Little Things

January 22, 2011

aka Orange

It’s the little things in life that bring the most prodigious joy.

Browsing the supermarket aisles one rainy morning, I came across a crate of sun-eggs, each and every one lovingly picked with a few, green leaves still attached.

Finding this brought me the greatest delight; for I find that the small details of the little things in life are what bring the most joy — and such things being plentiful means one is guaranteed to find happiness wherever one looks.

~*~

In Sweden there once lived a woman called Elsa Beskow, who was an author and illustrator. She wrote the most magnificent of stories for the young at heart — be they little or not — and they all linger in my mind, their beauty too great to ever fade. In addition to her own works, she illustrated the stories of others. One such story is the story about the orange a child lost in the woods, and which the creatures of the forest believed was an egg of the sun.

Eggg of the Sun

Return

January 21, 2011

Summertime Shades

As of late, I have been dreadfully delinquent in adorning this little place of mine with new posts. Unfortunately, though it would have made a good excuse, it is not because I have been up to nothing of value. Rather the opposite; my days are long and full with experience and adventure, but the inspiration — and motivation — to record their highlights onto these pages has been lacking, as of late.

However, I shall make a conscious attempt to allow this ignorance to proceed no further, for the joys of having a properly updated blog are immense! So, starting tomorrow, I shall attempt to update this space more often!

Love,
Josephine
x

The Perfect Flower

January 8, 2011

Windflower
Image by Anders Adermark.

The task was simple enough. She was to find the perfect flower.

It was to be white, and sweet-smelling. But it also had to be not far removed from bud, and with double petals.

It seemed simple enough.

With those directions the green riding hood set out, young, but not little — and dressed in green because red did not become her at all. It may have been beige too, but the colours of her attire are of no consequence to her story.

The green riding hood had not ventured far before she found a flower. But red, and in full bloom, it was far from perfect.

One with double petals was blue.

A sweet-smelling one was not white.

One was in bud, but covered with thorns and not perfect at all.

Indeed, the entire forest, it seemed, was abloom, although none of the floral faces was perfect. The perfect ones seemed hard, if not impossible, to find. Still, she had her task, and it was to be fulfilled. So she ventured further, unwilling to admit defeat.

All of a sudden a sweet scent reached her through the warm mid-summer air, and she followed it to its source. It proved white, but although fine, it was not perfect.

Though white and endowed with a sweet scent, the flower had a single row of petals, and was withering, far removed from bud.

The green riding hood looked at it, sighing, wondering: Why could it not be perfect? Why had it to be merely fine?

Had it not been for a persistent voice in her head, whispering: “Beyond, beyond, beyond!” she might had settled with a flower that was merely fine, but as it was, she continued her search, leving the mere fineness beyond.

As so often happens to young women searching for flowers in the woods, the green riding hood eventually stumbled upon the same, merely fine, flower anew.

She sat down by its side, brushing against the blossom itself, wondering why the fine, but not perfect, flower could not be endowed with a double row of petals, and be nearer to bud. Indeed, after this long an excursion, she would have settled with a sole row of petals, but the flower being withered was what rendered what otherwise would have been perfect, merely fine.

Despite there was a voice still in her head telling her to move beyond, beyond, beyond! she could not leave the flower. It was fine — better than any she had found thus far — but is was not perfect. Never the less, she remained by it, waiting for the solar cycle to encourage the flower to turn away from her; for she could not be removed on her own accord.

It seemed strange, she thought, that something that was fine and perfectly acceptable could not be perfect. The voice and its “Beyond!” reminded her thusly, although she herself doubted — as much as she feared — there was any flower more perfect to be found.

The flower before her was sweet-smelling and white; what if all the other flowers were equally fine, and there were no perfect flowers to be found? What if the ones with double petals were red, and the ones still in bud would bloom with the most horrendous of scents? What if the white, sweet-smelling bloom before her was indeed perfect, only that her doubts failed for her to realise and conclude that indeed was so?

As the day passed and the flower followed the sun’s path with its floral face, the green riding hood sat by its side, unable to leave it, waiting for it to turn away on its own accord.

Frozen Travel
Image by Moi.

