Category Archives: Sun

The Deer at the Railway

       (a poem – by Sha’Tara)

She stood still as a rock
beside the tall railway fence,
her shiny brown coat sleek
in the harsh noonday sun.
Her ears moved, twice:
she tossed her head,
snorted once,
leapt over the fence
followed by her two fawns
who jumped after her
with such effortlessness
you could sense the invisible hand
that picked them up
and tossed them over.

All three passed the dappled greens
at the edge of the woods
melting like Tolkien elves
into their sylvan underworlds.
Of their passage,
no trace remained.

The goldenrod along the fence
tossed gently but insistently
in the rising breeze.
Along the bright-lit rails
down the line

the faint chitting
of a savanna sparrow
expressed fully
nature’s contentment. 

 

 

Before the Owl Calls my Name

  [a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

[Explaining the title: According to the Kwakiutl people of the British Columbia coast (Canada) if you hear an owl call your name, your death is imminent.]

The night fills me with its seductive darkness
A moon’s halo slides through thin clouds
All is silent, as silent as the deep of space
And I lie here in the back seat of your car,
Your big old Buick of romantic days gone by
But we are young yet, or almost young
And all that matters now is that you are here
Naked against my own throbbing nakedness
My heart beating in the moment’s madness
Orgasm and death blending so well together.

Hold me and press your maleness into me
But don’t just make love to me, I want more
possess me beyond my dreaming
Devour my longing, my hopeless desire
Eat my flesh
Leave nothing of what I once called me
But the lingering scent of your moaned pleasure
When my body turns itself inside out
To give you all my life in one thrust
Do this to me, do this for me
Before the owl calls my name
And tells me I will not see another sunrise.

 

Take my Hand, Daddy! a short story by Sha’Tara

By way of intro to this short story, first I wish to say “thank you” for all the likes on the other stories, essays, etc. as they tumbled into this place.

I’ve been very busy lately on a volunteer job in the interior of B.C. (Canada), a place called “Rock Creek” where a wild fire roared through a year ago and burned down several homes.  So I went with my friend Vic Janzen, who is with “Mennonite Disaster Services” to help complete a house the organization had taken on in conjunction with “Habitat for Humanity.”  “We” (that is, MDS) supplied the labour and Habitat supplied the materials along with whatever the uninsured home owners could provide.  So the house was built, and this is what it looked like when we left yesterday.  A very pretty, basic, utilitarian house any family would be happy to live in.  If you look closely you can see the scorched dead pines all around the property.  (The pile of bags is insulation to be blown into the attic later.) 

IMG_0148-e-resized

Rock Creek MDS and Habitat house.

And now, the short story: 

Take my Hand, Daddy!           [a short story ~ by Sha’Tara]

Imagine a winter afternoon of this northern hemisphere, by a small town nestled almost silent among dark, brooding mountains.  The sun slips behind a mountain top and a shadow covers the waters of a wide river rippled by a bitter east wind.  A couple of golden eyes land and begin their usual systematic team hunt, diving, surfacing, diving.  These little ducks know their world well, choosing areas near enough to shore to take advantage of gentler, swirling currents, allowing them to dive faster and capture their prey, small fish also using the constantly reforming whirlpools to find food.

The edge of the river is forming ice now, not deep nor wide, but the bite of winter frost is not only in the air: it penetrates into the dark, fast moving waters.  The shore at this place, now cut through by the harsh shadow of a mountain, is made up of round rocks, large at the edge of the water, an edge normally under water – but this is winter solstice and the river is at its ebb.  Further up the shore the rocks change to large round gravel, then up the banks, into smaller, looser gravel.  Remnants of a recent snow fall tuck themselves behind and between the stones and form a dirty white blanket full of tears and holes among frost-burned grasses along the higher banks.  Such a stage leaves no room for doubt as to the time of year being dramatized.

There is a small parking area here where I sometimes stop to eat my lunch, read, or just observe the passing of a time-slice and whatever event it may contain.  I like the quiet of the place and on this day, the weather being bitterly cold with high clouds keeping the air moist, few people care to stay around.  A couple of cars drive in but there is nothing exciting or colorful enough to keep anyone’s attention for long and the damp cold drives them away again.  The pair of ducks, the male a ball of sharp black and white patterns, the female of a uniform brown, are a bit perturbed by the few onlookers and choose to be safe, moving their theater of operations farther away from the shoreline.  

