Lately, I've been pondering the possibilities of life. It sounds so philosophical, I'm aware. But it's true; I've been thinking about the various what ifs and maybes. To be honest, I never really liked them. I always wanted the future to be set straight, to be clear, and not the hazy prospects that it really holds. And here I stand once more, at crossroads, wondering what's behind the greyish mass that stands in my way.
But this time, what I'm thinking about is the world in general. Not about you, not about me, but of the Earth. I've been ruminating about what's in store for Gaia, envisioning her future. Part of it stems from a story I've been working on, about Earth set somewhere in the not-so-distant future. It's not perfect. (scratch that, it's far from perfect.) But I'm working on it, relentlessly, trying to absorb as much as possible to put into this draft. I've included a short excerpt for the general entertainment of everyone while attempting to correct the many flaws present.
Here it is:
The sun hangs low in the horizon. It lacks its usual zest and feistiness, and in its place a melancholic orb of dim orange. It throbs with a dull ochre in intermittent pulses, as if that of an old man taking his final wheezes. You squint. The sun is indistinguishable amidst the haze which cloaks it. The greyish smog is one which fills the atmosphere, a poisonous gauze which clasps its deadly hold over your nose. It coats the inside of your nostrils with a sulphurous scent, a noxious gas which seems to solidify and clog up your lungs. Somehow, it proves too much for you. You bend over, racking coughs drawn out from your chest, each clawing the insides of your throat raw.
When you straighten, you gasp. This place. It strikes discordant notes within your memory, but it is only now that you truly remember. What was originally the setting sun extending its final rays of warmth is now a diminished sphere. What was previously the zephyrs of the sea, salty and warm is gone – replaced by the stinging fumes. What was originally the picturesque sunset of the Bahamas is no more.
You gaze down, already knowing to expect the worst. Between your toes, the sand is coarse, rough grains of taupe which leave faint scratch marks across your feet. It stretches out, extending in all directions. The ground is barren, save a few skeletons of dead fishes and the cracked remains of seashells, their bones, once porcelain white, now greyed with soot from the air. Your surroundings are devoid of life, no seagulls which caw overhead, no whistling of the ocean breeze, no splash of the ever-flowing tide. The tide – that is what scares you most. There are no waves to be crash upon the shore, no splashing tide to caress your calves, no churning froth from the sea foam. All you see is the sand and the sky, both dry beyond measure. Already, you feel another cough clawing its way up your windpipe. Tears saltier than the non-existent sea stream down your face. You close your eyes.
This is all but a dream, you reassure yourself.
And apparently, what life holds is far from what you had in mind years ago. As a child, I was the one who constantly toted a book around, nose buried within it's confines, smiling whilst reading as if sharing a secret only the pages knew of. It was joy, I tell you, pure, unsaturated delight that came out of the confines of those pages. They were the sustenance of my childhood - what I lived on.
Now, I find myself turning to film, turning to staring at the screen that plays out this documentary I'm hooked onto. Coincidentally, it's about Earth - population zero. I see the years go by, watch the buildings and various other infrastructure succumb to Nature, look at them crumble to bits of concrete and corroded metal. It truly is fascinating.
I never believed that I would one day, leave the house without a book in hand. But here I am, now older, now busier, wishing and wanting to be able to find a book that captures my imagination like Harry Potter, Eragon, even Enid Blyton. I search, and search, but attempts are futile.
On the other hand, the search for rhubarb has proved successful.
For weeks, I wandered the aisles of the grocery shops, in pursuit of the fruit which has evaded me for so, so long. And now, here she is, cloaked in her ruby glory as my eyes caught a glimpse of her vibrant shade and hands snatched a bundle. She is smooth, like celery, with a pale green innard. She is crunchy, like celery as well, but softens into lovely bits after cooking.
Her flavour, so unexpected like life itself, is one that resembles berries - slightly sour but sweet overall. Orange and ginger add spice, which is what she needs, with smooth, rich custard as a base to neutralise everything. Little needs to be said - hold on to faith, and enjoy.
Orange - Ginger Rhubarb + Custard Oatmeal