The worst brings out the very best in people good at heart.

To see the world covered by cottoned water is a phenomenon very familiar to myself, as I was brought up in a faraway land where ice reigns supreme during each of the wintery months. Admittedly, the beauty grew bitter to my senses’ tongue after decades of never-late cold, but things once learnt are hard to unlearn.

So when the world surrounding my humble dwelling, outside the great city of London, gradually disappeared beneath a downy, frozen blanket, I sighed: “Oh dear,” — as I had a flight north to catch — but was never the less not deterred.

As the clouds broke to pieces that slowly swirled from the place of their heavenly birth, I wrapped a scarf around my neck and buttoned my coat. My companion — my suitcase — was already standing by the door, longing to taste air, having been trapped indoors for so long.

Eventually I stepped out into the world, having locked my door twice. However, the cold deterred my companion and friend, and my bag made up its mind that it did not at all want to go. Sitting on its (w)heels, I had to persuade it to move by pulling it along with my weight as an argument, ploughing a broad trail in the snow as I went.

Halfway to the station a taxi took pity on me and offered to take me the rest of the way. That was however not to be as the slope to the station was too steep with all the snow, but I never the less ended up having to pay a full fare.

Struggling to reach the station on time, I trudged on, eventually making it onto a train following a cancellation and a false alarm. I had a man help me carry my bag onto the train — as although I can pull it along, I cannot lift it very far!

“Normally I’d charge you for this,” the grumpy not-very-gentlemanly man growled, and I foolishly smiled. (What else is there to do?)

Having brought the first part of my long journey to a close I sank into a seat and studied the world as it passed by the window by my eyes. Knowing every nook and cranny of the route by heart, the journey never the less kept me mesmerised; for the green meadows and ploughed fields were all frozen — stunning and white!

The train only brought me three stations farther towards my goal, and once back into the cold I found the connecting train was delayed — by heaven knew how long!

On the platform with me were people huddled up in jackets and scarves — staring, standing, waiting — what else is there really to do?

Half-way into our long, shivering wait, a train came along. It pulled to a stop, and its driver came out. Boiling water was brought and his horn was de-iced, but when questioned if his train — only standing there — could open its doors to allow the freezing people on board, the driver only shrugged his shoulders and said:

“This station is not a scheduled stop.”

And once the horn had been de-iced and the honk was confirmed, the train pulled away and disappeared within long.

The disappointment such oblivion brought was enough to tear down walls and break the bounds that otherwise keep people apart.

A man and his son — travelling north to the town of Shakespeare’s birth — started talking with a woman carrying the only cello of an orchestra upon her back. Farther away a man with a broken leg — most likely courtesy of the cold — spoke to the not-so-gentle man who had growled before.

By my side stood a man only recently arrived who ceased the opportunity to break the silence, too. He proved rather polite, and once the connecting train arrived he brought my heavy bag on board. And since the train had already travelled far, and few seats were left, we ended up carrying the conversation on.

We spoke as gingerbread villages — frosted with snow — passed by and the villages grew into towns and London gradually emerged. As the final station was reached the man fumbled in his pocket, concluding:

“I have run out of business cards!”

I took pity on his disappointment and gave him paper and pen — being given a name and a number — and I do have to admit, for me that was a first!

Stuffing it all back in my purse I carried on as I still had a flight to catch! Within the hour I reached the airport which I had sought — many pounds the poorer, and with the blood racing in my ears. (I did not at all have many minutes left to spare!)

But as I entered the airport, I realised my fears had come true, and by the time my flight had been to depart it was announced irony had sneered and snow was to keep me from returning to my home in the snowy north!

Sighing — as you do when such things are said — I caught the attention of a woman by my side.

“Oh heavens, what are we to do?” she said.

Neither I knew what was to be done.

So coffee was settled upon — it is after all human to drown sorrows with delight. A brief friendship was formed in that time of need, and we spent several hours in otherwise unlikely company.

But as time lingered on and the people around succumbed to despair, I realised nothing else could be done — that day, I was not going home. I therefore bade my new friend farewell and returned in defeat to the cold.

