History As Story-Telling

 

   my digital music composition ‘The Prejudices of Geography’

How we love our Stories,

Old and New,

even with Facts and Fictions

mingled too-

Histories, Hi Stories,

both False and True.

What to Believe? What Not?

Do we Question? Or Not?

Bright ones Dare. Most do Not.

Our Storytellers know

to Repeat…Repeat…Repeat…

Our Story Writers know

their Power…Power…Power…

How we love our Stories,

Old and New,

even with Facts and Fictions

mingled too-

Histories, Hi Stories,

both False and True.

Fragile Thread


Fragile Thread (my digital composition)

fragile_thread

Thoughts of you come to mind. I wonder how you are.
We haven’t communicated in so long. Too much time and distance…
I sit by the patio door, now open, with a cup of tea resting on the table by my chair.
I am silent and quietly aware.
A gentle breeze flows in. I know its presence through my chilled skin
and the sight of leaves shivering on the vine and shrubs outside.
Now sunlight informs me of a fragile spider thread. It’s attached to the vine at one end
but no longer connected at the other.
Fascinated, I watch this fragile thread as the breeze lifts and carries it directly to me.
Ah, I see!

short story by

Shelley Wilson
July, 2014

 

May your Spirit shine brightly, Shelley

Gallstones

Gallstones
“You won’t like the taste!” warned the old woman. There was compassion and a hint of laughter in her eyes as her lips formed a wry smile remembering the remedy.
Am I crazy and is she a quack? I thought. Desperate people do desperate things, I mused philosophically.
The chronic pain had become unbearable. Every joy in life had dissolved in that pain. I’d finally seen a Surgeon. Gallbladder removal. A common procedure. Surgery in a few weeks. The office would call with the date and time. I thanked the Doctor, shook his hand and placed my hand over the pain and prayed. God help me!
“Okay” I said to this obviously amused woman offering me a simple solution to the pain. “It’s harmless,” she said quietly. Then her expression swiftly changed.
As she began giving me the instructions, I started to wonder if she had a military background. Do this. Do this. Do this. Did I have to poop on command too? I wondered.
“Okay. Okay. I’m listening,” I said reluctantly.
“This is how you purge gallstones without surgery,” she began again. “Make sure you choose two days with nothing else on the agenda, so get what you’ll need beforehand.”
“You’ll find a pint jar with a lid- as well as a jar big enough to hold three cups of water and four tablespoons of Epsom Salts. Don’t get the Epsom Bath Salts! You’ll have to find the Epsom Salts for internal use. Remember that!”
“You’ll need a bottle of extra light virgin Olive Oil. The good stuff. Don’t be cheap. You’ll also buy two fresh pink Grapefruit. Only fresh will do.”
“Oh yes,” she said with a funny smile, “you’ll probably want either a few slices of lemon or a sweet lollipop to treat your tastebuds.” My mouth soured and I swallowed the thought.
“So, are you willing to give it a go?” she asked in her military voice. The pain replied “Yes!”
“Well then. You start your first day with a no fat breakfast and lunch. No fat!” she commanded.
“Do not eat or drink after 2 p.m. Don’t cheat. This is important!” she stressed.
“Get the Epsom Salts drink ready. Mix four tablespoons with three cups of water in a well cleaned jar. This makes four measured servings of three-quarters of a cup each. Put the jar in the fridge to get cold.”
Well at least she’s talking in measurements and hours I can easily understand! I said in private conversation with myself.
“At precisely 6 p.m. drink one serving of the water and Epsom Salts. You may want to lick that lollipop or lemon slice then,” she said with a chuckle.
Pointing her right index finger to an invisible chalkboard, she read, “the Olive Oil and Grapefruit should be sitting out on the counter for later.”
“At 7 and 8 p.m. quickly drink another three-quarter cup serving. Timing is critical for success, so don’t be more than 10 minutes early or late!” she ordered.
I looked at the invisible chalkboard where this strategic plan was clearly outlined in crisp white chalk. I can do this! I told myself.
“At 9:45 p.m. you’ll pour a measured half-cup of the Olive Oil into the clean pint jar. You’ll squeeze the pink Grapefruit by hand into the measuring cup. Remove the pulp with a fork. You should have at least a half-cup to three-quarters cup of juice. Add this to the Olive Oil. Close the jar lid tightly and shake hard until it all becomes watery. Only fresh Grapefruit juice will do this,” she noted.
Yuck! I said to myself, feeling a little nauseous. Why was surgery suddenly looking more desirable?!
“Visit the bathroom, but don’t be more than 15 minutes late for the 10 p.m. drink she commanded again.
“At 10 p.m. drink the Olive Oil and Grapefruit mixture you’ve just made. You must be standing up to do this. Don’t laugh! Drink it down within 5 minutes. Then lie down immediately. You might fail to get the gallstones out if you don’t. The sooner you lie down, the more stones you’ll purge, so be ready for bed ahead of time. Try to keep perfectly still for at least 20 minutes. Go to sleep,” she commanded yet again. I almost shouted, “Yes Sir!” as my body stiffened.
She pushed on. “Upon awakening the next morning, you’ll take your last dose of the Epsom Salts drink. You may go back to bed. After two more hours you may eat. Start with fruit juice. Half an hour later, eat fruit. One hour later, you may eat regular food but keep it light. By supper you should be fully recovered,” she said light-heartedly. I sighed in relief.
“Expect diarrhea in the morning. Don’t be shy! Have a look. Gallstones are green and float because of the cholesterol in them or form as calcified stones in shades of brown. Sometimes the bile ducts are also full of cholesterol crystals, tan coloured. They look like floating ‘chaff’. Cleansing this ‘chaff’ is just as important as purging the gallstones. You’re also cleansing the liver at the same time, by the way. No surgeries. Minor discomfort. Congratulations!” she said triumphantly.
“Okay…” I said slowly and decisively. What’s to lose…I thought…a body part or a few hours of taste-bud torture. “Okay.”
So now I am “Okay”. It worked!! And maybe next year…

