HUNTER GATHERER

I realised when I headed off into the Forest, it was always the Hunter that was foremost in me, old ways reignited, to wander with intent, eyes trained to seek and find….to notice the smallest detail. Once found the thrill had gone, I had what I wanted, but in the finding of it, I lost something else.

Where were my people….the auld ones I’d hunted with daily.
The auld man who taught me how to make snares to trap animals; for food and clothing.
My grandmother, so long gone, but dearly remembered….she always knew the best places to find berries, she knew all the ways of cooking and preserving them, and then using the last of the juices for dyeing.
I remember even the ones I can’t recall.
I hear their voices telling me the way of it, I hear them calling from their graves, passing on the knowledge….the way they were in the world long before we turned away.

Now shopping has replaced hunting, we still hunger to hunt and forage….to tread softly over dead leaves instead of concrete and bitumen. To walk searching, using our bodies, retraining muscles that are wasting away, shedding loose skin and excess fat, to find the long hard way home…home to the ways of our Ancestors.

All our activity centred around the fire…..cooking, warmth, conversation, and before that, the gathering of wood, a constant, never ending search for it; and all along the way if we were lucky, because back then water was plentiful….there was always enough rain, so that bending down to gather broken branches, newly emerged mushrooms would be found and collected, yet always leaving some behind for next season…..further along the way were wild lettuce and sorrel….. chicory. Laden down with nature’s bounty and many helping hands, we would arrive back to camp, with firewood and food….our bodies exhausted, but now others could unload, could cook, as we lay down around the blazing fire to take our rest; to sleep curled beside each other….the logs crackling cheerfully, the cooking pots bubbling, sparks rising up blazing against a night sky.

Racks nearby drying skins and food.
Life was harder then, but so were we. Our bodies flexible as bow strings, our minds sharp as the tip of an arrow.

And now the world is burning, the animals we lived alongside, they’re dying….as are we, from stress, addiction, depression, obesity…..

And me….so tired I could lay right down on the hard dry ground that aches for rain, but gets none…..lie down, curl into myself like a dying leaf, and just let go….

All is lost…..all is lost, and I am too tired to do a single thing about it…..

MA ©️ Spring 2019
(A rough draft….a work in progress)

IN A HEARTBEAT


…..a message from him,

“I have a few free days, I’d like to see you….want to see you. Meet me by the lake, late afternoon. Will you come?”

“Yes”, simple as that.

She will go, and with palms outstretched, take what is offered.

Let this be clear, perfect, understanding….this, is what there is.

Driving down the road, her inner dialogue begins, and seeing it, hearing it clearly, speaks firmly.

 I will NOT compare myself to a young girl who looks as tho she has just changed out of school uniform. I am absolutely NOT going there, or I will turn the car, head straight back home and shut the door on him, on all of it.”

But the door stands open and she will go, let herself accept what is.

Arriving, leaving her car parked by the tiny cabin, she walks towards the lake….. its still surface shimmering.

Sits down absorbing the peace.

Dragonflies hover in the late afternoon sun. A fish leaps then disappears leaving circles expanding. Masses of tiny birds swoop and dive over a stand of rushes, their voices a high excited peeping as they hunt clouds of insects, hatching. 

And then his hand is on her shoulder, a sudden heavy warmth….he must have walked in from the road, she heard no car.

He turns her to him, and quietly against her mouth, “Sorry, I am sorry,” kisses her, softly, then an arm around her shoulders, they sit in silence….adjusting themselves once more, one to the other, their breathing easing, slowing, as the light begins to fade, as shadows from the blue green trees throw patterns on the lake. Light and shade upon the water.

She wakes, deep in the night, still held in his arms.  Moonlight streams through the open door, a holy benediction. Reaches up, touching his face, the graceful sweep of eyelids, his thick closed lashes lending him a childlike innocence, bathed in light and shadow. Breathes deep the strong male smell of him, mixed with the sharp tang of their sex. He comes quickly awake , so close he can see the gold green colours of her iris, the pupils hugely dilated, and pulling her to him falls and falls deep into their colours as he enters her again, as she takes him deep, her hands cupping his buttocks, as they rock each other, slowly, still gazing one into the other, mouths tasting this shared blessing, rocking to a rhythm entirely their own…..bringing each other home until once more they fall asleep.

