Sunday, August 25, 2013

Paper Boat

It wasn't the pain. It wasn't the whooshing sound in my head. It wasn't the cool wetness of the towel that was placed on my forehead. No, the first thing that alarmed me was the tone of the various voices that drifted in and out of my hearing. Though my eyes were shut I could feel the concern, even alarm in their eyes, the rigidness of their gestures and the stillness of their fear in the room.
Looking back, even at that moment It didn't occur to me that something was seriously wrong, but that something was not quite right.
In my mind the darkness of the shadows deepened and lengthened. I backed away from them awkwardly and limply, but night accelerated and engulfed me. I found myself floating on this dark strange new sea and tired as I was, I let go...You see, I knew that I had no choice in the matter and having no choice but to surrender is sometimes the scariest thing in the world. I was not me anymore, the determined me, that wouldn't go out without a fight. There was no battleground, no monster that I could attack.

"Is she going to recover?"
"Too soon to say I'm afraid, we still don't know what we are dealing with"
"Don't worry so much, little Lea is a fighter..."

But I wasn't a fighter on that dark sea. I was a paper boat thrown to the mercy of the four winds...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The tide that turns

I didn't get to ask Jupiter my questions.
I went to the tree where I thought I may find him, but in his place I found a neatly folded note : "Back in an hour, leak at Monastery". Oh well, I was feeling oddly tired and still shaken by the strange letter I had received. I might as well have a rest and wait for him.
So I sat under the tree, on the cool moist grass. I let my mind wander and trace my thoughts, like you would a contour of a stone. My life seemed whole, yet I knew deep down, I yearned for more. I loved my work, the birds, the garden ,the island...But...forever aching for something that was unattainable, probably because I didn't even know what that something was vague but constant.
These and lesser thoughts danced their awkward little dance in my head and after a short while I drifted into sleep.
I lay there, naive, in total ignorance of how things would shift and change very shortly. How the bright light of that afternoon would recede and the shadows would lengthen and seem to be never ending.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A letter from the East

-The letter. It arrived this morning by way of the monastery.
The dishevelled nun who delivered it didn't look too happy - 

 I pride myself in believing I can read between the lines.
When someone says "Oh no, it tastes delicious but I just had my supper and couldn't possibly have
another bite!" I know that what they really mean is that the pie
I have just served them could have
done with more sugar (or less, if that day I was preoccupied with
something else while baking it...).
I know that if someone says "have you done something different to your hair Lea?" it really means "You look like you did when I last
saw you and I would like to say something nice about your appearance but can't for the life of
me think of anything - you wear the same kind of thing day in - day out!"
But this letter has made me rethink
the strength of that particular ability.
Nicholas has that effect on me
and while it is refreshing and adds
a certain spice to our conversations, I hate not him being here so I can ask him a few straightforward questions and get some simple straightforward answers...
Who is this "charming Sara"?
What is so special about these
Eastern Isles? What has he found
that he thinks he needs to talk in
riddles about it? How on Gods earth does he think I'll be able to travel to meet him? And what are these Passage Way Poems, that he believes have enchanted me?
The latter I suppose I can find an answer to. Jupiter can at least help me solve that one...Now I only need to find him.. last time I saw him he was halfway up the cherry tree making affectionate sounds to some newly hatched chicks.
I'll take him some tea and pie. I hope he has not just had breakfast.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Memory of Ink

I have previously written about Jupiter's strange belongings. He keeps them all tidily tucked away in the big wooden trunk in his sleeping quarters most of the time. But tonight he endeavored to show me one of the curious items hidden within.
He calls it an Image Collector. It has the shape of an ordinary bottle and can be used by those who find it difficult to describe something in detail to obtain an impression of just about anything for their personal records.
The contraption was invented by one of his fellow countrymen, who was a teacher of Marine Life at the local school. Jupiter explained that the man had been fascinated by some tiny marine creatures of the Sepia family, that were extremely sensitive to light. Every time the tiny squid were exposed to even the tiniest hint of light they would be so disturbed that they would expel  a liquid ink, that was brownish in color but also curiously luminescent.
He experimented with the oil based ink, only to find that when dropped onto a paper surface and exposed to heat the ink would spread like tiny lichen onto the surface and create an image, strangely reminiscent of the environment that the squid were in, at the time of their exposure.
He proceeded to study this even further, and hence discovered the qualities of this amazing new substance...some how this oily ink had it's own memory, and given the right conditions it spread in a thin layer and revealed this memory.
All this was extremely fascinating to me!
But I was skeptical. That is, until Jupiter showed me one such image he himself had produced using the contraption.

