Tag Archives: Love

Toast and Jam

[thoughts  from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Sometimes I want to just say, “fukitol” and go on to finish my life, echoing the sentiment expressed in the movie The Answer Man: “Hell… is other people.”

That’s a bit extreme. Let’s just say that hell is most other people, is that better? Just kidding. Actually I don’t believe that other people are hell though after many of them have passed through here, after experiencing an Earth reshaped into man’s image, who needs hell?

That being said, it’s not at all what I want to express here today. I want to return to my favourite topic, compassion, but I want to throw something new in the mix: love.

I know that love is not something new for Earthians, but it is something new for me to bring up as I expound some more on the concept of compassion. I’ve already established to my satisfaction that love and compassion as totally dissimilar concepts. I’ve gone so far as to claim that love works against the person who would express herself as a compassionate being, and I have explained it thus: that love is exclusive whereas compassion is inclusive; that love cannot exist as a stand-alone concept (what would be the point?) whereas compassion does, and must. Love is dependent, compassion is for the self empowered. 

Could I look at these two concept in a less extreme way?

The usual response to love and compassion is predictable: mostly the two concepts exist as indistinguishable in the Earthian mind and they get totally confused. I realize that is due to programming and that is why most people cannot get a handle on compassion because they cannot separate it from love. Why should they when they remain convinced the two are interchangeable?

Imagine that you own a car and you are stuck with servicing it to make it work. You remember that certain fluids are needed for the machine to work. Two main ones are gas (do they still call it petrol in Britain?) and coolant, or a mix of coolant and water. You have the two fluids but you can’t remember which one goes where. So you say, oh well, doesn’t matter, I’ll pour this one in here, and that one in there and the car will sort it out. Clever that… until of course the car dies because you put the coolant in the fuel tank and the fuel in the radiator.

Let’s use a different analogy for compassion and love and how I see how these things get confused. Let’s say “toast and jam.” Compassion is the toast and love is the jam. That’s how the Earthian mind perceives it. Toast can be a stand alone food, but jam, not so much. Nevertheless the Earthian emotional heart, or mood trend setter, prefers to have jam and not bother with toast. When people speak of love, it’s jam; a taste good, feel good thing. If they have to have toast with it, so be it, but it’s the jam they hanker for.

Personally, sticking with the analogy, I have no problem having toast without the jam but generally speaking it’s the other way around for most. Toast is bland, often crunchy, somewhat tasteless and it needs help. Enter jam. Love.

Now imagine that most people choose to just eat jam for breakfast because they don’t like toast. Some diet that, huh? Not very healthy.

Without carrying this on from the sublime to the ridiculous, let’s give it some thought.

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #50

…“I’ve cursed Malefactus and every male on it.  I’ve looked into the sky at Albaral and cursed that too.  I’ve used the doctor to my own ends instead of just taking it like everybody else and dying as I should have.  In the end it seems to me that I am the one who brought all these diabolical things to Malefactus; that I made a most terrible mistake long ago and now everybody is paying for my foolishness and my false sense of redemptive properties.  I’m an idiot, YBA. 

“You are looking at a wreck and a wretch of a once human being!  To seek more vengeance, and along with letting myself fall in love with a man I can never really be with – you heard me earlier and heard his response – what can I say? 
[end blog post #49]
_______________________
[begin blog post #50]

“Yes, of course I can feel your thoughts, human.  I also know that you love Dr. Echinoza – and so do I.  I’m his mistress.  When he disappears at times it’s to spend time with me.  We have a place hidden deep in the southern hemisphere, beyond the great desert and beyond the land of the black ones.  A simple little fold-up hut by the sea that we collapse and hide when we are away.  We enjoy each other’s company and we are in love, as you put it.  But I would never place my joy before yours.  If he chose you, I would serve you as the one who is me.  Perhaps, since you are human you could give him the child I can never.  Cydroids cannot impregnate nor become pregnant.  We can only be cloned.