The sun has almost crossed the mountain top and the shadow slides across the river, revealing a lighter shade of water as the incessant chop refracts the slanted, weak, gold-tinged middle-afternoon sunlight.  Far to the east however, no clouds have yet appeared and the sun has unlimited vistas to illuminate.  The higher mountains throw off the glory-glow of their snow-covered spires to grace a clear icy-blue sky.  

There is a wide gravelly path that leads from the parking area down to the river’s edge. While it remains in the gray shadow cast by the mountains, a very large man wearing a black woolen toque, a heavy dark-red mackinaw jacket and faded jeans tucked into unlaced brown work boots begins to descend along the center of the path.  To his right walks a tiny girl child, wearing what looks like dark blue cord pants tucked into white boots.  She has on a pink parka and a pair of pink mittens with small pompoms attached dangling from the coat’s sleeves.  As the couple begins to walk over the loose gravel, the child gingerly extends her short arms to maintain balance.  The heavy-set man, hands pushed deep into the folds of his mackinaw, seems totally unaware of his tiny companion, lost, it seems, in his own thoughts.

The little girl struggles to follow him, obviously with great effort.  Finally, barely able to stand, she extends her left arm to the large man, the reddened fingers of her hand splayed to express her need for help. 

In my mind, the image freezes there, as if someone had pressed the pause button on the TV’s remote. 

The man ignores the child, the child holds out her hand, confident that the man will be moved to help her.  In that slice of time, I sense a re-enactment of billions of such events over history.  I feel the energies involved; the times when they worked and when they did not.  The abandoned, and the re-united.  The dead losers and the restored winners.  I see mankind’s drama endlessly moving up and down, like the tides.  I feel my own helplessness, kicked out of the drama to find my place among the spectators of which we are too many.  

Does the man stop to take the child’s hand?  Does he pick her up in his arms to carry her to an easier place where she can walk without help?  Does he realize it is too cold to be walking there, at that time of day, with a child, and does he return to wherever they came from?  

All I heard in my mind was the child’s extended arm saying: “Take my hand, daddy!” 

 

How Could we have Done This? (a short story)

How Could we have Done This?

A Short Story, by Sha’Tara

“It’s true then, not just a conspiracy theory any longer?”

“I’m afraid so, Mr. President.  It’s happening.”

“There had been dissenting voices, even up to six administrations ago, but they were ridiculed.  After all, we’re not talking about an asteroid cracking up here, we’re talking about the sun… the sun!  It’s so big, so permanent.”

Secretary Rogers shook his head.  “So it seemed.  We obviously could not have been more wrong, could we.”

“Son of a bitch!  We can’t win, we just can’t.  We finally, just, extricate ourselves from extermination through nuclear contamination and we’re on the losing side again?”

Due to exigencies caused by climate change, some of it exacerbated by man’s industrial pollution output; destruction of green belts, dwindling extraction and use of so-called fossil fuels planet-wide, coupled with a steady increase in populations, more power for the planet’s energy grids was created using nuclear fission.  Nuclear power plants proliferated, most of them located along seashores and major waterways.  Convenient for cooling, naturally.

Then the seas began to rise in earnest.  Temperatures continued to rise world-wide and climate change deniers were silenced.  Coastal populations were forced to migrate inland, resulting in millions of refugees.  Disruption of agriculture due to changing weather patterns causing floods and droughts meant famine.  Chaos ensued.  And world-wide violence followed.

But that wasn’t the main problem.  It was those expedient nuclear power plants who would be swamped by rising levels of sea water.  The seas may have been able to absorb one or two plants going under and contaminating the waters, but there were thousands of these facing flooding and their wastes inevitably destroying the planet’s oceans.  Short sighted plans certainly can have long-term consequences.

The best minds in the world were put together to seek a quick and certain solution to the impending doomsday scenario.  The plants all had to be shut down and their stocks of nuclear wastes disposed of in a permanent way.  No way could so much waste be buried on the planet, the risks were too high.  The whole planet could be contaminated and all biological life as known destroyed.  To make a point, someone said, “…and even the billionaires can’t escape this nightmare, not if they remain on the planet.”

Space: that’s where the brains turned to.  The wastes would have to be flung out in space, far enough that their orbits wouldn’t decay and they would come tumbling down out of the sky sooner or later; far enough that they would not accidentally interfere with man’s tiny but increasing space exploration.  Far enough so they wouldn’t be encountered, ever again.

