What Pegman Saw – Evergreen Memories

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Bristol in the UK.

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Evergreen memories

College Green was our special place, wasn’t it, Peter? We often met here between morning lectures and afternoon practical classes. We sat on the grass and watched the gulls hover, soar, dive, brilliant white against the blue sky. We shared our lunch, our stories, our laughter; especially our laughter. We laughed a lot, at people, at things that happened, but mostly simply for joy at being alive and together.

Then one day you weren’t there. Nor the next day, nor the one after. You weren’t in classes either. You’d never told me your home address or phone number. I asked the University what had happened. “He left us voluntarily,” was all they would tell me. No address, no phone number; I wasn’t part of your family.

I still come and sit here occasionally, and remember, quietly.

A shadow falls on me.

“Annie?” The old man’s voice is tentative, disbelieving.

“Peter!”

What Pegman Saw – Forgotten

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is the ghost town of Buckhorn, Iowa.

WPS - Forgotten - Buckhorn 171216

Forgotten

Ann stepped lightly on the grass of the cemetery, leaving footprints in the dew. She was glad someone still cared enough to mow it neatly. She laid a bunch of flowers from her yard on the grave of her Aunt Betty, murmured a doubtful prayer and walked downhill to the disused church.

“See you at the old church, 8:30 on Thursday May 23rd” Mike’s last email had said, a fortnight ago.

He’d been away a long time, three years, treading the far places of the globe and following his dreams. How would he look? How would he feel?

The sun became hot. Ann found herself a shaded spot, heady with the scent of wildflowers and loud with the insistent buzzing of honeybees. 8:30 came – and went. At 10:00 she sighed and left.

“I guess he forgot.”

In the cemetery, the dew had already disappeared; already the grass had forgotten her.

In the moment – time flies!

Life flies past so quickly, doesn’t it?

I reflect on what I remember:

It’s nearly a year since the Brexit referendum.

It’s five years since London hosted a dazzling Olympic Games.

It’s eleven years since my first wonderful grand-daughter was born.

It’s seventeen years since we celebrated the millennium with fireworks and apprehension about whether all our computers would crash.

It’s forty-two years since I married Daphne, and forty-one since the birth of our first beloved daughter.

It’s forty-eight years since mankind took the giant step of sending a man to land on the moon for the very first time.

It’s sixty years since the Russians launched Sputnik 1, and a new era of exploration began.

The personal; the newsworthy; the significant; the trivial; they’re all there in my memory, and none of them really feel a long time ago – ok, well maybe Sputnik, although the memory is clear enough!

What a rush!

We can, though, slow down our perception of time if we practise living in the moment. We pay mindful attention to what we are experiencing as we experience it, and time slows for us. In particular, we pay attention to our feelings, nurturing the positive, and gently looking to let go of the negative. We have time to appreciate, time to enjoy; time to say “I love you” to those closest to us; time to fully enjoy their presence with us. Our time is both slower and richer.

Cooking ingredients 170530

I sometimes find that cooking helps me reach a state of mindfulness. It’s an activity where you have to focus on what you’re doing, and be alert to what’s happening. You pay attention to the appearance of the ingredients, and to their smell and to their taste. It’s a small step from there to being fully ‘in the moment’ and appreciating with your whole attention who you are and what you are living. I wrote a brief poem about this.

Season to Taste

I taste and season, stir and cover,

Chop potatoes, pepper, beans,

Making a meal, family-making,

Making pleasure, making love.

Not too salty, fine-chopped onion,

Taste and season, stir and cover.

Flavour contrast, savoury and sweet,

Unlikely partners, no meat,

Celery and chili (discreet).

Taste and season, stir and plate,

Food for my family – come and eat!