Excerpt from chapter four
Amongst the clusters of drinkers, my attention was, immediately, snagged by a guy near the far wall. He was extremely good looking, with longish, blonde hair and finely cut features and he wore a rose coloured beanie, an unusual colour for a guy. I often judged people’s character on their hats or even lack thereof. His said confident and I wondered how that beanie would look on me.
Suppressing my unease, I entered the garden, got a bloody Mary at the outside bar, and with a forced saunter, headed over near to where he stood talking to another guy. I sipped at my drink straining to feel comfortable standing there on my own.
The two of them were having a conversation about the pros and cons of the available, alternative energy sources. Sipping my drink very slowly, I thought about ways to join their conversation. Soon my glass was empty. I sucked and crunched on the ice, ate the celery and the olives, then looked around at the other people. I kind of wished I smoked. I didn’t want to stand there gawking at everyone, especially not at him or resort to looking at my phone. Although, my old, second-hand phone on display next to all their brand-new iPhones would be funny. I knew Tara would approve that I hadn’t succumbed to the lure of upgrading. This crowd, obviously, did the intruder thing.
Still, I didn’t particularly want to leave. Should I get another drink and come back over to this guy, or just go back to the motel? I looked down into my empty glass and stared at the bottom, far too long, glued into idiocy by my indecision and self-consciousness.
“Looks undeniably empty.” I lifted my head. The guy wearing the rose beanie was staring at me. “Your drink,” he added pointing to my glass. “Here take this.” And he poured some beer out of a pitcher into another glass and handed it to me. “Cheers!”
Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure about him. I didn’t like the way he handed me the beer, almost pushing it into my hand and then immediately clinking firmly against my glass with his. I had no chance to say no to that drink or the toast, he wasn’t allowing for any refusals. The garden wall behind me was practically touching my back, and with him standing right in front of me, that bit taller, I felt closed in.
Soon I realised he wasn’t actually taller than I was. His height was an illusion. An overbearing manner made manifest in a trick of stature. His expression was arrogant, his eyes in a slight scowl, but arrogance tinged with a trembling confidence. Underneath it all I could see his insecurity. He pre-empted any refusals, dominating and directing a situation before someone had time to think. An imperceptible dance between us ensued, a silent accompaniment to our chit chat.
“I’m in my last year at college and come to this bar all the time,” he said inching forwards “but I’ve never seen you here before.”
“Uh, just passing through.” I edged backwards. “Felt like a drink.”
His head leaned subtly towards me. “Where are you from? Is that an Irish accent?”
I tilted my head slightly away from him. “Yep.” With minute movements, I moved my arm inwards until my beer glass was pressed against my chest. “Just here on a short visit.”
He stretched his arm out and put his hand against the wall near to my head. “How long is short?”
Feeling trapped, I babbled out some unnecessary information. “Well, I’m here for a short stay in town and then in the country longer to see, I don’t know, what happens. Just, you know, go with the flow.”
“OK, I’m intrigued,” he leaned closer.
Moving back flat against the wall I looked at him expecting to see victory, but worry had moved into his eyes. He was certainly not used to rejection. The undercurrents were shifting. Enjoying my surge of power, I spotted a cut on his neck and stuck out my finger towards it, lightly grazing his skin.
“Cut yourself shaving?” My tone playfully mean, as if he were a silly little boy playing with big boys’ tools. His hand lifted towards his neck, his fingers hovering over the scratch. He readjusted his scarf.
“No,” The scowl was back.
Abruptly the dynamics shifted, again tipping in his favour. Suddenly, I felt mean. What had happened to him? Maybe he was hiding more injuries. “Sorry” I said, feeling guilty for asking.
“For what?” I could see in his eyes that he was beginning to wonder about me.
I was desperate to change the direction we were heading in. “I just mean, I shouldn’t have asked because it’s personal.”
He rolled his eyes. “It’s just a scratch.?”
“I just thought maybe there was more to the story…”
“What?” He shook his head.
I fumbled forwards. “I mean. It’s none of my business. I mean maybe you’re covering it.”
