Today is the first of a few meme posts that I have lined up, but I have no doubt you will enjoy this one. I wasn’t tagged in it. Like the Friday Flash Fiction that L.S. Engler would post, or the occasional #3WW (Three Word Wednesday) poems, this meme I decided to join in solely for the pleasure that sharing brought me.
And so, I give you my version of Fiona Robyn’s The Most Beautiful Thing as I wrote it, nearly freeform, in 750words this afternoon:
Thinking about the Most Beautiful Thing… Given it’s originator, it’s something of a “small stones” exercise, but even without truly exploring the depth of beauty I have found, I know where it lays… I don’t need a small stone to know that I have something incredibly beautiful here with me every day.
There are days I would say it is so beautiful to have my few hours alone at night, in my own home, working on stories, sitting in an almost dark home, relaxing yet getting so very much done…. which I do. My power hours for writing, reading, typing all come after 10pm. I only go to bed around then because the 6am waking time to get the Boodle to school (which we haven’t been making at all lately) seems to come earlier and earlier each day.
(Of course, my 10pm going to bed time usually drags out into the 1am to 2am “I just want to finish one last thing before I turn off the computer” bedtime. And often, I don’t turn off the computer because too much is still running.)
But while I find those moment peaceful and empowering, I would never attribute them as “beautiful”. They are necessary for my sanity, desirable for my efficiency, and even pretty darned nice. But beautiful… no.
What is beautiful? The Boodle… his genuine heart and love.
A little backdrop here: Yesterday, crossing one of the two public reservoirs on the way home from my Boodle’s school, I hit a bird. Well, this daring aerialist swallow decided to see if he could fly under the car.
Hurt, but not dead, I knew he’d suffer for a while there on the road. With a broken wing, a blinded eye, and a few missing tail feathers he wasn’t likely to fly ever again, but he seemed determined to live from what I saw. So I brought him home. We had cat food (kitten chow is recommended for feeding these birds when nursing them), sunflower seeds, water… an old box from some computer memory filled with some extra soft rags…
He didn’t really like the box and chose to settle against my chest and sit there.
But the injuries must have been worse than I could see. I should have suspected, given the damage to his eye. I rose for a few moments to go see if he’d prefer a little perch in his box, settling him in it. I came back inside less than minute later, and he’d died.
Now, of course, you might wonder where my Most Beautiful Thing is in this….
Well, after my last post, one might wonder if I fear I may be raising the next Hannibal Lector. Trust me, I’m not. The Boodle is enormously sensitive and aware of the feelings of others. This is the boy that will run and cower in another room and hide when someone speaks to him loudly or will start crying just because he’s seen a friend hurting. And this is the boy who came over to me to hug me and held my hand so we could walk outside and say goodbye to a little tree sparrow that I’d hit with the car yesterday. He held my hand, he hugged me, and he told me to “Feel better” and that the little bird would go back to Nature where it came from.
And my husband’s heart is amazing too, because even before the Boodle came home from school, he gave me hugs and encouraged my support of that little bird.
So maybe the Most Beautiful Thing really is mine, not theirs. It is my life and the fact that they (and so many other amazing people and experiences) are a part of it..
And for the weekly snippet, let’s continue on with the Unnamed Story….
The “North Wing” wasn’t really north. North was its age. As the oldest section of the House, it had been the first section of the permanent structure, made before Acaria’s technological revolution. Lighting appeared sporadically, provided by wiring that had been strung, mining-style, outside the walls rather than in. The walls themselves were mostly stone. The outer walls mostly were. Yiiroia had been dug out of the mountain through painstaking years of work. Careful crafting and diversion of the Yiiroi river and falls had been done so the once towering cascade of water now flowed playfully over steps of blue-green crystal seams, charcoal black rock and moss-laden precipices around the Hastor Home nestled at its feet.
Given a distant land and raw materials worth half a planet’s ransom, the Hastor, once considered little better than the political equivalent of feral swine, had created a jewel of art and nature that even now, several thousand years later, brought expressions of awe and tears of delight to visitors.
The “new” room she’d been assigned was in a long abandoned section of the House, directly under the upper falls. Not far from Val’s solitary hiding place, she noticed. If her suspicions were right, it backed the dark little room her love now lay in, but she would have a window to the world where he did not.
