Lord Jesus, think on me well, for I built a shippe for your animals. Yet those people did not come aboard. They stayed wretched and drunk even as the storm approached and I was left alone with the beasts. When all was still I let your raven fly in search of some dry haven. It brought me back an olive branch that I held tearfully to my breast. At that moment I saw a rainbow and all was well. How blessed and safe we felt. But I see clouds building on the horizon.
‘Ends’ is a word that keeps returning. It unravels every time. Whenever I think it sufficient it fails. There is more to be written, even after ends. Sometimes I mis-type it as ‘dens’. And then I rearrange the letters again. Dens! Delete, delete, delete, delete.
I may recollect that these weeks at the end of the year have been full of ends. And in that thought comes the prospect of the unknown future.
Ach, and who knows what’s going on, I asked myself as I tramped across the garden and spotted daffodil shoots already two inches high, even now, here.
It was not the 100 million tonne North Atlantic Garbage Patch, which covered hundreds of miles of ocean, that most shocked Jack, a northern pike from Saskatchewan, on arriving in what we term the present. Nor was it that he could hardly catch sight of a cod off the coast of Newfoundland, or that crabs and shrimps had moved in to make the region their home. No. It was that all the remaining fish had become so small. Yeah, said one, we’re about a quarter smaller than we used to be, but the sea’s nice and warm now isn’t it?
I have a clear memory of a moment when I was a young boy of around nine or ten years old. Perhaps it was the summer holidays or Easter. I think I must have been bored and was in my room sat on the bed or floor. I picked up some old toys to play with – it probably doesn’t matter what they were. Anyway, I began to try and play with them but couldn’t think of how. It seemed childish and I felt embarrassed for myself, trying to be entertained by kids’ things. Maybe nothing was ever the same again.
As soon as the show was over the room rose as one and began to applaud. Looking around, he could see all the delegates were smiling. He was smiling too, though his thoughts needed to settle. It had been a highly charged drama but worth it.
At the end, when their time was up, they stood wearily and, not knowing what should be done, began a slow handclap. All the delegates were fixing their grins. He knew they would come to pay for all the drama. Nothing whatsoever had been settled – but the show was over.
It never got dark any more. At night, streetlight would filter through the blinds and cast shadows on the walls. You lay awake, wondering how long it would be before you would fall asleep. You remembered nights of total darkness but they were gone. Now everything was fuzzy and grey. People didn’t sleep much. They lay awake and worried about the planet and about the apartment, how it needed cleaning. All the surfaces were covered with dust. No matter how much you cleaned, within a day or so it was back. Dust to dust. Awake with things on your mind.
It was just when the light was beginning to fade. He wanted a cup of tea but didn’t have the energy to make it. It felt like everything might fall apart. He wanted to hold it all together but there was nothing to grasp. In his mind, there were years and years of memories: good ones and bad ones. But now it all seemed so like nothing, so ridiculous, so pointless. It was inevitable that things would change. You couldn’t stop it. Things came to pass. Oh it made him sad, so sad. He just wanted to cry and cry.