Tag Archives: short story

Gnat Wind – from QuillPill

A few years ago, before Twitter got to going, there was a 3rd Party blogging platform, known as the QuillPill (formerly at quillpill.com) that no longer exists.  The interesting thing about QuillPill was the writing format:  140 characters.

QuillPill was designed to be a story-writing platform that was limited to 140 characters.  A challenge to say the least. But one I really enjoyed taking the opportunity to just see if I could write as story in that format.

Over a period of several weeks I wrote a number of short pieces.  But the one I liked, and enjoyed, the most was one called, ‘Gnat Wind’ and told the story of a  Gnat known as Wilden the Gnat.

I had written the story and then sort of forgot about it. I was building and experimenting with so many platforms that I just completely forgot about QuillPill and .. Wilden.

Some months later, I went back to check on QuillPill and found it gone. Lock stock and barrel.  And along with it went Wilden and the rest of my short 140 character story selections.  I was angered at myself for not keeping a copy of Wilden.

I thought about trying to rewrite it, but nothing came. Over the years I just assumed it was gone. Then just a few days ago, I found, Wilden the Gnat and his story.

So here it is … ‘Gnat Wind’, starring Wilden the Gnat in 140 character bursts.

122216_akilo_wilden-gnat01Gnat Wind
The short story of Wilden the Gnat.

The winds of March blew strong, hard and long. But Wilden knew his day had arrived. He would swarm today. Then find food. Then a mate.

Being as small as a gnat has its trials. But it also has its benefits. Being small you’re not easily seen. But the winds are tough!

Finding shelter isn’t hard, but a gnat must be cautious. You never know what lurks just beneath the next leaf: warmth of home or belly!

Gnats don’t need much to eat. A bit of juice. A tidbit of rotting meat. But March is not an easy time to find either. Life has trials.

Fortunately for Wilden, the sun decided to shine on this blustery March day and he found a bit of fruit tossed aside by a human. Bless ’em.

Wilden’s little eye beamed with delight when he picked up the scent of the fruit. He flew straight for the juicy smell. Just as he…

approached the fruit, he noticed a large dark shadow covering him! As fast as his little wings could beat, he made for a crumpled leaf.

No sooner had he ducked in, when the whole leaf crushed down on top of him; pinning him to the cold earth below. He couldn’t move.

Suddenly there was a loud bursting sound and light began to appear in random parts of the leaf. Wilden didn’t know what to make of it?

Afterall, he was only 24 hours old. He’d not been around long enough to learn much yet. But his education was quickly catching up. He was

in grave danger. And somehow he knew he was, too. Wilden tried to squirm free; no use. Four of his six legs were pinned down. He was in

big trouble! The holes of light were multiplying and getting closer to him. Suddenly the area around him exploded and he was tossed up.

Up, up, up … past the beak of a giant black monster with a golden eye that somehow missed Wilden’s blast to freedom. Amazingly his little

wings began to beat and off he went. Just as fast as he could fly, he beelined it for a bush. When he made it he was a mess. Scared and

bruised, Wilden took stock of his condition. Nothing broken – banged up – but not broken. His wings were a bit wrinkled, but hey worked.

He was alive and could tell about it! Hooray! Boy, could he use a bit nibble of that fruit juice. But he wasn’t going in that direction.

As Wilden contemplated his situation, he caught the faint whiff of a sweet aroma. Popped back to reality, he began scanning the area.

The scent was coming from off his right wing.  Though Wilden had over 300 complex eyes, he couldn’t see what made the scent. Maybe he did

but just didn’t recognized what he was looking at.  Wilden was still pretty shaken by his recent brush with becoming a meal himself, so he

was bit leery about venturing across the open space to find the source of that sweet, sweet smell.  But hunger took over and he slowly

crept out toward the edge of the leaf and into the light.  He didn’t see any danger and the odor was making him so very hungry.  As he

neared the edge of the leaf, Wilden began to see color.  White and yellow- though he didn’t know them as such – he recognized them from

deep recess in his tiny clump of neural cells.  Somehow he knew that was food.  Nervously glancing back and forth, ratcheting his next back

back and forth in rapid succession, Wilden scanned the open area for danger.  He didn’t see any.  He was scared beyond his wits – which

meant he didn’t have to go to far to be beyond them. None-the-less, he was scared!  But hunger took over.  Suddenly he was up and flying.

Once again he was buffeted by the cold March wind, but relentlessly, Wilden made for the colors and the smell.  Up and down, back and forth

his course haphazard his little soft body across the opening. Amazingly, he flew right to the colors.  When Wilden finally settled on the

wide green leaf, he was nearly knocked out by the power of the aroma. He just thought about sucking the air; surely that would be enough?

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Sankalai

Nothing moved.

Not sound. Not time. Not my mind.

Everything was in lock-step frame.

Only my eyes were in motion. But not real motion; scanning, perceiving, transmitting. They were only in a primal recording mode.