“As for your concerns regarding vengeance or compassion, “methinks you doth protest too much.” Your conundrum is not a problem to us.  If Warmo is convicted of his crimes, or at least one of them, he will forfeit his life.  He will be offered something he cannot refuse: to meet you personally and fight you to the death in the arena.  His hate for the doctor and specifically for you, not only as the one who survived the special treatment he had planned for you and escaped from his misogynist sadism, but as a woman who has a reputation for killing that surpasses his own; who stands higher in stature than he and who has the concerns of the King whereas he has lost his – all these can only mean one thing.  He will be eager to kill you.  And you will find him a tougher match than anything you’ve ever known.  It is good that you should fight him to honour all the ones whose lives he has broken and devoured.  This task belongs to you, Antierra.

“I’ve studied your experiences from your mind.  In Old Earth as you call it, you have an expression, “He fought like a cornered animal.”  That is what you will be fighting: a cornered animal.  But not just any animal.  This Warmo I can compare to your memories of a creature you called a “wolverine” – a large rodent-like weasel family predatory creature that used to wander the wilds of your adoptive homeland on Old Earth; a loner that dangerous predators much larger than itself carefully avoided.  There is another creature I could compare Warmo to that also exists in your mind from your adoptive home world: a Tasmanian devil.  That is what this pseudo-human is comparable to.  But do not dwell on that now.  Your subconscious will inventory my words and present you with a way to defeat this creature. 

“When you enter the auto-medic for your replacements – you will be in there for two and a half days minimum – I will connect you with the info-vid and give you, in pictures and words, all that we have collected on Warmo.  When you are ‘returned’ after your treatment you will possess the rudimentary inner workings of Warmo’s mind. 

“He will think you are literally reading his mind when you meet him.  So the challenge will be both physical and intellectual.  Get close enough to hold the mirror.  Speak to him, however you must, in whatever tone.  He won’t be able to stop you then.  The key to defeating him is to play on his subconscious superstition and fear of the unknown.  All sadistic types do so from their pathological fear of the unknown, of the place beyond death they fear above anything.  So display his death – show it to him.  Let him feel it, over and over.  That is how you play him down and defeat him.

“You seem so sure about everything.  How can you know all this?”

“Cydroids never operate without knowledge, Antierra.  We project constantly into the immediate future and shape it to our needs based on our previous experiences in similar situations – or so it seems to us.  Or we shape ourselves to its needs.  Our nature possesses the innate ability of instant adaptation to any and all contingencies.  If we fail to grasp existing information based on knowledge, that is, based on experience, we run instantaneous simulations in our mind – in linked pattern with our twins whenever possible, and we operate based on that approach.  We must “know” before we “do” and so we always know because we have already “done” what we are about to do.”

“YBA, I’m overwhelmed and amazed by you.  You are the most human non-human I’ve ever encountered, as far as my memories can reach at this moment.”

“Do you realize that when you call me “YBA” you are directly accessing the minds of all my twins?  That you are speaking to all of us?  We respond to our name-stamp.  YBA – all of us, from 1 to 5.  Say ‘YBA5’ and the others won’t  listen.  I don’t mind either way, just thought you should know.

“I paid you the highest compliment any Cydroid can give a human.  Now you have reciprocated by giving me the highest compliment any true human could give a Cydroid.  I think we have a mind-link now.  That is, in your language, we are friends.”

“How can you consider me your friend when I’ve openly stated I loved Bal, that is, Dr. Echinoza as a woman loves a man?”

“Ah, but all the more reason you see.  The choice between us, if one needs to be made, must be his.  You and I, we are females, women.  We do not need to make this choice at all!  He must be the one to know his own feelings about us.  Why could he not love both you and I simultaneously without any problem?  I certainly would encourage it.  Wouldn’t you?  We understand what it means to love a man.  The more women love that man; the more he is truly loved by the many women, the better that man will be in every possible way a man can be.

“Our role, ultimately, if nature ever gave us one as humanoid females, is to make men better than they are, or think they can be.  And we do this by pleasing them and satisfying them.  Not as rutting animals, but in love.  You see, if we love them, no matter how much all they ever want to do is “fuck” as you call it, they will receive the full benefit of our love.  And if we are true to our nature, giving such love will only strengthen us.  It will never diminish us as long as we are not interacting from either enforced submission, expectation or jealousy, meaning in competition with other females.”

