Ancient Crush

Yam lower stone for crushing olives AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

You’ve seen nations

Rise

And fall,

Felt oil

Extracted

From trees’ toil.

You’ve seen

The farmers

Tend the soil,

Bread dipped

To nourish

Heart and soul,

As children laughed

And played

And lived

And died

Through centuries of

War and spoil,

While you remained

Above the boil,

Till peace returns

For olives’ roil.

 

 

Note: The photo is of an ancient base stone (called “Yam” in Hebrew) of the grinding stones that are used for the first step of extracting oil from olives. A current-day olive grove can be seen in the background to the left. Olives were first domesticated about 6,000 years ago, likely in the Mediterranean basin. Documented history of deliberate oil pressing can be found as early as 4,500 years ago (around 2,500BCE).

To this day, making olive oil involves several stages of crushing and rinsing to extract the oil. In many places, olives are still harvested by hand or by beating the fruit off of the trees. The olives are then washed, and crushed by milling stones (traditionally between a bottom stone like the one in the photo and one or two mill stone that stand perpendicular to it and roll around the base stone). The millstone/s were historically moved by use of man-power or animal power, and in some places still are. The pulp is placed in woven bags or baskets, then the baskets themselves are pressed. The liquid from the press bags gets drawn into a reservoir where oil is left to settle and separate. Oil is then skimmed off and allowed to settle again, sometimes repeatedly, to remove impurities.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Ancient

 

 

Bamboo House

ChiangMai House AdiRozenZvi

Photo: Adi Rozen-Zvi

 

May there be a home

Inside this house,

Where the strength

And flexibility

Of bamboo

Is proffered,

As basis for the rapid

Steady growth

Love offers.

 

 

 

For Cee’s Black &White Challenge: House

 

 

Wild Places

Ethiopia OfirAsif11

Photo: Ofir Asif

 

Find wild places inside your

Self,

Where vistas stretch

Your heart.

Climb peaks you did not know

Exist.

Let freedom

Joy impart.

 

 

 

For the Lens-Artist Challenge: Wild

 

 

Perpetuity

a channel of water flowing out to sea, with the sun reflecting on the water.

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“You know,” she said, “this will be home.”

I looked around. Marsh and bog and semi-dry patches that high tide or rain were sure to turn completely water logged. It looked a misery.

“It will, too,” she added, even though I hadn’t said a word. She always knew to read my body’s thoughts, even when I voiced no words and moved not a muscle.

Some days it made me hate her. For my utter lack of privacy.

Other days I felt indebted beyond measure for not having to find ways to explain when words had never been accessible enough to match my thoughts with meaning. And for being seen by her when no one else seemed able to or cared to try.

“Wanna know how?” Fiona pushed a heavy lock of hair off of her eye and I knew then that she already had a plan, and that the plan was sounder than the muddy ground we stood on. I knew that gesture, that flowing move of clear-eyed determination that carried with it more than just a touch of crazy. For neither one of us was sane, but Fiona was nuts enough to get us out of scrapes I did not see a way out of. Somehow my sister, younger by three minutes and wiser by ten decades, thought ahead in moves others did not appear capable of anticipating. It had saved us, more than once, of certain death.

She was about to do so now.

“How?” I asked, though I knew she didn’t need me to.

“Stilts.”

She yanked a twig out of the soggy ground and scratched a diagram into the patch of godforsaken earth in the end of nowhere anybody, that an hour earlier I did not know existed, let alone that it belonged to us by ancestry through crumbling deeds that no one since an ancient relative had made use or taken any heed of.

“They thought the place too wet,” my sister noted as the outline of an elevated house rose like a phoenix from the lines she etched into the dirt. “But not Friar Felix. He saw the same potential that I see. The fish and clams and seaweed. The crabs. The cattails by the spring that makes the stream that gurgles out to the sea. A place to be.”

She glanced up at me and the hazel in her eyes reflected the sun’s rays along with something far older. Like a memory not of hers that nonetheless also held on to our own desperate need for belonging.

“I don’t know if he knew, Finley, but Friar Felix had bequeathed the deed to this land to his sister’s children, and to their children’s children in perpetuity.”

My sister turned her gaze onto the water and her voice dropped to a whisper in the wind.

“We are those children’s children’s children, Finley. This is our home. It will be home. You’ll see.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Challenge

 

 

Pinned Hopes

Photo prompt © J Hardy Carroll

 

She planned every detail.

The dress. The cake. The decorations.

What games to play. Who to invite. The invitations.

She fretted over treats and props. The seating arrangement.

The day dawned bright. The weather fair.

The flowers gifted blooms. Butterflies came to visit.

The cake turned out close to perfect.

The dress fit well. Even her hair cooperated.

She breathed it in.

She smiled.

She waited.

The only thing she did not foresee

Was no one showing up,

And only her mama there

To wrap a scarf around her eyes

To hide the tears

As she pinned the donkey.

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all the children whose parties turn to pain. To those who are all too often left invisible due to social awkwardness, adversity, disabilities visible and invisible, social isolation, bullying, and the myriad ways indifference (let alone direct cruelty) can a child’s soul maim.

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

In These Hands

cherrypicking SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

In these hands

Is held the future,

Made of blooms

That kept their oath.

In these hands

Is held the fruit of

Sun’s long labor,

Fed by rain

And nature’s growth.

In these hands

Is cupped the sweet taste

Of confection,

And the marvel

That is bounty

And is beauty

And is both.

 

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Hands

 

 

Thailand Playground

Playground2 AdiRozenZvi

Photo: Adi Rozen-Zvi

 

It does not matter

Where you are:

Jungle, mountain

Old or new,

Plastic, wood

Or bamboo, too.

There is play here

To be had

If you wish to …

And you do.

 

 

For Terri’s Sunday Stills: Playground

 

 

Dive Right In!

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

The water glistened.

Gloria shook. “I don’t think I remember how.”

“Just do it,” Jody said. “It’s like riding a bike. Your body never forgets.”

I never had a bike, Gloria thought,  and there is much I worked hard to have my body forget. Especially since that day.

“It’ll come back to you,” Jody urged. Ordered, almost. “Dive right in!”

It was the edge in the trainer’s voice that did it, and what it brought back was not welcome.

“No.” Gloria pulled her swim cap off. “Not here. Not yet. Not today.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

The Long Night

burial cave israel

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

The long night arrives

Wrapped in ends

Of dreams

And threads of hopes.

A tapestry

Of what may come

Therein,

As unfettered souls

Are finally free

To roam

Within.

Where darkness

Becomes its own

Light,

That holds

No more an actual

Night.

 

 

 

Note: The photo depicts an ancient burial cave in Israel

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Night