Wetland Blossoms

If Jack remained inside his room for too long, he was often victim to having his body overcome with an overwhelming pressure. A kind of presence within his blood, pulling at the sinew under his skin and forcing him into a state of irritability, one which he could not account for.
At times such as these, he would stop what he was doing and take a long walk to gather flowers.
He couldn’t recall when he first started doing this, but he knew that when he returned to his house, hands full with fresh picks, he would be cured temporarily.

Jack found himself following the walkway which traced the edge of the creek. He came to life at the shifting gravel under his feet, the loose sediment playing a melody of white noise with every step.
It had been a wet summer, and the heat was late in arriving. Spring felt as if it had doubled in length, and Jack breathed deeply of the moistened air, taking in the fragrances of fresh growth.
The forest across the creek was absorbed in shades of pine and moss, all of the trees being evergreens, and the mangroves owned the banks with complete autonomy. Jack remembered walking through these as a child, coming back cold and covered in sludge, the stench of which was so that it caught like rotten eggs in the back of your throat. Once, a fresh shoot shot right through the bottom of his brother’s foot, coming up between the bone next to his large toe. It didn’t quite pierce all the way through and instead appeared like a tiny hill atop his foot.
These walks were walks of memory. Contemplation of nature and of Jacks own nature. It was his habit to walk the length of his walk, eyeing out potential picks, and then doubling back, confirming those choices. This was in line with how Jack lived his life.
At this time of year, the tuis had flown from the deep inland bush to feed on the flower nectars and the insects which stuffed themselves full of the sweetness of nature’s bounty. Their song was such that Jack found himself whistling back to them. He was envious of their two voice boxes, but he rarely knew what to do with the one he owned.

Jack now turned for home, the compiled list completed.
The tactile sensations of picking were his favourite part, and he would spend a short time with each plant, running his hand along the bark to feel their textures, along the leaves and flowers, gently caressing them with the lightest of touches, and coaxing them to release their distinct aromas.
He first picked a thin stem from a young Manuka tree, with small white blossoms climbing the length, and round woody seed pods scattered about it. Next, he pulled several lots of the long, curved flowers from the Harakeke flax bushes which dominated the walkway. Due to the odd weather, the bushes were in different stages of flowering and he was able to pick from a gradient range of yellows, greens, reds. Lastly, he came to some roadside perennials, blossoming in a rich shade of cherry, streaked with a tangerine and honey centre. Jack could taste the fruits of his labour.

The Ocean Is A Memory

The terrace is encased in trellises covered with grape vines, and troughs filled with herbs lay along the edges. The air is fresh and smells of meals that haven’t been cooked yet.
Rosemary on lamb. Tarragon rubbed chicken. Mushroom fettuccine topped with basil and thyme, and time put into it.
The waiter brings me a long list of drinks, and some bread, no butter.
The sea is to my left and the white canvas sails snap in the breeze, reminding me of the woman who lived on the cobbled streets of Nice, who would hang her washing to dry in the spring heat, snapping the sheets with a whip of her arms, and scolding the children who would run through the tenement yard, but it was their yard, everyone shared, even the baked pastries she would leave as treats near the wash basket, and the children would scrub soiled undergarments and white canvas sheets to earn a warm tart with cream, the only treat they would see, and they would be pleased, running through the yard which they all shared.
Sails will never go out of fashion, even with better and more powerful engines being produced. The sound of a sail catching wind is a signal to men of the sea to meditate and follow the currents of their lives. To catch fish and feed their families, to enjoy the breeze and misery of lost dreams.
I am not a sailor, I have no legs for the decks of damp surroundings, so I eat my bread and think of the woman hanging sheets, and I sail on the winds of my memories imaginings.