Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Words can cage us or set us free

There are stirrings in The Valley of Imaginings.

Have you got a quiet moment?
.....with a pot of tea on the go?
You've got time to butter up some crumpets before we begin ......

I'm not quite sure where to start.

I had thought to tell the tale of Ma Baggs, the trifle maker.
Her presence is, after-all, like a silken thread that runs throughout the valley, binding all of its characters and shaping many of the happenings.
I am impatient to tell you about the time she rode through the valley on a motor bike...
wearing her best tea dress....
paisley headscarf,
tied tightly beneath her chin.

But the current gossip concerns Violette and the Slouchy Hare so
we'll start there.

As the flying season gently draws to a close there's a lot of smoothing out to be done. Eyes are brighter and there is generally something less weighty in the appearance of those who have flown but it is often the case,
in the aftermath,
that things are not always returned to their original starting position.
Never more true than for Slouchy and Violette.

Apart from some springtime leaping Slouchy prefers to keep his feet on the ground.
He is truly an earthbound creature. 

This season he has spent his lonesome days doing very little, saving his energy for long nights of stargazing and patiently waiting for Violette to finish her flying.
As the days faded into night he looked to the sky for the first twinkler to appear.
Long ago he was taught to wish upon a star by his dear papa. Over the years he has repeated the rhyme many times.

" star light, star bright
first star I see tonight,
wish I may, wish I might
have the wish I wish tonight"

And Slouchy's deepest longing is to be able to speak to Violette
to make her see,
to make her understand.

Violette is by nature a cheerful person, a being as full of light as it is possible to be.
Not that you would know that
and neither did she.
How could she, with her head forever stuck in that book!
Between the spotty front cover and the dotty back cover she had recorded every hurt, every perceived wrong, long lists of grievances fears and frustrations, sorrows and pains. Every page was stained with tears.

Every morning that she has read from its pages Slouchy has watched Violette's light flicker and dim. He has watched her face as the corners of her mouth turned down.
Watched the back of her hand rise to her forehead and heard the breathy sigh of woe.
Over so many years Slouchy had become, if he could be frank about it, frustrated by her preposterous posturing.
In fact he had moved through frustration to fury- and that's hard for someone as softly stuffed as he.

Slouchy longed to tell her to close the damn book!!
Well maybe not damn.
He was a soft spoken, soft hearted, soft toy after all was said and done.
But close it , definitely.
He wanted to point out that if she would close her spotty book of dotty jottings
and look up at the stars once in a while,
if she would pause to look at the flowers more often,
stop looking over her shoulder towards the past and instead take in the full view of the horizon,
she just might find that her little frozen heart would thaw.

The first morning after the flying was done Violette smoothed down her rumpled dress, teased the windswept wisps of hair back into place and cast her bright eyes down to her book and began to read out loud.

Slouchy's little patched heart slumped in his chest as he heard the familiar words. He felt every stitch in his neatly stitched mouth tighten and pull.....
he surveyed the scene around him in the dew damp meadow....
....although everything was beautiful...... row upon row of grasses strewn with jewelled spider's web..... his little heart just ached for Violette....

Suddenly Violette looked up.
Her eyes were wide and bright.
Strands of her hair lifted in the breeze and her nose twitched slightly as she caught the scent of falling leaves.
If Slouchy could have, he would have held his breath...
With a very sharp decisive movement that made the soft hare jump, Violette snapped the spotty book tightly shut.
She turned to look at Slouchy and held his gaze intently for a moment that seemed equally long and still and silent.
Something imperceptible passed between them, surely....they both felt it light as a bird's feather.... caressing a cheek....
Finally the spell was broken as Violette placed her book into her capacious pocket and tilted her head towards the birds swooping in the sky above.
Then she slowly looked towards the house slip sliding down the hill and a smile lit her face.
Finally she dropped her eyes to the ground at her feet and slowly bent to retrieve a stone that lay there.
As she raised it up in front of her face Slouchy could clearly see the heart shape and the hole in it that let the light shine through.
Violette took in a deep breath, breathing in all the scents of autumn in the valley and exhaled a declaration

"Time to write a fresh story"

And so a new chapter began.


❤️Written with just a tiny nod to my loving memory of Evelyn Baggs my motorbike riding grandmama who gave me far more than a love of trifle ❤️

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