Time – and everything in its being – was on hold.

Three months earlier I had set out across the vast array of preserves spanning the wild back country of Botswana. I was in pursuit to find and locate the perfect bull elephant for my wall.

No. Not pursuing a dead head, with lead, but an image of pixels.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a hunter and I don’t have a problem with pulling the trigger and delivering lead to a target. However, I reserve that option for animals I will personally consume. Elephant is not on my dietary list. Therefore, I personally don’t shoot them to kill them.

I neither condemn, nor condone the actions of those who do kill these beasts.

In some instances the killing of the giant beasts becomes a necessity. An unpleasant reality in our over-crowded and resource strapped world, it has become a necessary, if not unpleasant business.

Managed kills are accomplished, in many instances, by sport hunters with large wallets and a lucky draw. The economics are sound. The fees paid do bring beneficial stimulation to strapped economies and to provide funding of protective forces; Game Wardens; for numerous species occupying the killing fields.

For me, though, there is neither pleasure or purpose in killing these amazing beasts. Thus I would not participate in the killing – outside of self-defense.

My preferred wild life capture technique is through the lens of a camera. The end uses for my efforts, find themselves as varied as the subjects themselves. Mostly though, they are a record of my life experiences while leaving only historical preservation as any trace of my being there.

Whether animal or vista, each is chosen for visual consumption in the same manner. I venture into the grounds, I pursue quietly and unobtrusively. I observe and note particular habits and quirks of each environment as well as the season. All of this is done long before I partake of its riches. In the truest essence of the word, I am hunting whether it be animal or location.

Whether for myself or for my clients, I choose the hunt carefully. The KEY word here is …choose.

Two months, 26 days, 12 hours and 14 minutes later; after 12,000 plus kilometers had been tallied on the Land Rover’s odometer; and numerous blistered seat-rashes had been recorded on my butt; I was still without the photographic goal.

Oh, there were photos. By the gigabyte. They would be filling my larder of visually stimulating projects for years to come.

But, the trophy bull elephant image, was still only a dream.

That is – until 5 minutes ago.

The morning had opened with the customarily expected noise of the bush. A slight breeze and the ubiquitous hum of the insect life: good, bad and the ugly. A chined offering, conjured a raspy pied-piper allusion, floating on the breeze with the chatty voices of the birds. This day had begun like any other.

But there was a different air about it.

I sensed a moment coming. The only question was, would I be ready for – IT?

Captured moments don’t just happen. They are the result of planning and execution.

Yet, regardless of the effort put into getting into that moment, the exact timing -when it happens- is never a known commodity.

The three axioms of Moment Experience Planning are:

  • You are in charge of preparing for the execution.
  • You have a shot at being at or in the execution.
  • But, you have no control over the timing of the execution.

Thus, in reality we are never really in control, of anything: at any time. We are only along for the ride. Learning to ride the wave of the unknown, toward -hopefully- an exhilarating conclusion we can survive.

That’s the rush. The excitement. The draw of it all.

Of course anyone can experience a moment by accident. It’s what we call, luck. Such encounters more often result in lost, rather than in captured, opportunity.

To hedge one’s odds for realizing the full impact of any potential moment, work. Every element must be brought as far as conceivably possible, toward a successful conclusion – fully expecting the moment hoped for – to execute. This is the ultimate thrill, in a moment experience.

Preparing for the moment and getting into it, is the very heart and soul of HUNTING.

Hunting, contrary to the vacuous opinions of the uneducated, is not about killing. Hunting is about properly executing on a vast array of knowledge. Any part of which, found out of order, could spell failure with little to no hope for a mulligan. All of this is necessary before any consummating opportunity to kill is presented.

It is therefore, quite possible to hunt and never kill and still have a great hunt. But, equally true, the hunter can never know the true power within the hunt, without consummating the hunt with a kill.

Misunderstood by many:

Not every hunt must end in a kill to make it a good hunt. But equally true – a human must experience the mental and spiritual challenge that is found only in the kill – at least once – to fully appreciate the value and power found in the responsibility that rests with the choiceto kill or not to kill. This is not a lesson learned intellectually.

The scene that unfolded before me, in that split-second of time, was as unplanned as any in all my life.

I had no control of – or over – the moment.

I did have control of the use in that moment.

The camera found footing on the monopod.

The lens drew its focus.

The synapse began firing in reflex mode and the hold was as smooth as any trigger hold ever executed. As in anything in life that exudes success, timing is everything. And this moment was all about timing.

When the shutter stopped firing, 14 frames of one of my most memorable experiences in life had been captured. The span of that moment-in-time, was less than 24 seconds.

The bulk of life is truly the Journey and not the Destination.

But it is the Destination, to which we look, for Journey justification and the dream of a return.

I will return.

Thus, two months, 26 days, 12 hours, 14 minutes… and 23.7 seconds later… I had my bull elephant trophy.

And so do you.

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