Here it is for you Dear Reader.

The image he captured using the ink is a delicate paper representation of the Constellation of the Hare that is on display in the House of Stars on the island of St Catherine's.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A gentle planet

It has been two months since Jupiter has joined me. Things were a little awkward and truth be told I felt quite tense and uneasy having another person around all the time. I sensed his own uneasiness too, and odd as it may seem, that first shared emotion was the thing that broke the ice.
I tried avoiding him as much as I could. He tried avoiding me. This resulted in some comical moments...imagine a giant of a man tiptoeing around in a room, trying to not disturb my writing, and bumping his forehead on the ceiling at every took three doses of my finest headache remedy, to avoid symptoms of acute concussion.
He has been very helpful, assisting me in daily chores, carrying heavy loads and fixing nests that I'd need a ladder to reach. The birds have taken a liking to him, and a few even perch on his shoulder when he takes his long afternoon walks. Lately I sometimes accompany him too...and we talk...he has some thought provoking ideas...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A forest of divans

After our meeting in the Aviary Garden, getting to know each other a little better over some refreshments and some rest I took Jupiter to the monastery the next day. The nuns would surely have a spare room for him to stay whilst he was waiting for the return of Nicholas.
But it was not to be. The nuns were going through their pre-spring cleaning...again. Two years ago they had an unfortunate infestation of bed bugs during a heavy winter, and ever since, any time the sun would come out from behind it's grey shroud during the winter season they would take all the beds out to be washed and aired. I sighed whilst entering the monastery gates as a forest of upright white divans stood almost luminescent against the stone walls.
- Oh no child, we couldn't possibly... it would be highly irregular to make a guest sleep on the floor, and well, he is rather too large to sleep on our best sofa. Jupiter shuffled embarrassed in the backround as sister Anne stretched her neck to meet his face. I made a note to myself to send her a balm of rose mint cream for whiplash that evening.
- Where did he sleep last night? asked sister Anne
- Well I had to improvise, so I let him sleep in the assistant's room in the back.
Sister Anne directed her next question to Jupiter.
- Were you comfortable sleeping there? I know there hasn't been an occupant in those quarters since Lea took over so, it must have been cold and moldy!
- Ayee slept like a chick in an unhatched egg, sister! Sister Anne raised an eyebrow and Jupiter elaborated.
- It was a very fine sleep indeed!
- Well Lea, there is your solution. Take him back to the Aviary and he can stay in those quarters.          Don't worry yourself about extra food, I'll have one of the girls bring you a warm dish of something every eve. Now child, I have to get back to whipping those divans.
And that was that.

Friday, February 22, 2013


My winter solitude was to be interrupted by a new acquaintance.
I found said acquaintance lurking behind one of the larger aviary cages on a bitterly cold eve.
I was repairing a fallen nest, when I spotted a shy pair of eyes attached to a wrinkled face upon a huge monster of a body peering at me through the ebony bars.  I caught my breath and waited - for what, I do not know- while rooted to the frozen soil beneath my feet. The stranger, noticed my state of fright, panicked and started mumbling a tune under his breath. My eyes caught sight of a wooden trunk , lying on its side, next to the giant's feet. My heart quietened as my logic concluded that if the man meant harm, he would not be dragging a wooden trunk to the scene of his crime. He probably was a traveler who had lost his way. I mustered the courage to confront him, stood up straight and took a step towards him.
-Are you lost? I asked with a voice that echoed foreign to my own ears.

-No miss, fact is, ayee believe ayee am where ayee suppose to be miss. He shuffled sideways and almost stumbled over the trunk. To be fair, that was not the answer I was waiting to hear, so I paused, and am afraid to say feelings of dread started rushing back and piercing my spine. But dear reader, I did my best to hide this. That's what I choose to believe, anyway.

- So you are looking for the Aviary? I asked, clutching the scissors I used to trim the nest not five minutes before, a little too tightly.

-Yes miss, see ayee was looking for a miss Lea, and ayee is to believe this is where she lives. See ayee was sent by master Nicholas miss, I have papers here for her and all, and...

