‘…When I am on a pedestal

You did not raise me there

Your laws do not compel me

To kneel grotesque and bare…’

Leonard Cohen from the song ‘Avalanche’

“Taken aback by the exclusive wilderness that eclipsed my ‘Paradise Wasted’ I footslogged best I could, ever onward knowing this neck of the woods was not for me, not one little bit. For here I found myself upon a foundation of outcast fragments, sun-bleached dog’s mess, unstable drabbest grey paving, occasionally a hint of aesthetically tolerable cobble stones, all within a sturdy barricade of mind-numbingly conventional real estate, a place where hosts of small children toted sharp blades, plucked the wings off butterflies and chewed tobacco.  All I possessed was what I left fool’s paradise with at the time of my prescribed banishment, namely nothing at all.

Almost crazed, still marvelling at the ungraciousness of Earth’s mortal souls, finally I reached the edge of loathsome synthetic nature, leaving the wicked bystander who named me ‘nought but a sinner and a brazen hussy’, and the silent curious in my wake. Before me, an extensive thorny briar dotted with sporadic silver birch, yet on the far horizon was a fickle, leadened ocean.  Hungry, thirsty, sweating like a pig under midsummers black sheep woolly thunder cloud’s clamminess, the soles of my feet, red raw and bleeding, the prospect of, at the very least, soaking in salted water was overpowering.  From above and ahead I heard the reassuring caw of the tireless black-backed gull before I saw him. Looking skyward there he was, ever-watchful, gliding this way and that. Most definitely a ‘him’, his arrogant, prowling perceivable swagger in flight gave him away.

In the fullness of time I made it to the furrow where briar gave way to a far-reaching sandy beach. The unbearably sticky, steamy conditions still prevailed. Noting that the tide was coming in and despite my dire thirst and hunger I first took to water’s edge to cool off. Eyes shut tight, arms a-stretch as if…yet not in reality as I cannot swim a single stroke…floating on my back upon rippling waters it momentarily felt my exodus was complete, such was the meditative effect of calming tidal oscillations gently and intentionally, I believe, always trying to lay me down upon the smooth dry sand the tide had neglected. Ultimately, I let the waves have their way and concluded my emptiness would abate if I ate. It was then I chose to forage for whatever edible nourishment I might find. I was not without success. Leaving well alone the harmless ‘beach mates’ I chanced upon, namely the two brown crabs, a lonely lobster and even an off-track sea urchin, I feasted on a salad of sea aster, arrowgrass and sea rocket, although had it been the case I had the necessary paraphernalia to cook with, mussels from a rock pool on a bed of wild delectable samphire would have had great appeal. Whilst not eliminating my thirst, my shoreline dish kept it at bay for the time being.

Even so, my requirement for drinking water was becoming urgent and all-consuming. I needed a plan. It was all well and good making pretty patterns in the sand with my toes, yet such artistic endeavour can only take one’s mind off a pressing issue for so long. However, it was as I was mulling things over I saw, much to my delight, a cormorant pop up from the sea, then skim the surface until she reached a shore boulder whereupon she statuesquely settled in order to hold out her beautiful porous black wings to dry. Then all of a sudden a sound I had never heard before. An ear-blistering, loudest crack, bang, blast, whatever, and in an instance the cormorant fell from her stony perch, dead to the world. Confused, yet not so confused that I had lost my bearings I turned about face and there in the near distance a heavily built man carrying what I now understand to be a rifle, swaggering proudly toward me. Putting two and two together I had little doubt that it was he who had by some means killed the harmless bird. Ever closer he came until we stood face to face. It was he who spoke first. ‘Those fucking birds eat all the bloody fish, at least that’s another one who won’t be stealing from the sea again’ adding, ‘Look at the state of you, luv. Are you asking to get done for indecent behaviour?’ Although minded to engage him in confrontational conversation, I refrained, instead I slayed him.

He had stood before me as if he was the emissary of the one who had abandoned me, yet the God of groomed invention, of whom I never once claimed to know first-hand, would under no circumstances have sanctioned the killing of a living thing for no good reason. The cormorant was merely feeding on gifts from the ocean, as indeed I had myself a little earlier. The one who killed the bird had evil intent. He had surrendered his right to live.” 

