Weekend! How quick it came, but she feels that way always when it has arrived. They took a trip to Femina’s favorite spot that she often visited to get away from the hustle of city life. She calls it a trip into the green, though there is not much green left at this time of the year. The meadows still are and some trees, but most of them have turned their leaves into all kinds of colors and they seem to compete for the brightest one. They walk through the mixed woodland. The little one collects some treasures as she goes, leaves, twigs, and seedpods. They carry warm cloths and overnight gear, because it can get quite cool without the sun and Femina intends to stay the night outdoors. It will be the last time for this year, it will be the last time in this spot altogether. She has no intention to ever return once she left the country for good.
These lands have little natural habitat, to Femina’s regret, because nature is an important part of her life. But here you don’t have unspoiled beauty anywhere to saturate your senses. Once of course there was but humans have quickly disposed of it. Instead they created concrete landscapes and recreational areas with manicured lawns and shrubs. They live in the one and flock to the other on weekends for some weekend fun.
It is rare indeed to find an area less worked over or unspoiled. Where they are walking, and the immediate surroundings, is such an oasis. Its existence is rather puzzling but it may be due to being too far away for a day- or even a weekend trip. Besides, there are no streets for the shiny cars and motorbikes, only a country road without asphalt, stony and rough. And there is really nothing exciting to do or on offer that would make a trip worth wile for most people. Femina was very happy to have found this left alone and forgotten piece of nature, coming often to spend the night under the open sky. Nobody ever disturbed her because there were hardly ever any people and if so, they would not spend a night. The most human encounters she had was with the locals and that was rare. They were mainly elderly folks, living in the tiny village, where they tended to their little house-gardens, growing vegetables for their own use and letting their small number of cows, sheep and goats graze the meadows during the day. They seemed to go to bed as soon as they housed their chicken for the night, because nobody would be found walking around after dark. They were however friendly people, but they were the forgotten ones too. Left to themselves, the young ones gone for the cities to find work and pleasure, they were not privileged or did the gardening as a hobby. It was a necessity, their livelihood, but they were content as Femina found out on the rare chats she had with them. She believes, they never knew she was there overnight up on the hill all by herself.
They must carry on a bit further to reach the track that leads up to the resting place. The path is not obvious. It is covered with leaves, branches and stones and for the unaware easily looked over. It also does not promise anything special, rather a track that might go to nowhere. But Femina has come often enough to find it quickly, and up they go. It is a bit of a climb, about three hundred meters, until they reach another path which takes them across the slope. Finally they land on a small grassy plateau partially protected by a rocky overhang, that is good enough to stay dry in a sudden shower, but not enough in a storm, as Femina has experienced on the occasion. Traversing the hill is far easier than the climb because the track is soft and earthy without too many stones. Following the track a little further leads to a waterfall, nothing special or particularly remarkable, but it has good water collected and filtered by earth and rocks from above. Its noises can be heard sitting on the plateau if one cares to listen to the sounds of nature.
They put down their baggage. Femina spreads out the insulation mat and above the straw mat so they can sit down and make themselves comfortable. From here the view is wonderful. The woods below were cleared some time ago and though shrubs and young trees try hard to cover the wounds they have not reached any substantial height yet that would block the sight.
“Here you will stay tonight?” asks the little one, while grabbing enthusiastically one of the sandwiches Tina unwraps followed by more food being unpacked.
Femina nods. “It is beautiful here, don’t you think? Just let your eyes wander, you can see so far and all the colors on the way! When the mist and fog of the evening rise and disappear in the morning it has a magic that I love to watch.”
“Why don’t we stay as well“? The little one asks her mother.
“Not tonight, my dear,” says Tina, “it is far too cold. We sleep in the village down there.”
The little one searches in the given direction. It is not easy to spot the grey and reddish rooftops some distance away amongst the many colors of the leaves. Finding them does not impress her it seems.
“I can put on the warm cloths we have taken with us. So please let us stay here with Femina.” She pleads with her mum.
Femina interferes, explaining to her, that in fact she would like to stay on her own, intending to use the time for meditation and she did not believe, it would be of much interest for her dearest friends to join her for that matter.
“Ah”, she says and is satisfied. Indeed, she knows what meditation is and how to do it, of course. Mother already taught her the principles, but she is not fond to spend the evening that way, too much to do, too much to explore. Anything is more exciting than sitting still and not even talk! She empties her pockets, spreading out the collected treasures and sorts through them, because she wants to keep the most interesting ones to take back home as souvenirs.
