with the eyes of a child.

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“Inside a train there was an old man sitting near the window together with his 24 year old son.
The son looking out towards the window shouted: ” DAD, look! the trees are going behind!”
His dad smiled and a young couple looked at the 24 year old guy behaving childishly with pity.
Suddenly he again claimed : “DAD look! the clouds are running with us!”
The couple couldn’t resist and said to the old man, “Why don’t you take your son to a doctor?”
The old man smiled and said, “We’ve been there already. My son was blind from birth; he just got his eyes today.””

(Such a lovely story gleaned from a friends FB post (sorry didn’t give the source). It reminded me of my first call to teach, the discovery of sharing the wonder and excitement of a child on discovering the world – may we never lose that vision!)

Britania

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The bow breaks the waves as a vessel of ancient oak clefts the breakers for one last voyage of adventure and discovery. As winds of adversity blow away the cobwebs, she leans into the breeze seeking far flung shores of trade and commerce. Breaking with convention she sails, not knowing what strange waters she will encounter, what storms endure.
Folks look on in speculation. Why not stay in port, rust away in safety, secure in harbour? Yet she sets her face to the sea choosing to venture forth in strange uncharted waters, perversely seeking her own destiny, a heart of oak craving the freedom of the open sea even at great peril, for this has always been her role, she cannot depart from it.
They do not understand her heart, the call of the gulls the heady scent of freedom on the breeze. Will the strong old beams withstand the voyage or are they rotted away with corruption and greed. Who can say?
Her crew, long at anchor, scramble to hoist the rigging, to catch the prevailing breeze, startled by this sudden about face. Confusion on deck as the ship itself seizes the opportunity to cast off the chains of her anchor and set sail one more time for parts unknown.

“Learn something new every day. If you don’t, that’s a wasted day and life is too short for a string of wasted days.”

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There is so much in this wonderful world to learn about, new skills, new perspectives, new ideas, new places, new cultures, amazing creatures and phenomena,  old wisdom, new technology, even more exciting everyone has something they can teach you! Become as a child and absorb it all like a sponge!

The Package.

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from August 2014

Song Bird Songs

parcel

(The beautiful true story of an “old flame”.)
It was an ordinary 1963 day when it arrived, a bulky parcel wrapped in mundane, brown paper and string. He turned it over examining the post mark, Germany? His girlfriend looked up from her hot, buttered toast.
“Aren’t you going to open it?”
Hesitantly he pulled off the stiff paper. Inside the mystery continued – bundles of letters? He sat down an odd prickling sensation at the nape of his neck. Though intensely curious she left him alone. Whatever it was he needed space…
They’d met at a jumble sale, impoverished students looking for bargains, an unpretentious place to start a love affair. The art and music departments of their college, with their counter affiliations of rebellion and conformity, didn’t mix, but he was different. He’d introduced her to the world of classical music, charming her with the haunting notes of his…

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A Guiding Light.

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from August 2014

Song Bird Songs

stars

(Sci-fi flash fiction)

It shone, a light in the darkness, the guiding star. All around blackness consumed them as their vessel spun in the endless spirals of the vortex. All eyes focused on the tiny glimmer of light as they reeled to and fro caught up in the stream of space flow.
Sheana grasped the manual control bar positioned around her seat like a massive gyroscope. It was up to her. She must stay focused, her entire being caught up in the struggle. The far off star marked their exit point, loose sight of it and they were lost.
All around hung silence deep as the grave prepared before them. Enemy ships had driven them to this desperate ploy, no escape, no option but to go down fighting. The commander, fought his inner battles. It had been his decision. Surrender meant enslavement, better to take their chances. It had never…

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Assumptions.

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Song Bird Songs

(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…

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The Package.

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parcel

(The beautiful true story of an “old flame”.)
It was an ordinary 1963 day when it arrived, a bulky parcel wrapped in mundane, brown paper and string. He turned it over examining the post mark, Germany? His girlfriend looked up from her hot, buttered toast.
“Aren’t you going to open it?”
Hesitantly he pulled off the stiff paper. Inside the mystery continued – bundles of letters? He sat down an odd prickling sensation at the nape of his neck. Though intensely curious she left him alone. Whatever it was he needed space…
They’d met at a jumble sale, impoverished students looking for bargains, an unpretentious place to start a love affair. The art and music departments of their college, with their counter affiliations of rebellion and conformity, didn’t mix, but he was different. He’d introduced her to the world of classical music, charming her with the haunting notes of his flute. She’d introduced him to more earthy pleasures and beats.
From a rich and privileged background he’d long been at odds with his overbearing, violent father, finally running away, to work many years as a gardener, letting fresh air, hard work and greenery cleanse him of the past. Now he was free to follow his passion – music.
She watched as he scanned page after page, tears beginning to seep down his cheeks. Moving quietly behind his chair she linked her arms around his neck, laying her face along side his.
“What is it?” she asked. “Is something wrong?”
“I was always afraid I’d turn out like … like him,” he stammered, the long withheld confession wrenching forth. She knew who he meant.
“But he’s not my father. My mother married him because she was pregnant … and scared. The letters are from my father… My real father…” He passed a tear stained page for her to examine.
“He kept a copy of every one he sent, begging her to come to Germany. He wanted me, and he wanted to marry her, but he’d been a prisoner of war. Germany was in chaos, his mother living on the street. He had nothing to offer her and she was afraid, afraid to leave her privileged life and live in the home of her countries enemies, above all afraid to face poverty.”
“He’s successful now,” he continued. “He owns a photography business, married and has two daughters. He kept the letters till I was twenty five, the age he was when he met my mother. Now I’m a man, he felt I could handle the truth. He wants us to come to Germany; he’ll even help us settle there if we want…
A few weeks later they found themselves in a big, friendly old house, hand built of oak and stone, secure and comfy as its occupants. The two little girls looked hesitantly at their new brother as their mother enfolded him in apple arms of welcome.
The father? He was all that a father should be, as they say, like father like son.

