Scribble Sands: a Moment in Jumbly Time


Every year as the Winter storms gathered out to sea, Jumbly would make the journey from his village to the ocean. It took days and he would camp along the way.

Nights were spent lying under the stars, listening to the evening fade and the sounds of the dark begin. Jumbly would think over the year that was, everything that happened, the good and the sad, the happy and the bad, and all the pieces in between. He would think deeply about each moment, what happened and how each action led to the next. Some things were savoured and remembered with relish. Others were more difficult to think about but this was his time to consider it all.

Each morning began with the dawn chorus. Jumbly would stretch and unwrap his blanket and roll up his bed. He washed his face and brushed his head. Then he would stir the fire to light and boil water for his tea. Mixing a bit of water and salt with flour, he wrapped damper round a stick and put it to cook in the coals. When his tea was made, he added dried meat, herbs and veggies, let it all simmer, then soaked it up with hot damper. Jumbly always felt his very best meals were on this journey. Fueled up for the day, he would take down the fire, make sure no sign was left of his passing, give thanks for his sojourn and be on his way.

By the fifth day he was ready to see the ocean. There was a last run of dunes and then there it was. As far as his eyes could see, the grey waves spread, lapping at the land, singing out to sea. Above all the clouds boiled, whipped to fever by the wind, waiting to drop their load upon the land for the cycle of wet to begin.

And Jumbly, he would laugh and laugh and laugh. Arms spread wide, he would take it all in. Every brush of air, each spray of salt, wind knotting his hair and whipping his chin. For here at last was the place to release all he had learnt over the past year. Every pleasure, every sin.

Stashing his gear, Jumbly ran down the dunes to the soft soft sand. Across the sand and into the waves, he threw himself into the sea. When finally he emerged, striding through the waves, he found a sturdy stick and began to write.

As the tide turned out, Jumbly wrote in the sand. Every part of the year was expressed. Good, bad, indifferent, everything he said, thought felt and did was written. There were years where he had not much to say and years where he felt he would run out of beach. Everything was scribbled in the sands. His friends, his gains, his losses, his pains, his cross words, his kind acts, his pride, his humility. Most of all, he wrote his gratitude.

When finally he was done, he sat upon the highest dune and watched the waves come in. The sea lapped at the land again and gradually crept across the sand, washing his words out to sea. Jumbly sat until all the words were gone, every syllable, every note. All washed out to the great beyond, all washed away, all stored for those who ponder to share what he wrote.

Refreshed he made his camp for one night and in the morning began his journey home. Jumbly, oh our Jumbly Man, was ready to face what might come.

(c) CLHHarper February 2014

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