His eyes now confirmed that I definitely was odd.” He laughed. It was a snotty laugh.
We stared at each other. The moment was racing and expanding simultaneously.
“Never mind,” I blurted out. And I had a sense of satisfaction for ending the conversation.
“You’re big on your mysteries?” he smiled, “Not enough thrills in your life?”
“What?” I snapped.
“I’m just joking chill,” he said.
But it had struck a nerve. My imagination was always bringing me into fantasy. Sometimes I dwelled there for a while finding it more pleasurable than my real life. And wasn’t I here after all chasing a mystery.
“If you must know, a cat scratched me,” he said with a gentler tone.
I laughed, “Oh! Ow.” The tension lifted, but mortification, a familiar feeling, still hovered around me. Often I swung from high to low. Too familiar with being in a position of inferiority, I was easily dragged down.
Behind him a girl approached. Busty, curvy and glossy.
He turned his head and his body followed, his energy now fully retracted from me and beamed at her. The girl flicked a quick look my way as if to say, who the hell is that loser?
I was reminded of my first teen encounters with guys. Once again I was an unwanted clod, foolish to remain but not sure how to go. I just stood there, the feeling like lead in my stomach. Sipping the beer, I allowed myself to go fully into the feeling instead of letting it weigh me down. Slowly a warm kind of peaceful feeling replaced it. Fuck it, I thought, who am I trying to impress? So what if they don’t like me, laugh at me, ignore me. I don’t live here anyway.”
“Hey.” I tapped his shoulder.
He looked back at me surprised. The girl’s surprise quickly shifted to startled and then a subtle three-way dance began. She moved in nearer to him, he turned more towards me and I held my ground, the hub it all revolved around. But I wasn’t nervous. Impartial to the outcome, I had nothing to lose.
“What?” He said to me.
“You want a beer?”
“You want one too?” I asked the girl.
Her eyes narrowed and she shook her head. “Nah, I’m good.”
Up at the bar, I looked back a few times to see her moving in on him, but when I returned, he focused on me and she directed her attention to another guy. I was back to liking him. Though still strangely impartial.
“So, what did you mean by passing through?” he asked.
“I’ve come to visit someone, and well, find someone.”
He raised an eyebrow.
“Never mind,” I said, “it’s complicated.”
“O.K. whatever” Knocking back his beer, he smiled and got us more. The alcohol seemed to be softening his manner and my impartiality about whether he liked me or not wavered with his growing appeal. I wanted to keep his attention.
“Well, actually I’m looking for her.” I took the photo out of my bag, handed it to him and continued, “I have plans to…”
“What?” he said, looking up from the photo. “How did you know?”
My stomach tingled. “Know what?”
“I saw you walk into the bar, you came right this way.”
Not sure how to answer that, I just shook my head.
Eyes wide, he grinned. “This is just fuckin weird, because I’ve met this woman.”
*Keeper of the Flame-Literay-Adult-circa 80.000-Lisa Verdekal-
KotF revolves around the relationship between humans and the natural world, the biggest issue of our time-
Beth’s grandmother called them The Intruders. A band of invaders who, for millennia, continue to destroy the environment. Urged by a dream, Beth resumes an ancestral tradition of communing with nature, and realizes she must confront her destiny.-
This is a story about the environment and humanity’s relationship with it. It is also a love story and an adventure. It is is set in both a contemporary Ireland and the US, although the emphasis is not on Irish or Americans, but humanity at large. The natural environment of both countries is a strong feature in regards to setting.-
Any age really, but primarily 30 to 60- Born and bred in LA, I now live on the west coast of Ireland-https://www.instagram.com/- Masters in Advanced language Skills German-I’ve been published in several on line magazines- I enjoy how a story unfolds, imagination aided by life experience, social, spiritual and political views and the burgeoning autonomy of the characters.*
Go Talk to a Tree
For anyone protesting about the obligatory wearing of masks as a loss of freedom. For those who don’t like being told what to do.
What is your opinion on passports?
Before your last holiday, did you go online to complain or gather in front of government buildings to protest about having to possess a passport for travel?