I had anticipated her reply.  “Your words would not sit well with some of the women I have known, especially on Túat Har of C-20!  But you are right, I would also encourage the sharing.  Actually YBA5, I don’t want to love him like that.  I don’t want to bear his child or be his mistress, wife or have any other attachments to him.  Logically, I don’t need the complications, even were circumstances different, for example, were I on Koron with him.  If as you say I’m to be repaired and live, I must concentrate on what I came here to do.  Let him find sexual pleasure with me when we are together if he still wants that from me.  I will certainly give him that out of friendship and gratitude, and with love.  That is if he doesn’t just take it!  But that’s not what he expects from me.  He wants to know what I know of the workings of our universe, information he does not have. For the rest, he has you.

“But tell me this.  Has he ever, even when in your idyllic hideaway, turned on you and hit you, or cursed you as he did me?” 

“Well, of course.  It’s not as intense down there, away from this concentrated world of men but it happens regularly that he is taken by the fever.  He beats me.  He curses me, yes.”

“How do you respond?”

“I can only respond as would your Deirdre.  I let him beat me and curse me.  I allow it to flow out of him.  But unlike the Cholradil, I do it for love, deliberately and knowingly, neither because I can’t help it, nor out of a sense of submission.  I could certainly stop him.  I could easily disable him, even harm him.  But by allowing it to flow I heal him that way.  Afterward I make sure he does not go into his guilt-based depression.  I fully understand the sickness and I separate the sick from the disease, Antierra.  I am programmed for this but I also do it by choice, as a doctor and healer.  Now let me check the condition of your mind before I give you a half-cube of stim because your pain should be returning full force, yes?”

“Yes it is.  By force of habit I wanted to bear it and not take any medication for it.  Hold it and absorb it, you know.”

“That is good for the fights and in the long nights of pain from blows and wounds when you lie in the cages, yes.  To identify with the others, to understand in empathy, in compassion?  But it is unnecessary here.  I will not allow it.  Here, take it now.”

She hands me the half-cube of stim from Deirdre’s parting gift – and if only she could have known how it would help me! – then holds my arm, careful not to disturb its current resting place and puts her other hand on my temple.

“I sense your thoughts.  They are clear now.  The effects of the sedating drug we gave you are fading and you are thinking properly.  Yes, you have created good wiring in your brain.  I like touching you, getting your impressions.  I’ve never seen such openness, such divergent worlds.  I like your world of Altaria.  I like that last place where you sat and waited for the right moment to leave.  What a sad journey to take, yet so beautiful.  You gave up everything to come here.  You “died” all alone after all those days spent just looking into the great Rift valley, without sleep, food or water.  Your sea birds, the giant osoleys, they are such beautiful creatures.  I can almost reach out to them and call them to sweep gracefully beneath your falling body and carry it out to the ocean for a proper burial – where it is generally believed all biological life comes from and returns to.

“I must add this regarding your outburst earlier.  All those evil, diabolical things you insist you’ve done.  Self-pity, Antierra.  Hyperbole.  You are a true and straight Altarian.  Do not let any horror, on any world or place, take away the honour you owe yourself.  Never let doubt dishonour who you know you truly are.  It would be a sad day for all of us if you gave up.”

I find my eyes filling with tears as she reads these details in my mind.  I had expected her to find nothing but a chaotic mess of darkness and filth in there.  She holds up a mirror for my mind to heal itself from the “little death” of fear and doubt.  I am indeed, still alive, very much so. 

And I remain, despite all of this pain and confusion, Al’Tara the Altarian. 

I am not lost.  I will pass this test.

[end blog post #50]

Compassion in a Nutshell: an Explanation

OK, here goes, my stumbling attempt to clarify something that is way out of my league… but someone’s got to do it, and I promised!
Caveat: I may have posted this a couple of years ago…

Compassion in a Nutshell, as I was taught, how I experience it daily
by   ~burning woman~   expressed by Sha’Tara

What it isn’t: When I speak on compassion as I was taught by the Teachers and how I experience it, I’m never talking about a common mixture of feeling and emotion, of love, like, attraction, desire, lust, romance, or any of the usual social relationships. It is none of those.

