This is the third chaplet in a series, a reflection and meditation on recent events.
The sun, blazing in a deep blue sky unmarred by wisp of cotton-cloud is searing everything its rays touch in Away & Beyond. Day after day I seek shelter from the scorching heat, behind walls, under trees. I can only work for short periods in the clay based soil before I must retreat to the shade again. I am not accustomed to this type of heat, this dry, unforgiving heat. The people here complain of humidity; they know not what humid is.
Others have siphoned off water from a small river winding its way across the plain. This is a good year they tell me, there’s been plenty of rain. And yet, the ground remains like concrete to my spade as I work to dig a hole deep enough to bury the roots of the trees that will provide my sustenance in the coming spring. It’s the wrong time of year to plant, I know, but with all I’ve left behind I am left with no choice. In the end, I decide that it would be better to grow the plants in pots for while. I hope someone is nurturing my orchard back in Alexandria. In reality, the fruit has probably been stolen from the trees or left to rot on the ground. I guess it doesn’t matter if I’m not there to enjoy the juice of the peaches I tended so carefully.
I’ve constructed a lean-to, fashioned from pieces that have drifted by. A piece of wood here, a length of canvas there. One or two things have been provided to me and I am grateful; I expect no-one to offer me anything other than what I earn through my labours. So many others have been forced to leave their homes with so much less than I; they have nothing salvaged. I at least have my loaded wagon. I wonder how the others here with so little will survive the winter’s ice in just a few months time. I see what they endure now and realize just how close I have come to sharing their fates. I will not allow that to happen. Industry has become my ethos so that I can rebuild my Alexandria and return to my beloved Great Library. I am told that the scrolled parchments and shelves of learning stand safe for now; my efforts put in place before departing have apparently prevented the cherished learnings from being damaged by the tsunami’s salty seas. I am relieved. And grateful. I only railed against the gods in my despair; I am fortunate I was not smite for my insolence.
One month gone and I survive. The next awaits, but a day away. And at its end is the promise of return, brief as it will be, to my Alexandria. How much of what I left behind will remain? Will the daphne flower in the shifted soils, will the wildlife have returned? I’m considering planting some bulbs in autumn’s cooler days so there will be some colour and life in the spring when I again return. With so many of the larger trees ripped asunder by Atlas’ spasm it’s only the smaller plants that will decorate the broken city I still call home come September. Perhaps others will return to visit too and see the colour and we can share a feast beneath Apollo’s mighty orb until his quadriga draws it westward and cedes to Hesperus.
I suppose I am not so dead inside, for I still dream the possibilities …