Now there’s an impingement on your freedom.
If you want to travel, you MUST get a passport. You MUST show it at a border. You are obliged to pay for it, yet it can be taken off you. It gives officials access to your personal information. If they don’t like you or your details, they have the right to detain you. If you do not own a passport, you have no global freedom of movement. Personally, I think that is a huge human rights issue! I’d wager that some people complaining about masks quite like passports because it keeps out people that they consider undesirable.
It’s nice when human rights violations work in your favor.
For those who think they are free thinkers, truth seekers and too smart to be a sheep. From the moment we do what a parent asks us, we are obedient. The day you answer to your name, you are obedient. The day you identify with a nationality, gender, age etc, you are obiedient. The fact a western male doesn’t wear a dress, is obedience. Obiedience keeps you from dancing and singing on the street, or in a shop. Adhering to Covid restrictions doesn’t change anything, you have always been obiedient. The only difference is that YOU feel affected by current restriction. It doesn’t suit you. Yet people outside of Europe and the US (including indigenous Austrailians and New Zealanders, and US, Canadian tribes) have been struggling with freedom restrictions and forced obiedience for centuries. Did you care? Do you care?
Do you care that some people can’t afford a passport? Do you care that in Austrailia, for example, asylum seekers can be detained for years in a prison-like setting? Do you care that there are people imprisoned for years simply because they used cannabis?
If you are concerned about your freedom of movement and thought. Disconnect your phone from the internet. Don’t allow yourself to be traceable 24/7. Don’t buy a new iPhone because everyone does. Get off social media and go talk to a tree. You’ll get more truth there.
Human Rights are Nature Rights
Humans have rights!
Yet maintaining the rights of all humans on this planet is a huge, ongoing issue. In this strange world we've created, Human Rights must constantly be challenged and monitored. But does it end there with humans?
What about animal rights?
Some of you will instantly agree that yes animals do have rights. Does that belief extend to all animals, including, let's say, the less cuddly ones like spiders, or flies? From the magnificent whale to the minute microbe, who are we to say which living things have more worth and what it is that determines intelligence.
I believe we should include all living things in our quest for rights.
But then does the Earth have rights?
Lets break that down further. Tree Rights, Water Rights, Mountain Rights. What about the soil? What about the sky? Do we want clean air only for our benefit or does it have a right to be unpolluted?
I believe every aspect of the natural world is a living, breathing, feeling part of this planet just like us.
As long as we limit our perception of the oppressed to one group, we perpetuate oppression. Widen your focus beyond the inequality between genders, the inequality between the so called races, reach further than focus on sexual orientation. Though these are highly important issues that need to be addressed, limited focus ultimately cannot bring true liberation.
If one group is considered lesser then hierarchy is automatically made intact and oppression begins by default. If they are considered unworthy, immoral or subhuman, than hate is present and will undermine the cause.
This is why most organised religions fail.
All organised religion is based on patriarchy. A hierarchical pyramid. Males rule first and foremost, together men and women rule over children, and finally, humans rule over everything else. The scriptures preach love yet teach segregation from the get-go. Therefore all religious teachings are tainted by hypocrisy.
I believe that to achieve true equality freedom fighters must aim to be open to all issues of discrimination, outright stated or personally acknowledged, and this includes the plight of non-human animals and non-human nature.
Solidarity, true solidarity!
Now that will rock some foundations.
Having said all this, I am acutely aware of the fact that as a white, heterosexual first worlder I am unencumbered by the emotional strain of dealing with, for example, racism, homophobia and extreme poverty. My easier circumstances allow me the head space to think about these things. It's a luxury, I know.
Yet I still say that to make real and lasting positive change, we as humans can not leave any life form behind on the journey to acceptance and compassion.
The beginning is the destination.
"The lone worker will never escape from his life of poverty for ever and ever; he will go on existing in affliction as long as man is not man's protector, but his worst enemy."
Taken from the book "Independent People" by Halldor Laxness. (1946).
What is a group of Rastafarian sheep called?
