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Alison Alexandra And Amanda Ponder A Seaman’s Help For A Storm At Sea

“It is a dark and stormy night.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“Isn’t it?”

“No.”

“But it could be.”

“Could it – if it isn’t?”

“Oh – I think so.”

“Well … maybe – possibly.”

“Oh – think of the possibilities.”

“On such a night?”

“Yes.”

“In such darkness?”

“Yes.”

“With a storm raging.”

“Oh – such a storm.”

“Putting us at the whims of the ocean toss.”

“Tossing our good barque – yes.”

“Will Ellerton save us?”

“Ellerton has his other duties to the safekeeping of the ship.”

“He won’t come knocking with his manly hand upon the door?’

“No.”

“Not to direct us to our lifeboat station?”

“If he comes knock knock knocking with his manly hand upon my door, he won’t find me there.”

“He will get no response to his manly knock?”

“No.”

“Why is that?”

“Because I will be in here with you.”

“On a dark and stormy night?”

“Yes.”

“Then he will come to knock knock knock on my door.”

“Yes. With his manly hand.”

“And will I answer?”

“Will you wish him to join us beneath the covers?”

“Oh – I think so. Do you?”

“Yes – I think so.”

“Then I will answer his manly hand and ask him to come in and he will say that the door is locked and I will say then use your master key and he will ask if I am sure and I will say …”

“What?”

“I will whisper to you for your assent that he is supposed to join us.”

“I will so consent.”

“Then I will most firmly and directly answer that he can come in and he will enter and we will hear the door open and  he will comment about how dark the room is and I will tell him to follow my voice and we will hear him close the door and …”

“What?”

“Won’t you be nervous?”

“I’ll be expectant, which is a positive nervous.”

“Then I will guide him with my voice.”

“What will you say?”

“I’ll ask you for your advice.”

“And what will he think when he hears both of our voices together?”

“He will think he is in heaven.”

“And he will be.”

“Yes.”

“Then I will advise you to tell him that, since there is a storm -“

“On a dark night.”

“Yes – that is, of course, the basis of it – to tell him that he better have his sea legs steady to cross the room so he can firmly handle two damsels in distress.”

“He must be firm?”

“Oh – yes – I think so. As firm as firm can be. Don’t you think that should be his preexisting state?”

“When he reaches the bed?”

“Yes.”

“Then – yes – Yes, I think so also.”

“And we will give him an appropriate welcome and make room for him on the perhaps-not-quite-wide-enough bed and he will say ‘no-no, I think I should be in the middle if I am to tend to you both, and ease your minds about the storm in the night’, and you will say – “

“ – what?”

“Then you will move closer to the edge of the bed and you will say ‘climb over me, Ellerton, for there is now space for you’, and when he carefully climbs across you …”

“ – what?”

“Then you will find out if he is indeed firm as firm can be to handle both of our needs.”

“And if he is?”

“Then you and me will go paper/scissors/rock in the dark to see whose needs are tended to first.”

[Image] https://i.ytimg.com/vi/EGpZwUV7IXs/maxresdefault.jpg

Ghosts At Sea Make Sailors Sing A Song

sea-shanty

And the wind is whistling past the  graveyard and past the land and past the sea and past the ships upon the sea and past the sailors upon the decks and in the companionways, tethered by their ropes and harnesses and heaving their axes and mauls against the shattering ice coating their still upright ships and even here even in this peculiar time the sailors revert to their age-old method of coping with their labours at sea and the perils of the sea and they break out into thunderous shanties – yes, even thunderous enough to best and beat the thunderous wind and crashing waves – that tell of wind and waves and women and graveyards and ghosts and the whistling that is supposed to keep the ghosts at bay, and, keep the bodies beneath the ground.

“Heave ‘er to, boys/

“Heave ‘er to and smash her down/

“Get the rhythm, boys/

“Get the rhythm so we won’t drown//

“It’s girls or ghosts, boys//

“Girls or ghosts that we next meet/

“Smash that ice boys/

“If you want our meeting sweet.”

“They’re singing about you,” says Alison Alexandra.

“And you, too,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost. “And I don’t mind if you’re the one to win.”

