Archive for June 24, 2014


20140624 Barbs of Silk


Yay, me! I did at least 1,000 words today! I think this might want to be a longer story.

It was of silk and barbed wire the peaceful war brought to my eyes. As an old crone, I remembered my days as a young girl. This was my favorite place in the whole world. Sand, surf, salt and wind, all still remain. That is all that withstood the time. Withstood mankind. I dared not walk on the sand much less wade in the surf, if I could make it that far. Among flotsam and jetsam of bent steel and crumbling skeletons of buildings and boats, plastics, cans and medical wastes floats seaweed and jellyfish but hard to find. No, fear of hypodermic needles or broken glass, refuses my need to assuage my aching spirit. My old bones were willing for the hike, but I knew I wouldn’t live to the foam without great injury to my ever bare feet. I will have to continue my walk of hope. Maybe somewhere the beaches of my youth still exist.

This wasn’t how this started. Children, friends and other family used to fill my days with so much noise I cried for quiet solitude. Now I would give anything to have that happy mayhem in a house with a revolving door. Houses now are places to fear. Even if you find one that might keep you safe and warm for a night, warriors strike swiftly with bombs and machine guns. Survivors should only be under their rule. The old are useless to them and waste supplies. As the silky death of the beach, so any haven brings fear.

The last time I saw an old person, I was a young mother. My own mother got the sickness and died all the while I chased children around her bed and hardly noticed the significance of  that final moment. I hardly noticed her passing, my life so full of my own motherhood. Father had been gone all along. He was off making a living, then escaping the trials of parenthood through television, as the father of my own offspring.

When the days of motherhood gave way to my own pursuits to avoid the tragedy of empty nest. Who knows what happened to my own? When the end happened there were no more ways to get word from loved ones. Are they alive or dead? Have they been captured or have they found a way to to survive as I have. I’m sure they have the same questions about me.

But, hush. I hear something. I drop behind a bush hoping the snakes are elsewhere. Sure enough, there are soldiers marching up the road. They do not speak to each other. They are well trained. I note that they are marching north. Darn. I was going to head north along the coast. There is no longer a PCH, Pacific Coast Highway. That was gobbled up in the earthquakes and tsunamis that followed. In fact, I am walking in what was Los Vegas. I had thought to head north toward Reno, could it still exist? The ocean would have to flood Lake Tahoe meeting the Sierras first. It could be there. I hated Reno when I lived there. Stray Texas rangers and their guns were the law of that old west.

It was only sheer luck that I got out of there. On a whim one day, I took a bus to the south. At a stop over, I saw a quiet dusty road. Since I had a couple hours before the next bus came, I thought I’d take a walk. It was spring so a myriad of colors and smells. The breeze was just strong enough to keep the Nevada heat at bay.  It felt so good that I stood and enjoyed it playing in my bleached honey blond hair. I found an old oak tree that seemed to call me. I sat at its roots and started collecting acorns. Decapping each corn gave my hands something to do as I searched the patch of nearby clover for that elusive four-leafed stem. Yes, I did find one. I still have it here, tucked in this old bag. For some reason I gathered the bald acorns. I was glad I did.

I grew restless and I got up to continued my walk. I picked flowers along the way and made a laurel crown for my head. I saw a herd of wild horses. I stopped to watch them frolic  and munch on scrub brush. The smell of the happy equine brought back memories of horse rides with friends back in grade school.

Suddenly as if on silent cue all ears perked and the herd, as one, galloped away. I felt a need to be with them. Who knows why. I ran as fast as my old legs would carry me. a deep fear growing as we nearly fly to the south and east, I think.  Then I heard it. Like a growling. A monster was rising beneath our feet.

As a misplaced Southern California native, I recognized this as a large earthquake. I could see the rolling of the field I raced in. Trees and bushes bent and toppled at the motion beneath them. I stayed within sight of the horses. I trusted them to know where to go and what to do. Glancing back I saw the liquefaction of the sand and soil made it appear as a sea. The bus station and buses disappeared into the waves. The horses wild whinnies brought me back to the flight of my lifetime. Falling on old grade school habits I whinnied back.

Look, I wasn’t young even back then. I was becoming winded and felt like I wouldn’t make it another step. One black beauty turned around and noticed. She galloped back to me and kneeled for a second to make sure I could hope on her back. Then we took off like the wind. It had been decades since I was on a horse. I bounced all over her back while keeping a death-grip on her mane.


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