What it is, point by point: Compassion is utterly selfless. Whatever I give to another is entirely for that other, no thought of “what’s in it for me” involved in the transaction. At the same time I realize that any expenditure of “energy” on my part is immediately replenished and added to. Since I am fully aware of this now, I have to say that although it seems a contradiction, my motivation is both, selfless and selfish.

Compassion is inclusive. This needs to be understood very clearly because the compassionate being has no enemies… ever. What is an enemy? Obviously someone you fear, either because s/he has hurt you in some personal and real way and would continue to do so, or it is someone your society has demonized. You fear and you hate. You want protection or you want to attack. These are emotional responses. In this area it isn’t forgiveness that heals, it’s compassion.

Compassion is non-emotional. In compassion there are no emotional responses. This also must be clearly understood. In the previous case of “the enemy” the concept disappears completely if there is no emotional response involved. Does that mean then that the compassionate person is android-like? Not at all. If anything the compassionate person develops and experiences deeper feelings than a normal person. I find myself constantly reacting strongly to events normal people hardly notice, take for granted or even enjoy. When I see someone eating meat the effect is mentally devastating, hence why I block any emotional response. To me all killing is murder and a “piece of meat” was a living, breathing, feeling “other” that a universally false belief backed by emotions, has turned into a billion dollar business from billions of helpless torture victims of “gastronomical” greed. Hunting, fishing, violent sports such as boxing or sports involving animals in which they suffer or are in danger of being seriously hurt – horse racing for example – these are all stumbling blocks to the empath. Try to imagine what the truly compassionate feels when confronted with instances of abuse, oppression, rape, genocide, war and mass shootings. It isn’t just “news” believe me: it’s hell. You don’t want to go there emotionally or you won’t come back. Compassion takes care of it by shutting down emotional response.

Compassion does not recognize special relationships. For a gregarious species this may be the toughest aspect to comprehend. “You mean I can’t “love” my child more than anyone else’s?” is a typical response. To a normal person such is unthinkable. So perhaps it can be explained. First, compassion doesn’t care who or what you choose to “love” or “hate” because that is neither here nor there. Compassion, being, shall I say, “higher” in nature and power than all known types of love, overrides those emotions in any case and neutralizes them. The compassionate being has no use for special relationships, they just cloud the issue. So if you already have special relationships that need your presence, input and support, compassion will certainly not prevent you from doing your duty. The difference is that these relationships, these people, animals, things you may own, are not central to your life and do not determine your thoughts and acts. You are first of all, compassion — not just compassionate — and everything else is secondary.

Compassion is never reciprocal. Another point that has to be clearly understood. Most if not all Earthian relationships exist within some form or reciprocity even if it’s just a form of recognition for altruistic acts. Ego (I don’t like using that term but most people understand what is meant by that) is usually involved in normal relationships, from the dependent to the seductive to the gimme-gimme; the protective to the controlling. I could truthfully say I suppose that compassion is self-rewarding, that it is its own reward. Indeed it doesn’t take long for a compassionate person to realize how much the practice empowers! This empowerment is highly beneficial to both, body and mind. The immune system works better and there is no energy wasted in lust, regret, recrimination, jealousy, competitive behaviour, fear or anger. There is neither a sense of gain, nor a sense of loss as far as relationships go because compassion overrides the great “need” that drives individuals into exclusive, controlling relationships.

Compassion demands, and feeds, self empowerment. A crucial point. No dependent or non self empowered person can claim to be compassionate by nature. They may express aspects of compassion at certain critical times but much of that will wear out quickly, or wear the person down because in all cases it will be the result of some response to an emotional appeal and terribly entropic. A compassionate being is a self empowered being for the two go hand in hand.

Compassion results in detachment, not just from special relationships but from “the world” as it is often called in spiritual circles. Compassion makes it possible to realize the true nature of joy and sorrow. As with so many concepts, joy and sorrow are usually misunderstood and lumped in with pleasure, fun, happiness and sadness, pain, unhappiness, grief, loss, etc. Notice that these aspects of happy/unhappy are essentially ego-centered, i.e., selfish. It is what one feels and gets emotional about. Properly understood, joy and sorrow come from empathy. Joy contains all the good being experienced by the world and conversely sorrow contains all the evil being experienced. As explained to me, Joy and Sorrow are twins, one who walks in the light, one who walks in darkness. They can only meet when someone provides a bridge between them and that’s what a compassionate person, or being, does. A compassionate being is never concerned about personal joy and/or sorrow. Taken care of.