Infinity.

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sea sunset

She stepped into the surf, skirts gripping her legs in a fatal embrace like the problems that overwhelmed her. They say drowning is one of the easier ways and this way no one need know. They’d put it down to youthful recklessness, ignorance of the underlying rip tides.
Stepping deeper she looked out over the endless ocean, the waves beating timeless rhythms against her chest. Death embraced her in its folds encompassing her in comforting swells. The sun was setting, like her life. She paused to take in the blood red of its reflection as it painted bands of pink on a cerulean sky.
It had a beauty all its own. Troubles and torments melted away as she stood face to face with infinity. What lay beyond? She knew the landscape. Beyond the rolling Pacific waves lay tiny islands of hope and a whole unexplored continent, the mysteries of the Orient, but what of that other ocean she was about to cross, what lay there? Doubt seized her for a moment.
There was no hurry, she told herself. She had all the time in the universe. How strange a concept that seemed in her turgid, frantic life. She took in the flickering lights dancing on the waves, rested in the infinite blue of sky and sea. Laying back in the waves she yielded to their gentle rocking like a child in mother’s arms as the waters cleansed and relaxed her. She felt oddly at peace, tranquil, at one with the ocean.
Tentatively she reached down hesitant toes; the earth was still there beneath her. She realized, she did not want to die leaving this world of wonder unexplored. Some things she wanted to end, the endless cycle of the rat race, the fruitless love affair that left her stained and dirty, but not life. She had yet to embrace life. With heart beating she stood among the waves letting them wash away the past, taking in their gentle power, their persistence, she yielded to a new perspective. The sea had healed her.

My Secret Garden.

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cactus

It was a rickety old stair case that led to my secret place far above the towering apartment buildings of our compound in southern China. The rusting metal framework with it’s shrouding of bamboo cutting off access had been beckoning me since my arrival.
Finally curiosity overcame my fears (no one would know, everyone was out). Grabbing a chair and with my mobile in my pocket (just incase) I climbed precariously. My legs barely able to straddle the bamboo scaffolding I grasped the iron rail and pulled myself over. Anxiety gripped me; would it still take my weight? Then I clambered upward.
What a sight met my eyes. Alone, neglected, a “garden” had bloomed. Some long gone owner had once stored things there (for there was no order) then, closing off the stairs, it had been abandoned forever – that is till I came. Towering cactus had bloomed from soil brought by wind and pollution. Small trees grew from spilt soil and stacked grow bags, their roots reaching across the brick and concrete floor in search of sustenance. Huge glazed pots of earth embossed with flowers and dragons, once empty, now housed small trees, and olivera plants.
It was dangerous of course; no rail or wall to speak of enclosed this dizzy rooftop. It was no safe or pretty garden such as I could see on some of the neighboring towers it overlooked, but I loved it all the more for that.
The view was staggering! If I climbed just a little higher onto the concrete section that bridged our domain with three other apartments I could see the river winding it’s way through the suburbs, even further, grey in the distance, I could glimpse the hills.
Birds flew around me, this was their domain also. I was standing in the sky. I watched them dip and soar playing in the freedom of the clouds. I sat on the platform of the steps as a deep peace enclosed me. This would be my special place, my secret garden.
Yes! My eyes were drawn to a water tap. The old plastic hosing leaked a little but it would suffice, soon with a little care the trees would blossom!

Things I’d have Missed.

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rainchild

I sat down at my laptop  this morning planning my day in usual manner (I’m an organisational type) when a whimsical urge led me to turn my schedule upside down, postpone breakfast, and start my day with an early morning walk to my allotment to get the lettuce I needed. It was raining – sensible to go later – but the child in me rebelled.

Setting off in mild drizzle armed with my China umbrella I further rebelled noticing a footpath sign I’d not seen before…

Not only did I get the lettuce, spinage and beetroot as planned but I…

1) Foraged the first wild blackberries along the way.

2) Discovered a beautiful, wooded, short cut to the allotment and supermarket by-passing the busy road so I could hear my music tapes.

3) Explored a cycle track and read its fascinating history (the remnant of a Victorian railway line).

4) Saw a fight between a swan and a goose (short lived on the goose’s part).

5) Smelt a lavender bush in the fresh morning rain.

6) Greeted another early riser, an old man also braving the rain along the walkway.

7) Found a pathway leading from my allotment to the canal loch (with hundreds of undiscovered blackberries.)

8) Treated myself to some fresh cream and rocket to bring out the best in my foraging stuff.

9) Saw what looked like the remains on an old English garden with lupins and hollyhocks etc. growing wild in the woods.

10) Saw Morris dancers (in full costume) practicing in a shed.

But beyond all these there was something more important. I reveled in freedom. I had not realised I was shackled by my routines, hampered by my organising. Seeking to be efficient I was forgetting to enjoy the moments. Something of the child came out to play and we had fun together!