed.

Sitting on a rock she thrilled to the cold shock of the waves around her ankles, giggling like a school girl. She cared nothing for the salt spray staining her Dior skirt – she was free! It was all behind her now, the career, the smashed relationship, even the arrogant brats she’d mothered for so long, even them for this moment. Perhaps later she’d bring them here, perhaps they’d understand … perhaps… They’d never been hers, not really, no more than Phil had been hers, she’d been merely one in a progression of stepmothers, to be used and discarded. Gazing down at the diamond studied wedding band on her finger she wrenched it off watching with grim satisfaction as it plummeted beneath the tide.

She could have sold it reason argued. No. She wanted nothing from him, nothing. It was over. She was free! Removing the scarlet headscarf she tossed her remaining curls in the brisk ocean air. They were thin now; the radiation had decimated her beauty but not her spirit. Whatever time she had left she’d spend it here beside the ocean reliving her childhood dreams. A single tear escaped. No she would not weep, not any more. She’d instead relish every moment. She’d hire a companion, there was money of her own enough for that … perhaps an old friend… they’d walk the beach together and dream and reminisce till the last grains of sand trickled from the glass…

One Day I’ll go Home.

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(from August 2014

Song Bird Songs

Woman jogging on a stormy day

One day I’ll go home. Not yet awhile, but one day. I wont need to pace myself any more. The marathon will end, tasks completed no need to recover the ground. The race has been long, beginning in waves of glory, bright ribbons and songs, now the road stretches before me long and empty, as muscles tire and heart pounds in empathy. Few spectators line the path and those that once ran beside me are extended, a long line before and behind. Resolutely I set one foot before the other, keeping the rhythm, the momentum going. The youthful exuberance has faded, the shouts left behind.
Yet I see the marvels of the earth about me as my feet pace out the time, the sights, the sounds, the wonders. The finish line beckons drawing me on, the foot prints of those that went before me. Their faces wait in expectancy. As…

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In the presence of God (short story inspired by a dream)

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floating

In the presence of God I lingered unable to tear away, drawn like a magnet to the light. Yet questions remained, permeating our relationship.

It was enough that I was here I told myself, the suffering was over, I was free at last, no more pain, chemo, or disappointments, but what of Alex, the atheist, my friend? He’d been a good man, one of the best; he’d just been hurt too much. Life had not been kind to Alex. His bed across the ward had been empty for a week, now mine was empty.

Love enwrapped me.

“You want to know?” the presence asked. I inclined my head squirming within, who was I to question?

“You loved him.” The presence beamed, “I did too, I love them all. You wonder if I sent him to hell?” My stomach churned, but I nodded, there was no hiding.

“I do not judge as man judges, even in death there is choice.” My head jerked in shock.

“But how?”

“The state of their heart, the good or evil within draws them. Those that love me fly to My arms as you did, they revel in My love and presence.”

“But what about those that never even heard, that lived their lives in darkness?” The question escaped, Alex’s question, I couldn’t withhold it.

“I made a place for them.”

I saw a cavern deep in the earth, womb like, warm and comforting, pervaded with a soft red glow, where many slept curled in fetal position.

“I spent three days and nights in the bowels of the earth, and My presence remains for these.” The voice pervaded my vision. “It’s paradise. Not heaven, but a reflection of it. They walk in dreams, in healing. These never saw the light, not so much as a glimmer, – My presence would overwhelm them.”

“They lie here cuddled together father and mother, wife and child, families of ancient lands. I’d never cast them out, though they have worshiped strange idols. They are borne here to this soft, warm, womb where together they dream. This is not Hell or Hades, I wouldn’t send these ones there, but they’re not ready for heaven, not even the river, so they rest here awaiting My coming, bound in the depths of the earth, but not in a bad place. In their dreams the light intrudes, they remember forests of bamboo, hills, and mountains, flowers and trees. Through nature I gently lead them from the darkness.”

Music plays, soft, serene like the sounds of nature, lulling them in pleasant sleep.

“When they awake it will seem they slept a short time, but millennium shall have passed. The human mind is a fragile thing. They need to shed the cloaks of darkness, the fear, till one day I can lead them into the light and this time will feel but a dream for them.”

“Even the fires of hell are cleansing. It depends on the depth the sin has reached – fire cleanses all. My coming can be all these things, the touch of My spirit to those drenched in evil it is as a consuming fire, to those in darkness a comforting womb of earth that shelters and protects. To some a cleansing flow of water and to those fortunate enough to have come to Me the wind of freedom and desire. It’s all love, My love for My creation. Sometimes My presence can cause pain as with those drenched in evil, but I love them also and will not abandon them. I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m not some callous God watching over an experiment.

They choose where they go. Some run to the light, others shade their eyes and some, yes some, are consumed by it, like one who, drenched in gasoline, comes in contact with a flame, the flame of truth, and it burns and consumes them. But even for these there is hope, redemption. I would that none perish.”

