Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta calm. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta calm. Mostrar todas las entradas

viernes, 9 de marzo de 2018

Julia in the desert

   The stars seemed to be very close. Somehow, the sky in such a remote area of the world was different than what you would see in other parts. Julia was lying down on a think towel she had purchased before the trip and she started counting the stars but she got lost and tired quickly. She hadn’t even removed her boots before lying down and now she was falling asleep, in the middle of the desert. She hadn’t prepared her tent or any food. She was much too tired after her first day.

 Early next morning, she was woken up by a tickling on her stomach. Julia didn’t really open her eyes immediately. But as the tickling persisted, she decided to sit down and properly wake up. She stood up in fear once she realized the tickling came from the tough little legs of a scorpion that was parading itself all along her body. She checked herself for any stings but there was nothing. It was clear that, if the creature had stung her, she would be in severe pain.

 Julia decided to spend her second day looking for a better camping spot. She walked half that day all along the desert and the small patches of life she could find, until she found a small group of thin trees. They gave some shadow from the sun, which was perfect because it had started coming out behind big clouds and it was insufferable to walk like that. She was able to put up her tent in a few minutes and get inside before the full power of the sun was displayed. Thankfully, she had bought the right tent.

 She smiled at the thought of her looking around several stores until she found the right one. It was clear that many of the employees at all the stores didn’t really believe her when she stated she was going camping in the middle of the desert. She even explained to them she was studying biology and that was the perfect way to get more comfortable with future trips she might have to endure. But apparently she looked too “girly” and too “nice” to be the type of woman that goes camping.

 Julia even imagined that they pictured her doing her nails inside of her tent or maybe bringing a man with her in order to repel bugs and others animals. But she couldn’t care about all of that, about what she thought they were thinking or about what they were actually thinking. She could only care about her priorities and her first one was to become the best biologist ever. She really loved the profession but had always had a certain fear and disgust towards going camping or working in the middle of a jungle or any wild place. So Julia forced herself to camp and live through it alone.

 She sat down on the tent and removed her boots after almost a day of use. Of course, her feet smelled awful but it was the price to pay for such an adventure. Besides, she was certain that a source of water would be around and she would take advantage of that the moment she found it. Meanwhile, she had to conform with removing her boots and socks and giving her aching feet some air to relax. She opened her backpack, grabbed a couple of power bars and ate them in a few minutes.

 Food was one of the big problems she had to face doing what she was doing. It  wasn’t like she was prepared from day one to hunt and eat anything she found. Besides, she was in a desert and the amount of animals there was severely reduced. It wasn’t as if she was in the middle of a beautiful European forest where she could hunt down boars and roast them slowly over a nice fire. She couldn’t do that, so she had prepared herself with lots of cereal bars and small foods that she could move around easily.

 It wasn’t the best meal ever, but at least she had fresh water, which was enough to make her feel alive once again. She lay down for a bit and realized she hadn’t really done much related to biology. The closes thing had been her encounter with the scorpion and she had run so fast after that, that she was ashamed to call herself a scientist. So after relaxing for a bit, she put on her socks and boots again and a baseball cap her dad had given her before departure.

Then, she went outside to check for animal life outside the tent. Julia found some interesting bugs near the thin trees and was able to take pictures with her cellphone. She had a better camera inside her backpack but she really didn’t want to be fixing its configuration when trying to take the picture of a small creature. She promised herself to check the camera features before going to bed. She saw some more scorpions, as well as tiny spiders that seemed to like underneath the hot desert sand.

 When going back inside her tent, a powerful noise attracted her attention upwards and she realized a very rare visitor was flying over her. Before leaving her house, Julia had checked all the information she could about that part of the country, so she was well aware of the existence of such a majestic creature. It had a very large wingspan but its body was rather small. Its feathers were light yellow, in order to reflect the sun light and being able to blind its prey with them. It was such a beautiful design nature had achieved, so of course Julia took lots of pictures.

 Later that day, and after eating a whole tuna can with beans, Julia uploaded the cellphone pictures onto her laptop. She had brought several spare batteries for it, but even so she decided to limit her computer time to only an hour a day. She erased the pictures that she didn’t like and was about to turn off the computer when she decided to look at some of the other pictures she had on her laptop. Family pictures, others with friends and some at college too. She was smiling in most, not in all of them.

