The Bread was an Odd Color

The Bread was an Odd Color

When the shop owner had, over time, begun to gather a salable inventory, the question of bread was ever a process of natural selection, on the part of the patrons, at least, if not the part of the proprietor as connoisseur.

The owner liked good bread. It made the difference in a sandwich, which could have all the makings but could be canceled by a bland or tasteless base (the bread).

It made the difference at the table.

It was worth a greater percentage of items chosen in a picnic basket.

At the top of the hill, looking out over grass blown by the moist sea wind and down to the tree fronds and the harbor, it could be counted among any spare trees under which to sit. Or the rocks. A pretty girl took no notice of it, as it made sense on an outing.

The bread types shifted on the shelves through weeks and months, the shifting ever mindful of which items made it to the front register. They came from other aficionados on the island who would venture a go at their own designs or at recipes from old worlds, assayed with the grains at hand.

The favorites surfaced: experimental mixes of grains or methods of baking, some with cheese or fruit.

One was a sort of almost baking soda-flaky kind of baguette, with a soft middle. It was popular, along with others, but the proprietor still hadn’t found any that stood out. Sure, he was one of only a few shops, but good business is good business. And so is worthy bread.

Then a batch came from a local maker: this same flaky baguette. The maker had added kelp from the sea, and deliberately, not by accident. And it was the color green.

It had the same taste, really. The same consistency. Same baking methods. But, it had something to the constitution.

It was worth taking home.

It became a local and even island favorite and one of the first items to feature in the store.

The Mosaic

The Mosaic

A girl of twelve went to the opposite side of the island to visit her grandparents. It was always a fun visit. One could often do as one pleased. They fed her. Sometimes, she would help with a boat cleaning or breakfast.

The place was also in a less developed area and had quiet ranges of beach to walk. She would have done so with a dog, but they had a cat.

However, conveniently, they were on an arm of civilization and so had a small store about a quarter mile away. So, she would bicycle. And there was time to read, to play board games, to talk.

On a subsequent morning, toward the latter part of her two weeks, she stepped out for another venture on the beach.

Having collected various small items over time, from shells to rocks to glass, and while sitting in the early sun, she began idly to arrange whatever items were at hand: a reed, a tree leaf, a wood chip. Then she ventured further afield recovering whatever material the sea washed up and arranging it in the image of a beach scene. She used whatever blue she could find, shells and wood, for the ocean, and gray and green for sky and sand. Seaweed did for trees.

Then it was time for breakfast.

The items had drawn down the sand incline by the next day, with troughs from water washed by the tide.

By the time she had gathered her things to go back to the other side of the island, the arrangement had separated, or dispersed, with some items partly buried in the sand.

And it was time to resume studies at school.




Offshore, a wild blue yonder holds divers, pawing depths for shellfish on a rope. It’s a bit bizarre, but it renders lines of mollusks in broad daylight. From there it’s a measure of culinary concern.

Languages are spoken on different boats, at different times. But, most of it has nothing to do with fishing and all to do with the practicalities of retrieval. The thing is that commerce, in some circles (and in these settings, a number of social circles can occur), is possibly moot. Here, there’s enough.

On the north island, the water is dark blue, for depth, and the sky would look pale in contrast but for its particularly dark natural hue.

And here, there are no ruins, not of ancient times. Only boats that come and go and small towns, or settlements, that sleep in the sun.

Languages are only, or mostly, a form of expression. In general, everyone uses the lingua franca.

But food harvested from the sea is a fact of life.

House in the Shade

House in the Shade

The trees hide the shore, or rather, the shore sits in the glare of sunlight, and the trees sit behind that, and they provide respite.

A man stands on a ladder, half-way up the side of a house that is half-buried in trees. He is observed by a cat sitting on the hard-baked, sandy ground.

The cat regards him as he strings wires along the eaves, along the wall.

Off the shore, surf rushes and tosses, its coming and going observed from the roof point of the house by a bright and curved dish mounted on a stand, fast against imminent wind and weather.

The man brings wires along to an open window, which is typically kept open and normally only covered with a reed shade, unless the wind blows up. In such an event, more sturdy protection is put up.

The man descends and pets the cat between the ears and the two characters separate paths.

Before long, in the shade of the house, a screen glows.

Living Under a Star

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Living under a Star

The swimmer made a wake across clear blue water, the water still and limpid. The air was bright and the wide sky a deeper shade of blue, high to the dome, where shone a clear star.

With every push, the swimmer cut across measures, or quantities, of water. Equal parcels of this stretched for hundreds and thousands of miles over the horizon, curving, in turn, in the equally empty volumes of space beyond the atmosphere. Harsh space. Radiation-filled space, smelling of the over-cooked volatility of gunpowder.

The swimmer took another breath and made more distance.