Monday, 2 March 2015

Dragons Eye - Part Twelve


Dingo, Australian Wolf 

Pete said – Kathy... thought you were going to tell me something terrible.

We were sitting around my kitchen table, me, Pete and Storm. A breeze from east bringing the smell of the ocean into my kitchen. Catching the crystals hanging along the eaves and reflecting soft colors onto the stone walls.

I (Kathy) said – I have. The alfs will not leave.

They were camping in flower garden, helping themselves to my fresh herbs and lighting small fires in the vegetable patch. I do not mind sharing, but these were rapacious and persistent thieves. They would use a couple of the leaves and spoil the rest.

I continued - I am worried about the dragon.

The old folk said that they were friendly, but others said they had lost stock. Not just lambs – cattle - and a couple of farm dogs.

I could see doubt sweep his face, and relief. He looked at Storm and half shook his head. Then that dreaming look in his face and a smile.

I hopped up and stoked the kitchen fire. That dreaming look made me want to pick up a plate and throw it at him. A pot with dinner was gently bubbling, I stirred it and added some water, still a couple of hours to go.

Pete said – I work with lots of dragons.

I shot him a glare from the stove.

He half stood up, spilling the tea.

I said – Sit down, Finish your tea. The alfs are a problem. My problem.

My head hurt. I shook the pain away and came back with some cookies.

He said – So, are they much of a problem?

I said – Missing eggs, petals from my daisies on the ground, sour milk… I could go on.

They stir the horses up. I had heard the sound of strange machinery and stray cats.

He said – I see. Any dragon gold?

Trust him, I turned to Storm and said – See ?

She nodded.

I had been trying to explain men to Storm. Around this table, when she was a young girl within the safety of this room, I told her the gentle cautionary tales.

It was not enough. She grew and met a nice guy. And then he hurt her.

So this time I took her outside. Into the wild. A cleared area around an unlit fire.

I asked her to put aside all that she thought she knew about men.

The stories told about them are largely untrue. Experience tells this already, but truth is sometimes too easy to hide, and the lonely keep searching for fictive rather than real creatures. You and your friends tell of mixed experiences – you have experienced part of the reality. But that knowledge serves you well – and is sufficient to ignite a fire.

Storm shuffled as I lit the fire.

Here it would be easy to pause, and heap the past all at once into the fire. To bask in the warmth as the fire burns fast and quick, in turn drawing the lonely and others to the dark just out of reach. True, some of the creatures about might make good mates, but some are predators, others are hurt beyond repair and others, perhaps worse, time-wastrels.

Moths started to gather around the flames.

I ask that you sit back and consider the fire. A fire, is a place to tell stories, to heal, to play, to teach and to sing. A place to watch the sparks climb up into the unseen river of stars just above. It is a place of safety and rest, a place to reflect, where the past can be unraveled slowly, where the present can be woven into plans.

All around you are people of unknown quality. Some hunt for satisfaction, some for company, some for friendship, and some for a mate. In this world, do not simply wait by the fire. It is too easy to become the prize, the person taken by whoever wins the hunt.

Storm had quietly shut her eyes. I could not tell if she was listening. I needed her to listen.

Instead, join the hunt on your terms. As a hunter, free of the fire, the game changes. You choose what you seek - pleasure, company, friendship, a mate... And those that deserve no consideration can be thrown back into the maelstrom from whence they came.

I paused. She turned and looked at me.

Hunting is not intuitive. It is a skill most people have to relearn, painfully. A long time ago, I wasted time watching the Australian wolf – the dingo. I stayed on a station, bordering the dingo fence and a wonderful wilderness.

A dingo treats all as an intruder until she determines otherwise. When a dingo comes across another, she will follow at a safe distance, frequently backtracking, observing through tracks and spore how the other behaves – is he healthy, fit, smart, and capable. The deeper the proposed engagement, the sharper the enquiry and the greater the evidence required. Too often, we fail at this first step, we do not ask direct questions, we do not seek proof, we make excuses. The questions are simple. Are you married. Are you in a relationship. What is he to you. Are you who you really say you are. How can you prove this. Simple questions, easily discharged with a smile in good faith. But predators and the hurt turn and twist when the questions are asked.

A dingo pack is a close knit group – the members come with a context, friends, a family and a past. Before considering letting another join your pack, these pathways and relationships need to be accessed and tasted. Why did his last relationship fail. When can I meet your parents. Let us run with your friends. Predators and the hurt turn and twist when these questions are asked.