 She even laughed out loud when she realized she had a couple of pictures of her old boyfriends. She hadn’t seen any of them in a long time, as they had been only high school crushes and nothing more. Yeah, she had gone with one of them to prom and with the other one on a long summer vacation. But that was it, they were both now in the past and she had to move on. Actually, it had been partly because of them she had decided to follow her dream of becoming a biologist. They didn’t think it was a realistic dream.

 After turning off the computer and putting it away, she decided to grab the camera to fix the settings before using it the next day. She had bought that second hand camera online and had never touched more than a couple of times to know it could be turned on and off. That was it. Now she had to put everything in the right setting in order to capture the perfect pictures in the scorching desert. But as she wasn’t very good with things like that, Julia soon fell asleep with the camera on her chest.

 The next day, she woke up to see the camera had rolled to the side. She grabbed it to put away but then the bird with yellow feathers screamed loudly. Because this time, it did seem like a scream and not like the beautiful chant of a majestic bird. Julia stepped outside barefoot, only to see the sky was very dark and that the bird was on top of the nearby thin trees. The bird let out another “scream” and suddenly flew over Julia and away from the tree area. It seemed to be escaping something.

 Only moments afterwards, the ground began shaking violently. Julia fell to her knees and saw how her tent moved around as if tossed by some invisible force. She tried t o crawl her way back inside the tent but the earthquake stopped right before she was able to get it.

 Inside, all of her stuff had spilled out of the backpack. Food, the camera, phone and laptop, everything was upside down. The bird had warned her right in time. She was thankful and realized she had made the right choice by spending two weeks in that desert. She was going to make the best of it.

jueves, 18 de agosto de 2016

The monastery

   The poor creature did it al by itself. It had carried the body of a lost hiker after almost dying in an avalanche. The donkey was exhausted and collapsed after crossing the gate of the monastery. Monk Yato was crossing the yard in order to get to the kitchen and was the first one to see the poor animal and the person it had brought to them. By the touch of his fingers, Yato noticed the donkey had died. It was probably due to exhaustion. As far as the man was concerned, Yato and other monks carried him to one of the rooms.

 He was in some kind of coma for almost a week. Every so often, monks would check on him and realize that he was doing great except for the fact that he was fast asleep. But life in the mountains went on, no matter how interesting it was to have someone from the outside so close by. The younger monks were the most curious ones, whereas the older ones hadn’t cared yet and had decided not to visit the tourist at all

During that week, the monks held a small vigil for the soul of the donkey, which they had buried near the main temple of the monastery. They all appreciated a lot what animals could do for humanity and had a tremendous respect for any kind of life that was lost during accidents in the mountains. The men from beyond didn’t seem too convinced by this but the monks believed it with all their hearts.

 One week after, the hiker woke up in the middle of the night. His name was Greg Emerson and he had been climbing almost every single mountain nearby. It was very dangerous as some of the mountains had special regulations but it had been clear he didn’t care about it, at all. When he woke up in the small room they had put him in, he instantly thought he had been captured by some foreign force from beyond the mountain range. He had no idea of monks or their beliefs.

 The halls were being watched and his bedroom’s window overlooked a large chasm with no apparent bottom. The morning after, when one of the monks decided to check on him, Greg committed the mistake of being excessively aggressive. He thought he was too strong, so he released the man in order to stand up and run away. But the monk had not being that injured and jumped at him, tacking Greg to the ground with ease.

 He was locked up in the cell once again and no one came to tell him anything for a whole day. It was very late when he noticed the movement of a light behind his cell’s door and then some steps. He trusted he was going to be released real soon. When the door opened, it was the Grand Monk, a very small mall that seemed to move his legs really fast in order to move at a normal pace.

 When he entered the cell, he told Greg that he knew who he was, his full name, his job in the city and why he had come to the mountains. He even knew that that his reason for wanting to get to know the mountains and nature was false and that’s why he had been confined to that cell until he got better. Now that he was, they had to check if it was in their best interest to release him or if it was better to keep him for a longer time. He complained, saying it wasn’t legal and ethic to retain someone against their will but the Grand Monk clarified he could leave his room but not the monastery.

