My eyes are my giveaway. They abandon me when I need them most, look away when I wish to gaze, hide behind black plastic and still fail to respond. My eyes are my bane, my downfall, my shame. They weep when I would wish them not, flicker when I would wish to stare at the rain, blink too often. My eyes, how I hate them! Yet, still, they gave me you.
A True Story From My Writing Life
Stardate: 18/07/2017 Richard’s front room.
It began as a tingling that I quickly dismissed as nothing. The tingling continued, so I brushed myself down and carried on typing. A little later, I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye. ‘Pft!’ I huffed, must be going crazy. It happened again. Something black was moving. Ordinarily, I’d have jumped up and wrestled the lion or whatever it was, but I’ve had trouble with my eyes this last week, so dismissed it as wobbly-vision.
When I felt something crawling up my shorts, I took more decisive action. I placed my iPad to one side, cool as a cucumber, honest, then leapt up. A spider fell out of my shorts and legged it under my writing chair before I could get him. I was not pleased. I like my writing chair and didn’t/don’t want to move. So, the waiting game is on. Who’ll blink first? Who’ll win this war of attrition? And most of all, should I put my trousers on? These are just some of the questions I shall try to answer when I next update you on THE CREEPING TERROR!
Disclaimer: The above Pixabay.com image may or may not be an accurate representation of my foe.
I've just spent most of a nice long walk to the coffee shop this beautiful Sunday morning explaining my theory of why I believe my wife a monkey. As you can imagine, she was enthralled. From the Darwinian explanation of the opposable thumb, hers always getting caught in my trouser pocket when we hold hands, (this wouldn't happen if I held hands with a tiger or an elephant) to the Planet of the Apes noises she makes when sleeping. The similarities are remarkable and irrefutable. Unfortunately for me, evolution has trumped the male of the species (that's me) because she's got the coffee money. I'm beginning to wish my theory was wrong, but I've already written the scientific papers as proven by this. Looks like I'm going to be drinking from the drainage ditch again. I wonder if this makes me a rat?
Author's Note: Something a little different today that got me thinking.
Whilst hitching a ride to the coffee shop with my wife, we turned into the shopping park where it's located and saw something highly unusual. I always keep an eye out for wildlife, I love nature, and spotted a bird I'd never before seen in real life, yet recognised instantly. The fellow in question was a beautiful Little Egret.
I said what I'd seen and we slowed down to view it. I'll come back to why I couldn't take a photo of my own in a minute. In the meantime, here is an image courtesy of Wikipedia.
These birds are becoming more common in England, but rarely as far north as Yorkshire.
Now here's the thing. We didn't want to scare it away, so went for our drink. My wife left first, and me later for my run. But I had to see the Little Egret again. So, I jogged back to where I'd spotted it, phone in hand, but the little bird had gone. I was disappointed.
So where did I see this rare beauty you shout? A drainage ditch my reply. And although I didn't think much about it at the time, on reflection I think it's ironic that one of the most beautiful creatures I've ever seen, gleaming in the dawn light in all its snow-white splendour, was in a shopping park drainage system. It just doesn't seem right, or maybe that's just me.
Thanks for reading
“You look shattered.”
“Aren’t they all? Life doesn’t get any easier when you close your eyes.”
“Just a bit.”
“What is it you do?”
“I’m a lion tamer.”
“Lion tamer my ****!”
“There’s not much call for us these days. There’s no more circuses, no safari parks, no great exhibitions, nothing. Times are hard.”
“Sure are. If we’re feeling the pinch, you must be.”
“Yup. It’s really beginning to bite.”
Author’s Note: Believe it or not, this is actually an almost true story from when I worked in retail. The smallest, meekest guy you could ever meet had this conversation with me. He used to wear a black suit at all times and a bowler hat. I thought he was talking out of it (as we say here) and not until an older and very honest colleague of mine confirmed his by then retired job, did I believe him.
Funny what you think about when you’re having your morning coffee.
I took this picture this morning whilst avoiding the many cowpats that proliferated across the meadow. The cows had been extra sneaky by utilising the cover provided by extra long grass, (we’d had a lot of rain) and lack of marked pathways. They knew I’d be coming along to gaze at the Sunday sky and laid, or part-set, I’m unsure of the correct term, their secret, smelly traps. Fortunately, I outsmarted them.