The sun: that’s were the brains turned to.  It was so obvious: fire the wastes into the sun where they could never again do any harm to anyone.

Finally, a solution, if taken from old science fiction books.  Yes, that would do it.  All that was needed was to develop a relatively inexpensive way to package these wastes, drag them far enough that they could be put on a trajectory into the sun.

One thing that can be said about scientists: they’re all a bit mad.  That is, they have to focus on their particular problem and not pay too much attention to possible consequences.  If it works, then the problem is solved.  Will it create a greater problem down the road of time… or space?  Not my problem.  I did what I was asked to do.  I made “that” possible.  The rest is up to, well, the rest.

The engineers took over.  Typically, a space-plane was developed that could take a sizeable payload of nuclear wastes into deep space.  There the load was shifted upon what were essentially guided missiles, or rockets, which took it the rest of the way into the sun’s surface.

There was great celebrating after the first attempt was successfully achieved.  Four and a half tons of nuclear wastes had successfully been driven into the sun’s hell furnace, never to bother anyone again.  Hundreds of space-planes and thousands of rockets flew their missions over the next few years as every fission reactor in danger of flooding was decommissioned and scoured.

Finally, a real success story with no side effects except for the cost of removing the wastes from the planet.  Many other environmentally unsafe dumps of chemicals were also packaged and added to the space-plane payloads before the program was terminated.

That was forty years ago.  Earth people could now concentrate on re-building their shattered economies as the new climate stabilized with higher water levels, expanded deserts circling the equator, almost complete loss of polar ice and the north and south once temperate zones now experiencing equatorial temperatures and conditions such as high winds and monsoons.  Two generations had never seen snow and could not comprehend the concept, except by looking into refrigerators or freezers, or by searching past history on the datasphere, once called the internet.  Two billion people had died in the interim and were already being forgotten.

“What’s to be done, James?”

“This time, sir, man has taken the step at the edge of the bottomless pit; the one he should have had the wisdom and awareness to back away from.  There is nothing to be done, Andrew.  If you believe in God, that is your, our, last option.  We have overstepped ourselves and we have to face that.”

“The apocalypse, James?  Of our own making?  What are they saying at the UN?  Can anything be salvaged?”

“Our waste dumping has triggered the sun to go nova, sir.  Nothing can be done.  We don’t have any capability to launch any “ark” or space ship that could travel out of the solar system and escape the coming fire storm, taking a sample of survivalists aboard.  And if we did, we don’t have ftl or cryogenic technology and anyone on board such ships would die long before they reached any kind of human-friendly world.  There is no escape, no place to go.  For the first time in man’s history he has ignorantly taken the irrevocable step; painted himself into a corner from which he cannot escape.  It’s over, Andrew.”

“We did this?”  He shakes his head as he stares out the window of the oval office.  “We caused the sun to go nova by shipping our bits into it?  How can that be possible?”

“No one realized the fine balance existing within a fusion reactor.  We thought size, you see, because that’s how man thinks.  If it’s bigger, it can absorb something much smaller.  Turns out that is not the case at all.  We triggered a switch, literally knocking a hole in the containment field of the sun’s fusion furnace.  From a military standpoint we should be proud.  Imagine that: the ant kills tyrannosaurus rex.  But the sun was not our enemy, nor was it our personal waste dump.  It was our life.  A bit late in the game to realize this.  I don’t even know how that makes me feel right now.  You know, this is a totally different death than any we’ve ever experienced as a species.  Until now, one died, a hundred, a million, a couple of billions, but there always was a future to look to, a chance at re-building, a chance to re-create.  Now there is nothing.  This solar system is going to be slagged.  Nothing left, nothing at all.”

“How do I tell this to the nation?  What’s my position now?  Should I just go home and forget I was even here, ever a president?  Does anything mean anything?  How much time do they give us?”

“It’s an exponential factor.  They’re working on the math but it’s all new to them.  Probably not very long because of increasing solar radiation.  The heat is about to vaporize the atmosphere and we’ll soon be exposed to solar storms, winds and flares.  They estimate that the earth will be a scorched ball of rock within four to eight years.”

“No chance at all to cut our losses and run, hm?”  He looks at his secretary with a thin, bitter smile.

“None, it’s over.”

The man’s shoulders sagged completely.  “Thanks James.  You should go home now.”