MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Autumn walks

©MCD_Autumn walks - Karpenisi

©MCD

There is something soothing about a walk in the park, surrounded by the colours of autumn, the falling orange-brown leaves and the crackling sound of them under your feet. There is something even more calming when you are accompanied by people you hold dear in your heart; more so when you’re holding hands transferring the warmth of love with one cherished.

Autumn walks help clear your mind. Because for those valuable moments you are lost in the footpath, your mind drifts among the crispy leaves, the fallen chestnuts, the tall trees of shades of yellow and brown. The tranquillity touches upon your soul in ways that only nature can. And you return somewhat changed, more serene, ready to set and accomplish new goals.

In a season of change, we need the escape to rethink our own paths in life and be ready to take bolder steps.

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A shop of memories

chicagomg

©Marie Gail Stratford

It’s strange how certain places, songs, things, are associated with specific people. Maira had that. Every time she visited the city, she would always drop by her favourite department store.

And every time it would bring back memories.

She had visited that store so many times with different people. All with whom she shared a special bond.

That bond was rejuvenated whenever she stepped through the big glass door.

Even if she was alone, she always felt that sweet melancholy of beautiful times passed.

And so, each time, she always bought something from there. As a reminder of the visit.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Push the button

petergriffin - do not push buttonLife can change in an instant. It is at those moments you realise how short time is. How little you spend truly appreciating things that are important, and actually living. It is in those instants that you suddenly awake at the thought that you spend too many moments overthinking and worrying about things that won’t matter later on.

An instant is all it takes for the world to change.

In an age where technology has evolved to the extent that it connects people across countries, continents, oceans, time zones with just a click of a button, anything is possible. At any moment. In just an instant.

In our daily lives we are constantly pushing buttons. Some are in the form of switches, like the one you press to turn the light on or off. Some buttons start our cars, open doors, turn on the cooker / boiler, launch our computers/ tablets / phones. Things that we nowadays take for granted and happen automatically.

But what happens if we push the wrong button? If suddenly – in an instant – we mistakenly erase important data that we can’t recover? It is in that instant that time freezes. It is then that we realise how much power a simple button has, and how much we have entered an automated mode that we often do things – press buttons – without really considering the consequences.

We live life on full speed and when things get a bit out of hand we panic, we feel lost and desperate. It is not about the speed with which we do things. It’s about the buttons we push and the impact they will have on our lives. Even if it is just one button. The implications may be huge. Just think that a bomb – any type of – can explode at the simple push of one button.

When forgiveness is a privilege

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/51a04613e4b0007c06d7c81a/t/57a0f0f8197aea59d470b83f/1470165244816/There is a man on the street, sitting at the same spot on the pavement each day with almost the same clothes, clean and ironed, and a small bag on his side. He sits there watching people pass him by. He holds a sign that reads, “Please forgive me. I’m hungry”. He stays there all day. Every day.

There are others too. They get on buses and trains asking to be forgiven for the intrusion. Asking not to be seen as beggars. Asking for the understanding that their need to survive is greater than their own dignity. They sometimes sell something: a pen, a notebook, a pack of handkerchiefs; solely for the purpose of giving something back in exchange for any money they would receive from anyone who pities them.

Some even have a dog with them. One that sits next to them trembling in the cold, wagging its tail miserably once someone comes a little closer in the hope that they will throw something edible at it. One whose eyes have lost that glow it has as a puppy when it enters the world full of excitement.

Sorrow has many faces. So does despair.

People are brought to the brink of their tolerance, of their ability to survive, that they decide to do what they perhaps vowed never to do: to ask strangers for help.

But they do so without abandoning their dignity. They sometimes are stronger than us, because they acknowledge their inability, the fact that they have nothing to lose because they have already lost it all. They are asking for forgiveness from a world that has cast them aside. They are demonstrating to the society we live in that it has no dignity, no empathy, no respect, if it ignores them and hopes this problem will solve itself.

Forgiveness, they say, is an attribute of the strong.

Yet, instead of requesting our forgiveness, we should be the ones apologising to these people. For disappointing them, for letting them down, for allowing them to see only the ruthless and dark side of life.

