The Swamp

He wandered, not sure whether it was aimless or not. Lost on the path that was meant to be taking him home.

Was it the right path?

It had occurred to him that this path might not be going in the direction it was meant too.

He’d narrowly escaped the clutches of the Swamp Witch, and was now looking for the way home.

The forest was enchanted. Gerard knew that much. Around knobs and hollows in the trees fairies buzzed. Their different coloured auras looked like tiny moving lights in the gloom.

And in patches where the light shone through the dense canopy, little gnome villages could be seen, their red and white toadstool shaped houses obvious if you knew where to look.

He walked past such a village, positive he’d seen it before.

But there ahead, he saw it. Proof that the path was deliberately leading him astray. The Swamp Witch’s house stood out, tall and proud in amongst the Swamp.

He smiled ruefully to himself.

Yep. The path home was enchanted too, and he didn’t have a clue as to how to get out.

Water

“I don’t want to go into the water, Mum,” my brother, Wilson, pleaded.

“Silly boy.” She shook her head and then her tail.

Mum, I don’t want to,” he complained again.

So, it was up to me, the big sister, to show the way.

I dipped a toe in, and then joined him in whinging.

“It’s all cold and wet feeling,” I told her.

Mother sighed.

“We’re designed to swim, both my silly ducklings.”

The others were already splashing around in the river, with our Father. This fear was humiliating.

Just then, we heard it. A rustling in the bushes. All three of us turned, and stared into two amber eyes.

“FOX!” yelled Wilson, and we raced each other to the riverbank and dived in. I looked around, and was relieved to see our Mother swimming towards us.

Looking back to where we had been, I saw the fox slunk off heading towards the cover of the forest.

“I told you the water was safe,” she admonished.

Once upon a time I would have resented her smugness, but today?

As Wilson and our other brothers and sisters joined us, and Father took up the rear, I was too relieved to care.

Meaning of life

I’m in my middle years of life. Sometimes I wonder why they’re not called the muddle years as life seems to suddenly turn upside down and inside out.

I remember my 30s. Life was ahead of me. My thought was that I was wise now and had years to sort out life.

Once, I was 20. The road ahead glistened with all things new and there was potential everywere.

But I am in my 40s and am a Writer. So there is only one cure… ad that is to write about it.

I can see my next novel now… the plot is as follows:

Character… 40 yo. Desire… Meaning of life… Obstacle… she’s living with a Magical Pumpkin Pie that won’t let her leave…

Anyone else know how to turn this into a meaningful story?

Novel project

Bear with me a while. My aim is still to publish regularly on Liz’s Everest.

But now, and until the end of October, my focus is on writing a book.

So far, I’ve started the first chapter. The opening scene can be found in a story I wrote in May 2020. It’s called Yellow Rose and can be found in the Archive.

The Archive can be found at the bottom of the Welcome and Archives page, accessible from the menu.

The name may change. At this point I am unsure. But stories tend to suggest their own titles… so I’ll allow the novel to tell me what it’d like to be called.

Thank you for continuing to support my work.

Liz

Neighbours

A brilliant question came through my internet feed this afternoon. It was asking me what three things went well today.

I answered with FOUR reasons why my day went well.

But the best part of the exercise was focusing on what I’m grateful for.

My answers included that I woke up. Many people, each morning, do not.

Then, I mentioned how smoothly my morning disappeared into the afternoon. How I returned home from work to take care of myself and my chores.

Although it was third on my list, spending time with my neighbour was the most important out of all.

This member of the Silent Generation and I, have become fast friends over the years. She has been invaluable and now I have a chance to give back… for her wise counsel, beautiful cooking, and endless cups of tea and conversation.

So… from my own life to yours… just something that may help…

Reach out to your neighbours.

In my experience they are a treasure indeed.

Trees

“Can the trees talk, Pappa?”

His innocent face was frowning, dark honey coloured eyes staring at me from underneath his brows.

I looked down.

Sunlight streamed through the canopy, lighting the green grass tussocks at our feet.

“Well…”

I hesitated, arthritic hands on the weeding implement that I had been using. Crouching down next to my Grandson, I was now at eye level.

“Maybe. Why do you ask?”

“Because when the wind blows through their leaves, I can hear whispers. I was wondering if it was the trees talking.”

We were in my back yard, out near where the garden became the forest. Little Dylan had followed me out and was now accompanying me as I weeded this section of yard.

There was something magical to my little Grandson about the natural world where I lived. He never ceased to dream and wonder about the land around us.

This was his most recent question.

“The trees tell each other stories, much like how I tell you stories.”

“What do they talk about?”

My knees felt stiff, so I stood up. Dylan stepped back, grasping my fingers and trying to help. I gently pushed him away.

This one I had to think about, or else I’d be in trouble. My daughter in law didn’t believe in playing make believe, and I was walking a fine line.

In the distance, a loud deisel engine sounded, growling even louder as it roared up the hill before our driveway.

The sound died down as the car braked in front of the family house. A screen door slammed, as voices greeted each other. And then my wife and Sally appeared on the back step to the yard.

“Mummy,” cried Dylan, his old Pappa forgotten now that his mother was present. He ran to her side, throwing his arms around her legs.