Short story by
Shelley Wilson
July 2014

 

May your Spirit shine brightly, Shelley

To Bee Or Not To Bee

To Bee Or Not To Bee
I had supper in the screenhouse outside with Cynthia, Chelsea, and Mom. Just after we finished eating, a large bumblebee flew into the tent in the middle of our conversation about personally experiencing ‘claustrophobia’. The bee buzzed around the walls of the tent looking for a way back out. Did it feel a little ‘claustrophobic’ in there? I wondered. Someone said “Kill it!” as they evacuated for fear of being stung. I stayed, saying “No, don’t kill a bee. We need them!” In a few minutes it found its way back out, no doubt due to my coaxing directions. ha ha Then everyone re-entered the tent and sat down. I was overcome with a wave of tiredness, so excused myself for a nap. A few hours later, I awakened in a remarkable state of awareness. I was lying on my side. I felt like my head and neck were plugged into a high voltage energy source that increased in intensity and sound volume as I accepted the experience with gratitude. I can only compare the sound to the buzzing of countless bees. It was most peculiar!!! This was different from my meditation experiences of blissful ecstasy. What could it bee??? Talk about ‘getting a buzz’!!! ha ha I wonder if this is what the bees hear when they get together??? I thanked the bumblebee for its unexpected visit.
(May 3, 2006)