Anyone with even the slightest sense of emotion feels ashamed when passing by these people. Because we have food, warm clothes and a roof to go back to. Contrary to them, we still are part of this society, no matter how much we blame it for all the difficulties we have to face. But they have something we lack: the acknowledgement that the reality we live in is fragile. Yet, they are the ones who can better manage happiness and fortune when it comes to them. Because we take these things for granted. And do not appreciate them enough.

Everyone you meet has something they fear, something they love, something they lost, something they are missing, and something they need. It is in the silent ones that you acknowledge everything you have and realise what it is you are missing.

The box under the nightstand

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/2f/fc/0f/2ffc0f66ff6daa65af6bdfdd9de45066.jpgThere was a box she had in the open space under her nightstand. It was a usual cardboard box that seemed to be made out of wood and was beautifully decorated with colours and abstract figures. She treasured the box because inside she kept her happiness.

She had never shown the box to others. Sometimes, there are things you don’t share. Things you keep for yourself.

Those closest to her, who had the honour and privilege of entering her bedroom, always found that box under the nightstand to be a mystery. Because even when asked about it, she would simply smile, her eyes lighting up, gaze somewhere else, even blush a little, and respond with just a smile.

No-one ever tried to open the box. Because for some things you respect the other’s privacy. And often, a little mystery keeps your heart pounding a bit faster and your mind racing with all the possible scenarios of what it might contain.

The box under her nightstand was renewed often and she believed that as long as she would have something to put in it, life was good.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Mystery

A Platanus of history

IMG_20171029_135031_179

©MCD

There is a quote that says, “imagine if trees gave free WiFi; we’d all be planting like crazy. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe”.

Trees are more important and vital for our lives than we believe or even give them credit for. They contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. They produce the wood we use to light our fireplaces in the winter, make our furniture, even the paper we write on. Yet, we cut them down without second thoughts.

It is no wonder then, that when we come across a tree that is centuries old we treat it as a wonder of nature. We stand before it dumbfounded, gazing at this stupendous sight. And it makes you truly feel small and insignificant.

There is a place in North Evia, Greece, somewhere along that nature-blazing road that has you driving among trees, on your way towards the Kyreas River, in between the villages of Prokopi and Mantoudi. There is this place where a sign will direct you to the “Great Platanus”. A plane tree that residents will tell you has been there for centuries. It is “a tree of huge dimensions”, as the sign reads, a “monument of nature”. A Platanus Orientalis. It is 22-23 metres tall, with its trunk’s circumference reaching 18 metres, its trunk diameter at 5.5 metres, the surface of its stem at 900 square metres, and its shadow said to be once stretching over 2.5 acres. Its age is estimated at 500-600 years, although some say that it exceeds 2,300 years! It is said that this is the most ancient Platanus in the Balkans, perhaps even the whole of Europe.

20171028_133927Its tree trunks are larger than what can fit in your wide-open arms. It stands imposing before you and, even though lacking in foliage and somewhat deserted and with broken branches, the vastness of this tree is not diminished. Rather, it is a refreshing site in a world full of asbestos and tar. There is also a huge hollow in its trunk, big enough for 10 or more people standing. In it, you suddenly forget all the problems that trouble your head daily. You take a deep breath and simply be grateful for being alive. For being there. And for being able to witness this. Just think about all the changes this tree may have witnessed. It was there before you and will probably remain so even after you.

20171028_133932As with all over-aged creatures, there are myths and legends surrounding this tree. For example, it is said that if someone falls asleep in its hollow, they will fall ill or harm will come to them, as goblins will come out and cast a spell on them. In another legend, if you are found at midnight under the tree, you will hear voices, music, violins and clarinets, and see fairies and goblins appear dancing at the shores of the river. In yet another, it is said that at midnight two large rams come out of the platanus and start noisily fighting each other. This tree is often associated with fairies and goblins as it was believed that, being over-aged, it was also haunted.

No matter the stories, however, the reality remains that this, like so many others, is part of our natural heritage and should be protected and preserved. We devote so much of our time, energy and funds to things that matter less, yet we abandon those that benefit us more.

N.B. All photos are mine, taken in North Evia, Greece, on 28 October 2017.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Gratitude

 

Those who mean no harm

petsThey are those you know will never let you down. With whom it is enough simply to look into their eyes and feel all your troubles disappearing. They are those who, no matter how badly they treat you, will always come back with double the love than before. Because they mean no harm and they love you unconditionally.

