The Key

Fall

Fall weheartit.com

Yesterday I awoke to the sound of leaves sloshing from side to side, hitting branches left and right. I heard the wind rise underfoot and carry the golden brown hues for miles.  A chill was in the air, the way there hadn’t been for a while. A storm was brewing and I knew it was coming for us.

Somewhere, somehow, between all my studying, the summer was over.

I had missed it, my nose deep in books, dusting cobwebs out of the corners of my mind. One exam, two exams, three exams later, amongst clearing out my apartment, I felt lighter, and infinitely more tired. I find myself sitting between boxes of things I couldn’t bear give up. Buying furniture is expensive, yet during this move it dawned on me that even getting rid of objects comes at a cost. I donated as much as I could to the local charities, and yet it seemed the more I gave, the more I had left.

It was the 16th time I’d moved, and you’d think after a while you’d get used to it, that you wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night with more logistical questions than answers. And then, when you finally hand that key over and dust off your hands, as you turn the page to the new chapter to come, you can finally breathe easy again.

You are free again, a bird in flight, waiting to find the next prosperous place to land, and call home.

moving

moving

Seven Numbers

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “You’re a Winner!.”

Oddly enough, I have given this some thought the past few weeks. Prior to that, I’d never played the lottery, and never had the desire to do so. However, since such a momentous part of my future is out of my hands this coming year (no, unfortunately doctors don’t get to complete their training precisely where they choose to), I figured I may as well jump on the luck bandwagon.

Getting the residency position of my dreams, seems just as impossible right now, and yet, the odds still beat the actual lottery.

The fun part about buying that ticket, is that it opens up the sense of possibilities. Of course, every bone in your body knows that it won’t happen, and yet, there is that tiny sliver of something we like to call hope. Hope of owning your own house, of being able to fill its rooms with antiquities from distant places of the globe. Hope that you can have a dog because you no longer have to worry about the space, or lack of a backyard, or how much it would cost to get a dog sitter for when you decide to take that weekend trip to Rome on a moment’s notice. Hope of being entirely free of that existential fear we have of ending up on the street. And once your own needs (and certainly some wants) are quenched, then there is that dream of changing the world. You could make a difference by donating to charities that support the issues you want to fight for.

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The funny thing about this dream of suddenly having that much money, is that it’s really all about the immediate gratification. Because I well know that with time, I could get that house with the nice little backyard, and the pet dog. I could still go on that trip to Rome, and I could still make a difference in the world by getting involved in charities that matter. This dream, of having millions of dollars, is attractive because it shows you the things you desire in your life. And the anticipation of it perhaps happening, and the possibility it holds, is what makes it so enticing,

So regardless of whether or not you win this week, here is to all the optimists out there, taking a step towards their dreams.

‘Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars’.

– Les Brown 

Either that, or you’ll be broke for spending all your money on lottery tickets :p

The Games We Play

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Perfect Game.”

So I may have deviated slightly from the given assignment, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

This story is set in the dead of winter, in turn-of-the-century North-Eastern Europe, on a very dark night. Lars had never been good at being a family man. In fact, he was anything but. He worked in the textile trade, which meant long trips to southern Europe and the far east, and only rarely he saw his wife and two children. He didn’t miss them much, in fact, he enjoyed the freedom to roam and make his own decisions. The fine silks made him dream of a better life and he was always in the search for something more.

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This evening he took his seat at the bar, shifting his heavy weight onto the rather unsteady barstool. He was always on the lookout for a bit of gambling, certain he could make his own luck, and tonight was no different. The crew of soldiers that had stumbled in grew louder with the drink, and he overheard talk of a card game. This was his chance, nothing was easier to beat than a drunken soldier in the company of his own men – off guard.

He’d wormed his way into far more challenging evenings before, and soon he was sitting at the table, and took the cards that were dealt. A few rounds of whiskey gave him courage, and even though his golden coins were dwindling in his money belt, his luck did not seem to desert him tonight. And yet, as all games of luck unfold, the dark side of the coin was showing its face. He thought one more game would change every thing, and tomorrow would be market day. He would make it all back. He kept playing to his doom. Soon he was waging more than his money belt, hoping to take loans from the bar’s customers. I’ve got the finest silks! he slurred to his neighbour on his left, a fine elderly gentleman, whose gold-rimed coat set him apart from the soldiers.