The sun walks steadily on a flat path. Shining mildly he lets the midges dance. Over there, not far from them are some truly amazing. They engage in a baffling activity of diving up, and floating down, using their wings like helicopter blades and their long legs swimming like a frog when they go up as if diving from the bottom of the lake to the surface out of the water, and then their wings turn into sails and their legs hang loosely down when they let themselves sink back to the imaginary ground, never actually landing. Up and down it goes, up and down, and up and down. They seem tireless and look like dainty fairies who have nothing better to do than enjoying themselves with games and nonsense all day long. They certainly seem to enjoy what they are doing right now as there is no end to their rise and fall activity. Femina points them out to her friends and they watch them for a while getting touched by their gaiety and becoming cheerful just as well.
“I wonder how long they may live,” says Femina pondering.
“No idea,” replies Tina amused. “May be only hours, the way they behave! I don’t even know what species they are. I have never seen anything like it before. Well, maybe they die as happy as they seem to live, no matter how long they live. Days, hours or weeks, does it matter?
Somewhere from between the trees comes the call of a cuckoo. Tina listens, then she says: “Nice place, just right to examine your Self and feel your balance.”
Femina agrees. “Absolutely! How often did I come here to regenerate and stabilize!”
“Well,” says Tina, “now it won’t be long and you can leave all behind you and say bye, bye.”
Femina answers with a deep sigh. “Indeed, I can’t wait. If my life would have to continue like that I could not hurry death along quickly enough to hasten the end!”
She gazes down the valley. It is hard to hold back the tears because out there in the distance underneath the brown dome of smog, and hidden within crouches relentless the reaper. His stench rises high up into the sky. Many believe he brings all the blessings, poverty does exist no more. But instead, he brings acid rains and dying forests and more starvation than ever before.
‘But who is to blame,’ she sighs again. ‘Only a few understand the PRINCIPLE of the OPPOSITE that carries the axis of preservation right in the middle of it.’
She remains silent. Heaviness creeps up bearing down on her body. Tina takes the little one to the waterfall. With the quiet around relief comes swiftly. She feels connected with nature, it is for her like a soothing balm. - Matter, - binding structures! Or? ‘Patterns, - grids, - barred prison windows, - that is but the argument and perception of her intellect, because it cannot do without the body and gets sometimes annoyed with it. She herself feels at home in matter. There is this life’s origin and end. She smiles as always when she uses nature as her mirror. The complexity of a harmonious system looks back at her and nothing more she needs or wants to be.
A humming shiny little fish glides along in the pale blue watery sky. Not far from her on a stony mound a snake makes himself comfortable. How different the world of the snake is to hers. She has no infrared vision like the snake, and that is only one difference. But the feeling of happy contentment is the same to all, be it snake, fish, herself or even stone, which also always seeks a place to rest. Intellect as the director is only half of the deal, it needs the emotions as the conductor to make the deal complete. Both are difficult to grasp and difficult to understand because their correlation with structure is elusive and unknown. Only their processes have been revealed. Who knows, it may be for the better. Anything useful can be misused. However, evidence, proof, appears to be essential, because to believe is not enough. The scientific mind always wants prove, otherwise truth remains a question of personal taste and choice.
Too many thoughts start to flood Femina’s mind, causing havoc. She tries to stop it as she seems to head towards a whirlpool. That is really a useless endeavor. It only uses up her energies. There are thousands of things pulling her this way or the other. Trying to stop it really is only a disguise of avoidance. It is a trap! Or is it? Whirlpool? Or trap? The return of her friends interrupt her.
The sun has turned pale and cool. Tina distributes fruits and announces that they will soon head down to the village, before it gets too late and find the inn closed.
Femina’s orange is very dry. She peels another being the same. She angrily throws them down into the bushes. Tina rolls her eyes.
“Why can’t oranges be oranges as they should be!!!!!!” She exclaims.
Tina does not want to answer. It would most likely put coal to the fire.
“Take mine,” the little one says and offers her the rest she has not yet eaten. “Mine is okay.” Tina smiles.
“Never mind,” Femina replies, “I’ve lost my appetite. But thanks for your offer.”
The little one shrugs her shoulders and eats the orange without further comment.
Femina stares at Tina who remains silent and unperturbed. Femina’s staring intensifies.
“Ah,” says Tina after all, “leave me out of this. Your frustration is nothing new and neither is your crisis. Being caught in contradictions you know as good as I do that the best thing is to walk straight through their middle.”
“Excuse me!” Femina protests, “comparing apples and oranges here! The dry oranges have nothing to do with my personal affairs!”