 The following day, he noticed the Grand Monk’s orders had been honest: no more monks came to check into him and the door of his cell was now wide open. He could walk all around the various levels of the monastery, including the dining room where all of the monks gather at night to have a very sensible and small dinner. Greg missed the real foods from the city, sometimes being hungry for a hotdog and other times for some pasta with meatballs. In the monastery there was only a lame kind of bread with nothing on it and some goat cheese.

 One day, a monk showed him the burying site of the donkey that had brought him to the monastery. Greg remembered that creature and thanked him on his grave for having saved him. As far as he could remember, he had been riding the donkey for a while through the mountains just when they had been caught by one of those awful storms that sometimes happens deep in the mountains. During that awful weather, he had been knocked out and the animal had done everything by itself. 

 Weeks after being “released” from his room, the Grand Monk ordered him to participate in the various activities that the monks did all around the monastery, as he was one more of them for at least a while. So they decided to try him in various areas. The first one was the garden, a small hydroponic plantation overlooking the chasm. He wasn’t very good with plants so he did not do a great job. Besides, his hand were not at all delicate and he was always distracted, looking over at the view or being apparently immersed in his thoughts about how he would return to civilization.

 The next place they tied him on was the goat pen. It was really simple: he only had to fee them twice a day and let the roam around the main yard for a while. The ideal walk for the goats would be to go beyond the gate but they couldn’t let him go with them there so the monk had to tolerate the goats being all over the place now and Greg being useless when feeding them. He only gave food to a couple of them and then he just got distracted when looking at the snowy mountains and imagining what his loved ones were thinking right then.

 His last opportunity was in the kitchen, where a big Monk called Hitso, taught him about how to make the simple bread they ate and how to do some other dished with the vegetables they grew in their small garden.  They didn’t have any modern appliances, only an oven that used wood but there was no wood nearby that they could use. Beside, Hitso explained to Greg that the monks preferred not to eat things that were cooked, instead eating everything raw.

 In the kitchen, Greg really felt he was a little bit happier. Maybe it was the fact that he was serving the monks and that gave him some kind of purpose or it may have been the fact that he had stopped thinking about how to escape and about his loved ones in the city. He just realized that the monastery was his reality at the moment and that it was best to use it in his advantage instead of always being distracted by other things.

 Greg began to enjoy the company of all the monks and even tried to meditate like they did but he wasn’t that calm yet. In his spare time, he would look at the chasm and wonder what marvels laid down there, beyond the light of the sun. Monk Yato explained to him that the monastery had been built right there because their religion believed an ancient evil slept beneath the darkness of the chasm and that it was necessary to have prepared religious people nearby in order to defend the world once whatever lived down there emerged.

 It was a very nice story and, of course, Greg didn’t believe any part of it but he respected the fact that the monks were dedicated to their beliefs. He began thinking that maybe that was something he was lacking. He didn’t believe in anything except fame and fortune and going on to the next thing. Greg was very impatient and had always been like that. He wasn’t the kind of person to wait patiently to see what happened. No, he was the one “creating” his future. Now he was doing the opposite angle.

 Months after arriving in the temple, the Grand Monk called Greg to his room and told him he was ready to go back to the outside world. The young man nodded but then he knelt and asked the old monk to let him stay with them and become a monk like them. He wanted to learn their ways and be calm and a better person.

 But the Grand Monk said that couldn’t be. He had to go back to the outside because he had unresolved business there. Greg had to attend to that and, if he still wanted, he could comeback afterwards and join them. Greg left that same afternoon. He would never come back to the monastery but would always remember what he had learned and try to pass it on.

viernes, 18 de marzo de 2016

Palace pursuit

   The Tanjima pace had been deserted for half a century and it was now a museum. No one really knew why the palace had been evacuated one, out of the blue. The point was that people never returned and decided to settle in other areas, leaving the palace to decay rapidly. It was only recently, some five years ago, that a local businessman had decided to acquire the land and remodel the palace in order to exploit it commercially, as tourism was becoming more and more important in the region. His goal was been fulfilled, as it became one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country in only a few years.

