The following short post is in response to Writing for Wellbeing, an initiative by the University of Liverpool, Literature & Science Hub. The course ran throughout the Covi-19 lockdown period and encouraged people to write in response to 9 different themes. This piece is from a prompt about nature as metaphors in mental health.
I like to cast my net far and wide. A skill I have mastered from 37 years of making four beds every morning. The muscle memory serves me well.
The net encompasses the whole body of water, overlapping the shore on the other side, bullrushes, and rocks poking through. The objects that lay on the far shore are lost and forgotten, like toys taken to play outside and left in the rain.
The net sinks deep in places where the current is strong. On my own, it takes all my might to pull the catch to the surface. Entangled with the outstretched claws and tusks of polar bears and elephants, suspended in the dark trenches and cold water.
There is no fight for breath anymore. They wait patiently to be brought back to the surface to be disected.
The shallow pools offer a more palpable yield. Flamingoes in formation, performing their rudimentary dance. It’s loud and chaotic but the routine brings me peace and clarity. I catch flamingo on every trip and they are delicious.
Lemurs, on the other hand, cause me grief and give me life in equal measure. The most challenging of my daily catch, the striped tails mesmerise and disorientate me and I regularly lose my balance.
Sometimes they resist with such force, the struggle tires me to tears. Other times they are curious about my methods and indulge me, coming right to the surface to reach out or inspect the net and my equipment, before darting away. The unobtainable Lemur, always slipping through my hands.
I am committed to the notion that successfully catching a Lemur, will make me an accomplished angler. For now, I will feast on flamingo and nurture their existence on the water.