I stood in awe overwhelmed by the love of God. I saw it now. It is not God that separates Himself from us, but we from him. Alex was forgotten in my thirst to understand.

“You spoke of water, a river?” God smiled and Heaven glowed.

“You wish to see it? Your heart may tarry there a while…”

An angel came, summoned by His hand, raw power and love emanating from its countenance. The angelic being took my hand and we were transported to a rivers edge, pale, translucent water gleaming with light.

“Come.” The angel directed.

As our feet entered the waters things of earth began floating away. Longing to immerse myself I rushed into its embrace finding no need to hold my breath. A soothing melody flowing from the depths enraptured me, but as I opened my eyes in abandon I realized the river was full of floating forms.

Startled I stood up looking questioningly at the angel.

“They sleep,” he explained. “their hurts and pain are slowly washed away. Come.”

We entered in a little more and I saw a body sleeping near the surface, face barely submerged. It was Alex.

“Some plunge within, like lepers seeking cleansing,” the angel  said, “for these it is faster, but he resists, he has yet to enter deeply. You can lie beside him and dream a while with him if you want. It would help him. There are others too…” I understood.

I sank into the gentle waves beside Alex. “Hello old friend,” I said.

Twilight Falls

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from July 2014

Song Bird Songs

sea sunset

Twilight years evoke a response as a cord of music entices the ear and stirs the senses reverberating in the dusky silence. You long to sing but don’t yet know the words or melody, just an echo stirring your heart like a gentle breeze, sweet to the lips. Pause, breathe in its essence, soft, fragrant, defused.

Watch as the sun dips low on the horizon and purple and crimson splash their colours on the sky. Listen for the echoes far off. You’ll not hear the melody till the sun sets and things of life grow dim, but you hear the echoes. Like ripples on the water they come to you from the declining sun, borne on the tide of faith. What sweetness can be found here, standing at the water’s edge as the sun bathes the ocean in scarlet. Its dark red orb sinks ever lower seeking its reflection in…

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A friend “moves on”.

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butterfly

The pain didn’t make her bitter; instead it seemed to kindle a fire within, an almost tangible glow. She’d always been kind and concerned. I recall her compassion when I was once far from home in a desperate situation, she didn’t just talk she did, she was always like that.

Her life, though often touched with joy, had not been easy, she’d had to fight many battles and the last (with cancer) took away her strength. Yet as power ebbed away something more pure filled the vacuum.

I can understand why God called her home, something so beautiful belongs in Heaven, though she’ll be sorely missed here.

ASSUMPTIONS. (From June 2014)

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rainbow light

(Flash fiction on the theme of “other worlds”)

Thomson reached out a roughened hand to touch the tiny pulsating lights scattered across the bridge. They quivered in response as if alive. The structure looked too flimsy to take his weight, should he cross? He felt strangely exhilarated by the scene before him. His  breathing quickened. Had he been right to come? Was this the time for this voyage of discovery? Perhaps he should have stayed with the others.

He took a step, the beams responding in vibration to the pressure of his feet. All nature was interacting with him like some drug induced trance. Another step; it held, not so much supporting him as enduing him with its own ethereal nature.  The light was dazzling obscuring the forms he glimpsed through luminous air.  Dare he go further? He could hear his colleges calling behind him like an echo in the stillness.

“Come back! Stay with us!” they yelled. But he gazed onward transfixed, as feet moved onward drawn by an unknown power, his body becoming ever more buoyant in the strange atmosphere. The voices became more urgent as he edged forward.

“Fight! For God’s sake fight!” they urged. He felt a sudden pain in his chest. For a moment he hesitated, then deliberately continued on, as his ears where captured by a strange and haunting melody. The pain subsided, the voices faded. The beings were coming closer now welcoming him. They were not unlike himself but infinitely more beautiful. Like the lights they pulsated with pure energy. He felt dirty, soiled, his uniform caked in dust and blood. They seemed not to care.

One thrust an arm across his shoulder seeming somehow familiar. Had he been here before? They led him stumbling across the remainder of the bridge as voices were raised in a cacophony of welcome…

“He’s gone!” a lone voice echoed from behind. Thomson turned for a moment.

“It’s OK. They’ll all come later,” the familiar presence said.

*

The medic pulled away. Moving on to the next casualty he brushed his eyes on the blood splattered sleeve of his uniform.

“I’m sorry mate. We were too late, he’d lost too much blood.” He muttered to the soldier bent down at his friend’s side.

“Why did it have to be like this?” he questioned. “Why hadn’t he gotten here faster and where was the dammed ambulance he’d requested. If only he’d had the supplies! No use getting upset,” he told himself, “go on to the other guy.”

“Dam mines!” the soldier swore his eyes flooding.” He was a good chap, deserved better.”