Friday, 24 February 2012

Who is man that you are mindful

David didn't know how long he'd sat on the bench, but darkness had fallen around him almost unnoticed. The park was still and quiet and the lack of lights made the night all the more clear. He continued to sit on the bench, not moving even a muscle, totally relaxed.
   As the darkness deepened stars began to appear in numbers David had never seen before, and the longer he sat there the more amazed he became. To get a better view and stop the crick in his neck David lay down on the bench, which was uncomfortable but he didn't care. Soon there were so many points of light he was finding it hard to pick out the well know constellations.
   Lying there David began to contemplate the vastness of the universe, and how much there was in it. Tiny, glowing, pink pricks that millions of light years away were giant, raging, balls of fire, and suddenly David felt very small.
   A shooting star flared for a moment and was gone.
   'My life,' David said aloud, 'is just a shooting star; burning for a moment and going out.' And yet here I am, he thought, and despite the massive-ness of the universe, or this world even, someone has given little me a chance to live. This made David feel even smaller, so he stopped thinking again and gazed up at the sky and then he spotted the Milky Way, and once he'd seen it he couldn't look at anything else.
   Men can argue and fight and die, but the stars remain forever, David thought, and I can lie on this bench tonight and tomorrow I can return to work, but somehow none of that will ever be enough. There must something more.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A day for pancakes

Sift the flour and crack the egg, mix in the milk and butter the pan. Get out the lemon and the sauces and, if you're like me, regret that you don't have any maple syrup.
Do you have friends round, or are you sharing a stack with a loved one?
Are you branching out into savoury pancakes?
And most importantly, can you flip your pancake without it folding over or indeed toss it right up in the air? (I'm still working on this bit)

Maybe you're not interested. Maybe it's all media hype. Or maybe it's the last day before lent, marking the start of the lead up to Easter. A day to use up things you're not going to eat for a few weeks, resisting their tempting flavours.

Whether you like them or not, today is a day for pancakes.

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Rugby Match

Story inspired by this picture taken by Ray McManus that won the second prize Sports Singles as part of the World Press Photo awards.

It was only five o’clock but heavy cloud made the light terrible. The world had turned colourless and damp like a murky watercolour painting. Everything was a mix of grey and brown as the muddy field merged with the darkening sky.

Light rain had fallen all afternoon, but it wasn’t until the game started that it really began to pour. A sparse crowd of parents and friends huddled on the sidelines, peering out from under umbrellas and raincoats, hoods pulled low. The grass quickly disappeared and it became harder to pick out the pitch markings, while the two teams became indiscernible as mud coated every player from head to foot.
          The ball was even harder to handle than usual and both teams made mistakes regularly. The tackles still came in but running was treacherous and kicking suicidal. The players, though, barely noticed. For them it was just a part of the game.

Afterwards the janitor moaned loudly at the state of the corridors and changing rooms. He didn’t like rugby. When he’d been younger the tougher kids had always frightened him. Now wet winter nights and the prospect of a long evening cleaning made him miserable.
          This night was one too many. He quit.
            The next morning girls squealed as they tried to avoid the mess in the P.E. corridor, but he wasn’t there to hear. When the telephone rang he told the headmaster where to find the broom cupboard.

The next time the school had a match, the boys were told to change outside. This time they moaned, but they won: 34-8. Now they do it every time.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Silent Pianist

The pianist in the corner plays on. I have been his only companion for two hours now, but still his fingers keep up their constant movement, beating out one beautiful piece after another. Does he know I am still here? Does he realise everyone else has left?
            At first they applauded, but slowly they tired and then they departed. For me though there is something irresistible about his music, I must stay to listen. He is playing out his life, his heart, his soul; but all I know is that he is a pianist, and I love him.
            I have come every day for a week, and stayed every night until the early hours of the morning. Always though he outlasts me. My eyes droop and when I wake he is gone. I cannot bring myself to stop his playing, and if I did, I do not think I would have the words to say to him. He too, would remain silent, the piano is his voice, but that is not to say he does not have any words to say. I know this because last night he left me a note.

You are very beautiful.

Tonight I have a note ready for him. I couldn’t think of a reply that summed up my feelings for him and his music. So instead I have simply put, ‘Thank you.’ It’s a beginning.