The well has dried up. Again. There's been wind and rain, but not the right type. The wind sweeping the rain so that it falls across and fails to saturate the land or increase the levels of rivers.
rivers that used to brim, that were in danger of overflowing, trickle
like picturesque streams, creating new paths through the visible mud
and stones. Fish, insect and plant life struggle to survive in their
sail of a ship atop the swelled seas is filled, pushed onwards
towards its destination. The faces of the men on board wet with sea
spray and further stung by fine sheets of rain; yet in a back garden,
in the heart of leafy England, the pail when lowered comes up empty.
pebble is thrown down and is heard to smack the bottom, its slap
against brick echoing up... up...up; a hollow sound like when you cup
your hands around your mouth and call for help. A hopeful gesture
that brings to mind being surrounded by hills or mountains or being
lost in the thickest part of a forest. The ears strained for a
different reply to that of the original sound: water...water...water.
But it doesn't come, nor was it, in truthfulness, expected.
ground hard, the grass yellowed and brittle. Flowers bloom, then
wither. Birds sing but stay hidden in the trees, in the little shade
they offer. Their leaves shaken free easily, by a light breeze or a
creature's touch. New buds of life untethered by any rain that
descends from sunny, cloudy or darkened skies.
weather unusually mild, yet not spiritless nor merciful. The days
long, the hours warm, some red-hot. The earth scorched, a fire
underfoot, burning deep in its bowels.
sun's rays hitting towers built of glass so that the light is harsh
and strong. Diamond-like cities rise through the haze and from a
distance appear to shimmer. Are they real or not? Are they lands that
time forgot, ghosts resurrected?
is the din of working people, spirits or not, coming from these
centres of business, and aside from lighter clothing and a few mopped
foreheads here and there they seem untroubled by either the heat or
the glare. The work cycle – to and from – never stops, the same
flow of work changes hands, from department A to department B, to C
and D, and even E, where there is a need for a fifth level of
scrutiny. Office workers cool, if not calm; flustered by papers and
electronic Pings! New e-mail in. The phones ring and ring, and ring.
suburbs, life is quiet. Deathly quiet as if there's been an mass
exodus, which there has but to indoor shade, temporarily made during
daylight hours. Nobody fled with their arms and legs pumping or in a
current of marching, though their hearts for a time beat irregularly
until the dust of this new living settled. Residents confine
themselves to their bought or rented spaces, blinding its eyes to
keep the heat out, as outside surfaces underneath a fierce sun bubble
like a malodorous witch's brew.
wear little. They lay down. They perspire freely, adding to the
odours of a sweltering earth, and sleep as if ill with a raging
fever. Their dreams troubled and hard to break away from, causing
them to toss and turn and cry aloud, or make incoherent speeches as
if conversing with something or someone.
everyone gone underground. Though only a few creatures actually
burrow to a lower place, to where the walls are damp and softer.
above ferments, turns ripe and sticky. Heavy, near to bursting, and
scents the air with its intoxicating sweetness. Begs to be relieved
of its burden though there's no-one and nothing to sense its day-long
being in suburbia awakens when the sun's gone down and the moon is
lighting its own path, traversing soil as well as sand and water.
a world, a strange world, full of contradictions and opposites, as if
someone somewhere is playing a game with a magic wand or dagger and
casting elemental spells.
Picture credit: The Magic Circle, 1886, John William Waterhouse (Tate Britain)