The compassionate walk between the worlds of light and darkness and bridge the two. That is their greatest accomplishment until they move on away from here to things of higher consciousness of which I know but an inkling and cannot authoritatively speak of.

In a nutshell then, you are who you are at this moment. You make a decision to become a compassionate being. Being of sound mind you choose to make that your entire life’s purpose. Then you open yourself up completely to the “power” or “energy” your irrevocable choice brings to you. You proceed from there. You’re on your own for every decision you make and through every “battle” you must fight. Then you watch yourself become a different person until hardly anyone recognizes you. And that’s it.

“What if I enter into this thing and I fail?” one may ask. I don’t know, honestly. All I can think of is this: that anyone who enters into a life choice to become compassion cannot fail unless something was held back; there was a degree of “dishonesty” when signing on that dotted line. This thing I’m presenting here is in a sense a personal absolute. In and never out. If you’ve seen the movie “Men in Black” you will remember that signing on meant to become a different person and disappearing from your familiar world. You lost your name and became a “K” or a “J” or a “D.” This is something like that except that “you” gradually blend into “Compassion” and that is the new nature you then express to the world. Crazy, right?

If you were offered the key to saving your world, and your people, from a terrible catastrophe they’re bringing on themselves and you were convinced this was the real thing, what would YOU do? For me it wasn’t a difficult choice at all.

Best I can do in explaining the concept.

Traveling in Space, an Essay

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

Quote: “To travel in space you must leave the old verbal garbage behind: God talk, country talk, mother talk, love talk, party talk. You must learn to exist with no religion, no country, no allies. You must learn to live alone in silence. Anyone who prays in space is not there.” — William S. Burroughs

Perhaps one of the hardest “lessons” for the Avatar to learn is to proceed as if one were utterly alone in space; in the universe; in the Cosmos. To cut off all ties with all the known, to refuse any thought of neediness. To realize and accept how absolutely necessary it is to never open one’s thoughts to, or ever utter a single word of, any sort of prayer.

That is what it means, primarily, for me to be self empowered. Of course the argument immediately turns to the fact that my life is circumscribed by all the things needed to make that life possible. Yes, those things are there indeed. But the Avatar knows that they are not there to make her life possible, but to surround her with chains and to eat her flesh, then her mind. That is what it means to live in a predatory system.

That does not invalidate the earlier claim that I must not allow a word or thought to express neediness. That is done by refusing to enter any debate, support for, or defense of, any system purporting to be “for” me. To believe that a religious, state or financial system is there for me is akin to the steer milling about in the loafing barn believing that the agri-business that owns it is there for its survival and long life. An Avatar must be a bit smarter than that. To know how the System operates and what it uses as fuel is certainly the beginning of wisdom.

I am free to discuss with anyone the state of the economy, or regime changes and resource wars; to commiserate over on-going genocides and people’s fears over their particular nation’s political trends or the death of a friend or happiness over a planned trip or wedding or birth of a child. In all of that I must remember that I am no longer a part of it; that whether it impacts large numbers or one individual it does not affect me in “that” way. I must remember to remain emotionally detached from these issues with the understanding that if it turn out to be a problem, when it approaches me; comes home to roost, I am expendable in the next step: providing what help I can muster for the losers, victims and survivors.

There is much (deliberately infused) misunderstanding about detachment. It is usually understood as a state of not caring. In fact it is the opposite: only a detached and self empowered individual can truly help another. When I approach someone in a detached state I am pure giving; the needy predator within is effectively shut-out. In a detached state I can see a need and know what has to happen to alleviate it. I know what my personal resources are and how best to apply them to the situation. Having learned not to express neediness, any other-than-myself “help” avenue is closed off. I take full responsibility for whatever I am about to commit myself to doing. For the Avatar that can translate as giving up everything, including one’s life. So be it because at that point it’s all about me, and I am in control of my own life.

