Wind

17 August 2014

This was a story written for the last night cabaret at the 2014 Buddhafield Family Friendly Retreat. It required an element of crowd participation: whenever I asked, “What's for dinner, I wonder?” the audience replied with, “Oh no! Not lentils again!” And then the band would make an appropirate sound effect...

Me: After a long journey west, the moors suddenly loom into view, dark and foreboding. For me, they conjure a sense of times long forgotten, when elves and fairies lead the ceremonies that honoured the changing of the seasons. In fact, if you listen carefully, you can still hear their ancient magic on the breeze that, to this day, makes the ash trees shimmer. I open the doors and the children disappear to explore the Mill; running across the beautiful laid bridge, finding sticks, gathering stones, racing leaves down the stream. It's as if they've come home. But I'm tired and hungry after the long journey, so I seek out a warm, comforting cup of tea. What's for dinner, I wonder?

Audience: Oh no! Not lentils again!

The Band: <wind sound>

Me: The wind begins to finds it's strength as it gathers its forces from on top of the moors, and hurtles down through hedgerow and gorse. The ash no longer whispers tales of ancient rites, but protests instead. Only the Jackdaw ventures out, ungainly battling into the wind in order to find its way home to the community roost. Mallets and sledgehammers are in full force now, as storm straps are fastened tight for the stormy night ahead. It's hard work, and hunger soon bites. What's for dinner, I wonder?

Audience: Oh no! Not lentils again!

The Band: <wind sound>

Me: Now the storm hits as the wind finds it's courage. The stream no longer gently meanders it's way across the land, but instead surges through in honour of the water spirits that have been drawn down from the moors. Even the Oak tree bows low in the wake of the gale and all the animals have long since found a safe shelter in which to wait out the rage. The weather lays waste to much of our efforts from previous days; doors are blown off, tarpaulins fail, canvases come down and straps are torn free. Yet each emergency is met with strong will and courage. We keep the camp safe, but refastening straps, forcing home storm pegs, hauling wet canvas into the driving wind and rain is hard heavy work that requires a full stomach. What's for dinner, I wonder?

Audience: Oh no! Not lentils again!

The Band: <wind sound>

Me: Then the wind begins to drop. Animals venture out again, and a Buzzard circles high, hungrily surveying the common land to the North, ready to drop on any inquisitive small being that unwisely strays just a little too far from its shelter. The stream still rushes through the land, serving as a reminder of the storm from the day before, and if you are careful, you can hear the Naga spirits slither through the shallows, hissing their disproval at the weakening winds. Doors are fixed, domes are resurrected, straps are retightened and pegs driven home once more. Such effort requires refuelling. What's for dinner, I wonder?

Audience: Oh no! Not lentils again!

The Band: <wind sound>

Me: Now there's calm. It gives space to feel our feelings. To think our thoughts. To hear our story, to make friends with our reality, and to make friends with friendship and probably other friends friendships too. To honour the wise ancestors that have passed on this land. To thank the animals for sharing their home. To light incense for the fairies that are natures keepers, and leave offerings for the elves that have shaped these hills. It's a time for meditation. For mindfulness. For meta. It's a time for our community to come together, where we share stories, and song, and warm nourishing food. What's for dinner, I wonder?

Audience: Oh no! Not lentils again!

The Band: <wind sound>

Me: Back home, the moors far behind. The children are happily playing upstairs; they're Steiner educated, so they're drawing an autumn scene of harvest and ripening apples in over-priced pastel chalks that were bought from the school shop, and absolutely not watching a film on their 24 inch low energy LCD monitor and 5:1 surround sound home theatre system. I decide to use the time to reminisce. I close my eyes and reflect on the sights, the sounds, the tears and the laughter. And of course the tastes; still lost in the beauty of Frog Mill, I absent mindedly prepare food for us all. I call up, “Come eat girls!” “Dad! There's still ten minutes left of this episode of Pokemon!” But when they do eventually come downstairs, they sit at the table and ask, “What's for dinner dad?"

Audience: Oh no! Not lentils again!”

The Band: <wind sound>