Rebirth

Originally published on Groundviews.

Floods in Batticaloa (http://airforce.lk)

I haven’t been reading the news much lately. I heard about the floods in the East and North Central Province and thought abstractly to myself, ‘how awful’. I watched the downpour in Colombo itself and complained about the shivering cold of that one day during which temperatures fell to 18 degrees – the lowest in over 60 years.

I never really fathomed the extent of the destruction until I happened across a 3-line post on a blog, linking to some footage by the airforce of the flooding in Batticaloa. I didn’t pay much attention to the article on the airforce site, but those pictures stunned me. Water up to treetops. Acre upon acre of paddy land totally destroyed. All I could think was, ‘haven’t they been through enough?’

War. Tsunami. Floods. Would it ever stop? Would they ever have the luxury of having normal lives again? Would there ever come a time when they would stop having to start over? I felt an immense tiredness for them as well as an odd admiration for their unending resilience and ability to survive disaster upon disaster. This post was a result of those feelings – a grossly inadequate but well-meant tribute to their struggle.

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When the skies rumbled, angry and blistered with grey clouds, we were happy. Rain has mostly been our friend – a welcome drink for thirsty fields; a muddy playground for restless babies.

I myself have always loved the rain. As a child I would run out whenever my mother’s back was turned and spin like a runaway firework in the moving, liquid soil. Brown would squelch up between my toes and ooze onto my feet and the cooling sensation would make me swoon. My country is often hot and in those days, rain meant relief.  I would open my mouth to it, my mother’s distant scoldings unheeded, and drink with an eagerness than frightened me. As if I was trying to drink in the secrets of all of nature. And the water would not only quench my thirst; it somehow made me stronger. My feet always stomped harder after that first drink; mud would explode outwards, all around me, and I would feel invincible.

Even as I grew up and learned that explosions were not always joyous, I never stopped loving that rain. In the most bitter times, it would still taste sweet, and remind me of younger, happier days, when nothing ugly seemed to exist. When my world was solely and selfishly my own. I had no real worries then. If I cried I would be fed; if I couldn’t sleep my mother would stroke my back until the feel of her fingertips on my skin numbed me into unconsciousness. And if I was thirsty, I always had the rain.

My father was a farmer and so we lived by the rain. When it didn’t come, we, along with our crops, were devastated. Money was short, food scarce, tempers dark with hunger. Rain for us meant green, growth, abundance, food in our stomachs. As I grew older, when I ran out into the rain, it was to give thanks.

“You love the rain more than me” my lover accused once when my eyes were drawn one too many times to the streaming water outside and away from his dry, smooth skin. “No” I had replied, forcing my gaze away; but I was lying. Continue reading Rebirth

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The stars have it… or do they?

Marry Me Young, by PlayPretend

There’s just something about storybook fortune-tellers, isn’t there? Whether they are men or women, young or old; whether they read stars, tarot cards, palms or crystal balls, they all seem ageless somehow; and beautiful, and wise.

The idea of being able to read signs off of people and nature and somehow tap into the grand design has an irresistible pull for me. One can’t help but think that these people must have something within them that is somehow more intuitive and more powerful, even, than the rest of us. They are privy to a kind of knowledge that seems to us impossible to fathom, let alone to attain.

They – these mystical gypsies, fortune-tellers, astrologers and shamans – hear tunes we are deaf to, understand languages we cannot read and feel rhythms to which we are numb. It is as if we go through our lives with blocked ears, rhinoceros skin and a limited understanding of pretty much everything, while they are somehow born with the gift of being completely open to what the universe has to tell them. Are they magic? Are they the warlocks and witches of our time?

These individuals and their x-ray vision into our pasts and futures have always intrigued me. In fiction, they are the characters that attract me the most, even though they may not be the heroes or heroines of the stories I read. It is for this reason that this blog is modeled on the spirit of the Gypsy – carefree and unafraid, mystical and wise, dancing to a tune that only she can hear and enjoy.

Astrology is not exactly fortune telling I know, and many even consider it to be a science of sorts – but I feel that the two are somewhat related. And as with fortune telling, the ‘concept’ of astrology is a strongly attractive one. The idea that the sky and the stars can whisper the secrets of Earth and its people to a chosen few is breathtaking, to say the least.

That being said, my encounter with an astrologer here in Colombo was far less romantic. He looked to be about a thousand years old, more stoned than wise and he talked so much, mystery never even had a chance. Continue reading The stars have it… or do they?

ICE

(Written a while ago but probably just as – if not more – relevant today…)

Ice Heart, by Happy Tea

The block of ice was determined.

It could survive – even in this heat. If it just gathered its resolve and stayed frigid, things would be alright. The sun would be a forgotten enemy, and maybe they could one day even be friends, laughing at silly conflicts frozen in the past.

The block of ice was determined. …But it really was a hot day.

The sun smiled and the ice block started to perspire. There was no need to smile back. Frigid it would stay. …But what a gorgeous smile. So full of warmth and light and happiness.

The ice block was fighting now, feeling itself start to drip shamefully. This was no good.

And the sun continued to smile that heated, loving smile. Please stay, it seemed to say.

But the ice block got the goodbye it wanted. The sun was fading from view; they would soon be parted forever.

But the sun had its victory too. Because as it winked out of sight, all that it left behind was a slight chill and puddle of forgiving water.

Feet

For Sumani

Sumani in Anuradhapura, Sept 2010 – just 3 months before her passing.

 

A house – not empty

But left cold by your absence

Chills me more than the

Weather outside.

.

I step inside,

And feet already cold from the outdoors

Get colder still

Despite safe haven from the wind.

I take a hesitant step towards the

Gloomy black of the back rooms –

Once your cheery domain

And my happy playground.

.

Today I force my feet

To move in that direction.

.

Another step…

…and yet another…

Each weaker and more faltering than the last.

.

My foot rises once more,

Hovers in still air,

The step incomplete.

Suddenly shy, it drops back a pace,

Whirls on its axis,

And bears me away from your memory.

.

Too soon.

* Continue reading Feet

New Year; Start; Life.

By bekahx3

2011, folks.

8 days in, my year feels wide open. I am unemployed and on the verge of a huge move out of the country – perhaps for good – and right now, it feels like my life could go in just about any direction. It’s an exhilarating feeling but one that’s laced with its share of anxiety as well.

Where will this year take me? I wonder several times each day as I count down to my departure date. I play out different scenarios in my head – jobs, travel, relationships – fantasies, really, but it’s fun to daydream about when I find a spare minute. Mostly because I’m at a point in time where I feel that literally anything could happen and I’ve never felt that more keenly than now. Before I’ve always been able to map out the next few months – if not years – of my life. First I had university, then I had a job. But now…?

Sure, the blanks leave room for the usual fears. Will I get a job? A good job? One that I will love? Will I make it all work? But right now everything feels far too shiny and new to be that scary. It’s funny how new years always have that effect on me. I did not feel at all Christmassy this year, but when my clock switched from 11.59 pm Dec 31 2010 to 12.00 am Jan 1 2011, I felt that old-new thrill once again. What a feeling!  The world was brand new again, and so was I.  Continue reading New Year; Start; Life.