Giving up one’s life in service of others: is that such a big deal? In a crisis where so many are losing out; where many poor are literally dying on the streets of the richest countries and richest cities, is it “extraordinary” for an individual to participate fully in becoming part of the downfall? The Avatar’s question is, why should my life be worth more, or be more precious to me, than his, hers, theirs’? People in general tend to talk up a good game about love. Everybody except me seems to be in love with love. But what does that translate as, when push comes to shove?

I’m sure if I lived in a theater of war and attendant atrocity I would see real examples of love expressed courageously by many. But as always, I would know that such examples, such efforts, are not usually motivated by a changed and permanent mindset but rather by circumstances. That’s the problem with love: it is dependent, weak, transient and exclusive.

The self empowered, detached, responsible Avatar eschews love as a too uncertain an emotion. To live as if one were already dead so as to function fearlessly the Avatar requires something much more reliable than an emotion. Enter compassion.

Again, as with detachment, there is much misunderstanding about the concept of compassion. Generally it is considered to be just one of a list of ‘virtues’ a person should exhibit, such as decency, love, caring, kindness, patience. Certainly nothing wrong with expressing such but honestly they have little holding power. A change of circumstance can drastically alter the response. This I have seen.

Compassion is never circumstance-dependent because it is entered into by self empowered personal choice. It is a personal commitment to a way of life and it is inclusive. It may well be what the Buddha had in mind before his teachings were hijacked into a religious enterprise, before it became “Buddhism” which, like any religious enterprise, possesses no power to change anyone’s mind. Compassion, before it can be claimed by anyone, must become the purpose of one’s entire life with the ultimate goal of the individual becoming pure compassion, however many aeons of time that may encompass.

To be compassionate is traveling in one’s own space, living alone in the silence of one’s sacred self-awareness, able to filter out the shallow and ever present ocean of socially-induced noise.

Blog-battle Short Story

I’ve decided to participate in a “blog battle” at  https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/blogbattle-loss/   The subject for February is “Loss”, the story a 1000 words, give or take a few, and be posted by the end of the month.  The creator, Rachael Ritchie, will use this blog post link to join this story with others or so I understand.  I had to post the story (my story) so that is why you are seeing it here.  It’s short and my might enjoy it. It’s of my favorite short story theme: encounter, love, loss, redemption and fulfillment.


The Moon, Anali and Hope
 [short story by  ~Sha’Tara~ ]

She had made a decision, a choice.  She’d stopped watching the news one day, then she’d left the church.  She walked out of her parents’ home some time after that and took the bus to a smaller town up into the valley.  She rented a tiny apartment and found a job at the local library cleaning up and re-arranging the children’s section, and as general go-for. 

Anali asked herself, was it all just an impulse? No.  It was, she thought, her destiny, and destiny should be honored. 

Destiny, then, brought her to meet Charlie.  He swept the sidewalks and collected garbage for the town.  A charity job, perhaps, but one that needed doing.  Charlie was considered slow, and definitely abnormal as he thought everybody was a friend and never got angry or upset at anyone.  Anali liked Charlie.  They sat together on a bench by the library on warm sunny days, shaded by a rustling maple tree.  On other days they met at the McDonalds for a coffee and muffin. They didn’t talk much, there was no need for what was developing between them required no words. 

Anali wasn’t bright, and she knew it.  She wasn’t what you’d call pretty and she knew that too.  But she knew she was a human being, and that Charlie was a wonderful human being.  She wasn’t unkind, but Charlie taught her to be more so, more aware of the world around them, and the world’s needs.  Charlie stuttered, and his slowness of speech allowed Anali to keep up and understand him. 

“I feel sadness,” he said to her, “about lost things, and hungry things, and things that have no real home.  I guess I know what that feels like, and maybe that’s how it is, how you learn to feel things.  I can’t fix the world.  No one can do that, only God, and he’s angry at us so he’s not helping.  So, if I want to help I have to be nicer to everyone, and everything.  God will see that and he’ll think, that is a good thing.  And he’ll come down and help us.” 

Anali understood that perfectly. 

Was it just the moonlight?  It seemed to Anali that the moon had been shining every night of June forever, getting larger and larger in the night sky, then hanging out, pale and unwilling to leave the blue sky of morning.  It hung like a pale balloon above the tall, old, dark green cottonwood trees bending over the river, casting shade where fish jumped after low-flying bugs. 

