Samstag, 31. Dezember 2011

Happy New Year

The old one is frail and thin and grey, worn out and tired. Hands tight on his back, bent in on himself. There are lines of laughter on his face and lines of sorrow, and it is hard to tell of which kind there are more.

The judge looks at him, sternly, "What have you done? What are your achievements?"

The prosecuter starts his litany: Starving children, dead innocents, injustice galore. Wars and accidents and man-made catastrophes. Radiation everywhere, disappearing animals.

The old one says nothing. All he wants is to be done, and to rest. He remembers the time when he was young and energetic, like a racing horse at the start, and everybody loved him - for he was about to change everything around by 180°, he was the one who would make everything allright. And then he came and started his designated course, and somehow he was forgotten, although he was there all the time. Only now, that he is about to lie down and be done do people remember him, and they look at him and mostly blame him for what they perceive to be his misdeeds.

The jury's decision comes quick. He is led to the block, lies down peacefully, eyes facing upward. At the sideline he sees his successor waiting for the signal, all buzzed up and excited. Little does he know, hewill end up just the same. The old one turns his eyes upward again, looking at the guillotine that will put him out of his misery.

Ten, nine, eight, ...

He exhales and smiles.

..., three-two-one - HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The blow is hard, and everything is over in an instance.

Freitag, 30. Dezember 2011

Colors and stars

Standing in the field on the hill, he feels the cold biting his bare skin. The grass is wet and cold beneath his feet. Darkness hides him like a cloak, even more so with the lights the other people are watching. He throws his head back with delight as the first chemical stars fill the night sky above his head. Entering the new year with nothing on himself, he figures it can only get better.


Donnerstag, 29. Dezember 2011

Crystal bridges

Winter is not the best time for travelling, but some places can only be reached via bridges formed from ice.

Mittwoch, 28. Dezember 2011

Fire bird

Once upon a time, when the earth was young and lay in darkness, the firebirds roamed the universe, and the humans on earth would admire the shooting beams of light they saw up in the sky during their lives of eternal darkness.

One day, or one night, maybe, because it was hard to tell in the darkness, something fell from the sky. The humans hurried, and in the middle of a crater, still glowing and shot through with red, pulsing veins, there lay an egg, only as small as a human head. Quarrels ensued over what to do with this treasure, and finally the medicine men and women of the different tribes decided that it would be best to bury the egg, for there had been families destroyed and people killed over a thing as simple as this.

And so it was done. The braves warrior took the egg and crawled into the caves leading to the center of the earth, and there he deposited the egg. Upon his return, he would not speak of the miracles he had seen on his journey, but his hair had gone white and his left arm had withered away to leave nothing behind but dry leathery skin and fragile bones.

But there was a fire bird looking for her egg, and desperately doing so. She felt the pull towards this tiny and insignificant planet, but the egg was nowhere to be seen. So she started circling the planet, changing her path ever so slightly, looking for her unborn child. And thus the light of day was born.

Dienstag, 27. Dezember 2011

Like an Egyptian

Nature is confused, the weatherman says on TV. Blossoming trees in December, fresh leaves on the branches.

Nature has lost its nuts, the newspapers title. They are obviously proud of their witty remark.

I sit at the window, watching this unusual season. Without frost, the parasites won't die. There will be plagues. Crops will fail because we have not gotten used to the new crop cycles. We have poisoned the rivers, now the waters run red. We have changed the weather, we will harvest myriards of insects instead of food. A super-virus has escaped from the secret laboratories - they invented it so they could find out how to avoid pandemics. Sadly, no vaccination was found before the "accident".

The birds sitting on the branches have started nesting. They do not ask questions, they embrace what is and take their chances. We have abandoned the wheel of the year, and in response we are swallowed by mother nature.

I light my Yule candle and wait for change.

Montag, 26. Dezember 2011

Yule magic

As he stands and watches their house burn to the ground, he cannot help but wonder if that Light and Warmth Yule rite he performed may have been a bit too enthusiastic.

Sonntag, 25. Dezember 2011

Something useful

The hints had not worked. As usual. She had pointed at those cute pink earrings and giggled, "Look, aren't they gorgeous? They would match my new dress perfectly!"

And he had gotten her something for the kitchen. Again. Last year it had been a new pan, designed for low-fat cooking. The year before, he had gotten her an apron and matching oven mits. The year before that, a set of cookpots. Then there were the hand-held mixer, the meat thermometer and the "good plates" with the ivy design she hated so much. The list went on. Every year.

Well, at least this time he had gotten her something she could use. Tiptoing from the bedroom, she held the steak knife at her side, gingerly, trying not to get any blood on that ugly apron. It was too early to call the kids' families to wish them merry christmas. She would relax and have a hot chocolate first.

Samstag, 24. Dezember 2011

Bone tree

In the beginning, there were no trees.