An Old Photograph

An Old Photograph
 
An old photograph resurfaced after many years in my closet ‘Collection of Artifacts and a Myriad Mysteries’. It was a picture I took of my husband, Roger, and our two children, Alissa and Aaron, both in their pre-teens.
There was nothing extraordinary or ‘special’ about our little family, but now and then we glimpsed the special magic of Nature. Perhaps it was just our receptive appreciation of Nature that often attracted messengers of the wilderness into our lives.
Looking at that photo, I recalled the journey of that first of July, ‘Canada Day’. My memory became more vivid, feeling the sizzling heat of the day and my aching muscles as we winched and coaxed our aluminum boat and fishing gear up the challenging portage. It was a slow, exhausting process that grounded our visions of carefree relaxation floating on the lake beyond. We all pitched in to make it through that frustrating, mosquito-annoying, hot and arduous struggle. I remember taking sips of cold water mixed with my sweat and a little fly-repellant, and being just too tired to care. I remember thinking The Eternal Question—‘Why are we here?’ Then, free of the hill and burden of ‘details’ we’d brought, we were finally back on water enjoying the luxury of a working outboard-motor. As we sped along, I thanked God for the millionth time and all the ingenious humans who’d ever invented labour-saving machinery. I have never been sophisticated enough to take such things for granted.
An hour or so later of cooling breeze and boat vibrations, we decided that we’d ‘arrived’ at our unknown destination. The lightened cooler was opened once again, and we hungrily devoured our sandwiches. Mine also had the added flavours of sweat and fly-dope and fish bait. I can taste the memory even now.
Shortly after our meal was eaten and our bait was put to work, we had a visit from an unexpected guest. A messenger of Nature surfaced near our boat to thrill us with a clearly communicating display, soundly slapping its large, flat tail on the water. Everything is truly the meaning one gives to it, and from our welcoming perspective we interpreted the warning sign to be the ‘Canada Day Beaver’s Salute’. The timing was perfect! We had worked so hard to get to that ‘special place’ of quiet peace and floating freedom, like the beaver who ‘greeted’ us. I understood the natural warning of ‘Don’t anyone even think of taking these values away from this place!’ That’s when beavers shape-shift into fighting creatures much more aggressive and fierce. A sanctuary of peace and freedom is what Canadian families, and so many individual Canadians, have worked so hard to create, to continually maintain, and to gratefully enjoy. We salute all who share such values and warn those who don’t.
Then I thought, recalling that extraordinary/ordinary event on ‘Canada Day’—‘For however long we Canadians choose to unite as a country, may Canada’s national pride aways be tempered by a healthy humility as it grows to be a co-creator of a higher vision of World Unity. That isn’t too much for any Global Citizen to hope for, n’est-ce pas?’
I placed the old photograph back into my closet ‘Collection of Artifacts and a Myriad Mysteries’ with a wistful smile.
April 27, 2006

Life Expressions

Life Expressions
There was a vast field of Sunflowers growing to maturity with the nurturing of the Earth, the Rain, and the Sun.
One day, a Sunflower announced “I am a Sunflower! I am an expression of Life, my Creator! We are all part of and one with Life!”
Not understanding, the other Sunflowers whispered all kinds of judgments to each other. Unaware of their own nature, some chose to worship and adore the Sunflower who had realized and expressed its oneness with Life as a loving Sunflower. Some chose to deny the Sunflower was a Sunflower, not realizing their own nature too. Some ignored the message and the controversy it provoked. Every Sunflower judged the Sunflower and the Message of Oneness through the changing, evolving states of their own awareness. Here and there, a Sunflower would awaken and declare “I am a Sunflower! I am an expression of Life, my Creator! We are all part of and one with Life!”
February 22, 2006