(Joke under the word allowance)
I enthral your senses with colour and contour, flora lush and scented, sandy to iced terrain, wind song, bird song, sweetness and spice, an abundance of delights. And do you thank me.
I speak to you through nature and the nature of animals, but do you listen.
I reprimand you with stormy outpourings, I rise up in floods of frustration, but do you learn.
You know in your cells, your blood, the deepest regions of your brains the profound disconnection between us you have created. But do you mend it.
Own Your Carnivorism or
IF YOU CAN'T KILL AN ANIMAL YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS EATING MEAT
It seems these days we have evolved into a species that isn't very receptive to Nature's Commandments.
And even though they roar through the wind, rushing with an ache into our ears we turn up our collars, pull down our caps and snuggle up safe with our protective, pathetic logic.
Yes, you might well crave meat. Strongly. Likely you do sense your body's call for specific nutrients. BUT if you can't stomach the reality of killing, skinning chopping, guts, blood and stench, then you don't deserve the privilege of filling your stomach with flesh.
Giving birth isn't a simple undertaking, and killing also requires its payment, and that is not made in the form of a fast food or sterile supermarket solution. A solution that perpetuates gluttony and cowardliness. All too easy, many eat fleshy meals three times a day topped up by fast food meaty munchies after a night out.
Yet often these same people would grimace or cry at the thought of killing an animal. They would even consider you cruel if you told them you killed your own meat.
Many people will react with shock and horror at the notion of killing an animal that you own and interact with.
"Oh, I couldn't do that," they say.
Which translates as, "I'd rather eat meat out of a plastic package from a factory farmed animal who has suffered, but that's OK because out of sight, out of mind, I can emotionally deal with that, but God how can you kill that animal, you must be very calloused."
And this comment: The wild is a rough and tough place where animals die brutal deaths.
Sorry, this is no excuse for incarcerating animals in dismal factories, torturing them and then sending them to their death. And it's not even a nice try for an excuse. It's just arrogant bull shit.
Yes, animals in the wild sometimes suffer, but it isn't guaranteed. They have a chance to escape a predator and often do. We all have seen wildlife footage of lions outrun by gazelles. And even if death by sharp and tearing teeth were unavoidable, who are we to take animals out of their natural habitat and subject them to suffering.
Now I hear you say. But what about happy farms as opposed to the brutality of factory farming? On a farm we humans protect them from the big, bad wild. Are they not better off with us?
Again this arrogance.
Yeah, we protect them until, without fail, they are shipped to a slaughter house sensing and smelling their demise. Is there really such a thing as a "humane" slaughter?
Removed from their natural habitat, farm animals lose their natural ways. Reliant on us their sole reason for existence is to be a food source.
But being hunted is not an easy death, I have been told.
In their rightful habitat with their senses vibrant and intact animals have a chance to escape. And a human had to work for his or her meat, take a risk, take on the killing karma if you like. Humans do love to pass on that duty of death to others.
Death transformed as sustenance requires the risk of a hunt. Your prey might evade you, in fact it might injure or kill you. As said, giving birth is a risky, painful business, taking a life to sustain your own should be as well. Dues must be paid, is my answer.
Think about it. Taking a life for your own life. How can that be made simple.
If I were a non-human animal, I'd rather be free living with my tribe and taking my chances then trapped in a hellish factory with an inescapable fate to be on the plate.
People think I am being naive by not understanding that the world, the wild, is a cruel place. I have had this implied to me with patronizing smiles. But I think eating meat yet refusing to either take part in the production or worse disconnecting to the cruelty of farming is naive and frankly insane.
What are we teaching our kids? Some bizarre mixed message of be thoughtful, be nice. Play with stuffed animals, watch peppa pig, own a fish, dog, rabbit, hamster, treat them well, but here have a plate of chicken nuggets. As a human it is your right.
How does one put value on life? Intelligence? As far as I understand pigs are more intelligent than dogs. I don't think anyone in the US, Europe, Australia or New Zealand eats dogs or would get away with it if they wanted to. But a pig, not a bother.