Opening the weathered, creaking walnut door proved her suspicions right. Though dim because the window faced the setting sun, not the rising one, she could see small shadows through the curtained archway directly across the dark expanse of the room.
A balcony too, if she saw right, a balcony that looked out through the falls themselves to the forest and sea beyond.
The master bedroom. It had never been used.
The sersa set down her bags just inside the door and stepped in to light an oil lamp. There was no electricity in this room. There had been no such thing when the room had been made, and since then it had never been used for anything save a place to house his regrets, according to Val.
She’d halfway believed it had never existed save in her beloved’s mind.
“We’ll have it freshened and ready for your sleep this evening, Lady,” the servant murmured with apology, as if noting Atyr’s shock and the vaguely horrified way she was looking around the place.
Atyr didn’t bother saying that her expression was not for the state of her room. She nodded absently and stepped inside, feeling a timeless weight hovering in the air.
It was as if the very walls were staring down at her and sighing in exasperation, as if to say “Finally!” or “”It’s about damned time.”
She felt herself smile and turned to the maid. “No problem, thank you. If I could have a few moments to look things over?”
The maid curtsied deeply. “Certainly, my lady. Also, Seiria Masorii wished to know if you would be breaking your fast with the Seir or the family this morn.”
“The Seir if he’s willing. I’ll spend Nooning with the family.”
“Very good, my lady.” With a less eloquent curtsy this time, the servant let herself out.
Abandoned or not, there was a freshness to the Master suite. Atyr realized she was glad it was the height of summer here as a pleasantly cool draft rippled the lace curtains shielding the balcony. True, if she were cold, she could lower the heavier drapes that were presently drawn and tied back. Even so, the room would never be air tight. And she didn’t dare anyway. The lace itself was little more than strings of mildewed fabric.
The furniture was in decent shape. Work on the room had been started recently. The old mattress had been propped up against the wall, reminding her of years spent with a sore back and itching. The new one was little better though, she found, just newer. It was still a straw bale with a goose feather liner.
The bed was carved from stone, a smoky black that seemed to writhe in the lamp light with reflections like spirits trapped in its shell, a stone completely unlike any she’d ever seen before. But it appealed to her and she went over to its matching wardrobe to run her fingers over the silken surface, as colors danced to unheard music beneath them. Those pieces and the another matching dresser stood out starkly against the soft blue crystal of the walls floor and ceiling.
The bed had posts but no canopy. Overhead a shaft pierced the ceiling to allow gentle light in from the world beyond.
Three doors partnered the one to enter the room. One led to a storage closet as big as a room of its own. She couldn’t see through all the shadows, but did see a small light that suggested a hole had been drilled through the wall to run wiring. The fixture, when she found it, was simple with only a pull string to turn it on.
Cluttered and dusty now, a curious tug of the string revealed what had once been meant as an infant’s room. The fanciful painted touches that decorated the carved walls were faded and flaking but she could see that love and delight had gone into giving life to those colorful beasts and gardens. A cradle of the same lovely black stone had never even gained a mattress.
The next room was a bath. It had reasonably modern plumbing despite its disuse. No shower and a bath that was limed over by the heated spring that fed it made up the washing facilities. Salty, metallic vapors assaulted her senses welcomely.
She dipped a hand in the water and felt the bubbly tingle. Small effervescent bubbles clung vainly to her as she withdrew. At home, even she had to pay to gain time in the mineral spas of biatha Maelana. Here she could spend hours relaxing in the arms of euphoria.
Given this, she could stand the straw mattress.
Now she knew where the last door lead. The new toilet on the back wall of the room, sheltered in a carved hollow that had clearly been a linen shelf once long ago, gave it away. That was the wall between the bathroom in Val’s room and her own. She’d thought the door in his room had lead to a closet or perhaps another hallway once before.
She should have known better. That room had never been meant to be slept in. It had been designed as an office and sitting foyer for their own room.
Their master suite….
She went over and turned the knob hesitantly, apprehensive despite the reassurance she felt from her surroundings. Val may have built it to share with her, but would he want her suddenly here, acting as if she belonged there now?
That’s it for now (that’s plenty enough really). I hope you enjoyed both stories today.