The Cow

 
With one artful brush of her cow’s tail
an annoying mosquito was hurled
with its poison through the air—
only to return with countless others
eager to critique her form
in hopes of drawing blood.
Despite these minor, frustrating attacks,
her life was a rhythmic harmony
in tune with Life’s pastoral symphony
in which she played her own small part.
As a participant contentedly standing in the imagery
of country landscape photos and paintings,
she lived her days in gentle quietude
and peaceful contemplations.
She savoured sunshine and stillness,
yet found endless fascination
in the sweeping dramas of storms.
She loved the light of early morning,
the vibrant green pastures of Spring rains,
the still waters of the pond,
the well-worn paths to the welcoming barn.
She loved resting in calm communion
with the Spirit of Nature, the joy of oneness,
the creative process of eating—
chewing and cud-chewing
of food and thoughts cows think.
Just a common cow, she vainly regarded
her black and white markings
as being special and beautiful
and regarded her milk as being a uniquely fine gift.
Like a nun, she prayed to be forgiven
such vanity and pride when the habit of immodesty
covered and hid her better qualities.
Unlike a nun, she looked at creation
from widely different angles and perspectives.
She knew that cows had been used universally
as a symbol for worship by many humans
and as a symbol for mockery by many.
Such reverence and ridicule she faced
with equanimity mixed with bewilderment
and a healthy sense of humour.
Perhaps she’d be a whale in her next life.
Perhaps a frog.
She had a strong mothering instinct,
even toward those human creatures
who’d arrogantly ‘bought’ her at auction.
She lovingly worked to nurture them
with her flow of desired milk.
She gave freely and wholeheartedly,
celebrating Life with this self-giving.
Shy and mild-mannered most times,
she was a pleasingly good-natured cow
despite the occasional naughty kicks
she gave at milking times—
and the occasional bellowing of discontent
whenever boredom weighed heavily on her fat hours.
More than not, she was content—
not from expectation but gratitude
for the wonder of her life.
She so enjoyed the creative process
she saw in her own nature,
and the comforting communion
which utterly filled her quieted mind
and heart to overflowing expressions.
Her thoughts poured out like streams of milk.
Her milk poured out like streams of thought.
Some animals responded to her
with contemptuous or jealous eyes.
Some gazed at her as if she were
a garden statuary inspiration.
She looked at herself one day
in the pensive pond,
staring in humble reflection.
There she saw all creation in which she was absorbed—
all creation as being a divine, operatic play
evolving act by act
in a glory of expressed perfection.
The cow then lifted her head heavenward,
heart rejoicing,
and in tune with her own nature
voiced a truly happy moood.
April,1992 revised May,2004 February,2006

The Loon

 
A black and white vision of solitude on a lonely lake,
the loon moved silently on the still water
surrounded by the mysteries of the early morning mists.
A battered canoe glided into sight,
piloted by a human male whose appearance
likewise declared a love of wilderness and solitude.
The man’s searching eyes disclosed
a shining clarity of thought miscalled madness
for want of understanding by those who judged him so.
Society had shunned him as he had shunned
the mad cruelties and rigid intolerance
of outdated, unevolved social structures.
The loon instantly recognized a companion of spirit.
With wings outstretched in a universal sign
of respectful acknowledgment and acceptance,
he voiced his shrill, reverberating salute…
The loud, clarion call haunted the visionary atmosphere
through which the poet followed his quest.
While alarming more fearful creatures, this call
stimulated the predatory instincts in other hungry listeners.
Inspired by the amazing power of this peculiar poetry,
the human echoed the lyrical call with gratitude.
Then, in silence, the loon moved further up the lake
exploring the mysterious mists beyond—
the mists he loved and could not fear.
April,1992 revised May, 2004 February, 2006

The Rabbit

 
A small and insignificant wild rabbit
quietly hopped about the challenging landscape,
refusing, when he chose, to limit his free movement
by the border fences of rigid human rules.
Passing through religious and political barriers
with the ease of a ghost,
he ignored the forbidding signs
and psychological warfare
aimed at freedom-loving creatures like him.
Overcoming his natural timidity,
he charged with determined courage of conviction
up the ominous, fortified ridge of man’s intimidation.
There he took his small but spiritually significant
stand for freedom’s victory.
Upon the ridge, he rested in silent thought.
Then he saw a greater victory head.
He filled his humble heart and mind
with an all-encompassing and all-forgiving love—
even for those tiny, malicious mosquitos
and their unending invective attacks.
The lush garden lay invitingly before him
and he rushed to his reward…
April, 1992 revised May,2004

The Mouse

 
He considered himself most fortunate to have found
a place where he could comfortably study and analyze
the peculiar curiosities of human nature.
The room was decorated in all the cliches
of impressive psychiatric offices.
Well concealed, the tiny mouse sat quietly observing
and studiously noting minute details
of human actions and reactions to the varied stimuli
of a continuous flow of words and gestures.
People moved into, around, and out of the busy office
like scheduled storms in varying stages of intensity.
He peered into the heavily burdened caseload of patients
who came and went, some with neuroses or psychoses
diagnosed, misdiagnosed, or inventively imagined.
Taking profound interest in the intimate revelations,
he silently witnessed the mental and emotional
vivisection of troubled human lives.
He observed the cautious procedures
operating on human hearts and minds—
the patient, searching probes into memories and desires.
He recognized the danger and despair of deepest cuts—
the help and hope of healings sometimes sighted.
Despite his respect for the profession,
th little mouse wondered if all the world’s visionaries,
saints, prophets, and ‘just plain folk’
conversant with God throughout history
would be diagnosed as mentally ill,
as delusional or egomaniacs at best.
With serious amusement, he considered
how they’d probably be judged on the modern couch-altar
across from all those authoritative diplomas
of today’s Scientific Man…
April,1992 revised May, 2004 February, 2006