That river was called Hope.  She had no idea why they had called it that, or what the native peoples who had fished its banks had called her, but she thought, Hope was a good name.  When I have my daughter, she thought, I am going to call her Hope, and I’m going to give birth to her on her banks, under the full moon.  Anali was a dreamer, like Charlie.

She’d been sitting silently in the tall grass on the bank of the Hope river when she heard footsteps in the grass of the park above her, then the swishing of a body pushing itself through the tall grasses she was pretending to be hiding in.  She rolled quietly on her back and looked into the blue sky, and the pale moon.  Waiting.  Waiting, and ready.

He cast his tall shadow over her prostrate form and looked down.  Not at her, but in her.  And she knew then that some things are written in the songs of the thrush; the call of the kingfisher; the whisper of the rising mid-day breeze in the willows, but mostly in the path of the moon.  She shielded her eyes and watched him bend down to her, kneeling on the soft earth beside her body.  He stretched himself beside her and she cradled him in her arms.  

Their clothes came off, easily and naturally, without haste or shame and without a word they came together and made love by the Hope river. Anali thought she had reached a place of near perfection.  It would take a while for it to complete itself, but Anali was very patient.

There was a bad accident in town.  Anali didn’t read the papers and she didn’t have a TV but she heard people talk.  She understood why Charlie wasn’t at the bench then, and why she never saw him again. Anali knew about loss, personal loss, and she thought, this too will be all right.

A year or so later, with glowing face and a child in her arms, Anali stood by the banks of the Hope river.  She walked to the edge and holding her own Hope over the waters, let her see her own reflection.  The baby went “oh, oh!”  Across the narrow channel a thrush called.  An otter slipped into the water followed by three playful young.  Two young raccoons stared at her from the top of an old fallen tree trunk, curious, not scared.  

From the pale moon high in the blue sky, Charlie looked down, tears of joy forming on his ghostly face, so Anali pictured it.  She looked up and knew he was there waiting for her and someday they’d be together again.  She smiled and cuddled their baby tighter – so he could feel its warmth through her.  She felt a deep, peaceful happiness.  She’d found her perfection and all was as it should be. 

An Unending Story

[short story by Sha’Tara – translated from my original French story]

Listen carefully to what I have to say, I’m going to tell you an infinite story. It’s a love story, of course, but it is much more. It is a story of a life that does not end.

I saw her one night in a cabaret. She was dancing, utterly absorbed in her moves and apparently without any other concern. I sat as close as possible to the dance floor and like all the other men in the place, I allowed myself to be bewitched by her undulating body.

Beautiful she was, I assure you. When she passed her blue-green eyes over me I saw the green of a virgin forest; an open blue ocean that stretched to infinity. Just like the desire in my heart. She danced with a girl friend, then alone.

That’s when I gather up my courage and invite myself to dance with her.

She accepts and everything changes: we become lovers. After only a month, we move in together and we can no longer imagine living apart. Every weekend we go dancing, she loves it so much, the dancing. “I feel totally free when I dance.” Naturally she continues to attract many men and she freely dances with any of them who ask her permission.

Am I jealous? Certainly, that’s natural, but not necessary. After all, she loves me. She only needs to whisper it in my ear and I have no reason to doubt her feelings. She is so good for me, and when we walk together in the street at night, under the city lights, we are happy, utterly.

Then total disaster: cancer strikes her in the right knee. Her leg has to be amputated above the knee. For a while she cries. Then she accepts. “If I can’t dance, I will sing,” she says to me. So she begins to sing, first in our apartment, then even on the street, then she does karaoke in the pubs and cabarets. And we love each other perhaps even more than previously. I adore this incredible girl, this woman sharing her life with me.

But the cancer doesn’t stop. They take away her left breast. She is devastated for some time and there is no more singing. But one night she gives me one of her old smiles and asks that I push her in her wheelchair down the street to our favourite restaurant. As I push her along she talks freely of little things and comments on the colours, the sounds and the shaking of the wheelchair as it bumps over the cracks in the sidewalk. She laughs and I find the courage to laugh with her and for the moment the terror of the cancer leaves us be. Still she eats very little and loses more weight…

Finally, the death blow. The cancer manifests in her throat and she loses her voice. She has to stay in the hospital.

