Sunday, 4 July 2004

The Eternity of Nature

A shallow glass bowl sits on the coffee table beside her. Inside, lie eggs of jade submerged in water. The rays of the late afternoon sun reach the bowl from one corner of the room and make the eggs assume an almost effervescent quality.

Seed pods lie in her hand. Each of them is only a few millimeters thick and not more than an inch long. They're dark brown and she absentmindedly throws them into the bowl as she lets her thoughts meander through memories, dreams and desires. The pods explode as they touch the surface of the water and the seeds are randomly thrown all over the table top. She barely notices them.

Earlier in the day, she'd gone for a walk along a path in the woods she had not been through for many years. At the end of the path was a lake, essentially unchanged since she'd last been there. That was where she'd picked up the seed pods. Someone had placed a stone bench on one side of the lake but everything else was the same as it had once been.

They often used to go there together on their walks. Two friends. He'd collected black-eyed red seeds from a tree whose name she could no longer remember, and told her that he could string them up for her. She'd smiled then, tempted to remind him that no one wore jewellery like that anymore.

She'd admired tiny blue wild flowers, still there at the lake's edge after so many long years, and he had said that if she turned them upside down and let them fall with a whirl, they'd look like parachutes. They did. Miniature ones, if one wanted to be finicky.

And then, he'd shown her the seed pods which she now held in her hand. Unsure of whether she was grieving for herself or for him, she wondered what had made nature endure while the individual man had not, as she fingered a ruby pendant dangling from a chain on her neck and wished that she had a chain of red seeds there instead. Only, he could no longer make one for her.