At this juncture it seems the examining officer conducting the interview pressed for specifics as Eve added, “I simply threw into his eyes the two cupped hands full of sand I had gathered causing his temporary blindness. He dropped his rifle in order that he could use both hands to rub the sand away, all the time calling me, ‘A fucking bitch’, whereupon I grasped the weapon, using its wooded handle to beat him about his skull until he dropped to the floor. As he lay unconscious before me I thrust the tip of the barrel of the thing called a rifle through an eye socket into his brain and held it fast until I was sure he was no-more. Nature’s balance had been restored. It was as I reflected on a job well done I noticed his shoulder bag. Within the bag, a bottle of fresh water. Plainly that was Mother Nature’s reward.”


  1. Wonderful tells, when I’ve got the Cohen’s Album; Songs of Love & Hate from a friend and listened to the first song; Avalanche it hat hit my whole soul 🙂 Thank you.

    1. My thanks, Luanne. This is shortened version of a piece from a book in its final stages of proofing presently, entitled ‘Whatever Happened to Eve?’. I shall put some more extracts thereof over the coming weeks. Your comment helps me keep the faith. Regards, The Old Fool

  2. Ooooh, never underestimate the power of Eve. She IS a force of nature, one with sea, sand, and air. And I love that she didn’t actually shoot the gun–she used it like a stick, a piece of nature, too, that can bludgeon and pierce. Perfect, Fair Master Steeden. xxxxxxxxxxx

    1. God! I am behind the game presently. Don’t know my ear from my elbow, yet my thanks. I had to take a razor to this snippet from the so called ‘book’ otherwise it would have been so long any readers would glaze over, yet I am so pleased you read it and more importantly, liked it. Yours, The Old..now creaking a little about the right kneecap (the left one died years ago when I severed my quads (boring tale)…Fool

      1. It was many years gone that I was commissioned to serve a High Court Writ upon a miscreant who had moved to a mansion situated in the coastal area of South-West of England from his former matrimonial home in the land-locked Midlands. With him at his new property were his new floozie…much younger than the wife he had left behind…as well as his new yacht moored up in the marina. What he had done was to forge his ex-wife’s signature upon many a legal document so as to deprive her of her share of the matrimonial estate. In the process serving the Writ I found myself in the grounds of his new property. Knocking upon his door met with zero response. I could however hear matey boy singing opera aloud at the top of the house, thus I knew he was in residence at the time. It was as I wandered to the rear of the property in an attempt to gain access I noticed that the steps I had to climb were covered in moss and that at the top of said steps water was running down over the moss from a hose. Just as I thought to myself, ‘that looks slippery’ I slipped. In doing so the heal of my left foot made contact with…how shall I put it…my left bum cheek, at which an audible ‘snap’ was heard. My quads severed at a stroke. Somehow I got back to my car and made it to the local hospital. The rest is history…I never got to play the game of squash, or even run again. As something of a footnote, dear Shirl went back to the mansion next day and served the Writ upon an instantly despondent pig of a man. Justice was done! There, young Ms Lee, I told you it was boring! Regards, The Old Fool.

  3. Powerfully written!! I do believe in Justice and Balance! Your writing mesmerized me as I could relate to the metaphors and the deep Truths woven within your words. Wow, you really moved me! 🦋

    1. My thanks, AmyRose…what a spectacular name. This world of human domination irks more than it could ever please. I agree with your sentiments entirely. Yours, The Very Old Fool

      1. Why thank you, kind sir, regarding my name. (smile) If we but admit HA! we are just a fool, we have begun the journey back to where sanity resides. Ya sure won’t find sanity in this world!

  4. You were born with the gift of language well spoken and written. Thank you for your marvelous stories, and it is a pleasure to once again have access to them. WordPress seems determined to cut me off from blogging. Since, I am such a Luddite, I may need a technical mind to set it all straight and proper.

    1. I am hopeless with technology and rely upon my son to sort things out yet even he, blessed with a savvy wise technological positive mind still cannot locate or define exactly why over half the blogs I follow do not find their way to my Reader. That you have succeeded is a marvellous thing I bow to your wisdom.

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