The Room

When my depression was at its worst it felt like I lived in a room with no light, be they electric or natural. I could not escape the room as I was a prisoner, but equally I held the key if I only knew where to find it. I knew there was something large covered in cardboard, that I would only notice when I finally discovered there were curtains. My knowledge of the world outside the room was from stories others had told in whispers to songs and books. Despite the darkness I had always found ways to hear and see them. Was I frightened to remove the cardboard? Yes and No. Initially I would say no as did not know any different, and yes when I found the cardboard I was frightened as uncertain of what lay behind them. It was almost better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

One day while daydreaming and pondering curiosity challenged me to try remove part of the cardboard to see what would happen. I accepted, despite my initial fear. It led to a glint of light shining into my darkened world; creating something new that I never realised I needed so badly. Gradually I decided that I would remove the cardboard to see what lay beyond as the light I was seeing from the small gap intrigued me. Bit by bit I slowly removed it until I saw what appeared to be a large window that looked on to a large garden and rolling hills. The view made me cry as felt more a prisoner than I had ever done before, perhaps the curtains and cardboard had sheltered me from the truth. Equally I saw the room properly for the first time. It held – a music player with vinyl records, bookshelves of fiction and non-fictions, a chair, table and bed with cushions. Simple in some ways but I guess held all I really needed for living, if you could really call it that.

As days past I found myself looking more and more to the view beyond. I had not looked to try find a key to the door, which took me a while to notice even after the cardboard had come down. How was I to make the journey to the view I kept wondering, for the only openings appeared to be firmly sealed shut. Was I destined to forever dream of this world that I could see and not use any other sense? I looked at my collection of items and thought…what would happen if I smashed one of the windows, could I not climb out and escape to the world beyond? I mean, I already had scars (physical and mental) what would a few more make in the name of freedom?! I took an old jumper and tied it round my left arm hitting one pane of the window, partly in hope and partly in wishful thinking I could finally be free.

The air that came through the crack was hypnotic filling the room. Gassing me not in toxins but fresh air’s taste and tickle; it even allowed me to hear the sounds from outside like birds in song. The window then became an itch that I had to scratch, knowing I had to make a larger hole and remove myself from my prison. It was only as I had removed the largest pane that I saw a mirror in the room and saw my reflection. In it I saw the face of someone I did not know but knew she deserved my love and respect like any other. As the tears fell on my cheeks I saw what lay round my neck, the key as a necklace. I shook my head, it had been with me the whole time but it took going through all to realise it. Much like life, what we need is something inside ourselves and do not realise that until the last moment.

This left me with a predicament, did I take the door or the window? As I knew not of where the room was and what lay beyond it, but instincts said best to help myself first before trying to help others (if there were any in this place). I took my step outside the window to a ledge and took a deep breath…I was free but where to now? I saw a drainpipe so rather than jump into the garden of the unknown I would slide down slowly into it. The garden at first glance was even more beautiful than I could have imagined from the window, was this like the biblical Eden? I looked back up at my window I saw all the others were covered in cardboard too, hundreds of them. In that moment I knew my life did not belong there and to head for the hills for the garden may hold hidden dangers if I stayed too long…or even worse returned to my cell.

It was in the foot of the hills I found a cottage and where I now live; listening at dawn to the birds that bring me news of the world to enjoying the other gifts that the natural world brings. The sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings they bring with hope. Day by day I walk further and further up the hills, knowing one day I will reach the peak and climb over the other side. I will see how far I have come from my darkened room and know I am finally free. For now I look back with the shadow of the room, house and garden within a few miles, so still hanging over me. I am determined to reach that peak and the follow my path in the light, far away from the darkness the held me prisoner for so long, accompanied by bird song that keeps me going through day and night.

© Fi S. J. Brown

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Prisoner F

Sticks and stones they threw in words and laughter bruising my skin,
Painting all in shades of purple, blue and red that nobody could see.
Hurting feet with a blade to answer why as rivers fell from my eyes,
Feeling trapped like prisoner all in green on life sentence at row M.

Outcast as nobody dare make friendship with the one with my name,
Only a fool would try but soon learnt to toe the unwritten party line.
Writing SOS notes in Latin hoping someone would hear my cries,
But would never take a final bow as wouldn’t give that final pleasure.

As stage was set for the final act I was pushed out and shown my place,
Forever on the sidelines not upfront with those I journeyed long with.
About to be released into the world with freedom as served my time,
For a bespoke crime that had been created for me by my fellow inmates.

They say that time can heal the pain but can never heal my scars,
Forgiving and forgetting actions now memories only takes me so far.
But I have no place for hateful thoughts or plotting my revenge,
They are but footnotes in a journey that they’ll know or understand.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Mother Nature’s Day

Mother Nature – Happy Mother’s Day!

I am sorry that many others see themselves as king or queen of this world you have given us. It makes me sad that think they can modify and destroy it by turning it into a world of fifty shades of grey, autotuned to our voice not yours. For a day without birdsong is like a night with no stars, a land with no trees is a soulless heart filled with envy and jealousy, and a world without nature is a cage with invisible bars.

Thank you for the multisensory experience you give me by living in and being part of this world; from the colours you paint for my eyes to see, the songs of life great and small for my ears to hear, the smells that tickle my nose that drift back and forth in the wind, the tastes of things sweet and sour that make my tastebuds dance, and to the shapes and textures that touch from my fingers to my deepest soul.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Mother Nature

Dystopian Dreams

Wandering around the city, passing the financial district, I am suddenly aware 0f how closed in I feel. The invisible walls close in around me like a scene from a movie from which I must escape. My chest tightens and the claustrophobic air suffocating. Others walk around blindly with their heads in their mobile phones or holding a take away coffee from some global company. I look for some trees but the only ones I see are like standing twigs, as naked due to winter. I feel all is spinning and shaking around me as all at once it hits me what a world I am truly living in. Tears fall from my face as I fall to my knees and I realise there is no way to really ever escape from it all.

More and more we’re choosing to living in cities, far from the nature as more things to do and easier to get to/from work. The title of a British television show “Escape to the country” flurries through my mind; it is like escaping from these concrete cages that we call cities, trapping us in like we have already to other animals in the name of food from chickens to cows. Fracking I can only see degrading our beautiful countryside, so the only option left is to be like the cows that no longer chew on the fresh green fields but forced to live in these concrete mega cities like the mega dairies I campaigned against coming to the United Kingdom only a few years ago now.

I realise that within a few of generations we will not know the ways of nature, it will be something grandparents talk of till nobody left ever remembers them at all. I recall meeting a man of twenty five from London that had never saw a sheep till the day we met, it hits me twice as hard remembering it. Gradually more and more conversation is dying, people reach for “friends” that live inside the goods they have bought and showing off with “look at me”. This leads to people wanting more and more, but cannot afford, and feel the world owes them. Food prices will increase too and people will end up fighting like I saw on images from Black Friday over manufactured food.

I resolve to spend as much time as I can with the world outside the city walls. Where I can climb hills to see it all, listen to the songs of birds, admire the beauty of the flowers that mark my path and know there is something else out there beyond the cages. I wonder if this is what it is like to finally wake from the sleep beyond the endless sleeps, as how do I know I am truly awake? Like an onion the more I peel back to try find the ultimate answer, but like Dorothy I find the wizard is no more than a fraud. Suddenly, I notice an evergreen tree in my line of sight, I do not care who sees me now, as I run up and hug him like an old friend and whisper to him “thank you, always”.

© Fi S. J. Brown