“The trees tell each other stories, Mum.”

Sally kissed him on the forehead as she picked him up.

“Do they really?”

I held my breath.

But today, she was smiling.

Alistair

Ice and snow filled her vision.

Feeling more alone than ever, she scrambled further up the winding mountain pass.

“As long as no Mountain Trolls see us we’ll be fine,” said a voice from behind.

Mitch trudged upwards too.

Diana heard him slip and turned around.

A full year younger than her, Mitch was her brother and best friend.

“Are you okay?”

Mitch was looking over his shoulder, a scared grimace on his face.

“Trust me, there is no such thing as a Mountain Troll,” Diana admonished him.

A soft swear word was caught in an echo, the sound gaining momentum before disappearing into silence.

The mountains this high up were unforgiving. Snowflakes began to spiral downward.

Mitch after catching up with his sister stared at the sky.

“Diana, that doesn’t look good.”

Through the white landscape, a dark smudge indicated a ledge in the rocks ahead.

“There, Mitch. Can you see it?” She pointed towards it.

Squinting, Mitch set his face in a stubborn scowl.

Silently now, both sister and brother climbed towards it. As they neared, a tunnel reaching further into the mountain became visible. The two teenagers continued past the entrance.

The tunnel was high and roomy, with enough space for the siblings to walk side by side easily.

Warm air drifted through the tunnel towards them. Walking around a bend, a rosy glow greeted them. Going in further, the rosy glow became a cheery fire.

“Hello strangers. Welcome.” A little creature, the colour of sandstone and with a hide just as rough and hard, was sitting by the fire, waiting for them.

“My name is Alistair. What’s yours?”

The little creature beamed.

“Err…” Mitch turned to his sister and whispered, “what is it?”

Before Diana could answer, Alistair cocked his head to the side, still beaming.

“I’m a Mountain Troll. And this.” He swept his arm to take in the cosy room.
“Is my home.”

Babylonian time

Time. It’s a resource we’re always short on. But where did measuring it come from?

The Western method of measuring time, using 60 seconds to a minute, and 60 minutes to an hour, is Babylonian in origin.

This is some trivia I picked up from a documentary. The rationale is that 6 is the lowest number divisable by both an odd and even number.

It’s fascinating how history influences our modern lives.

Ancestor

The swimmer kept doing his laps. The ocean pool, cemented into what was once a rock lagoon, was bitterly cold, and the icy wind only made it more so. But it reminded him of home, and of Neptune.

A woman stood on the shore, a collection of seashells in her hand. By the make up on her face and the blue wig covering a tightly wound bun, she could have been an Actor.

Finally, the swimmer pushed himself up onto the ledge that ran the perimeter of the ocean pool. Looking up as he vigorously rubbed his body dry with a towel, he saw her. A wave and a smile greeted her, and then he was on the footpath winding its way back to the beach.

“Kevin, aren’t you cold?” Brown eyes gave a troubled look at the scantily clad man, as he approached.

“Yeah. A coffee will heat me up.”
Kevin smiled at Katherine, as he started towards the black Volkswagon.

Later, Katherine sat at the Cafe, 2 lattes sitting on the table infront of her.

“They’re cold now. You took too long.”

Kevin’s golden eyes crinkled as he grinned. He pulled out a chair and leaned back.

His eyes were unusual, she had always thought. And so was his obsession with swimming that ocean pool. Katherine had resigned herself to never understanding.

The red headed man across from her, raised the mug to his lips.

“This tracksuit is too warm. Mind if i take off my jumper?”

“No. There’s no one here to see.”

A head emerged as the navy jumper fell to the ground. With his chest bare, he could have been a Greek God.

Sighing, Katherine met his gaze. “You’re crazy. I swear you’re part Mer-man.”

The golden eyes crinkled again as he smiled.

*If only she knew my father* But his smile hid his true thoughts.

Romeo

My heart throbbed, as I stared intently into his eyes. His courage had been astounding, and all I wanted was to drown in the ice blue of his gaze.

Success had been his. He had won my Father’s heart; Not a small feat. And I knew he was the one.

All of 16 years old, I was convinced I knew my way around the world. Travelling to Sydney for the first time, one night from the country, I had met him. My train stop had arrived too suddenly, and I had missed it. And my current Love, had helped me when I became lost at Central Station.

Spending every free moment in Sydney together had been bliss. He had even bought a ticket and caught the train from Sydney, back to my home with me. We had alighted and a taxi had driven us to my family’s house.

Darren had entered through the front door, while I waited on the driveway.

” Dad said he liked you?”

The icy blue stare dazzled me and I felt weak at the knee.

Until..

“Yeah. I told him about us.” Then his icy blues dropped their gaze.

“What did he say?”

“Well…”

He scuffed his toes into the dirt.

“He wanted to know if I’d buy him a slab of beer.”

“And?” I couldn’t express my excitement.

“Well, you see. I spent the last of my money on the train ticket.”

“And?” This time my voice was full of alarm.

“When I told him I had no money left, he said no.”

My face must have betrayed every nuance of shock. I thought Darren would pass any test Dad gave him.

Darren smiled. “On the upside,” he announced. “Your Dad did give me the money for the return trip.”