With no more time to keep I made my way to the trains, only to find a thousand — multiples thereof! — had come up with the same, brilliant plan! I however had no choice but to join them, within long being swallowed by the human ocean’s vast expanse.

At one point a speaker crackled to life:

“This is a security announcement,” the detached voice said. “Remember to keep close to your belongings~”

Was more said, it was not to be heard. The people crammed into one another with bags and whatnot only laughed — and I do have to admit, even my pursed lips parted with a smile.

Two hours thereafter I reached my goal, once more standing upon a platform waiting for a delayed train to arrive.

A young Canadian woman sighed from the corner where she sat:

“I am so hungry; I haven’t eaten since breakfast — and that was long, long ago!”

I took pity on her, and dug deeply in my purse. Triumphant I handed her the prize of my search; a snack — not large, but for the moment enough. She wanted to compensate me with monetary means, but I declined her offer, as I only wanted for her condition to improve.

“That’s the Christmas spirit!” she smiled, with her mouth full.

Although I nodded, I did not agree; that is simply what you do for others in need.

After a few hours more I finally made it back to my by then cold and dark home. I had to turn up the heat and light the lamps anew, silence my hunger and then crawl into bed to get some much needed sleep.

That day had proven much an ordeal. Some would have called it pointless, but as I lay back in a bed I thought I would temporarily have left, I could not help but strangely consider the day worth the while.

For, it seemed that the worst — what could so many broken plans otherwise be called? — never the less had managed to make the best surface in some kind, kindred souls. It had proven a very pleasant day, I thought, for never before had so many strangers broken their otherwise unquestioned silence and treat their fellow men as such.

Forgive me for what follows — but I think humanity as a whole would regain much of its worth were only more “disasters” to occur. For there is nothing that unites people with others of their kind as shared circumstances — and that, I do think — is something the world very regrettably has lost ~.

Fluttering Feelings

November 24, 2010

i book your heart
Image by mrWerner.

It feels as if I am soaring, travelling by the speed of light. I have a fluttering feeling breathing in my chest. But the smouldering embers I have hidden therein are oxygenated by the strokes of the butterfly’s wings, igniting flames that scorch me on the inside. Life is torture — but feeling nothing at all would be death.

Tousled Tales

July 16, 2010

A Memory
Image by rayewillow.

To a seamstress, the art of weaving paper tapestries with words is an addiction; once the eye of the needle has been threaded; once the pen has been filled with ink, there is no stopping the flow of words until all ink has been transformed into characters on paper and opened doors to new dimensions and worlds that only just became.

My inner seamstress of stories and tales has been sewing words onto papers for almost half a year; meticulously and thirsting for more — for a tale does not exist until it can be read. Adventures have unfolded in her lap, as the tapestry has grown increasingly ornate. And eventually, the time she had longed for appeared — the day when she was to admire her story as a whole; when the tapestry was to be hung and flaws about to be corrected.

The tapestry with its glimmering words and whispering thread was a magnificent sight, and she felt her heart pound with a creator’s pride. Stroking the smooth surface, allowing her hands to caress her beloved characters, her fingers however caught hold of a loose thread; a mistake that did not belong.

Determined, she pulled the thread that should not be and removed it, only to find it entangled three other threads. She pulled those too, only to find that the tapestry of her tale fell to pieces before her eyes. In a cloud of dust the words fell off the pages and the tapestry lost its glossy sheen. All of a sudden, the tale and its tens of thousands of words were no more. And the seamstress disappeared — disappointed — into oblivion; unable to sleep nor eat, knowing her tale had been tousled beyond recognition.

A few of the threads, the ideas and words, were still sparkling as she held the stumps up to the light; but most of her creation was fouled and had to be brushed away. With only a few crooked threads in her lap, my inner seamstress is now absent-mindedly staring out the windows of my mind, seeking inspiration to conjure her glossy threads anew and begin to embroider a new tapestry, reminiscent albeit better than the old her strife for perfection tousled and lost.

Springtime Promenade

June 13, 2010


Bluebell Beeches

One morning in late May I caught the first train to the rural outskirts of London and was rewarded with the most beautiful of springtime sights.