Nathan and George were a couple that had just arrived from Japan and had decided to visit the palace. It was the beginning of winter, so the level of tourists in the place was not that high. They paid the entrance, grabbed a map and started walking. The palace was enormous and it also encompassed several land used as gardens and as farmland, so people could see how the rice and vegetables were grown for the inhabitants of the palace when it was occupied. It generated the first fight between the couple: Nathan wanted to go to the farmland, as they had a place where you could touch cows and horses. But George wanted to go to the gardens and see which flowers hadn’t yet died due to the winter.

 Of the two, Nathan was the more positive and upbeat one. He was always willing to help people and loved to sing pretty often. George, on the other hand, was cranky all the time except when he was in a romantic mood. The only way to calm him down when he was pissed about something was for Nathan to kiss him softly. Many people thought they were not the best match ever but they did get along well. The thing was that they always had these silly arguments that always took their time.

 Trying to decide what to do, they came to a crossroads: one-way the gardens, the other way to the stables. They looked at the map to know what was best but then something ran past their feet. When they looked for what that had been, they realized it was a dog. It was small and very hairy. It was one of those little dogs that need their facial hair to be cut regularly in order for them to see where they were going. But apparently he didn’t have any problem. He just sat there and stared.

 Nathan kneeled that and stroked the dog’s head. He didn’t do any noise, so Nathan proceeded to pat his back and stroke his ears too. And the dog just stayed there, moving his tail slowly. When Nathan was finished, the dog stared at George but George didn’t really like dogs. He thought they were always full of ticks and dirt and he just didn’t like pets all that much. That’s why they didn’t have any at home and Nathan had decided not to fight for one.

 The dog, realizing George wasn’t going make a move, come closer and then bit George hard in the sheen. It was very fast because when they started screaming and looking at the leg, the dog had already left. George was so angry he decided to run after the dog, even when Nathan told him that there was nothing wrong: the dog had not even left his teeth mark on the leg. But nothing could stop George when he was that angry so Nathan followed him.

 They ran downhill, towards the crops. George saw the dog going that way and ran after him because he wanted to grab him and file a complaint. He was like that, always thinking he was making a better world by complaining about everything. Nathan had learned how to handle it, often not even acknowledging his boyfriend, but sometimes it was difficult. For example, this dog thing reaction was disproportionate, especially when George, unaware the land around the crops was flooded, decided to run across them to get the dog, that had sat down on the other side, waiting.

 The result was George getting wet up to his knees with water and a security guard coming and telling them they could be fined for disturbing the crops. Nathan spoke with her and explained that George had just made a mistake and that he didn’t meant anything by it. She decided to let them go, seeing he had just ruined his pants but not any of the plants, and told them to stay away of the area. So Nathan had to push George away and the dog followed them until they were just in front of the stables.

 There, they quarreled for a while. George said that Nathan never really defended him when he was right but Nathan said he wasn’t even right in the first place. He was just being all crazy because a dog had bitten him softly on the leg. George declared that was an example of how his boyfriend always tried to make things that happened to him smaller, as if they weren’t really that important.

They were raising their voices so much that the tourists going into the stables looked at them and some even took pictures. It was only when the dog barked and ran inside, that the two men decided to stop talking and enter the place.

 It smelled like a proper farm and it had room for seven cows on one side and seven on the other. That was half the building. The other half was occupied by the horse area, were George ran to just after entering because he had seen the damned dog going that way. Nathan, not wanting to participate anymore, decided to caress some of the cows and take pictures with his cellphone. It wasn’t that he didn’t love his boyfriend; it was that he was very high maintenance and that was tiring.

 After fifteen minutes or so, Nathan went to the horse area and took some pictures in there too. He didn’t realize George was standing on the doorway, until he was closer. He asked him what he was doing and George responded that he was looking for the dog. Bored with that silly chase, Nathan decided to take picture of the horses, which were enormous. Then, a chilly gust of wind entered the building and he saw George just stay there and then walk like a zombie. He had to go after him.

