Posted by: jolantru | July 13, 2009

Wave Five: Circles

My magic imagery and visualization involves circles and disks. This is the pattern-style typical of my lineage. Other groups of people, having descended from the different waves of immigrants, have other pattern-styles. Or signatures, as Auri would say. Individual regions have different and varying signatures, recognizable by practitioners like names to people or places.

My circles have colors. Distinct colors – green and white or green and silver. They appear in my mind, spinning like a child’s toy whirly-gig. Sometimes they are plain circles, unadorned by inherent patterns. Sometimes they are more elaborate, concentric circles inlaid with more concentric circles like the whorls on oyster shells. I am starting to think that green is my own personal color, just as blue is Auri’s. The magic is influenced – no, intertwined – with the user’s own self. Logical, because the magic comes directly from the user.

I have not used the circles for defensive purposes, not since the tsunami, the sea’s wrath, had struck my village. I know that light curled in the right manner can save lives. What I dare not contemplate is its reverse aspect.

~*~

The City has been experiencing a series of mild tremors lately. In my studies, which include geography, I have learnt that the City was built on a dead volcano linked to a still-active chain of volcanoes called The Ridge. The sea I have grown up with is actually part of the cirque bay formed from its large crater. My ancestors landed on the Bay and started their lives along its curved coast. The second wave of immigrants moved inland and their descendents now live with the constant threat of earthquakes and other forms of seismic activity.

The City folk live their lives with unabashed joy though. Practical-minded as they are, they enjoy their food, their social groups and their interests. They have even coped well with the tremors, having planned shelters for the eventual ‘big one’, as they always joke.

I see the ripples circling outwards in my glass of water and see the items on my shelves quiver. It is an odd experience, living with tremors. But that is the City for you. I have grown up with the idea that the City is this thriving hub, a center of prosperous commerce (and it is). My village supplies the plumb juicy oysters so welcomed by the Eateries, transported via the fleet of silver fish that arrives daily to bring in their treasures. Now I know that the City is mortal and not all that infallible.

Auri has made sure that her School has a shelter – just in case. All the major institutions have their own shelters, reinforced by strong metal frames. The children of the City grow up with drills taught in their Schools and by their parent groups. Look for sturdy structures to crouch under, like a firm table. Do not panic. At times, the Schools hold simulations to prepare the children for the future.

I wonder if the people of the City see themselves as sons and daughters of the earth, because so much revolves around the stability of the land beneath their feet.

~*~

I find myself wandering down Lambs Quarter as it has become one of my favorite personal haunts. My senses are tempted by the variety of goods being sold there. Pots of fresh herbs grown in gardens and hydroponic farms. Vegetables brought from the Innerlands. Herds of livestock shepherded from the Innerlands as well – ayam, ma and yang. The patois of language bantered around as people barter and chat over their produce. The diversity of people thronging Lambs Quarter is astounding too, providing visual and verbal color to the canvas that is Lambs Quarter. This is where I met Josh.

After a particularly long drawn out earth tremor, I managed to soothe my jittery nerves by taking a slow walk down to Lambs Quarter. Going to there is part-meditation, part-contemplation, part-calming-myself-down. The walk itself is immensely therapeutic. As usual, I walked past the cages of ayam clucking away and showing off their speckled feathers. I politely declined buying the rich eggs – advertised so eloquently by the seller – and strode on, taking in the sights and sounds. I still feel like a tourist, amazed at the bustling locale. The herbs and vegetables stalls were next and I stood for a while, sniffing at the silvery-green rosemary tips and chatting to the woman who owned the stall about the uses of tisanes. Then, it was down the small eateries set up by enterprising young men and women, fresh from the Innerlands and the coastal villages. I sampled broths and stews, cooked to perfection by obviously loving and attentive chefs. It was by chance I stopped by a new eatery, one populated by empty chairs and tables. But the smell emanating from inside the shop was divine. And familiar.

My interest was piqued and I peered into the shop, looking for its owner. “Hello?”

A young man, about my age, perhaps one or two sun-circles older, walked out, wiping his hands on a clean dishcloth. He had hair the Innerlanders call ‘auburn’ and an open honest face with clear green eyes. A boyish face, coupled with a body frame the dancers in the School refer to as ‘lean’.

“Oh, hello there.” His voice was cheerful.

“I would like to sample whatever is sending the delicious aroma, if that is alright with you.” I was perplexed. Such enticing fragrances and yet no customers?

“Wait here,” he smiled and disappeared into what I presumed was the kitchen, only to re-appear with a large white porcelain bowl filled with steamy stew and an enamel spoon. He placed it on a table and bade me sit which I did, inhaling the oh-so-familiar and nostalgic fragrance.

“Genuine oyster stew,” he explained as he watched me savor the stew with a grin. The flavors brought me home instantly and I was transported back to Mother’s kitchen, helping her chop herbs and vegetables as she prepared the oysters for the broth. We make use of oysters differently in my village but the flavor is there.

Home.

“This is simply delicious,” I mopped up the stew with some mixed-oats bread the young man had provided. I reached into my pockets for payment. He stopped me, shaking his head.

“For you, it’s free.”

“No, no, no. I should at least pay you.” I laughed and insisted on paying him. We got down to light bantering and soon, we were talking like old friends. His name is Josh and he hails from an Innerlander farming family. He is new in the City and has just established his eatery, hence the lack of customers.

~*~

We have started talking to each other more often, both Josh and I. It is an interesting development. And coupled with my confused feelings for Auri, it is going to be more remarkable. Oddly enough, I feel awake. Alive. Like my light circles.

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