Hilltop Town

It did not take me long to wander downhill from the station and through the old town that resides in the valley beneath the modern settlement. Before the first half an hour had passed I could overlook the western part of the town of the hilltop which I had climbed.


Keeping Gate

Having cleared the town and its outskirts, I found myself passing through the barrier that separated the urban and the rural countryside: a charming gate blushing with rust.


Dust Road

The first field put me in a feeling of sheer delight, the rolling slopes encouraging me to believe I was one with the sky as the wind played with my long skirt. Eventually, I reached a dust road that promised to carry me as far as I wished.


Dandelion Hill

My springtime walk took place late in May, and I found the first generation of dandelions had allowed their sparkling gold to fade to the hue of cotton-like copper I so adore.


Bluebell Forest

I shall always with fondness remember my first visit to a forest whose atmosphere was adorned with the sweet, perfumed scent of bluebell hyacinths.


Power Line

Although I had walked for almost five consecutive hours, it was still bitter-sweet to know I had reached my final destination and my springtime walk had come to an end. Never the less, my first introduction to the British countryside did nothing but cement my affection and enamour me yet more.

[This post features pictures taken during the walk detailed in Weightless Adventures.]

Thank you Vil for helping upload these pictures when my Internet connection laughed at me!

Weightless Adventures

May 24, 2010

blue bells
Image by lone snapper.

It was a wonderful morning as she awoke, the sun tickling her face as it was filtered through the curtains she had drawn the evening before. A whisper of a breeze floated through a window, only barely open. Even before she opened her eyes, she knew an amazing day was to mature from the fairytale morning.

An impromptu vase stood on her windowsill as she went downstairs, the plastic cup filled with flowers that had spread their lovely scent overnight; the sophisticated jasmine with its sweet tones, the heavenly blue forget-me-nots that twinkled in the morning light. There were the vanilla notes of the cow’s parsley and the precious, barely distinguishable whisper of the pink clematis.

Running to the train station to catch the first train of the morning, the air played with her golden hair and long skirt — in her mind she was the essence of times past, and nothing could delight her more.

Travelling thorough landscapes she knew she would never tire of, she all but flew out of the front carriage of the train, floating down the swindling road on the hill that climaxed in a valley with the town above her and the rolling hills before her mesmerised eyes.

Her path led her through the oldest parts of the town, the small houses crooked and aged, their lacquered doors however smiling kindly at her as she passed, the lace curtains modest eyelids concealing the lives of those who lived within.

Eventually, she found herself by the edge of a field, its rolling expanse a terrestrial wave frozen in its ascent, the height swindling and exhilarating from where she stood; the queen of the richness of the grassy sea.

In the sunlight, the grass shone with the fresh vigour of spring, as if it was the scalp of a creature so modest about its beauty it had hidden from sight under ground. As the wind played with the grassy curls, she, who stood in the midst of the ocean, would not have been surprised had a ship sailed past in the distance.

Eventually, the path upon which she travelled led her into the depths of a forest, the beeches embracing her with their grand architecture; their canopies a fair peridot ceiling, their silver stems the pillars of nature’s grand halls.

The floor of that ball room was covered with music, the light — all but heavenly — lavender blue bells softly dancing where they stood, gilding the atmosphere with their melodious, scented notes.

For a while, she stood, mesmerised, the sight before her so foreign, so beautiful. In her native lands, those she adored with all of her heart, the forest floors were adorned with the white stellar sparkles of windflowers, their fresh, musky scent a stark contrast to the sweetness that for the moment tickled her senses.

The metallic field of dandelions past the height of their bloom followed, the silver seeds filling the air as the heavens breathed, the copper of their stems a reddish hue adorning the grass, the few flower heads that remained a treasured sparkle of gold.

Walking upon the small lane that carried her across such fields, past farmhouses and small cottages, the sunshine kept her company, caressing her face and arms with its gilding warmth.

For a while, the hum of electricity through cables suspended above her head was all that interrupted the calm indifference of the eternity in which she had found herself, the modern reminder however soon again replaced with the twitter of blackbirds and robins in the canopies above, their duets only occasionally joined by a pigeon’s deep, velvety coo.