Sometimes a dingo is injured. A paw is twisted during a hunt. A kangaroo slashes a shoulder. The animal becomes a liability, unable to hunt effectively. Before you rejoin the hunt, you must rest and recover. Put the injuries from the past to one side. They have a place. In the future, around your fire, you might want to reflect on those events. To tell your daughter how, for a moment, the role of hunter and hunted reversed, and how easy and hard it is to be snared. And then to tell her how she might run her hunt.

I had finally got Storm's attention - she was sitting wide eyed not believing her mother was shouting at the fire. She said calmly – It was just an argument. I was to blame as well.

That was days ago. I was still fuming.

I looked at Storm, playing with the white cat and wondered if she had heard anything I had said.

Then I looked at Pete, the biggest mistake I had ever made twice and wondered why I had let him back in my house. Again. I wondered if I had listened to myself. I would not make that mistake again.

I grimaced – There is gold everywhere here. The sun hitting the grass heads, the glint of your eye and the lining of the afternoon clouds.

He said – You should come sit on my rocks and watch the sun set.

I said – And where would you be?

He smiled – Holding the horses below. You will come too, Storm?

Storm was distracted playing with my cats.

Storm – Mum, you still haven’t told him about the dragons.

I said – I do not think he believes in them.

Storm – He promised.

He said – I see dragons all the time.

Storm muttered – Not like these ones.

I said – Some of the old timers have been telling me stories about them. At first I thought they were just talking about the big monitors – the goannas up on the ranges. But some of the very old folk described seeing them and sometimes talking to them. I disbelieved until one took me up into the Black Range.

He said – What did you see?

I said – It was late evening. About the time the eagles fly back to their trees. I think I saw two yellow dragons flying fast, at tree level. Apparently, they come out midday and fly into the thunder heads gathering energy.

He said – Any sign of a lair? Maybe a castle?

Storm glared at him and said pointedly – I hope they bite you.

I said – I am trying to tell you what I have seen.

He smiled – Does it matter what I think?

I could feel the wind rising. A chill in my bones as I caught his eyes.

He did not speak, but I heard his voice, inside my head, dimly echoing from the past – Listen! Stop now. Don’t go.

I paused, broke eye contact and turned to Storm – The wind is coming up. We should get the clothes in.

A great weariness overcame me. He was so much work. I said, into the walls – Thanks for the company.

He was right behind me. He said – Come, come show me the dragons.

I said – You don’t believe me.

He said – I believe you. Now, come prove I was right to follow you blindly.

Reluctant, I went with him to catch the horses and we took the old bridle track up into the mountains. His cats followed. We sat at the top of the lower hills and waited until the mist came and hid the sky. Nothing that night, but he arrived every afternoon for the next week, with enthusiasm and chocolate, a pair of field glasses and a pack of cards.

We saw eight sunsets and I won his farm off him a dozen times before he saw the dragons. Flying at tree level.

He watched them disappear back in to the high ridges.

He said – The old arch. I bet that first one has landed up there.

I could see him thinking.

I said – Haven't you been listening to me? The old folk say the dragons have spoken to them and told them we are not to follow them into the mountains.

We returned to our homes.

A couple of weeks later he came over to my farm, excited. He told me a story about a rainbow, alfs and almost getting a pot of gold. One of the orange dragons had got there first. He said he was going to search for the lair. I yelled at him but he would not listen.

I waited for him to get a little ahead, and Storm and I followed. We saw him enter the old cave system. We waited, not sure of what we could do.

We waited for a while then started to hear sounds coming from the cave. One moment there was just the creek bed, tree ferns, and a grassy patch next to a pretty little creek. Next the dark alf rainbow hit the grassy patch just outside the cave. There was an explosion of light and a faint rainbow trail extended high into the sky. Mist started to rise.

Pete staggered from the cave with the cats. He was bleeding from a head wound, blood staining his shirt. Storm tensed and was about to run after the cats. Pete ran a couple of steps towards the rainbow – but then fished for his phone.

Storm muttered – His new girlfriend, I bet. What an idiot.

A couple of rain drops hit the ground. 

I said – What girlfriend ?

The smell of a summer storm, static electricity and the rumble of thunder.

She said – Anthem.

There was a rumble from the cave behind him. He looked back. I could see one eye closed. Then he put his head down and ran for the rainbow. I heard him shout – You are right. I am going to have to rethink the whole gold thing.

Waylander carefully picked up the dark alfs and they all hit the rainbow as the dragon exploded out of the hill.

> Part 13

Peter Quinton
March 2015

Image - Australian Wolf 

(Nothing got hurt writing this part.)

This is a continuation of a story (a "braided yarn") that started on an earlier G+ post. Details and story at: 

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