Morning comes, bright clear and icy cold.  Clothing themselves quickly, they go out to gather kindling, arms of chopped firewood, neatly stacked and sheltered from the weather.  Soft rain begins to fall, wetting their hair, their shoulders as they hurry inside, drop the wood by the stove, turn smiling, wiping droplets off each other’s faces.  An unspoken agreement to speak only of themselves, each other.  If he wishes to tell her about the girl, she will listen, but for now, cocooned in this early morning joyfulness, there is no one in the room but them.

And sitting at the table with thick brown toast, marmalade, fruit and good strong coffee, they speak of simple things, sharing good plain food and conversation, constantly touching.  She feels her pulse slow once more, as they  reach that point of peacefulness.  And the rain quickens, falls heavy on the small tin roofed cabin, a drumming heartbeat as he stands up, pulls her to him……”come back to bed”, he says.

The flames glow in the wood fire stove, and rekindled once more in them.

A thousand years of pain, of loneliness, of living, fall away…..she is once more a child, a girl, a young woman…..rebirthed in this narrow bed, her hands cradling  his head , gazing into infinity.

SHOCKWAVES


And then reality hits her like a punch in the guts; arriving back at her car, taking off her coat she turns to speak to an enormous out of breath man, being tugged along by a pair of eager dogs….”Staffies,” she cries out to them and reaching down to their sleek, joyful, wriggling bodies, she suddenly feels him. Like an inner sonar wave, before she sees him, she feels him.  Fleet of foot, he slips by and slides right in to the car parked beside her, his young girlfriend driving. They pull out and drive away, leaving her flush faced, guts churning.  And the demons dance and cry, waving their fists triumphantly in the air, “we told you, we said so, didn’t we???

“And any way she had said to him, I don’t care. It’s too late, It was always too late”

The grinding truth descends, she DOES care.  She feels empty and hollow as an abandoned shell, and struggling….trying to get some much needed air, trying to breathe.

And her own, softer, compassionate voice, “darling, you knew, you always knew it would be like this, you did know, didn’t you?”

And then, despite a gut full of sharp knives, the voice of reason, “better this raging pain, than the numbness you felt before.”  She’s not so sure, as knees bent on her bedroom floor, arms folded across her belly, she rocks herself in overwhelming waves of grief.  Would she do it again???  Truthfully…..in a heartbeat.

Like the aftermath of a terrible storm, morning comes, all fresh and rainwashed clean, she goes about the simple doings of the day, finds all of herself , without, within …..still there, a complete, functioning female being. Content to be alone. She questions was it all a dream, finds his TShirt, still smelling of him. Finds peace, and some kind of wonder falls upon her.  “I am very much alive”,  and for now, nothing else matters, not one single thing.

Will she put herself in that kind of danger again, she knew and didn’t know the repercussions of taking such a step….off the cliff top, flying bodiless through space, then falling like a stone into the fire raging below, burning to ashes.

Now standing in her garden, she reaches down to the cool blue ceramic bowl, brimming with last night’s rain, throws cold clear water in her face, shakes herself….shaking all thought of him away.

And running through her mind at the very same time, the words he said, as they lay limbs entwined on the narrow bed.

“My love, my love….my little dove.”

I KNOW WHAT’S COMING

No idea now, where we are going, I turn and look at him, his face in repose, focusing on the road.

“ I trust you, or I wouldn’t be here”, but it’s important I know where you’re taking me.” He turns, looking deep into me.

“You will be quite safe, I promise you”.

“It’s not that” I say, “but, once we begin, I need to be somewhere where I can scream, I can already feel it rising up in me. I know I’m going to start screaming “

He reaches his left hand across, and places it between my legs, feeling me, already wet, turns a burning gaze, then his wide pirate’s grin.

“ all right, then, I know just the place.”

I take his hand, press his long fingers deep, clench my thighs around him. Are we almost there?

My earlier fear has vanished like mist, now I burn all over, hungry for him….he laughs then, leaning his head back, really laughing.

I think this is going to work, after all.

Still holding him, as he drives slowly, one handed.