I have had people look at me as if I am cruel because I promote killing your own animal. At this stage in human existence we have too many people for us all to be hunting. But take part somehow. Own your meat eating.
I very rarely eat meat. And I mean maybe once a year. But I have carved up a pig on my kitchen table. I have gutted a load of chickens while I was pregnant and I have accidentally cracked open an egg carrying a partially developed chick. I get the reality of animal products. (I don't drink milk and only occasionally eat eggs and cheese.)
No one needs to feel guilty about craving meat or defend it with brazen retorts, just question why you can't kill. Paradoxically, the more you toughen up by taking part in the reality of meat, the more compassionate you likely will become. The truth will lead to respect.
We need to modify our meat eating habits. There are just too many of us on this planet to ethically sustain it. Minimize your intake, take part in the process. One way to bring about change is to stop buying factory farmed, plastic wrapped meat products. You won't starve if you eat less meat. YOU WON'T.
I do know lovely people who agree with me.
Nodding and expressing amazement at how awful it all is, the next minute they go to the fridge. grab a plastic package and start slicing chicken breast.
Humans are so adept at swimming in da nile.
P.S. When each of my sons turned 13, supervised by their dad, they had to kill, then pluck and gut their own chickens.
An initiation for boys. A reality check for meat eaters. Admittedly a feeble gesture in both those directions, but it was something, and it earned them a right to eat meat. It won't suffice them a lifetime, but they have experienced the truth of where their food comes from more acutely than probably a lot of other kids.
Warmth enclosed Mathew, feathery, light and complete. The edges of his vision glowing brilliant white.
“Mathew, what you are now experiencing is one of countless possibilities.”
“Ruth? Gabriel?” he asked.
“Yes, I am here with you.”The warmth intensified. “Look to either side and you will understand.”
Turning his head to the right, Mathew saw rows and rows of himself standing as he was enveloped in brightness. He looked to the left. Again his image moved off into endless duplication.
“What is this.“Mathew asked, though he felt the answer hidden in obdurate logic.
“Possibility. The universe, reflected in multiverse. You, here, there and everywhere. But you knew the answer Mathew.”
He nodded. “And can I simply choose another one? Because I definitely don’t like this one.”
“What you see Mathew are the limitless results of your free will, of your misguided and weak decisions, of your wise ones. But as with all beings, only some of these scenarios represent the pre-destined path that each being has choosen. It is up to you to stay true to this path. Guides and guardians have the power to keep you from straying, but you need to help us help you.”
Mathew’s stomach cramped with guilt.“I’ve made a horrible mistake.”
A violet feather drifted past his vision, then another, and more, falling in a rainbow of colour, then blacks and greys and earthy browns. They piled up around his feet cushiony and forgiving.
And he understood that forgiveness was immediate if he could forgive himself.
“It’s not easy,” he whispered.
“No, it’s not.” The warming wings closed tighter. Mathew leaned back into a depth of softness and security surpassing anything he’d known. A current of unconditional love moved through his every cell, emanating from every pore.
The wings opened wide, oygen filled his being. His path blazing before him, he walked towards it.
Shadow (part 56)
Mathew tumbled in a churning, pounding wave of confusion. Struggling with this other him.
“Noo, you aren’t me,” he screamed.
This mirror of inner terror.
“Noo, these aren’t my feelings. Not my thoughts.”
“Yes Mathew, they are your fears!” he heard himsef say.
The child clung to him as they fell and rolled and vied for dominance.
“We are one Mathew, why do you fight me?”
“Shut up, shut uuuuupppp.”
Mathew’s flesh split as nails scratched and dug. Pain sucked away his breath as the child kneed him in the stomach. Slaping it’s face to the side, Mathew pushed it’s cheek into the wood floorboards, letting his weight trap the small body and head. Rage urged him, harder, flatten him, hurt him, he leaned in.
A muffled voice rose to meet his ears.
“Why does humanity fight it’s other side Mathew? Your mother knew to embrace me. Our mother.”
“She is NOT your mother, you demon, you devil, leave her alone.”
“I can feel how you enjoy hurting me Mathew. It feels good doesn’t it? Hurting people?”