 He caught up with him not very far, en route to the garden area. Then, out of the blue, the dog appeared and barked and George became crazy and launched himself at him. There was no way to stop him from behaving like that because the dog was doing exactly what drove him crazy: tainting home and making him fall and trip and follow running. The dog, Nathan thought, was smarter than any of the humans in the palace.

 He didn’t really run after George, just trying no to lose him. But then found himself with his boyfriend that had ran out of breath in front of a beautiful field of roses. He touched Geroge’s back and that made him raise his head to watch the beauty that unfolded in front of them: rectangular gardening area were roses of every single color had been planted. And they really were in every single color: red, blue, yellow, pink, brown, black…

 The couple got closer to look at them and realized there was a sign that said: “Please feel free to take any rose you want. You may only take 1 and it has to symbolize something to you”.

 They tried to decide and right then the dog appeared on one side of the rose field and had a red rose in its mouth. He got to Nathan and pushed him gently in order for him to grab the rose, which Nathan did. According to another sign, red meant passion and love. So he gave that flower to George without even thinking about it because he had just realized how much he loved him. He didn’t cared about having to run after him or stand by as he fought his battles. He could do that and more because he loved him.

 George’s eyes were watery but then he remembered he had to take a rose for Nathan. He looked at the dog and asked him which one he should get and the dog barked and both guys laughed. He went for the blue one, which was meant to symbolize all feeling that can live through time, like trust. And he trusted his life and his love to Nathan so he gave him that one.

 The dog disappeared as the two men kissed softly and embraces each other, running through the bushes to find another couple that maybe had come to the palace in need of some advice, without even knowing.

lunes, 13 de abril de 2015

Breathe the forest

   The young man, maybe thirty years old, sat by the brook and took his shoes off. He rapidly put his feet on the water and trembled a bit before the cold water relaxed his pain. He had been walking for at least two days without stopping and his feet really needed a rest. He had blisters and burns so the last stretch of his walk had been especially painful. But he finally got to the brook the map indicated and he knew he was going to be all right, at least for the time being.

 Rains had come and go the past few days. It never really stayed but, when it did, it appeared to wash down every single part of the forest. He was afraid that rain may come back and wash down the river the few things he still had but he had to stop and he would have to take care of things when they happened and not before. So in a matter of minutes he had taken the tent out of his backpack and had started the installation. At one point, he had to take his feet out of the water, which he didn’t like so he tried to put up the tent fast. When the night came, he ate some bread and fruit he had kept from other days and decided to lay down for a bit at the edge of the water; his feet again soaking there.

 He put a sweater beneath his head and started looking at the stars. It was amazing how amazing the sky looked out there, in the wild. Back in any town or big city, the sky was normally dead, only a couple of stars visible. But there, it was like looking at a huge picture of the universe. Actually, that was exactly what it was. He remembered reading how all we see in the sky happened a long time ago and he started wondering how many intelligent beings were looking at the sky thinking exactly the same he was pondering on.

 The man fell asleep right there, feet on the water. He didn’t woke up during the night, only turned over, adjusting his pillow. Although the weather had not being very good, it was still spring and sunny days were not unheard of in this region of the world. The wilderness was a beautiful place to be during spring because everything came alive: the animals, the flowers and even humans could feel that surge of life coming out of them. When the man woke up, he felt the smell of the flowers growing by the water. He stood up and realized his body ached a bit but not much more than when he slept inside the tent, in a sleeping bag. He tried to stand up but his feet hurt a lot and the roots and stones by the edge of the water didn’t really help.

  It was hard, but he managed to take off all of his clothes, leave them on a small pile by the tent and then walk straight to the brook, that had become wider during the night. The water reached his ankles when standing up but that was good enough for taking a proper bath, which he hadn’t done in a long time. He scrubbed his skin with his fingers and nails and did the same all over. He got his hair wet too and tried doing funny hairstyles until he realized they only worked when bathing with shampoo, which he obviously wouldn’t use in this pristine environment.

