( This is the closest to heaven I am likely to get for a while… )
At this time of year, I hover over my bonsai collection like a mother hen, watching and waiting for the long-awaited signs of the new growth that would mean a new year has begun for them.
Most years they all return, bursting into life with enthusiasm.
There have been a few disappointments, like the time the frost was so severe it killed several of my charges.
Or when some obscure tree disease strikes, and a tree sadly dies.
I was inspecting them all this morning, pleased that most of them were on the move, when my eye came to rest on one such afflicted tree that suffered badly two years ago. Only the disease hadn’t killed the whole tree, just half of it.
I bought this tree as a small shrub from a garden centre, attracted by the almost black colour of the finely cut foliage. I had never seen one quite like it before and although it wasn’t yet a bonsai, I was sure we could create magic together.
When the disease struck, I thought I would eventually lose the tree altogether but every year it grows stronger. It is a most unusual shape but its desire to grow and grow well somehow has me rooting for it.
I have some very good trees, well worthy of being called bonsai but also have a motley collection of oddities. I call them bonsai in training but in all honesty, will probably never be good enough for that distinction. They come from just about everywhere, from the garden or seeds dropped by the birds. Some I don’t even know their name but love the look of them.
I may be a perfectionist in other things but not where Nature and all growing things are concerned. As one of her biggest fans, I love everything she does, no matter how odd or unusual.
She does her best to be perfect and that’s good enough for me…
©Jaye Marie 2020
For visually challenged writers, the image shows the sun painting a golden pathway across the sands and sea.
The pale-yellow orb hangs
low against the shoreline
Jason has dragged the golden fleece
Across land and sea
His many adventures mirroring
The twelve labours of Hercules
Stories he is eager to tell
When he reaches home
Of giant men made of stone
Seas that boil
The Gorgon, her hair of snakes
Do not look, she turns flesh to stone.
They are tired, hungry
More monsters assault their path
They fight on, home is calling
The king waits for his prize
Like Hansel and Gretel
Jason and the Argonauts
Follow the golden path home…
In the land of what if
You get to take a different train
Meet new people that end up feeling the same
Turn left not right, did this change anything?
Late for work you catch the bus just in time
No matter the change of circumstances
You end up back where you started from
Because it’s the right starting point for you
What is meant for you?
Cannot pass you in its many forms
Don’t waste time
In the land of what if
Tomorrow could bring something
You are waiting for…
Although we live in a town, it isn’t an inner-city town. Tucked behind the South Downs in Hampshire, we are just 19 miles from the sea.
An ordinary town really, rows of streets spreading out from the town centre with all manner of shops and businesses. The local council keep it tidy and provide us with well-kept trees, bushes and green areas.
Sometimes, if you know where to look, you can find something special here, something that doesn’t quite belong. Hidden among the sprawling streets, small treasures can be found. Little rivers emerge unexpectedly, creating a magical atmosphere. ( I have recently found another such treasure. Post to follow…)
We have such an oddity in our back garden.
We all have trees and bushes in our gardens, but we have a giant gum tree. Far taller than our house, it dwarfs every tree for miles around.
It seems so much supple than other trees and maybe this has something to do with it being a gum tree. The leaves smell faintly of eucalyptus and it has such a graceful way of moving with the wind.
I watch this tree most mornings as I wait for my brain to warm up, but this morning we had the aftermath of Storm Eric. The wind was fierce, so the view from my window was dramatic. Strong gusts tried to break the tree, viciously pushing and shoving until I thought one would give way. But the branches were so supple they simply danced away, ducking and weaving like a Whirling Dervish until the wind abated.
We could learn a lot from trees. Most of them have been here longer than we have and will remain long after we have gone. They survive, I think because they simply do what they were born to do and they do it well. They take what comes in their stride (so to speak) patiently waiting for the seasons to change or the wind to stop blowing.
A lesson for us all there, I think…
Out of Time
Kate’s life, her mind, is out of time
A savage wind took all
But the brush from her hand.