“If you say so…….,” states Tina dismissive. “And of course you know what to do, don’t you?”
“Good! Then do it!”
Her friend does not take the bait and indeed puts out Femina’s fire. How can she forget that Tina sees right through her? Puff! ‘Wrong maneuver, disarmament of the gun.’
Somewhat vague she says: “I do what I can.”
“Ph,” snaps Tina, “you run in circles, crazily searching for the solution. Honestly, dear, you cannot find the answer if you hail harmony and refuse to accept chaos.”
‘Of course’, no point to argue.’ Tina won’t let her get away with it.
“You can eat an apple, if you don’t like the orange.” The little one tries to offer another solution.
“Well, I could drive to the orange country to get a really good orange, isn’t it?” She smirks
Tina grins. “She could also change the system to ensure she gets what she wants right here and now!! – No, no my dear, Femina suffers from a very different problem. Though it is okay to want a better orange, it is only the hook to hang her hat on.”
“What problem does she have?” asks the little one. She does not let go. Kids and their curious minds! And how stubborn they can be! Or is this an attitude of the old? Damn it! The circus in her head starts again. Annoyed she says: “You would not understand!”
The little one is perplexed. “Can’t you explain it to me?” She would like to help. Her motives are altruistic.
“No she can’t,” answers Tina instead. “That’s the reason why her temper flares up and the oranges become powder kegs.”
Now the little one is puzzled even more. “Please, you explain it to me, if Femina can’t!”
It is Femina’s turn to grin because how can you explain the child something so complex’, and she waits expectantly for Tina’s answer.
Tina knows she needs to look for something simple that can satisfy her girl’s hungry mind and still is not too far of the mark for Femina’s.
“Okay,” she says, “maybe I use an example instead. Let’s make Femina to a conductor of an orchestra. They play very nicely and Femina is very pleased. But when the musicians get out of tune, she gets angry and she certainly does not want any different kinds of music other than hers. And worse, during their breaks they play as they want, which then is quite chaotic. But that is not all bad, because within that free play the musicians try new things and may organize themselves to smaller groups with a different style of music or showing off their individual skills. Of course that is not what Femina has in mind. She wants melody and harmony not disobedience and unruliness. Mind you, the orchestra has a right to their breaks. And then they really should really be allowed to play what they want!”
The little one is indignant: “Really Femina, in their free time they can do as they please!”
Femina answers defensively: “I agree to some extent, but it is far worse! You know, they refuse to listen to me. They undermine my orders, they rebel!! That is the problem!”
The little one looks at her mother with big eyes. Femina suddenly has all her sympathy, but Tina’s reply comes promptly: “Sweetheart, your sympathy is out of place. ‘Order’, ‘command’, ‘rebels’, - these are the favorite words of tyrants, dictators, despots!”
“Hallo, I am the conductor! I have the responsibility for the orchestra’s work! I know what is good for them and it is my decision what needs to be done……….”
She could talk to the trees, because her two friends just laugh now and don’t even bother to answer. No doubt, the little one has an anti-authoritarian education. She can literally 'get lost' with her arguments.
“Ask her, if she needs a bodyguard to get to the desk. Or maybe she already needs the guards for reinforcement of her orders!” Tina probes relentless and they carry on with their jokes.
“What kind of friends are you?” She interrupts them. “I suffer, and you make jokes about me!” She actually means it at the moment at least. The two stop.
The little one comes over to her and gives her a big kiss on the cheek. She understands. She too does not always get what she wants. Tina smiles softly and rolls her eyes in sympathy after all. She starts to hum: “That’s life…..”
How odd it is to find so much drama in banality and in drama so much pleasure!
“Ah you two, my sweetest, dearest, most loyal friends,…”. She embraces them both and smothers them impulsively, holding them tight until they gasp for air. They struggle to free themselves, prodding and tweaking her so she would let them go. And so the wrestling under lots of laughter takes its course. The birds fly up into the higher branches to eye them from a safer place. The snake has left silently, too much of unsettling vibrations. Only the midges carry on dancing unperturbed, free of sorrow even if the world explodes.
Femina has no chance to win the battle. The little one tickles her all over while Tina holds her tight. She tries hard to untangle, but shakes in laughter and finally gives in and pleads with them to let her go. They stop to catch their breaths. The little one would be ready for more action, but the sun is low and ready to set. They need to go. Tina and the girl collect their things and after discussing their plans for the morning they finally leave. As they disappear into the woods, their laughter can still be heard for a while. But then Femina is alone, with no other noises than the ones that belong to that place.