He whipped his hand off the child’s face. It looked at him, the small, smiling mouth. A sickly sweet of overripe lifted into the air through brown stained teeth.
“Mathew, you do know she’s not your mother either.
Mathew moved forwards and pushed his knee on top of it’s throat.
“You’re a fake, you’re time is up.”
“I can’t breath Mathew.”
“Good!” He pushed harder.
“You’re hurting me, Mathew.”
A small voice. “So now you’re a killer?”
Mathew stopped pushing down. He looked over at his mother crouching by the wall, then out through the window, he sensed the roots below him and the stars above. “Give me strength.”
“The only way out is through, Mathew. Embrace me. Your shadow!”
The True Red, White and Blue
Whether you are for Trump or not, he is the, in your face, truth about what has been the covert reality of America from day one.
America was never GREAT and never will be.
All political advances have been rooted in corruption, greed, racism, oppression, colonization, lies and indoctrination. (Pretty much like every other country!).
And before you point it out, I know there are countries where you’ll get your hand cut off for stealing etc., but at least there’s a certain transparentcy there, ya know where you’re at with those regimes.
America has always been about duping the people and now because Trump is too self-centered to play that game some people are starting to realize this.
Although Trump is a major piece of work, he is not the only questionable president. They all are!
Consider these points:
Guantanamo Bay: In existence since 2002. How is this legal?
Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal. How can you write a line like that when there is slavery and the indigenous population is being systematically eliminated? Enlightened founding fathers?
And what about women? It’s wasn’t just a sign of the times that women were ignored, there has never been a female president. How is this possible in a so called democratic country?(Not that I hold out any hope for change with a female in office, but still, come on. It’s cringeworthy.)
America needs an enemy: For example, during the cold war it was communism, now it’s Islam. As far as I understand, military spending is the second largest item in the federal budget.
In God We Trust: If the motto of America is to trust in God, why is there such a glorification of and an emphasis on war? Why nuclear weapons? Which God are we talking about?
Terrorism: Was not the Boston Tea Party and act of terrorism against the British? A criminal act? A riot? Why is that acceptable in the eyes of “decent” Americans? Terrorism is terrosim, rioters are rioters, criminal behavoir is criminal behavoir. OR? (an added thought: why were some of them dressed as Indians?)
America was created out of the desire for freedom of oppression: And then what happened?
Pilgrims were refugees: Lucky for them, but not the locals, they didn’t have to go through any asylum seeking process.
(part of this was taken from a comment I made on a post)
Awoken (part 48)
“I am home.” The thought became words as Mathew said it out loud.
“I am home.” He laughed. Then louder spoke his excitement and utter contentment. “I AM HOME.”
Overwhelmed by the richness of the moment, Mathew closed his eyes. Gaia blew a soft breeze across his face, she tossled his hair.
“Yes, Mathew you are home. Open your eyes. And know the splendour.”
Matthew obeyed. Leaves danced down a line of oak, shaking and settling. The shifting light how it played on the land, igniting the lush valley, then darkening and brightening with the flowing clouds. Vivid colour glowed and dimmed.
Mathew focused on the sky. The thickness of the clouds moving steadily across that pure blue. The depth of it, he wanted to reach into that depth, grab those cottony clouds and rub his face into their softness.
A flock of birds flew into view. Mathew knew the call: wild geese. He watched their pumping wings and long necks, aware he had so much more to see. All the trees, the feathers of the birds, the shades of grass, the garden flowers. He wanted to stare at the sky and at the same time sit to study every detail on the ground. He picked up a stone then a pinecone marveling at their colour and shape. Insects, winged and crawling. hovered and tickled. Flowers buzzed with pollen laden bees.
Gaia’s warm touch cupped his cheak with a ray of sun.
“Mathew, it’s only a short visit.”
Mathew nodded. ”I know.”
“Now go and wake the world.”
Mathew closed his eyes and let his mind join with the pulse of the garden. Sound, smell and sensation steadily merged into one growing, deepening gong and whirr. The soft ground became stony. New scents rode the breeze.
He opened his eyes.