Friday, 28 December 2018

never to late to celebrate


The Spirit of Christmas arrived late this year. Apparently no one had bothered to inform him The Dwelling had been moved to a different spot in the studio. From the east facing wall next to the door to the far western corner; not only had it been moved, it had in fact been taken apart completely: redesigned, rebuilt and refurbished. As if that wasn’t enough it had been taken down a second time as Saskia had decided she wanted to replace the panels on the studio wall behind The Dwelling, supposedly a quick, easy job. Until that is she discovered there wasn’t a full backing to the Dwelling itself, which of course had to be remedied immediately. And before she knew what was what, the OldBirdKing decided he would like more space for his private quarters, seeing as she had already gotten started on fixing the missing back walls and disrupted the Dwellers all over again! A larger room meant it could accommodate a wider bed, enabling him to lie on both sides as well as on his back. He preferred to sleep on his left side. This in turn meant tearing down several load-bearing walls, which all had to be built up and reinforced again, phew!
During the carfuffle the dwellers found themselves moving back and forth, from windowsill to worktop, from the table into containers, and out again, filling empty drawers, boxes, shoes and pots, ending up quite lost even though they know the Studio really well; as most of us who have moved at least once in our life know, moving is such a disconcerting, confusing business!
Their stuff was shuffled all over the Studio as well, meaning clothes got lost, dinner services were mislaid, pots and pans found their way down the side of a chair, shoes mismatched, socks disappeared,  feathers were ruffled, there was the odd argument, harsh words were spoken…...Fortunately most was retrieved and found it’s way back into The Dwelling, apologies were made and accepted in good grace, peace was restored. More or less everyone managed to lay claims to a bed to climb into at night. Those who hadn’t, crept into beds already taken and squeezed into leftover spots; nobody minded as Winter is a cold season and a little extra heat never goes amiss.
No wonder by the time they had all moved back in, no one knew what day, month or season it was, let alone had anyone remembered to think about organizing festivities relating to Christmas! And thus no one had sent the change of address anywhere to anyone.


Enter the belated Spirit of Christmas: his mode of transport is effective if tricky. In order to be able to move from location to location, he needs the exact coordinates in order to land safely and precisely in one piece where his presence is expected. It involves a kind of magic where the Spirit dissolves in one spot and then materializes somewhere else, much like in Startrek for those of us old enough to remember, ’ beam me up Scotty!’

So there he stands at the entrance together with a duck delivering fish and a wandering beggar monk…..with nobody waiting to welcome them in. It was not at all what the Spirit had expected (in fact he almost felt insulted as he was accustomed to a warmer welcome, however he kept his mouth firmly shut as becomes a proper Spirit of Christmas) and he turned to the monk hoping he would have answers. He could not help but notice the monk’s huge, golden belly and thought to himself ‘he looks rather fat and rich for a poor beggar’ but he refrained from commenting out loud, he was after all the Spirit of Christmas. The monk beamed a broad smile at him and invited him in saying ‘I’ve been here before old man, we can just walk in. I’m off to do a bit of chanting meditation with my mates, you’re welcome to join us if you feel like it, or else,  you can just wander about and see for yourself who’s doing what.’
With that, the monk opened the door on his left and entered the meditation space. The Spirit stood quite dumbfounded on the threshold of The Dwelling, staring wide-eyed after the monk. Chanting wasn’t his thing he thought, well at least not now, for he didn’t want to judge what he didn’t know….…To his right he heard the duck quack  ‘I’m off upstairs, quack, to the kitchens, quack quack, before the fish goes off, quackidiquack!’ he winked at the Spirit, who hurried after him, afraid he’d be left standing there with no one to help him find his way. Again he kept silent about his thoughts on the penetrating fishy smell, as he knew that would have been unkind.
On their journey upward, the Spirit noticed all manner of beings: large and furry, small and fluffy, four-pawed, two-feeters, hanging, flying, creeping, climbing, all manner of critters he had never seen the likes of before….he didn’t know quite what to make of it all and so he said nothing,  withholding  judgement as befits a Christmas Spirit. In the large kitchen the duck started to unload half of the fish with the help of Ratatouille, the sous-chef. Malle Mouse who happened to be in the kitchen as well, noticed the newcomer and asked him if he would like something to eat and maybe a drink? The Spirit realised he was indeed thirsty and gladly drank a large mug of strong tea with milk and honey. Feeling refreshed he left, quickly thanking Malle on his way out before she had a chance to ask him his name…. She asked the duck if he knew who the stranger was, but duckie hadn’t a clue and anyway he wasn’t interested in anything else apart from delivering the fish as fresh as possible. The Spirit continued to explore The Dwelling on his own.
Up in the play-room geese were playing ping-pong on top of the table and as soon as he walked in they invited him to join in their bouncy game; he hesitated as he was feeling rather stiff from his transporting, but they insisted and so he just went ahead, saying to himself ‘ just do it!’ After several games he was smiling, sweating and exhausted so he excused himself, thanking them for the sporting fun; as he hurriedly left he could hear them questioning among themselves ‘any idea who he was?‘
 Next he came to a merry-go-round for the smallest of beings which was slowing down and so he offered to give them a twirl seeing as he was big enough to handle it. ‘Again, again!’ they kept calling……and so there he was twirling and turning until his paws were all sore. ‘Now I must stop little fellows, but I will be back tomorrow,’ he promised them. With that promise he left the room and entered yet another space, a beautiful garden terrace with a SnowBear who invited him to come and sit with him so he could rest for a bit. It was a peaceful half hour, after which he thanked the SnowBear for his quiet company and continued his walk-about.
He  saw spiders weaving cobwebs in the kitchen for hanging tea towels on, snails running mail errands on the world-walls of the service department;  there was a shop within a shop, so even the tiniest of beings could afford to buy their food; he walked into a huge studio with all sorts of artworks, and beings up to all manner of tricks and acrobatics! 