*******

Excerpt from “Breaking Taboos,” an Erotic Fantasy

RAPPIN’

I think I need to see a psychiatrist
I got trouble with my phone
I keep playin’ with it
I try to let it go
Then the screen lights up
And so
I haveta see if someone out there’s
Likin’ it

I’m thinken’ of all the things I could be doin’
Like diggin in the garden
Or canoein
I could even read a book
But I gotta take a look
And check what all my friends out there
Are postin’

There’s so many bitchin things
I gotta see
Like savin the Rhinoceros
And Bees
The Whales are in big trouble
The Reef is gettin mined
I want to save the Elephants
If there’s an App that I can find
My house looks like they bombed it
I try to get things done
But my phone won’t let me do it
They tell me I’m the One

If I just sign this petition
Or the 20 thousand more
I’ll have saved all the Orangutans
Street people who are poor
The pretty little kitty
And the dear old grey faced dog

“Just sign another willya
But first ya gotta log
Into just another website”
I’m gettin’ really stressed
My Doc says I gotta save myself
Or I’ll never pass the test

The phone is runnin’ hot
The battery is low
I’m callin’ my Psychiatrist
I REALLY havta go.

MA ©️. Autumn 2016

TRIANGLE….the Beautiful Young Girl

She takes hold of my arm as I turn to go….

“He’s with me, he’s mine”

This outburst brings me sudden joy and unexpected laughter, that this gorgeous young woman considers me a threat….and responding 

“I know you have something going on with him, yet I doubt he’s yours, or anybody’s….but, if he offers himself to me, then for that moment in time, he’s mine…….he is mine; not because I am taking him from you, but because he is giving himself to me….and that is a gift I am grateful for….no matter how quickly it passes….or the loss of him when he is gone, but for that time alone with him, he is mine….all mine.”

(this is clearly my lie to myself…it is a visceral thing, the joining of two bodies, not easily parted from)

I gently take her hand off me….she sees clearly in my eyes looking back at her, the truth of it, lowers her lovely thick lashes, trying to hide what is already seen….triumph fading to acknowledgement.

Quietly, I say “He gives himself to me, because he saw that I was starving….an act of love, yes, love of a kind….and generosity.”

BEYOND THE JOINING

She loves the afterglow….that lull, when two bodies cease the great struggle towards the “Little Death”, when the pulse quietens. Loves to explore the unfamiliar territory of his face….to go beyond his eyes, touch his still wet lips with delicate fingertips…..trace the strong planes of cheek bones, the thick dark stubbled hair around his mouth and chin, and then all along the lithe, lean, length of him….every inch. To saturate herself in the strong male scent of him….intoxicating.

Lover, traveller….seeking, finding, the lovely unknown terrain of him…..and then returning to the pull of his gaze, his strong beautiful face, and finally at rest….looking back at him, into him. Those clear blue eyes, the soul of him.

Excerpt from Breaking Taboos….an Erotic Fantasy

THE MORAG AND ZOE STORIES…..part 4

Continued…..

the MORAG & ZOE stories,
Gulpa Creek Community

The Travellers life is one of constant movement, adjusting to all and any possible conditions. As we walked our Forest trails together…Gracie always ahead, bending to pick up fallen treasures….a gum leaf, blue green, with pink and scarlet and a scattering of spots, pointed tip curling. A shining dead beetle, jewel like, poked into her pocket, rabbit tail….white furred fluffiness, the leavings of a fox kill…..a dull spent bullet…
All were lifted, examined, displayed, discussed, pocketed or discarded. Then she would suddenly turn, look at me intently….gone was Gracie….she’d morphed in the turning swish of long hair and swirling skirts, fur edged boots, into Zoe.
“have you checked all the Panniers”??? I’d say, and not missing a beat….”The horses are ready….we’ve enough mushrooms and berries for tonight’s dinner….have you got any herbs”, she’d say.
“Parsley, some wild watercress and onions, and apples I collected from the little house we passed by, this morning”, and satisfied, she’d turn again, leading the way….tossing me a further enquiry over her shoulder.
“How far now till the next Village” and I would say……”Can you see the smoke from fires, way way off in the distance”, and point, to a far away place. “Ahhh, she’d say, smiling, satisfied…..only a few more miles, and we’ll be there…..the horses and mules need resting, the lead horse’s halter needs repairing, and I’d say….”We need meat…. Have we any gemstones left to Trade”???
Patting her pocket with a shrewd little smile, she’d declare there were still a few Turquoise left to spare……then I would catch up with her, take her small hand, smiling.
“Good, we’ll buy some rabbits to cook in our pot, did you remember to sharpen your knife??? We’ll eat well tonight, Rabbit Stew, with apple and berry pie”
Swinging hands together, before she slipped away, running free, we’d talk through the serious business of buying feed for our pack animals, safely tethering them close by our fire…..did we have enough warm blankets for the colder nights???
And away she would run, hair flying out behind, skirts swirling round her slender legs, feet clad in fur trimmed boots, disappearing through the dappled light, beneath the big old Gum Trees……running towards the Village fires, towards the night….