It’s the last day, of that I’m sure. She feebly raises her hand and I bring my ear to her mouth. She gives a sigh and whispers these words: listen to me well, my dear Paul. I am abandoning you and I regret it terribly. I am grieved to cause you so much pain, but it’s only for a short time. For us, this is not the end. Listen, you will not remain single (alone).

Promise me that you will return to our cabaret. There, wait once again for the dancer. Ask her if you may dance with her and when she smiles and says, ‘yes’ dance, dance with her like a fool! For you see, that will be me there, in her body and in her heart. I am returning, do not worry about that. I’m leaving you but for a moment.

Just like that, she was gone.

You want to know how it ends, this story? Well you see, I believed in her implicitly when she told me she would be coming back to me. I went back to our cabaret. I sat as close as possible to the dance floor. I had a beer or two and I waited, day after day. About two weeks of waiting and the dancer came.

It all began again.

A Very Long Walk

[a short story by Sha’Tara]

It was another cool, crisp and clear late Autumn afternoon, the kind Krista loved to go walking in. She followed the riding trail down to the edge of the Maskua river as it meandered through the low lying lands of this agricultural community. As she walked she noticed the oaks and maples had less leaves on them and the colours were reluctantly fading. Denuded tops allowed lopsided windows into a pale, clear, blue sky.

Many thoughts flowed through her mind. She knew she had it good as her home-based business only required a few hours a day to keep going and she enjoyed it. The two children, Toby, now thirteen, was in Middle school and Trina was finishing her high school. Both children were quiet as a rule and caused her little problems. Both were somewhat introverted and had few close friends, something she did not mind at all.

Her thoughts turned to her husband Dan on his last year of duty in Afghanistan. One short moment of trepidation, then she reasserted herself. He would be coming back, of that she was certain. She had vowed to herself never to dwell on the possibility that he could become a casualty of war. ‘Not in my reality’ she said often with total conviction. ‘Do you still love him?’ a small, nasty little inner voice taunted. ‘With all my heart and soul’ she replied truthfully. Krista, though still very attractive and not without admirers and opportunities, was the completely faithful partner. She would never stray.

She carefully skirted the muddy pools that remained in the trail all winter in the shadier spots and kept walking. She heard crows cawing but not using the excited voices when discovering a sleepy great horned owl or a red-tailed hawk. She heard ducks and geese on the river but could not sight the stream yet. There was much brush where she passed and one more little rise before she could see the meandering river reflecting the blue sky from shore to shore.

She saw a page from a note book crumpled and stuck in some blackberry brambles. She thought of reaching for it but decided against it. ‘Whatever is written on there, none of my business,’ she said to herself and kept walking. You could say she was observant but not overly curious.

She saw something else in another tangle, a grey and blue baseball cap. ‘That’s a team cap from Trina’s high school! Must have flown off a rider’s head or been brushed off by a low-lying branch and the owner chose not to come back for it. Oh well… her or his loss. Maybe they’ll come back for it later.’

She had topped the rise then and saw the river. She stopped to admire it – her favourite place in the entire walk. She had had many a good mother to daughter talk with Trina on this spot. The current was sluggish now and reflections of dark spruce and bare poplars cast mesmerizing shadows in the waters of the far bank. She moved her head slowly to the movements of the inverted tree dance trying to find a tune in her head to go with it.

Something unusual brought her to look closer to her side of the river. There was a piece of cloth floating down there, of blue and white coloration. It looked like it was caught on a branch. This time her curiosity was aroused and she worked her way to the edge of the water for a better look.

That’s when she realized she wasn’t looking at a piece of cloth but at the body of a drowned person. She saw long hair floating off from the submerged head and a white hand bobbing in and out from the surface. She gave a gasp, but instead of screaming as she wanted to do, she plunged into the stream and waded in the freezing water that came to her breasts by the time she reached the body of a young woman.

She tugged and pulled and finally untangled the body and dragged it to the shore, turning it over to look into its face…

“Oh God, Trina! What have you done? I told you he wasn’t worth it! You promised me it was over.”