Firm and firmament

Ilmatar was lighter than a feather. As light as air. She could sail above treetops and rooftops, soar through the heavens, climb amongst the stars. Shoot for the moon.

But Ilmatar had a problem with gravity: it wouldn’t hold her. She was buffeted and tossed by every gust and every current that passed her way. She feared that one day when the skies grew dark and the winds blew up that she’d lose her grip entirely and drift off, doomed to float, alone, through the endless wastes of space for all eternity.

Dreaming of being earth-bound, she fell in love with a rock. She lashed herself to the rock so they may never be parted. When the winds came they blew over her, caressing her with their touch, but leaving her safe and grounded. She knew she’d chosen well.

One day the rains came. They came and they stayed. Forty days and forty nights they fell. First the waters rose around Ilmatar and her rock. For a while she floated, anchored by his strength but then the currents washed the ground beneath him away. Her lightness gave him just enough lift that he tumbled and tossed across the flooded earth, carried by the massive force of the current and, being tied to him, so was she. She could see the heavens, see blue sky peeping from behind the steely skies, but his weight stopped her from reaching them. There were times she thought she’d drown.

“Untie yourself,” said the breeze.

“Free yourself,” said the wind.

“Come and join us here, above the world,” said the sun and the sky and the moon but she loved her rock and she would not loose the ties. Sometimes they’d be dashed against bigger rocks. They were battered and scarred, but each time her lightness lifted them away and they survived.

The day arrived when the waters receded. Ilmatar and her rock found themselves high and dry on a sandy shore. The sun beat down and burned off the weight of the water. The sands shifted around the rock, cradling it against the earth once again. In the trees, the birds sang. Butterflies and bees bounced from blossom to blossom, spreading the seed of new life. Soft breezes blew, easing the heat from the air, and Ilmatar was once again free to soar, tethered to the world so she could never fly away.

7 thoughts on “Firm and firmament

  1. I like the pictures. It read like a short film and felt very Greek islandish. It was reminding me of the stories I used to read in school about Ulysses. Very visual experiences. Do you know the story of Ulysses and the Sirens? That was my favourite (I’m thinking those stories are from the Illiad….)

    When you write fiction do you read extenisively in any particular genre? What I mean is, are you influenced by any writings? I remember an Aussie author came to QUT once to talk to us about her writing. She said she gets up early in the morning to write. At the time I thought “that’s me finished. I love my bed too much.” But now I’m awake before daybreak and can’t wait to get up and write. I used to write poetry in bed. Did that for most of 09 and part of ’10 but now I’m up writing on the computer. Not so much poetry has been coming lately. It’s now non fiction writing for my books “Dissonance” and “Guinness Baby” (working titles)

    Anyway, this author whose name I can’t remember but you may know who she is, wrote mostly about vampires. She said that she reads extensively in her genre for the sake of her writing. I thought that was a good idea so last year I went to the library looking for poetry but got mixed up with Yeats and Keats. i ordered a book by the one I wasn’t looking up (Irish I know). Anyway, to my dismay it was a book of love poems and I thought I would not enjoy it at all. But I loved it! And it inspired me to write “Habibbulah” and “Solomon and Sarah” – a couple of love poems…..


  2. I’m glad you got something out of it! Is the author you’re thinking of Anne Rice?

    To answer your questions: I really only write short stories as an exercise in developing my craft and learning to discipline myself to write every day regardless of all the external stuff and my mood. I do read short stories but that’s not really my passion. In addition to the stories I post here each work I’m working on a large scale project and that’s where I focus my energies in terms of what I read, although I still try to read ‘just because’ when I can and I find that helps.

    I’m definitely influenced by what I read and watch and so on but not always in ways I expect :0)

    I’m starting a new section of reflections on my writing practice soon, we can swap notes some more there.

    Oh: one site I’ve found that’s a useful resource is Writer’s Digest – this is the link they sent me today


  3. I really like this, it’s delicate and pretty in parts and then almost violent. There’s a lot of dramatic imagery – very visual, and I can see where Sandra was coming from when she said it reminded of her of the Greek epics – I think she means the Odyssey not the Iliad!

    I actually think it sounds a bit like Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

    Anyway I look forward to following your blog (I’ve put a link to it on the blogroll on my blog!)

    SG x


  4. I read this twice – first time I didn’t like it, but second time I must have been a gentler mood, and loved it. I agree with Sandy about the pictures – it was like reading illustrations from a child’s book of fables.


    1. I’d love to hear what you didn’t like the first time. I don’t mind if people don’t like the stories after all there’re plenty of ‘great’ novels and films I found dull as dishwater but it’s interesting to hear why. Thanks for reading it twice – above and beyond the call of duty 🙂


  5. Hi there, I came to this via your link on Twitter, so thank you for sharing (and for very kindly sharing mine too).

    I loved the story – my other half sometimes refers to us as each other’s ‘rocks’. At times I’ve thought that’s a little less than flattering, but you’ve given me a different perspective, so thank you!


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