What else have you got? As the evening wore on, Lars wagered his house, his load of textiles, his soul and finally his daughter. If he lost, she would marry the fine gentleman. It would never come to that though, as his luck was set to turn. He ordered more whiskey and joined in the singing.

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The gentleman had a grave look on his face. “I should be overcome by joy. I have wandered the earth for years, hoping to find some heartless soul that is fit to take my place. And I wouldn’t feel this overcome with sadness, if I didn’t know what awaits you. You wanted a bigger life, and were willing to give away all the riches you possessed. You made a bargain with the devil, as I had years ago. Now you must go live with him, and roam the nights until you find someone willing to wager his own soul for the luck of a card game. He reached for the large gold chain around his neck and lowered it over Lars’ head. It was heavier than it looked. At the end of it, hanging over Lars’ sternum, was a key. This leads to hell my friend, welcome.”

Dumbfounded Lars turned to the gentleman, as he left. Where will you go now?

“Me? I’m off to enjoy the little I had before. You will soon understand how much it means to me now.” And with that, he disappeared into the snowy night.

Flatterbug

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Sincerest Form of Flattery.”

Sebastião Salgado is an influential brazilian photographer and photojournalist, known for showing life through black and white images that are truly striking. The high contrast landscapes bring a dramatic feel to the unique moments and events that he is able to capture through his lens.

Although I will never be a professional photographer, I can aspire to improve on this much-loved hobby of mine. And I decided to share a black-and-white image of my own. This photo was taken on a trip through Arizona, about 5 years ago, when I was making some very important life decisions.

From the exterior, it resembles a ruin. And yet, there is, in my opinion, beauty in that.

Ectoplasm: copyright 2015

Ectoplasm: copyright 2015

Bookless

If you are a bookworm like me, you will understand the pleasure derived from having a great book to put your nose in at the end of the day. That feeling of being in a story even when the pages are closed, contributes the thrill that lasts until the pages on your right dwindle and you’ve stopped reading as fast as normally do because you want this feeling to last. It’s with anguish that you know you want to reach the end and yet, wish you could experience it all over, like you never will again. The days between such great reads seem a little dull in comparison, even though you are finally free. You no longer wonder what is hidden in the next paragraph, and the adventure has come to a close, both for you and the protagonists.

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weheartit.com

Right now, I am bookless. And although there is a very tall heap of books waiting to be discovered, like uncharted waters, it is hard to dip your toes in and get wet all over again. So I’m enjoying my morning coffee, free of the confinement of the book world, ready to take on the sunny outdoors.

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weheartit.com

So Many Different Suns

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Always Something There to Remind Me.”

courtesy of weheartit.com

courtesy of weheartit.com

Scent is the strongest trigger of memories, and yet sound, and music in particular is a powerful vessel, of memories and emotions alike. If I had to choose but one song, that evokes the strongest of childhood memories, it would have to be ‘Brothers in Arms’ by the Dire Straits. On a three-week road trip through the red dirt roads of northern Australia, that tape was the only thing we had to listen to (because someone forgot to pack the rest). No radio signal, no road trip themed playlist. Just us, the wilderness and the Dire Straits. We were so tired of this tape by the end of the three weeks, and now, it’s all I know. The lyrics and tones and inked into our very souls.

The eerie lonely howl of the guitar, amidst the desert landscapes that stretches for miles and miles, reminded us that we were in the remotest place we’d been so far. From Darwin to Uluru, the little towns with forgotten names flew past us. Fruit bats and geckoes became our nightly camp co-dwellers and the night sky had never seemed bigger. That trip, will remain the most special adventure we had as children. Waking up to the various sounds of wildlife as you crossed the camp ground, thin veil of mist hanging over the gum trees is a feeling that will remain real, as long as I have this song to listen to.

courtesy of google images

courtesy of google images

And the risk remains, with each time you rewind the tape or hit play, that you record over those instances with new memories, for they are dynamic in nature, and unlike a picture; memories change with time, as malleable as the sand castles we built when we were kids.

‘There’s so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun’s gone to hell and
The moon’s riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it’s written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We are fools to make war
On our brothers in arms’

– Dire Straits