Having a small animal around – a pet – is good for the soul. Because it relaxes you like nothing else and it calms you down. Simply by witnessing the – sometimes ridiculous – levels of happiness and excitement these creatures can show, is soothing. And it is in those things that make your mind wander that you can find calm.

Even if one of them scratches, bites, hisses, at you, it won’t last long. Because it didn’t really mean to and you know it. In fact, you might have even provoked it yourself. Your fights don’t last because they don’t matter. And you know that the love and care you both share is much stronger than any spat.

An animal is perhaps the only creature that can make you forget every torment the minute you see it wagging its tail and jumping with joy at the mere sight of you. They are the ones who teach us that as humans we worry too much, we overthink things excessively and we hurt each other more than necessary. We don’t exploit our ability to feel deeply and act with kindness. Instead, we allow our selfishness to get the worst of us and in the end we break relationships that once mattered.

Animals aren’t like that. They love unconditionally and their anger doesn’t last long. There are more important things in this world than clinging onto stubbornness. If humans too could be more like these small animals, wouldn’t life be so much easier?

Master your days

http://lemerg.com/967936.htmlEvery day is a new opportunity. You’ve heard it before. But you know it is true. Because you wake up each day having a new target in sight. At least you should. And you don’t know how much you’ll manage to accomplish, to achieve, to fight, to tolerate, and to accept, until the moment you re-think you’re entire day when you return to bed that night.

Every day teaches us to be stronger. It makes us see that we are worthy and capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. That if we set our minds to it, we can “move mountains”. We are richer in more ways than we acknowledge. And if we read a little bit more, open our eyes a bit wider and allow our minds to broaden, we will find that enlightenment will sweep its way into making our lives better.

Every day we realise that we need to constantly improve. That we won’t always receive what we give; not even what we expect. We see that we’re not always surrounded by people who want our best. In fact, there are so many hypocrites around us, filled with jealousy and envy. Everyone we meet is there for a reason. Those scornful of us are to prove that we are doing something right, being better than them. Life has a way of providing lessons, either through the people we meet or through the situations we face.

Every day is a journey. To find out how much further we can travel. How much better we can be. How stronger, kinder, braver.

Every day is a chance to make life better. Don’t waste it.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Enlighten

A perennial embrace

tree-sandra-crook

©Sandra Crook

The last time she had been there she had climbed up its branches and hidden among its leaves, hoping the world would pass her by. As a young girl, she would always seek refuge there. The huge tree seemed sturdy enough to offer her the security she lacked at home. She would run away and hide there; but she would soon be found and had to return.

Until the moment she simply ran away from the town itself.

Now, years later, that tree was the only fond memory she had of her childhood. The only thing that offered her comfort.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The world and a star

https://www.dhresource.com/0x0/f2/albu/g4/M01/B1/40/rBVaEVb_gaWAKHKHAADUsZQWqqQ077.jpgThe footsteps in the snow were still there when he woke. It was the last thing she left him when she slammed the door the night before.

She was tired of fighting. She was tired of the sudden mood swings. She was exhausted that every time everything seemed almost perfect, something – the tiniest glitch – would come along to ruin it all.

And it was usually an action incited by another person.

With Harry’s consent.

Of course.

Because Bertha knew well that if he had not wanted it to happen, he could simply say no. He could set his limits. He could actually show his girlfriend that he respected her. That he heard her when she told him repeatedly that she was bothered by certain behaviour. That he was loyal to her alone. Things, that if were the other way round, Harry would not have reacted so calmly or tolerate it all.

Bertha tried to be the bigger person.

But sometimes, even the strongest people break too.

Because all a person truly wants, is the certainty that the person they love will choose them over everyone else, under any circumstance.

She gave him a choice.  She shouldn’t have had to.

But he did not choose her.

She threw away the balloons and the present she was to give him during the surprise party she had organised for him the next day.

It didn’t matter now.

He had not chosen her.

He had placed everything else above what she thought was something that would last through hail and storm.

She would have given him the world. But he was too stubborn to even give her a star.

 

When you love a woman
You tell her that she’s really wanted
When you love a woman you tell her that she’s the one…”
                                                   (Have you ever really loved a woman – Bryan Adams)

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Loyal

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