The Real Scary Creatures that Exist in this World [1]

Le Riot du Plessis (Le Plessis Bergeret) to La Roche-sur-Yon [Part 1]: Wednesday 16 August 2017

4:30am. Fortunately, for many, for most, the worst monsters, the nastiest of villains, the most depraved of beasts, only exist in our minds. Fictions we dream up as the light dims and our imaginations fill the gaps with monsters drawn of senses trying to prevent us from falling into a false sense of security before

KABOOM!

Taken while our defences were down.

It’s a throwback to when we lived in caves and real monsters did dwell in the shadows and you would pay with the means to survive if you weren’t, even in slumber, somehow poised and ready, weapon to hand, should a sabre-toothed hedgehog swoop down at you in the night.

Now, as habitats have been taken and claimed, walls have been built with bricks and cement, and we have the power to make light to allow all our senses to see, and much of the natural world has been feared to the Outer Zones, there is nothing in the darkness except a fruit falling from a tree, an ajar window in a breeze, or a television set to low announcing itself.

But our minds have the power to conjure them at will and, as a kind of defence-mechanism, finds security in doing so, and maybe a little enjoyment, too, which is why horrors can leap onto the page of any person with a pen in their hand. How much these monsters take on a life for others depends on the ability of the writer to create a context, a dark corner, in which this creature might feasibly thrive. When this is done well, these things are packaged and sold to thrill our sense for the scary by allowing our imaginations some credence.

However, sometimes, or often, these creatures are not clearly labelled as coming from the mind. They come in our news feeds or are passed from mouth to mouth. Their passing on may not come of ill-will or a desire to misinform, but from a habit to have faith in the source that told the tale. But they’re mostly monsters made on rumour, once given shape in someone else’s darkest hour, then given life upon re-telling as a shared experience. They are built on some other’s myth-making machines, and really have no place in the World of You, except for the fact that we habitually set places for them and all the other characters we share in the stories that we tell one another to build our pictures of the world.

Most always this is harmless – just embroidery to colour life; but we should all be aware the monsters, especially the people we hold dear. So we warn them and we fear them, just so they may never come to harm, from the mythical beasts given life in darkened minds. When really all there is, when you brace and turn on the light, is a hedgehog rearing its kids away from the glare of public gaze; and not a biblical beast summoned forth to slay humankind.

But when these fears take shape, given life and truth in people’s minds, without them shining their own light in the corner to discover the sweetest truth, we risk modifying our behaviour according to myth, allowing another’s darkness to encroach on ours, and limiting a little more light. Until all we see is darkness, of origins now unknown.

Shine the light for yourself and you’ll usually reveal a sweetest truth, and not some other’s monsters. You may not, but at least it would prevent so many of us living in other people’s fears. And with more light being shone, more lightness would prevail: relegating the real scary creatures that exist in this world to the space beneath the line or on the forum pages.

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3:56am

Biskupice to Zlechov [Part 1]: Friday 07 July 2017

Awake. Intensely awake. Immersed in the sounds of a world cautiously waking up, and the sounds of the nocturnal creatures revelling in their dusky kingdoms before secreting themselves away as if they were never present; or almost as if they don’t exist at all.

Footsteps outside. Snapping twigs or breaking branches? Leaves rustling or jackets catching? Our curious interloper could be: former WWF Champion Slavek Švejk, down on his luck and looking to loot this potential goldmine of an overnight campsite, and woe betide either of them if they wake and try to prevent him from going about his foul business; or Henry the Hedgehog, coolly but cautiously ambling his way from a meal well-fed to a place well-bed – without the need to exercise excess caution as the tarmac assassins are mainly silent at this hour.

A light-footed hop and a skip tell me this is maybe a fawn.

It doesn’t really matter: we shared some moments, these creatures and I.

And as the morning chorus rolls in as if from a distance, over the seas, and over the horizons, in tune with the Sun, I’ll ignore this well-lunged cockerel getting some mid-night practice in while he thinks no-one’s listening, and pursue a few more Zs.

But, like the cockerel, I cannot sleep – though the cheeky bugger has fallen silent for the time being, making out he’s Mr Timekeeper, with no need of tuning to fill those pipes with cock-a-doodle.

I’m submerged in a chorus of song, featuring a dazzling array of the most beautiful harmonies and rhythms, the likes of which I have never heard before – at least, not altogether like this – being performed especially for me. Their fierce yet fragile beauty is melting my heart: it’s dissolving into the Earth around and being drawn up into the morning air of life.

Other more discordant sounds join in – some humanmade, others buzzy and waspy, others raspy and partridgey. And a gun! I think. In the distance. A hunter celebrating their mastery of all that is life, all that is beauty, all that we are a part; blind that their savagery removes all of the above and tears all apart.

And now the songs seem subsumed to the sound of a truck, a diesel engine, winding its way

away

Away from my heart, as mine once again rises with the life-invoked chorus of our true blooded cousins.

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