MA© Autumn 2018
To be Continued

THE MORAG AND ZOE STORIES ….part 3

Continued…..

PATHWAYS, the MORAG & ZOE stories,
Gulpa Creek Community.

From the time that she could stand, Gracie was a born walker…..not in the ordinary sense, but as a traveller. While other kids chilled out in lounge rooms watching tv, she was out with me….exploring everything that lived around, above and on the Forest floor.
Giant Goannas, so amazingly patterned and textured they seemed to have stepped straight out of an Aboriginal Painting….with huge claws for climbing trees and long tails lashing, they were impressive beasts, but we felt no fear of them….they just were there, alongside us. During a big flood, walking on top of an irrigation channel to avoid the vast floodwaters below Gracie said….”there’s a fox in the tree”. A typical adult response from me, “no darlin, it must be a red cat”, then turning a corner….there it was, a fox, sitting about 20 feet above the ground, surveying the flocks of Chestnut Teal paddling peacefully below. The fox had run up what I called a big old female Red Gum, with great swollen bulbous base, and huge branches low enough for bold Reynard to climb.
A wondrous sight.
Years later, a neighbour who lived across the paddocks from us, asked me….as I was leaving to go back to Melbourne, “would you please show me all the pathways, before you go???”
“What pathways” I asked her.
“The ones you and Grace walk every day”.
Feeling astonished, I told her ….”there are no marked pathways…..we simply go into the forest and make our own”
Having never left the main roads the cars used between houses and to the river…..she had no concept of walking into the forest and just exploring…..I wonder if she ever did, and understand now, what was completely natural to us, was daunting to others.

Now, back to MORAG & ZOE……with our team of pack animals, four horses and two mules, we pushed on South, walking into colder weather…..always negotiating ways to get by.
Once, worrying about dwindling supplies, I, Morag, said so, “Zoe gave me a “you with little faith” look, reminding me that our third pack horse carried enough hand-woven rugs and carpets to trade for all that we needed for the coming Winter.

MA© Autumn 2018
To be continued

THE MORAG AND ZOE STORIES….part 2

Continued….
The MORAG & ZOE Stories….
Gulpa Creek Community

As Grace is today, so Zoe was then.
Always a practical business woman, and myself having a passion for stories of travellers, especially those who walked through the world…..we would always find a way to get by…..somehow.
Trading.
I would consider the need for some quality feed for the animals, the fact that our own food supply was running low, that we were moving south into colder weather and would need appropriate clothing.
Zoe always had a solution to every problem.

(in a former life I had sold crystals and gemstones at weekend markets, Grace would often come home with more money than me, selling off Barbie dolls or My Little Horses, and with an instinct for trade I was sorely lacking….a potential buyer, scanning our stall, would be about to move on, but Gracie Rose would say….”how much will you pay, I’m willing to barter”???) and so, back to our story.

I, Morag, might be concerned about lack of goods for our necessary trading….but in a blink, Zoe would remind me that she still had some Garnets and Turquoise in her pocket…..more than enough for purchasing all that we needed…..and skipping ahead, now deep into the shade of the Forest, long hair bouncing, skirts swirling, her pocket full of imaginary gemstones….we would walk on, into our Gypsy dreaming……

MA© Autumn 2018
To be continued