Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Weekly Wings Challenge 6 - Back to Your Future - Part One

I am taken to a place along the seashore, a small village with some crudely built apartments that have been carved out of the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean. It's surrounded by palms, flowering trees, hibiscus, and vinca. The apartments themselves are as multi colored as the surrounding flora. Along the eaves of this building are brightly colored glass bottles that have been broken and embedded into it's stucco walls. I climb a rusty metal stairway attached to the outer wall that leads me to her apartment. As I ascend past the floor of her front porch, I can see her in the open window typing away on her computer. Stepping onto the porch, I notice scuba gear strewn across a hammock and left in the warm sun to dry, two plastic lawn chairs and table covered with the remains of used candles, a bonsai, a hanging basket of vinca, and a hummingbird feeder.

She pauses briefly from intense concentration on a story she's writing, and spots me surveying her patio. With child like enthusiasm, she runs out to greet me, and embraces me warmly. I start to cry. She says nothing, just smiles a soft faded smile of understanding, then pushes the strands of beads aside that make up her front door, and signals for me to come in. She knows why I'm here and where I've come from.

The inside seems sparse compared to the front porch. There's a single bed in the corner with a lamp and night stand, her desk and computer in front of a window overlooking the ocean, an easel folded and leaning against the desk, and bookshelves with art supplies and camera equipment intermingled among the books. The room is filled with the smell of fresh pineapple that must have been consumed at lunch. The back wall has three small windows with frosted glass near the ceiling to allow the ocean breeze to blow through. Under these windows are hung her paintings. Some are framed, some aren't. On the window sill by the desk sits a small brown mouse she calls Bilbo, quietly grooming himself. There is a sense that everything is in it's place.

She doesn't offer me a seat, rather, she shuts down her computer and grabs her hat, braiding her long white hair while slipping on her sandals. Like school girls off to a slumber party, she grabs my arm and says, "let's go for a walk." She lightly skips down the steep stairs with excitement that makes me seem old and tired by contrast. We cross the street and follow a path through a small patch of jungle before stepping out onto a white sandy beach. We take off our sandals and run through the warm sand to the waters edge, and cool our feet in the sparkling turquoise water.

We are walking along the shore, wading in and out of the tide, when I ask her to tell me about her life. The sunshine illuminates soft color beneath the time worn lines on her face as she starts to tell me about all the interesting people she's met. Her face beams with passion while relating stories of their different cultures and the challenges they faced. She speaks of the ones she had become so close to, the ones that inspired her, and her eyes shine with compassion. Her tales are rich with sadness and joy, acts of courage and love, and genuine empathy.

"What do I need to know? What advise can you give me?" I implore.

"Keep searching for understanding." Her answer is as simple as her life has become, yet as deep as the emotions she so proudly carries.

She waves to a couple casting their nets into the water. I can tell by their smiles that they are good friends of hers. We come the the end of the beach where the land points it's rocky finger into the ocean. The tide is low. She climbs the rocks out toward the waves, and takes me to a favorite place of hers. It's a tidal pool nestled in among the rocks. She points out the different sea creatures, and knows them all by name.

"It's wonderful how they thrive in the turbulent ebb and flow of the tide", she says pointing to an iridescent anemone that reaches out when the water comes in.

"What name should I call you?" I inquire.

"Anemone", she replies.

For details on this challenge click here.


Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Super image and picture! I need to come back and reread this.

(I read it sort of hastily because I have to work again today--I am doing Photoshop consulting!!!)

Anonymous said...

just got in from college. feeling rather 'pissy' today. after reading this i feel privileged to have walked that future beach and to have seen the future you. i feel like going out to find some vinca to weave in my hair - i'll email you at the weekend. ;`)

bluerose9062 said...

Thanks Mary! You do some pretty cool stuff with photoshop! Enjoy your consulting work.

Obscurio, a walk on the beach really cures a pissy mood. Been feeling rather pissy myself lately. This exercise has lifted my spirits. Didn't think of weaving vinca in my hair, though. I'll have to try that ;]

Toni said...

I could really feel this place, you provided great 'tactile' details (rusty staircase, for example) ... isn't it amazing how SIMPLE the answers are when they come from our future selves -- these brilliant 1-liners! The illustration is soothing to me.

Sha said...

You are a brilliant author! Keep writing!!! I could read you forever...

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I really want to do these Wings challenges. I love what you did with this.

I'm worried a little about looking twenty years ahead--as I will be 82 that year and my parents both died at 83 and were not doing well at 82. (Masssive Understatement!) AK!

Maybe I will look 5 or ten years ahead. LOL!

Wonderful work here.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

This is really lovely and with poignant and deep meaning.

bluerose9062 said...

You never know, Mary, if your able to reach your goals in the next five or ten years, you could be a healthy, vibrant woman at 83, and defy the legacy of your parents. You may be taking your great gradchildren for a ride on the back of your motorcycle, down that winding mountain road that leads to your house in the mountains, where you've been retired for 10 years. Imagine all the wisdom you'd have by then.

When I was in my 20's, I had a good friend that was 79. She could run circles around me, but when she was in her 40's, 50's, and 60's, she had all kinds of health problems. She was an amazing woman.

bluerose9062 said...

Thanks Sha! You're my biggest fan ;]

bluerose9062 said...

Thanks Toni! I really enjoy reading yours, too! I'm always amazed at how much you get out of these exercises.