“It’s the wind, boys/

“Screaming like Banshees from Hell//

“Give ‘er Hell, boys/

“Or that’s where we will dwell.”

(Image) https://www.stives-cornwall.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/Sea-shanty.jpg

To The Lighthouse – A Tale Of A Keeper

 

I have been thinking of lighthouses, as I am very fond of them. I came across new information about some local ones, and even found a web site (courtesy of some lighthouse articles) which is excellent for all of North America. https://www.lighthousefriends.com/index.html

So, I will share a lighthouse story which is part of one of my novels. It is a fictitious lighthouse, but the story has roots (as so many tales do) in reality.

Excerpt from: He Lives In The City / He Drives To The Country

“Well, Blaine, the place is as sturdy as the rock it’s on. Government inspected every spring. We even sat pretty through the Great Groundhog Day Gale in 1976, the worst storm in over a hundred years.”

     Fred Gannet nudged Blaine to the huge windows. He pointed into the distance, although neither could see through the fog.

     “Waves forty feet smashed up against us. We clocked winds at one hundred and thirty-seven miles an hour. We had the warning, so we got most of this battened down. Turned over my van, but I had it far from the cliff. Smashed out a window in the living room. I had a bitch of a time getting plywood over it. Lost power and phone of course, but everything here can run on emergency generator. And part of the roof lifted, but it didn’t do that much damage.” He jabbed his finger at the rain spattered windows. “This is a baby compared to that whore.” 

     He gave a whoop of a laugh, and took off his cap. 

     “Old George Crenshaw, he’s the keep on Goat Island, a mile square drop of nothing about eight miles further out to sea. Well, he took the brunt of that bitch, and we were all sure he was a goner. For hours after it passed, there was no boats could get through the waves, or helicopters through the wind. Even the radios were gone, and no one had talked to the old bugger for twelve hours. 

     “We kept trying and trying, and finally I heard his call letters, but real faint like. I turn my juice ’til the needle’s in the red, and I’m yelling, to find out how he is. You know the first thing any of us hear that old son of a bitch say?”    

     The large man’s body was actually shaking with laughter, something Blaine had rarely seen in anyone. 

     “Old George’s thin voice comes out of the radio, like a fart out of a ghost, and he says: `Well, boys, that was quite a breeze’.” 

     Blaine started to laugh as hard as the other man, who was now wiping his eyes with the cap he had in his hands. 

     “His place was a wreck. He had no heat, no power, there was three feet of water in his bedroom, and they even found a crack at the base of the tower. That crazy old guy had hand-cranked the generator on and off for ten hours to keep some light going. Jeez, Blaine, they don’t make them like that anymore.”

(Image) https://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/lighthouse-in-the-storm-simple-beauty.jpg

Kafka Braves An Ice Storm

image001-1024x683-1

I follow Franz Kafka in my Kafka In The Castle, filling in his lost diary entries. I have him only where he really was, imagining his days. For a number of months he lived, with his sister, Ottla, in the village of Zürau, a couple of hours by train (in those days) outside of Prague. So, if I could actually see out my ice-covered window, past my ice-drooping fir tree, I might see him passing by.

Excerpt from Kafka In The Castle:

05 March 1918

Ice storms the last two days.

It clatters into the chimney, which is quite a startling noise if one happens to be up the stairs, and going about ones usual business. The rattle and ruckus of the ice is an abrasive encounter. More so even than when it beats upon your face as you go along the road. At least there it is expected, and you can be muffled against its intrusion.

Ottla saw to my protective gear, although she did not want me to go out.

Procured, from somewhere, a wide-brimmed hat. Swathed me in scarves up to the eyes. Insisted I put on an outer leather jacket, from which the ice drops merrily bounced. But, she had nothing to offer to assist in the walking. It was, as far as I can compare, like walking through a field of fine salt.

It is not even accurate to say that I slide, for it was actually the ice underfoot which did the sliding. I would find my foot being grabbed and held. I’m sure it was what walking through purgatory would be like.

A Storm of Wind and Rain and God and An Elephant

6e2719ec-0809-11e8-90ea-37dc70df54a3

From: The Elephant Talks To God

The elephant surveyed the remnants of shattered trees, the gouged earth, and the still turbulent waves.