Hearing his words my somnambulist heart somersaulted and landed awkwardly on it's fragile balance. This man was sent by Nicholas. Was Nicholas alright? Had something happened that he needed to contact me urgently using this giant as a messenger?
He took my white chalk face as suspicion on my part and hastily drew the papers from his well worn brown suit pocket and handed them to me through the bars.
Within the string tied bundle, there was a letter with familiar hand writing and a small paper wrapped package.  I smiled and this seem to encourage the stranger to start where he left off.

-   He asks if ayee could stay with you some time. Till he gets back thats all. See miss ayee'm to help out on his book, and he thinks it would be a good thing if we two get a head start. Ayee and miss Lea, that is.

This man had not even introduced him self, scared me half to death in my own garden, and now was asking to move in with me?

-I'm miss Lea sir...but you staying here is highly irregular. I don't even know your name!

-Jupiter, miss. Jupiter Waters, cartographer and amateur astronomer, very pleased to meet you! He strode towards me and bowed curtly. I extended my hand and was met with a heartfelt albeit painful hand shake.

Now we acquainted ourselves, what was I going to to do with mr Jupiter Waters!

Here dear reader I insert a drawing, so that you may see for yourself how tall this man really is.
I included some sketches of a few of the contents of his wooden trunk. I'll talk about that in detail later on...


Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Colours of my Life

It's the second month of the year already and I am still alone. The rough seas surrounding the island seem to be accentuating my isolation as they grip tightly the terrain in their white, fluffy grasp. Is loneliness making me over romanticize everything? Probably. Should I worry about this? Maybe. Am I turning this journal into a secret diary with girly thoughts? Yep.

Nicholas hasn't written or sent any sign of life for over a month. The birds in the aviary are enough work and company to keep the days full, but something seems to be always lacking.

 I pulled myself together this morning and did what every person that feels sorry for themselves do: I ventured to find out if I am alone in my feelings of doom and gloom. The best place to do that is the islands library. As I have said before, the islands library consists of journals of every single person past and present that has inhabited the island. As human nature repeats itself, I was sure I'd find a similar account to my predicament and maybe if I was lucky find a solution too.

I knocked with intent on the imposing wooden door and waited and it wasn't long until one of the librarian's helpers opened the beast for me. She was a young girl, barely in her early twenties with a broad smile that displayed somewhat goofy teeth. She ushered me in and led me to the first isle of books, the scent of newly bound leather calming me with every breath. Maybe I didn't need to read anything...maybe I just needed to inhale deeply and my sadness would be cured.

- Yes miss, so were you looking for something particular or were you just wanting to browse?
This question came as a bit of a shock...I wasn't sure I had a suitable answer, at least not one that would not portray me as a complete idiot.
- Erm, well. I am not really sure. I am looking for something but I don't know how to describe it. To be honest I don't know if it even exists.
- So let me get this right miss, you are in doubt? Would you say that is correct?
- Umm, I guess so. The teeth I at first took as goofy, started to look menacing.
- Follow me then! Her tone indicated that I shouldn't consider for a minute to not do as I was told. So I dutifully obeyed.
She led me to a section in the middle of the next room. It was tidy and dust free, obviously it was a section that was used a lot. The heading over the neatly placed leatherbound books was one I hadn't noticed before. It was simple and to the point: WHEN IN DOUBT.
- The procedure  for this section is quite simple miss, stand in front of the bookshelf, close your eyes and point to a book. Then take it to that small desk over there and reflect while reading.
- So I pick a book by chance? The look she gave me would have made any grown man hide under a table and tremble.
- No miss, whatever gave you that idea!! Consider, your height for instance, if you are left handed or right handed, if you have a tendency to stoop, etc. You will pick the book which is suitable for you, there is no doubt about that!
I chuckled inwardly listening to her unintended pun. She ran through the instructions again, then turned and left me standing and wondering if there was a back door and if i could get to it unnoticed.
But I didn't look for a door dear reader. I did what she told me to do. And I was rewarded handsomely.

This is the book that I chose. It was called "The colours of my life" and the author was one "Mrs Janet B. Carlton".  The book was full to the brim with colour palettes. It seems that everyday Mrs Carlton would not write an entry in words but in colours. And every day the colours would be different. As much as I tried I couldn't find a duplicate colour in any of the pages.

I spent all the morning and afternoon going through the book, and even without words I could read the authors feelings and innermost thoughts. It was almost nightfall when I realized that the library would be closing soon and I had to leave.

Did the book I choose make me happier? No it probably didn't...but it did teach me one thing that comforted me: That tomorrow's colours, even the colour of the sadness I felt would be another hue. And it could possibly be a beautiful one.