Her thoughts crash like a wild storm.
She no longer has the will to speak
One last blow to strike
A fake wedding planned by Detective Snow
To trap the beast that waits without.
Will Jack be snared or run again?
The snowman, as Kate calls him,
Will stay with her until the end…
Excerpt from Out of Time…
Kate sat at the table in the Vestry with her head in her hands. She couldn’t believe Jack had found her again, in spite of all the Snowman’s security. She kept seeing the ivory roses, blood dripping from the petals, laid on the altar like an offering. Only Jack could have thought of something that macabre.
The blood reminded her of what had happened to her beloved Dylan, her silver tabby. Jack had ripped him apart in her kitchen, strewing blood and fur all over the floor for her to find. At least this time, she wouldn’t have to clean up the mess.
Why had Michael gone outside?
She knew he was having trouble coming to terms with the fact that their relationship was over. After all this time it must have been a bitter pill to swallow. But going against David Snow’s specific orders was foolish and irresponsible. Maybe his depression had grown bad enough to warrant taking such a risk. Or had he wanted to die?
The voice disapproved. ‘I did ask you to try and be kind to him, Kate. Even though you couldn’t love him, you, of all people, should have treated him better than that…’
It was true; she could remember feeling that bad. Jack had that effect on most people. Just knowing he was out there somewhere had made her suicidal in the past, and the feeling wasn’t too far away at the moment.
The Snowman should have let her see Michael, her imagination couldn’t be worse than the real thing. Right then, it didn’t seem real, and she kept expecting to see him come through the door at any minute. She wished with all her heart that she had run away the first time she suspected Jack was back on the scene. Michael’s sudden reappearance had reawakened all her old desires and dreams, rendering her incapable of thinking straight.
Fate was too cruel. Why had it conspired to bring Jack back into her life at that particular time? If he hadn’t arrived when he did, her brother would not have died and the chain of destruction would have broken.
She wanted to run away but suspected there was no point. Jack would find her wherever she went. The knowledge sunk in that none of them were safe anymore, if they ever were. What would it take to be rid of Jack for good?
Kate heard the door open but realised the noise had come from the wrong side of the room. As she raised her head to investigate, a damp, sweet-smelling cloth covered her face. She struggled against it, but he was too strong.
The room went dark and then faded away…
The lockdown and isolation has entered the Den of Doom (my office) with a vengeance this week.
We have tried desperately to maintain an optimistic attitude about everything, including all those annoying PC malfunctions. I seem to spend more and more time trying to catch up, meaning I never manage to get around to anything creative anymore.
So much so, our respective muses have been AWOL for days!
Undaunted, I had been looking forward to working on the new bonsai shelves. The wood has arrived and so did the freezing weather. I don’t do freezing to death as my old bones refuse to function below a certain temperature.
So, the waiting will continue…
Shame, for I was looking forward to spending hours away from the computer.
In the middle of the week, I started what I thought was a bad cold, streaming nose and sneezing. Of course, I immediately thought I was dying, but relieved to discover that sneezing is not a symptom of the Covid19 virus.
When the tickly cough arrived, I slipped into denial in a hurry.
The experts say that most people will only get mild symptoms and recover quickly, but not people over 75 who also have serious medical problems like heart conditions, asthma and hypertension, also like me.
Denial is a wonderful coping mechanism and I’m pretty sure I’m not dying. In the past I have beaten some usually fatal conditions, so not expecting to lose this battle either if it turns out that I do have it.
The good news is my temperature is normal and I feel fine…
I crawl through the wreck that is my life
Armed by despair
Hope lies trapped in a dark corner
Where my hand cannot reach
Through the maze of grey matter
That is my mind
I hear the chatter of many voices
At last, I make my way back
To a stash of bright smiles
The land survived without me
The corners are no longer dark
I am free to walk outside
It feels as if my feet
Are touching new ground…