“You know,” he said, looking up at the storm cloud hovering overhead, “A herd of us on the rampage have got nothing on you, when the mood strikes. You trying to tear down in one night what it took seven days to create?”

“Six days,” noted the cloud. “On the seventh … ”

” … day you rested,” finished the elephant. “You gotta be patient with us lumbering beasts; after all, you didn’t give us fingers so we could count.”

“But I did give you memories.” said the cloud.

“I know,” said the elephant. “I haven’t forgotten.”

“And this display,” added God, “Looks far worse than it is.

Natural forces occur to keep my earth in a happy balance. Life is already reviving and reasserting itself.”

“Could you not be a bit more gentle?”

“My winds must go somewhere,” said God. “As you already mentioned, even elephants go upon the occasional rampage.”

“I’ve never done anything like this,” said the elephant.

“You’ve not seen yourself from the ant’s point of view,” answered God.

[Image] https://www.hindustantimes.com/rf/image_size_960x540/HT/p2/2018/02/02/Pictures/_6e2719ec-0809-11e8-90ea-37dc70df54a3.JPG

If The Wind Howls At Midnight, Should It Howl At Noon?

guided-by-the-sound-of-a-howling-wind-590x349

Because, that is how the wind doth blow. From the ocean (where it gets a good start) across the shore and up the hills. And it doesn’t seem to want to stop. Whistle, whistle, whistle.

I think it makes more noise through the bare trees than those, at other times of year, with leaves. The branches shiver and the house shakes and the roof does not sound as secure as one would like.

Apparently it is not a precursor of storm, for the sky is blue save for some well-tossed fluffy clouds. And they do like to tumble in the wind. But, of course, they have no place to fall.

So, the winter sand from the street whirls, and dust balls tumble along, and it is best to turn your head away from the grit.

It’s better than being tossed across the waves of the sea however, think I.

And a sign of how much the wind howls?

A chair under the doorknob.

(image)http://duckduckgo.com/?q=howling+wind&t=h_&iax=images&ia=images&iai=http%3A%2F%2Feluvium.net%2Fworks%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2013%2F10%2Fguided-by-the-sound-of-a-howling-wind-590×349.jpg

Kafka Walks In A Winter Storm

Tree in snow blizzard

In Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the ‘missing’ diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. There are some estimates that Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote. 

 

04 December 1917

I imagine the weather experts will howl about today’s storm the way it still howls around our ears.

Their complaints will ring with vindication. Racing unchecked across field and pasture, it strikes with a force I am unaccustomed to in Prague. Ottla was hesitant to let me out into it, but she bundled me into my winter gear, with a scarf just below my eyes.

It was too violent for me to venture far, so I just wandered around the village. I’m sure that if anyone did see me, fingers made circles as they pointed to their heads.

“The Herr Doktor,” they would warn their children. “Do not go after an education like that.”

The Elephant In The Storm

african-elephant-rainbow-south-africa-lonely-bull-crosses-grass-plains-dark-storm-clouds-as-background-56027644

From: The Elephant Talks To God  

The elephant was lost to the wind.

He stood foursquare against the tumult, head lowered as if ready to charge. It wrapped his body in its flags and banners, and then as quickly ripped them away. He had to close his eyes in some of the gusts, and occasionally his tail stuck straight out behind.     Many of the other animals found shelter, and even the monkeys came down to the lower branches of their trees. But the elephant flapped his ears in ecstasy as the wind battered against him, and trumpeted as loudly as the rowdydow would permit.

“I hear you,” said a frolicking cloud, as it whipped past his head. It turned a somersault back over the elephant’s back, and positioned itself with much dexterity in the elephant’s line of vision. “And I hazard the guess I’m the only one who can.”

“It’s like flying.”

“Now, now. You’ve tried that before.”

“But I’m staying on the ground, this time.”

“Well,” conceded God. “You’re standing on the ground. And it’s probable you will be staying on the ground. But, as you know, nothing in life is certain.”

“It certainly isn’t,” agreed the elephant, who then attempted to nod his head in agreement. But the wind took a particular bend, and not only could he not nod his head, but his trunk got thrown back into his face, hitting him in the eye.

“Ouch,” said the elephant.