He discovered there were many bedrooms, in one he spotted a gorilla jumping up and down on the bed as if it were a trampoline, all the while looking into the mirror, loopy or what?!


In another small space another drum-beating gorilla with twins dancing on his knees, tada! Twin dinosaurs peering out of their window, yoohoo….at the very end of a corridor a loo with a door, phew what a relief as he needed to pee!

There was a kindly otter in his hide-away box up at the top, half way down again yet another kitchen where he had a bite to eat. Downstairs he found the sewing room with the bright red sewing machine, where a friendly bear called Sally offered to mend his robe as she could see he had a tear, the Spirit was quite moved by such generosity and said ‘thank you’.


All in all it was rather overwhelming. Suddenly the Spirit of Christmas felt very tired and longed for a place to nap, where could he go?
By now the Spirit was completely lost but he didn't mind as he had been made to feel at home even though nobody seemed to know who he was. He wandered into a large room, a beautiful room, with stained-glass windows, a bookcase by the bed, a chest of drawers with all kinds of interesting objects on display and, much to his delight, he saw a bed fit for a king, on top of which lay a thick soft mattress, a comfy duvet, an inviting pillow……he barely had time to notice any of the lovely furnishings and staggered to the bed, lay himself down and as soon as his head touched the pillow, he fell asleep. He started to dream immediately: the whirlwind of recent images flitted before his closed eyes and he began to make sense of what he had seen: a wonderful community of very different beings all living together, he had witnessed the dwellers laughing and joking together, merrily going about their chores, of which there are many in such a bountiful household. Rooms full of beings so incredibly different it was hard to imagine they had anything in common, and yet, it all seemed to work. They made it work. The inhabitants were by no means blind to the world out there full of strife, war, loneliness and suffering. Many had experienced as much themselves. Perhaps even inflicted it upon others. They had all sought and found refuge here and come to recognize that every living moment is a precious gift. Rather than pointing out what is wrong about the other, they tried to look within themselves and uncover what lay beneath their opinions, and judgments. What he had seen was an attitude of gratitude, instilled in all the beings.
'What a strange dream,' the Spirit said to himself as he lay dozing, adrift in that  fuzzy state in between sleep and truly waking up. He  felt a smile curl his lips upward, and just as he was about to get up out of bed, he heard voices at the door 
'I wonder who's in there'.....'did you see anyone enter?'......'they say he is actually sleeping in OBK's bed!'.... there was a knock
‘Hello, hello may we come in?’ someone asked
'Are you decent?' another voice hastily added.
‘Yes, and yes of course you may enter,’ the Spirit said.