 When he was almost ready, scrubbing his neck, he suddenly felt something strange. He felt someone was near. He looked around but didn’t see any anyone, not human or animal. He continued with his bath but then he heard the grass and turned around fast, as a fox ran away from him. The man smiled, amused by the curiosity of the creature. He stood up, in pain, and walk clumsily to his tent were he had a towel to get dry. Then, again, he saw the red fox getting near through tall grass that grew where the forest begin again. His dried fast and kneeled in order to get his camera. When he did, the fox was out of the grass, looking straight at him. The man took a couple of pictures but the animal was scared by the sound of the shutter.

 He stayed naked for a while, as he decided the day was warm enough not to wear clothes and no one was going to be there anyway to look at him. As he was not fit for a long walk, he tried to come up with something to do while his feet got a little bit better. He his feet on the water again and took pictures of everything that was around him. Birds were starting to sing, feeling the gentler weather of the day. Some butterflies also flew over the stream and some squirrels, but nothing as big as the fox that apparently was now far from there.

 When putting away the camera, the hiker realized he food only for a couple of days: two slices of bread, some berries, and honey he had gotten from a fallen hive and the last piece of a rabbit. He decided to cook that, as it was about to get bad. He lit up the small burner and cooked the meat. He hoped no big animals were nearby, because the smell was pretty strong for such a small piece of meat. He ate it with a slice of bread and a few sips of water from the stream. He washed the pan on which he had cooked the meat and decided it was best if he moved his camping site, in order to prevent the arrival of a bear or a wolf.

 A few minutes after, he had his backpack on and had started walking along the stream. He was still naked, which felt oddly liberating. He didn’t see the point in wearing clothes in such a remote area and, after all, bonding with nature was better if you tried to be just as nature. He kept walking for more than an hour until he realized the more he walked, the more trees started to appear on either side of the stream, which seemed to have decreased in size, more like the brook he had seen the day before. Rain mustn’t have been strong so the river had no way of staying large. He walked some more until he reached a nice patch of mossy grass. He set up camp there and decided to lie down, his feet hurting a lot again.

 Maybe it was because of the pain or because he had gotten tired from the walk, but he felt asleep again, just after putting up his tent. The weird thing this time was that he overslept and woke up at night. He had n way of knowing the time but he knew it was very late as even the only sound came from the water of the stream. He didn’t stood up when waking up, he just lay there and thought about a dream he had often: it was a bout him feeling stressed, in fear, unable to breath. When having that nightmare, he often heard many voices, some known, some others not. Because of that dream, he had sweated as he slept and know his body felt deprived of energy.

 Trying to forget what he had seen and heard, he stood up and ate some of the berries he had in his backpack. He then walked to the edge of the water and put his feet on it. He ate every single berry trying to think about his past, about the people he had left behind and the thoughts that still hurt him. He didn’t really wanted to think about it but the nightmare had put everything back on his mind. He had travelled from a very far place to this forest in order to find peace and calm but that seemed to be almost impossible. It was just like everything he had attempted to leave behind had found its way there and now it was acting up again.

 The last berry on his hand fell to the ground and rolled over a bit farther. He tried to get it but then a small animal came out of the bushed and bit the fruit first. Then two more animals just like the first one but smaller, came out of the bushes too. It was a family of hedgehogs. Each one bit a small piece of the berry and finished it in a glimpse. They all looked at the man and he attempted to touch them but the remembered their spines. He then looked around for more berries and realized a nearby tree had small apricot-like fruits on it. He stood up slowly, walking with care, and grabbed four of the fruits from the tree. He put them in front of the hedgehogs and waited.

 He waited until the small creatures started biting the fruit and eating. They filled up on just two of them and smelled the man, apparently thanking him for the food. They turned around and disappeared by the bushes, probably to get some sleep. This event had taken the man out of his mind and reminded him he had to sleep again in order to restart his walk the next day. His feet still hurt but he couldn’t afford to stop his journey because of it. This time, he did go inside of them and the sleeping bag.

 He didn’t sleep a lot and woke up very early. He put everything on the backpack fast; put on some shorts and started walking through the forest once again. Later that day, he arrived at one of several posts in the forest, where a park ranger told him people had been looking for him, fearing he was lost or worse. He thank the man for his worries and decided to tell him that, sometimes, he just needed some time by himself to keep on breathing correctly.