The Cat

 
Peering through a stall opening in the old barn,
the tom cat watched as human tears
fell on a sickly, dying cow.
He’d seen many a birth and death down on the farm.
With no heart for compassion himself,
he focused instead on a hunt for his favourite prey.
The timid mouse entertained his curious interest
for a few agonizing minutes of clawed vivisection
before her death.
Life here was a demanding education in survival skills,
a harsh, strenuous reality compared with his former
luxurious life-style in suburbia.
There, he was hugged and petted with countless
caresses by loving human hands.
There, he was Nature tamed, gently reassuring
and prettily packaged for proud ownership.
Constant human indulgence and flattery
made him lazy and vain, lounging in regal splendour
until he felt like engaging in feline courtship rivalries
or teasing leashed dogs or pouncing on careless squirrels.
He passed the long and dreary winters
play-hunting catnip toys or hiding yarn balls.
He was so bored with the easy life,
the yawn of tidily undramatic lawns,
the sigh of plush rugs and cozy chairs,
the routine feeding of tame conformity,
and the false pretense of independence.
He sniffed the air one summer morning
and followed his adventurous instincts
into an exhausting journey of self-exile.
Discovering vestiges of wilderness,
the farm country, and the old barn,
he traded creature comforts for deeper needs.
April,1992 revised April,2004 February, 2006

The Mating of Snails

 
Longing For (my digital music composition)
I’m slowly dying away
these long and lonely hours
waiting for you, Eduardo, my almost lover.
So near, and yet so far,
this snail-paced almost love affair
tortures me with tempting promises,
aching fantasies, and bittersweet betrayals.
Whenever I imagine
the unspoken slow pleasures
of our chemical bonding
and mingling energies,
I feel the barely restrained
naked aggression waiting—
waiting in some elusive
time-warped dream.
There I’m suspended in deep desire
as I grasp at slow-motion visions
of what could be.
I dream that we glow in the magic
of transforming love energy,
the catalyst of our lives.
Is this catalyst just beyond reach?
I’d prefer to watch snail races
and digital clocks
than be your collector’s hobby
or a substitute side dish.
Will we always live in a world
of anticipation
landscaped with question marks?
So near, and yet so far,
waiting for you, Eduardo, my almost lover.
February,1998 revised May, 2004

