Saturday, 28 May 2016

What's In A Name?

One day a breeze slid across a field of wild flowers, lifting a seed, soon to be named Alice, and  trapping her within the shivering breast feathers of a passing bird. This bird took flight across  glistening rock beds, through a forest of evergreen and  across a tumbling river where she finally fell into a field of golden wheat and it was there that Alice took residence.

Alice looked up to see the tall grains stretching towards the heat of the sun, as they did every morning and,  as they did every morning, they swayed together, gracefully, purposely, brushing against one another, creating a vibration the spread across the field, a hum, a quiet calming hum which moaned between the breathes of the earth she grew upon.

Alice, ever changing, woke, as well, to the warmth of the sun, and, as well, stretched not only to feed from the light but to be amongst the others. Stretching with such force that she felt herself break apart and at the same time rush forward.  Her body spread green against the gold, unfurling like an untold story to separate the congregating stalks that smothered her.

"Ahhhh,"the wheat screamed.

Alice hadn't noticed that she was born with prickly thorns around her stem and leaves, and unfortunately, Alice's first words would be used to apologise for her existence.

The ear bowed down to look at his now torn leaf and this odd plant that seemed to trespass on wheat soil.  He shivered with the other plants before returning to the rhythmic sway that didn't invite Alice to join.

Farmer Mother the one who tended the fields  looked upon Alice with curiosity. She had never tended to anything like her before and, frankly, she didn't know what to make of her. But, Alice had grown in her field and therefore, would be taken care of like all the others. She would cover her leaves and stems with soft cloth, and paint her gold so that she could sway within the group.

Alice ached, bending to and fro like a rusted metronome. She became more and more bothered by the constant humming sound and the brushing of the wheat and quickly her paint peeled off. She realised that she would never be part of the sway. She screamed loudly, "Stop it!" which startled even those who usually remained indifferent.

Farmer Mother quietly whispered, "Brushing should soothe you," but Alice felt otherwise and she cried and cried breaking the rhythmic chanting of the field. They stopped and they stared. So, Farmer Mother instead built Alice her own space that she could feel the sun and stretch out and grow. And Alice did grow and grow and suddenly and beautifully she had a rush of long red petals that  made the shape of a basket. Her petal basket held the sun but it also held seeds, dust, dirt and rain water shaken off by the wheat.  Alice felt the strain which bruised and wilted her petals.

Farmer Mother, tired after a long day of turning over soil, fixing fences, pulling weeds,  didn't have time, energy nor the desire to drain Alice so sometimes she would pretend to not hear her cries. Farmer Mother secretly wished that Alice would just do what was expected of all who lived in the wheat field, but Alice would remind her that she was not wheat. Alice would slump her red petals, and slowly they would fall out and lay at both their feet.

Farmer Mother didn't want Alice to be sad, she simply wanted her to sway and shiver and hum.  She wanted the field to return to calm but the Farmer Mother accepted that Alice was different and so chose to cut the others back, giving Alice more room.

All were contented but Alice,  as it is perfectly understandable, because, although their touch hurt, she wished it didn't. Hands stretched out desire to be held or at least to have the potential to be held and Alice no longer had that.

When the sun began to set and Farmer Mother's feet swelled in her boots. She breathed deeply as she went again to tend to Alice.

"Where were you? You promised to take care of me and I haven't seen you all day!"

Farmer Mother took off her hat, wiped her brow and said, "I am here now."

"I am scared, Mother."

"Why are you scared?' Farmer Mother looked at her watch and then looked to the house.

"There is a red beast and it comes out at night."

"Now that's silly. I have never heard such nonsense!" Farmer Mother began to turn away.

"It is not nonsense,"she cried and stooped her red petals and again they started to fall.

Farmer Mother let out a long deep breath, " Would you like to tell me about the red beast?"

Alice looked up, "He comes at night and takes over the sky and blankets the ground, sometimes he breaks into a million beasts and they all attack me."

"Shall I sit with you then?"

"Please,"she said more as a question than a reply. "If you would like you can rest under my petals?"
Farmer Mother thought of the little spikes on the flower, "No, I am fine here," and she sat on the hard dirt.

As darkness unfolded across the earth giving the stars their movement, and as the ears of wheat lulled themselves to sleep, the moon rose causing a red hue to travel through the sky, which cut across clouds before breaking apart above the golden land.

Alice shut her petals, bowed her head and yelled to her mother,"There he is and he is coming for me.  I am scared, Mother. I am scared!"

Farmer Mother sighed, "It is just the moon."

Alice became angry,"No, it is not a moon. It is a red beast and it is coming for me!"

Her shouts travelled faster than the red hue and the fields began to wake. Farmer Mother went to quiet her and she crawled beneath her red petals and there Alice's world took life in Farmer Mother's eyes. It was not just a moon but vibrant blasts of red shouting through the sky fracturing, exploding, expanding, fireworks set off by the unsuspecting clouds. The colours showered down on the wheat fields creating a brilliant, dynamic mosaic. Each overwhelming detail caught in Alice's veins. It's beauty which she created and held, which couldn't be seen by others but was gifted to her mother at this moment on this night.

Farmer Mother gasped, "Alas, little one..." trying to comfort, to explain that it was not a beast but a glorious gift that belonged to only her, but she couldn't find the words for this explosion of colour and sensations. Still Alice quieted. A petal fell down on her mother, crossing over her shoulders, "Alice, is that my name?"

Farmer Mother realised that in the excitement the little flower misunderstood her.

"Is that who I am, Alice?  I have often wondered as I knew I wasn't wheat, no matter how hard I tried, and if I wasn't wheat then who was I? Now, I am Alice or Alice is me." She straightened her stem and her petals reached out as if she was answering to an encore and  waiting for the applause to quiet. She, no longer trying to dance with the wheat, but now, instead, allowing the wheat to dance around her, her vibrance warmed the field and warmed Farmer Mother.

Alice turned to Mother and asked,"Do you think that we should name the others because if you look quite closely, they are not all the same, and maybe, one or two would also prefer not to sway or shiver or brush?"

"Maybe,"replied Farmer Mother witnessing the details of each one's own particular story.

"I name that one Lilly and that one Elliot." said Alice, and that is how Farmer Mother and Alice spent the rest of the night. As the field, which once was only gold, blossomed with colours so did it too blossom with newly recognised life and, as should be expected, each new life rightfully deserves its very own name.