In the little village she thereafter reached, she realised her lovely adventure had come to an end. No matter how much she desired to spend the rest of her life suspended in the weightlessness nature’s freedom offered, she knew she had to return to the life that had granted her this dream-like escape.

Once back at home, with her remaining exam pocking for her attention, she looked out through her window into the sunny, all but Mediterranean afternoon, knowing her wonderful experience on the countryside of the land she so adored would remain with her forever; it having been validation of the enamoured beliefs which once had brought her there.

[Pictures taken during the adventure can be found here: Springtime Promenade.]

Beware the man of one book
Image by pyth0ns.

I did not start to think of myself as an amateur writer until a few years ago — shall I be honest, it is not more than two years ago, perhaps three. A friend remarked on a short story I described a picture with, that it would make the perfect beginning of a book. That, in addition to my friend being a writer, inspired me to follow her advice and turn the few lines into a book.

It proved hard, to not say impossible. I worked on and off on the plot for almost two years until deciding it was a hopeless case and that I should leave it and pursue other projects. And so I did; my next story currently growing one chapter at a time whenever inspiration strikes.

Yesterday, however, I remember the story I had abandoned and all but forgotten. I was on the train, riding through the most wonderful beech forests and rolling hills, when I all of a sudden realised that was the very kind of world my very first story was supposed to have been set in.

And, no sooner than I had thought that though, the main character of my forgotten story waltzed into my consciousness with pleading eyes, wondering why she had not heard from me in such a long time.

At that moment, I wondered the very same thing.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realised I am not over her story; I simply do not know how to handle it. In order for her story to be written a fair amount of research is due, but due to the nature of the story itself, I am unsure whether the final product will be worth the effort I would be required to invest in it.

It is food for thought, indeed!

I do have to admit, that I am one of those dreadful people who likes to see results. I do not undertake a project unless I know some success can be derived from it. If I spend hours and hours without end contemplating a story, and months painfully typing it down, I would like to one day see it being enjoyed by others; justifying my hard work.

My forgotten story is however not the kind of story I think would have any chance of ever reaching the hands of others, which brings me to the dilemma which made me abandon my character the first time around; I love her and her story, and I want everything I intended to happen to her to come true, but I don’t believe in the story per se.

It’s painful, to say the least!

But, I am curious, if any of you who read this are writers, have you ever been in the same situation which I have found myself in? How did you solve it? Is there a point in completing a story for personal satisfaction alone? Anything else that comes to mind? Or, do you think some stories are best left short, allowed to speak for themselves?

The Story:

A heavy book lies on a table, its cover says it is several centuries old.
As it is opened, it screams, blinded by the light its pages have been hidden from for so long.
A cloud of dust rises from the ancient pages, the old parchment fragile and dry.

From one of the pages, a face looks out on the world.
It is the drawing of a young woman, who studies the world with interest.
When she was shut inside the book for the last time, the world was so different from what it is now.
She wants to be part of it, but can not as the parchment she is drawn on is the only border she never will be able to cross.

Regrets

March 22, 2010

My Little friend follows netdog around
Image by netdog

She had always been bit of a loner. In some ways it was because she had chosen to, in others because she had failed to find friends.

That changed when she came across a red-haired girl when she still was very little. They became the best of friends and spent all their time together.

But for a loner such a blessing may sometimes turn bitter, and she found that she needed some time for herself. Foolishly, young as she was, she believed she had grown tired of her very best friend.

She ended their friendship.

Not long thereafter she changed her mind. She could see her best friend walk through the same corridors as she did in their new school, and she missed her. But she was too embarrassed about her former rejection that she dared not apologise.

When three years had passed she had found the strength she had lacked and spoke to her friend again, saying that she missed her and desired to go back to the way they were.

Her friend only laughed and said that it was too late for that, and that she did not desire to ever be spoken to again.

The girl walked away from her former red-haired friend, not desiring to admit she had broken down in tears.

More time passed, and the girl reproached herself for the folly that had robbed her of her first friend in life. Sometimes she could see her red-haired friend walk past in the distance, reminding her of the mistake she had committed.

Such regrets never fade, continuously being stirred to the surface by reminders that it was a mistake easily prevented. A decade later, it still hurt.