The Ant

The Ant
The battle-fury now dissipated into the usual calm
miseries and slowly savoured spoils of scavenging pride
such conquests bestowed on the ranks of his species.
Theirs was a long history of unchecked gluttony
for conflict, combat, and conquest
making them the most feared aggressors of their kind.
Their militant society continually advanced
in steps marching beyond survival instincts
into zealously fanatical, constant acts of aggression.
They were a vast army of ants,
a single-minded soldierly race of beings,
each working in a frenzy of duty and self-sacrifice.
They were empowered by their numbers
and unquestioning obedience
to serve the dictates of the common purpose
of their robotic insect lives.
They abhorred the mutations of individualism
which rarely surfaced in their troops,
considering such manifestations
as treacherous treason— as dangerous
as the weaponry of weak mandibles.
He knew he was somehow a mutation,
but had hidden his secret
with desperate cunning and desperate courage.
He successfully fulfilled frustrating demands
to act out his life in the expected ways,
ways tolerated and accepted by his social order.
All eyes were the eyes of spies.
He looked about the battlefield of this new territory,
disgusted by the weakness of this particular enemy.
Their bodies were now grotesque statues
spread everywhere in rigid poses,
some with missing limbs and heads
like the statuary of fallen ruins he’d once seen.
He observed the scene with analytic fascination,
his large protruding eyes unblinking
in their detailed examination of the carnage scene.
The mutated sensitivity of his vision
artfully brushed every raw edge of severed body parts,
carefully noting every angle of captured gesture,
studying the chiaroscuro of light and darkness.
The scene was endlessly repetitive in his memory
yet held him in captive fascination every time.
He understood this far better than
the mystery of caterpillars and harmless butterflies.
Everything about them caused him to question his
natural instincts, his drilled education—
caused him to think more deeply about survival,
aggression, and his own mutation.
He wondered about how many unimagined alien lives
might fill the unknown territories, the vast unknown.
How often such thoughts betrayed him to himself
and he reacted with swift executions
of self-condemnation and guilt.
He detected sudden movement among the dead—
an enemy with the audacious will to survive his wounds,
yet too badly wounded to provide a threat
and soon surrounded by scavengers busily at work.
He turned from the drama,
indifferent to the merciless death
taking over where merciless life left off,
looking up instead.
His ever-alert antennae informed him
of the vibrating drone overhead—
a massive swarm of killer-bees on the move.
Now here was a species he understood,
a breed of aggressors without conscience,
a rigid and militant society much like his own.
His leg twitched uncontrollably
and his body grew strangely colder
despite the summer day’s heat.
March,1992, revised May, 2004

The Mountain Goat

The Mountain Goat
Sure footed in her climb to loftier mountain heights
where few others were able to reach,
she moved with skilful ease
enjoying every challenge of daring crag
and dizzying, dangerous ledge.
She kept her balance even in the most difficult extremes
of rocky, treacherous situations—
making courageous leaps
on hooves flexible in their experienced understanding
and agile in response to life’s continual dangers.
Born to the aggressive muscularity
of mountain goat temperament,
she was a female much desired by males
of her tough and weathered breed—
males confident and secure
in their own proven strengths upon the heights.
They respected her dominance in their presence—
respect hard-earned when her stiletto horns
boldly argued their points through the tough skins
of many a rump and many a cheek.
She challenged even the much-imagined
goat devil-god of myth so many kid-like adults feared
and slavishly empowered
with their tradition-bound superstitions.
She’d butt that false idol into oblivion
whenever others threw its conjured image in her way.
This was a lesser obstacle
than the ferocious beasts below—
the adversaries of flesh and blood
who sought to corner and pounce.
Even in most vulnerable position
and hopelessly outnumbered,
she used the power of her horns and hooves—
somehow managing to survive
to the season of another rut.
She’d surrender her guard only for a moment,
by Nature’s decree,
to a courting male who’d instinctively crawl
on his belly with tender whispers to gain her favour.
It was a ritual of her species that she just accepted.
Then she’d zealously protect her kids,
teaching them gradually how to cope
with the harsh realities of their environment.
She encouraged free and independent thinking,
showing them creative transcending of limitations
with caution and regard for safety in their gambols
through the high and dangerous passes.
She was a domineering female
in control of her chosen steps.
No matter what, she’d find her way—
determined and decisive in every step.
No mere weak-minded, docile creature of other species,
she was ever questioning all aspects of her existence.
How she loved the rugged, untamed beauty
of the rocky mountain heights!
March, 1992 revised May, 2004

The Porcupine

The Porcupine
He moved through life’s wild and challenging landscape
displaying his defensive, threatening weaponry—
sharply pointed quills able to instantly pierce
another’s mind and heart like arrows into the flesh.
Each quill was a painfully clear message—
a demand for physical and emotional distancing.
He sometimes yearned for a transformation
of these sharp barbs into Cupid’s arrows—
arrows of romantic idealism
celebrating sexuality and love’s mystery
with adventurous, eager innocence.
He longed for such Romance,
but when it appeared in female form
he purposely ignored her subtle invitations,
ignored his own yearning,
and fought with well-aimed piercing barbs
to fend off her quietly seductive charms.
Romance died, and he moved on…
August, 1992 revised April, 2004