There were huge constructions made from the enemies' bones, piles growing towards the sky, and the enemies' jewelry hanging from the ghastly "branches". Days were spent compiling the sacrifice together, to show the gods what the year had brought, what had been achieved. Some bones were already dry and whitish, others still held strands of raw red meat and spread a unique smell through the hall.

Everybody was merry. There was beer and mead and roast, songs and naked limbs. And over all, the bone tree presided, and the gods watched and laughed.

Freitag, 23. Dezember 2011

Realities

One moment you are sitting in your room, single candle lit, staring out of the window at a night that should be magical, but only manages rainy and cold.

The next moment you are standing in the forest, wrapped in dark grey fur, preparing for the hunt.

Which one is you?

Donnerstag, 22. Dezember 2011

Christmas delivery service

"There is no snow", Samantha said. "How is Santa going to get here without snow?"

It took me a moment to understand what this was about. I must have looked puzzled, because she gave her impatient sigh that indicated, 'I am only five and can understand this, so why can't you?'

"Mummy, the sleigh!"

Oh, that. "Well, uhm... maybe Santa can ride on one of his reindeer?"

"And what about the presents?"

"He could use a carriage."

Samantha was not convinced. I could tell, although she did not respond. Of course she was not convinced, after all there was not a single image to be found of Santa in a carriage. And the poor reindeer, I mused, who would have to carry that fat bloke. I turned to face the tree in an attempt to hide my thoughts from her.

We were late, only putting up the tree on the 24th. There almost would not have been a tree at all, but I would be damned if I let the situation ruin my kid's christmas. The year had been tough enough as it was, and this was the only bit of magic left for her. A year or two from now and she would not buy into this stuff anymore, either. I wondered how I was going to distract her then.

It was getting dark by the time we finished putting lights and glittery bits on the tree, and the smell of pizza coming from the oven made my stomach growl. Sam had requested a special treat, and this was her idea of proper holiday food. Her grandmothers most likely would not have approved, but I was not planning on seeing either of them any time soon. If my girl wanted pizza, then pizza it was. I switched on the christmas tree lights, and we stood in the dark and admired our tree.

There was a sharp knock at the door, and when I went to open it, my ex stood on the front porch. Sam's father. The guy who had run off because he "was not ready for this". The guy whose mother had taken it upon her to inform me, back in September, that his new girlfriend was "classy" - something I really did not qualify for.

"What are you doing here?" I glanced over my shoulder to see whether there was any chance of getting out of this unharmed, but that very moment Samantha returned from the kitchen, her tiny hands in oven mits way too large for her, and squealed. "Daddy!"

He switched on that big smile and scooped her up as if she weighed nothing at all. "Hi there. Santa got stuck in traffic and asked me to deliver a few presents to a special little girl."

"Really?"

He nodded. "Really."

I gave up. "Come inside. There's pizza."

"Pizza?" Raised eyebrow.

"Christmas pizza!" Sam exclaimed. "All red and green, and with white cheese and sour cream!" She had even gone to the trouble to cut the salami in tree-shapes. It was a festive pizza.

He put Sam down and followed me into the kitchen.

"Don't you have anything better to do tonight?" I asked and pulled the pizza from the oven.

"Nothing special." He shrugged.

"This does not change a damn thing between us", I insisted.

"I didn't think it would."

Okay, then... "Put your jacket away. You are going to melt. I wouldn't know how to explain that to Sam."

He obeyed with that slightly amused expression - the one I had always loved and hated at the same time. I couldn't help but watch his backside as he went back into the livingroom. Great. Some habits are hard to kill.

While they were busy putting stuff under the tree, I put two mugs of mulled wine in the microwave. God knew I could use a drink right now. I leaned against the counter and stared out of the window, trying to find out how I felt about all this. The sky was black, and against the lights coming from the neighbors' property I could see huge snowflakes gliding down towards the ground.

Fine. He could always sleep on the sofa.

Mittwoch, 21. Dezember 2011

A flash of red

There is no snow, yet it is very cold. The grass wears millions of tiniest crystals. With the street behind you, you can hear the occasional whoooshhhhhh of a car going by, too early, too fast, who knows where.

The sky is colorless and dark. Hunched in upon yourself, you sit and wait, patiently, with the taste of sleep on the back of your throat because you were too tired to brush your teeth, too tired to brew some coffee "to go" to keep warm.

This year, you promised yourself, you would do this. Between the madness that is the holidays in your family and the stress and the drama, you made a vow to catch the first rays of winter sun. You kiond of regret this now. But so many people have let you down, and you will not be one of them.

A flash of red, inconspicuous enough to be missed if one had blinked. You are not even sure it was there, actually. Maybe this is all one giant self-delusion, the biggest waste of time. Like when you believed in Santa as a kid.

The sun comes up fast, caressing the mountaintops. It will only be a short visit to earth today, the shortest of the year, and darkness and cold will hold you in their grip for many more days to come.

Time to go home. Time for coffee and tea and hot porridge, and to embrace what is.