“A cautionary God,” said God, “would go `tsk tsk’, and tell you to come in out of the wind.”

“And is that what you’re going to tell me,” shouted the elephant over the roar.

“God, no,” said God. “This is great stuff.”

“You’re a reckless God, then?” asked the elephant.

“Reckless. And cautious. There is a time for both. There is a need for both. Life demands that you run with it. And sometimes you run scared, and sometimes you run joyful.” The cloud was now tangled in the elephant’s tusks. ” And sometimes you get so caught up in it all that you can’t tell the difference.” The cloud shouted. “And sometimes you get hit in the eye. And sometimes you don’t.”

“And sometimes both,” suggested the elephant.

“You’re catching on.”

“But to you,” protested the elephant. “It is all so simple.”

“But …” The cloud sounded perplexed. “It is as simple as it sounds. Everything is everything. What you seem to do is pay too much attention to the individual parts. Concentrate on the whole.”

“I can hardly think of everything when I’m in the middle of this.”

“This is the perfect place.” The cloud played tag with the elephant’s ears. “Race with it. Race with it. Race with it. You will never dance a better dance than here. With me.”

And the elephant watched the cloud tumble around his head, and bounce against his back, and twist around his tail.

And the elephant laughed, and laughed so loud that it broke through even the racing wind, and made the other animals peek from their shelters to watch.

And the elephant bobbed and weaved with the cloud, and the cloud held the elephant in a wispy embrace, and the wind turned to music.

(image)https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/b/african-elephant-rainbow-south-africa-lonely-bull-crosses-grass-plains-dark-storm-clouds-as-background-56027644.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down To The Sea In Ships On National Lighthouse Day

nova_scotia_-_cape_george_lighthouse

Cape George Lighthouse

Since it is National Lighhouse Day, let me celebrate.

I have enjoyed going to lighthouses, and have done so for years. If anything, I keep finding them more and more evocative. A number of years ago, from high cliffs over the Northumberland Straight, this is what I saw one afternoon from a lighthouse.

One old fishing boat:

One sleek new fishing boat:

One chubby fishing boat:

One fading green fishing boat:

One distant white sailboat under sail:

One close white sailboat under sail:

Two small outboard boats:

One tugboat pulling . . .

One rusting barge.

Happily, the Cape George Lighthouse is now listed as a Heritage Site by the government of Canada.

(photo)https://opto.ca/sites/default/files/pictures/featured_items/nova_scotia_-_cape_george_lighthouse.jpg

DE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have also written a couple of chapters in one of my novels that were set in a lighthouse. This is a section of one of them.

Let the light shine.

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Excerpt from: He Lives In The City / He Drives To The Country

“Well, Blaine, the place is as sturdy as the rock it’s on. Government inspected every spring. We even sat pretty through the Great Groundhog Day Gale in 1976, the worst storm in over a hundred years.”

Fred Gannet nudged Blaine to the huge windows. He pointed into the distance, although neither could see through the fog.

“Waves forty feet smashed up against us. We clocked winds at one hundred and thirty-seven miles an hour. We had the warning, so we got most of this battened down. Turned over my van, but I had it far from the cliff. Smashed out a window in the living room. I had a bitch of a time getting plywood over it. Lost power and phone of course, but everything here can run on emergency generator. And part of the roof lifted, but it didn’t do that much damage.” He jabbed his finger at the rain spattered windows. “This is a baby compared to that whore.”

He gave a whoop of a laugh, and took off his cap.

“Old George Crenshaw, he’s the keep on Goat Island, a mile square drop of nothing about eight miles further out to sea. Well, he took the brunt of that bitch, and we were all sure he was a goner. For hours after it passed, there was no boats could get through the waves, or helicopters through the wind. Even the radios were gone, and no one had talked to the old bugger for twelve hours.

“We kept trying and trying, and finally I heard his call letters, but real faint like. I turn my juice ’til the needle’s in the red, and I’m yelling, to find out how he is. You know the first thing any of us hear that old son of a bitch say?”     The large man’s body was actually shaking with laughter, something Blaine had rarely seen in anyone.

“Old George’s thin voice comes out of the radio, like a fart out of a ghost, and he says: `Well, boys, that was quite a breeze’.”

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