You see, unlike the cows that wander the meadow willy-nilly unaware of the natural beauty around and above them, I am, and treasure it. As such, I concocted a brilliant plan: stand in a safe zone and just look up, the clouds would come to me. They did. And although my bovine nemeses mooed their anger and showed their general displeasure in other less subtle ways, I managed to see a beautifully textured morning sky, whilst they only got to see me. Man 1 – Cows 0. Unless that’s what they wanted all along? Hmm.
Sooner or later we all wish for something unattainable. Perhaps it is a form of self-punishment, an endless agony to prove we still feel? Nevertheless, as we cling to the fairytale with the tenacity of sharks a seal carcass, our eyes wide, teeth bared, we still hope for more. The shark by its nature knows no better. We do. But for us it is harder to let go. At some point the shark will be replete, while our unattainable dream will persist gnawing at our very souls. This is the nature of the unattainable. Yet we may still find peace in the searching if our hearts are open and eyes willing to see, whereas the shark will ever be swimming in circles. Such is life, an endless looping of food and thought.
I have always been interested in nature. One of my very first memories was of receiving a book called A Naturalist’s Guide to Great Britain. I still have this book even though it was given on my seventh birthday. I used to peruse the pictures and then try to identify the same things when outdoors. For some reason, and for someone with such a bad memory, most of the nature stuff stuck in my brain particularly birds. I still look for hawks and buzzards every time I go outside.
When I grew older — I won’t say taller — I made a point of visiting and holidaying in places that were linked with natural beauty. I’ve been lucky in visiting such wonderful countries as Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden as well as many others renowned for their scenery. I have loved them all. I think this is why I love a view and at some point in the future, if ever I could afford a permanent one, it would mean more to me than any amount of material possessions.
There are two things that have brought me peace of mind. The first is writing — I honestly hate to think where I would be without creating. The second would be when I’ve been as far away from other people as I could get: the top of the Eiger in Switzerland and the Arctic Circle. I dream of those two individual things being one. I love it quiet and I love stunning scenery.
Author’s Note: If I remember, I’ll write a post about my visiting the Ice Hotel in Sweden, having to go to the loo in the middle of the night in nothing but my boxer shorts and a pair of trainers and walking past a bar full of very drunk people. They went quiet. I went red.
I have concerns about whether the next generation and certainly the ones after them, will be able to admire as much natural beauty as I have. This worry is probably reflected in a lot of my short writing for WordPress and with more subtlety in my long-form work. I become frightened whenever I consider the consequences of our acts. So much now rests in the hands of humanity and those hands are greased and sweaty.
Life is a delicate balance, a see-saw in a hurricane one might say. Life is colour and sound and texture and the sum of our collective imaginations. Life is also a constant source of inspiration and nature personifies it. I’m not sure what I would do without a few green trees, unkempt hedges and a stream or two. I wouldn’t write the same as I do, that’s for sure. Food for thought.
Thank you for reading
Richard M. Ankers / Author of The Eternals Series
Into Eternity (Soon!)
Sleep that oldest of adversaries has climbed in to disrupt my day. A ridiculously large coffee revives me in a way the fresh air has not, but not fully. I’m somewhere in between alive and not. There’s music playing in the coffee shop; I think it’s on repeat. I’m so tired I even contemplate posting a selfie to prove it. Not that tired though. I wonder when this zombielike state will disperse or if I’ll be treading the grey frontiers all bank holiday? Super market shopping is next. I’m dreading it! You may find me sleeping in the deep freeze with the peas and carrots, if so, please do not disturb. Or is it peas do not disturb? I’ll sleep on it.
I’m reclining in a cocoa lagoon where the natives all wear the same clothing and the colours never change. I like it here in this snippet of another world, my personal escape.
I breathe. I write.
The sound of grinding coffee is not a vexation but a soothing balm. Here, people talk as though in dreams and Venice accepts them with open arms, and an open cash register. I prefer my privacy but somehow am less disturbed by this than I am the Prefab Sprout that slips from the speakers.
I breathe. I write.
I talk to the girls behind the counter in a way I otherwise could not and would not and try to smile back. The irony, one is Italian, a Venetian, and I wonder if my dream is solidifying. I hope not. I like this dreamscape too much for it to become real.
I breathe. I write.
My time comes to an end. Social media has been answered, words written, and the routine I love and crave beckons though it seems a continent away. But I won’t run, not today. I choose another route, a smile playing across my face. I’ll take a gondola across these cocoa lagoons to remind me of my time here.
I breathe. I breathe. I breathe.