The door was opened and the Spirit of Christmas saw several beings enter the room, one was a large old bird who nodded his head towards him ‘welcome to the Dwelling oh Spirit of Christmas, I am the OldBirdKing, I do hope you slept well! I am so sorry there was nobody to give you a proper welcome at the entrance door upon your arrival.’

‘Oh my, yes thank you so much your Royal OldBirdKingness! Your apologies are completely unnecessary and superfluously oblique,' he was becoming quite flustered as he realized he had slept in the Royal Bed, what an unpardonable gaff. 'What a mighty interesting establishment you have here. I had heard tales, but never in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen what I have witnessed here today. I would like to offer you my deepest gratitude and I would like so very much to repay you in kind. Your wish is my command.’ The Spirit had spoken.
‘Thank you Spirit, I am very happy you have been made to feel welcome despite our initial faux pas. Actually,’ OBK continued, ‘there are two things I would like to ask for, The first is for myself. You see when I was made by Saskia she forgot to give me wings or feet; and up until now that worked out okay, but if you could I would rather like arms and hands so I can roll and smoke my own joints. If that’s at all possible dear Spirit?’
‘Why that is entirely within the realm of my capabilities and it would be my pleasure and an honour to serve you in this matter, your royal OldBirdKingness,’ the Spirit replied.



And so it came about that the OBK received a pair of arms and hands, much more useful than a pair of wings, as he wasn’t flying anywhere anymore these days. 

'Your second wish?' The Spirit inquired.
'A belated Christmas celebration feast for all the Dwellers, my dear Spirit, as we seem to have forgotten all about it this year.'

The Spirit of Christmas waved his magic wand and lo and behold: a large banqueting table full of the most delicious dishes and wines was spirited into the studio for all the beings, let the feasting commence!

almost everyone was there


 

the mobile monk was still ringing late comers up to come to the table....



OBK sat at one end of the table and saw all was well, he felt he could sneak off now and have a bit of quiet time to relax....




we'll leave him here in peace,
smoking his self-made joint

13 comments:

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

He is just so Fine
OBK all set to roll his way into a new year...Life is Good!

Mo Crow said...

Wow what a story and photographs!

Nancy said...

This all makes me spectacularly happy and inspired!! A grand time was had by all!! You are such a great storyteller..a book perhaps, please. xo

Julie S said...

We don't let our gorillas jump on the bed, but that is just us.

Fanny Cousin said...

A wonderful visit ! Happy New Year to you and all the Dwellers !

Dee Mallon said...

Intense and lovely in its particulars, in the flow of the story, and in its timely and timeless message
I would really love to see this published as a book.

Dana said...

This is a truly original Christmas story and I am so happy that it ended with everyone gathered around the bountiful table... a perfect conclusion, including the OBK's quiet withdrawal. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the inhabitants of all of your dwellings.

Maria Buysse said...

hey saskia when will the book apear ?
wish you and your love ones a inspired 2019
big hug

Patty said...

You're a natural world maker and storyteller and you amaze me!

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

first I would like to thank you all for visiting; it has been a difficult year and I'm still not out of the woods so to speak; sharing my personal woes and then reading your heartfelt and kind comments has offered more support than one could imagine, seeing as we haven't met in person; funny how this long distance stuff actually works, in our merry circle of wise & witty women!! hurray for us
Wishing you all a very happy New Year, with love and fun and caring and sharing, cheers to our good health! hugging you from afar XXx


Life IS good Grace! The dwellers are making the most of it as is His Royal OBKness.

Thanks Mo, that makes 2 of us!

working on it Nancy.....happiness and inspiration are to be spread as much as possible

Julie, as long as he's not bouncing on OBK's bed, nobody seems to mind where he jumps.....and I do not allow him into our house!

merci beaucoup Fanny, it is a WonderFul Dwelling

as mentioned above Dee, I am getting there, I think and hope!.....thank you for insightful comment, I have a lot to learn about writing

thank you Dana for seeing it as an original story!

hopefully 2019 will see the birth of the book, Maria (whom I have met in person)

am blushing Patty, thanks







kathryn said...

Beautiful, heartfelt story. Did I spy a wee Koala having a swim in an indoor pool?

jude said...

yes a book would be grand!

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

well spotted Kathryn, his name is Luke and he's from Australia, a gift from Mo; cheers and a happy New Year

Grand indeed Jude! and a happy New Year to you