Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

Missive from Andalusia IV

Photo of Conil countryside in sumer by Bryan Hemming

By the evening of the fourteenth day of home confinement I became mindful of an unfamiliar feeling of peace. It was strange. Heightened by a renewed sense of being, my awareness of the world around me had increased. I felt reawakened.

Beyond the living room window small birds had been happily pecking the day away, all the more chirpy at no walkers to disturb them. And I was happy for them. At the fall of night stars shone brighter from pitch black skies and I felt all the brighter for it. A childlike sense of joy enveloped me in its warmth. Angelica and I were smiling and laughing more. Despite being made starkly aware of the ephemeral fragility of life itself, or maybe because of it, the underlining sense of anxiety that had haunted us over the first ten days had melted away completely. I was more alive than I’d been in ages and felt immense gratitude for life itself. Though confined to a cage looking out, a new sense of freedom had washed over me.

These are strange times indeed. Squeezed between posts of impending disaster and doomsday scenarios, through the magic of the internet, there exist vignettes of home life that can make us aware of the inherent creativity inside all of us. They teach us about the indomitable spirit of the human race in any situation, however bad. In the most simple of forms, and lasting just minutes, these vignettes demonstrate how so many of us are rediscovering our ingenuity and undying optimism. And they are vital in all senses of the word.

Slotted between too many pointless Facebook postulations, about who did what and why, the short snippets reveal bursts of intense creativity, showing a side of our humanity that has been repressed over countless centuries by the desperation to survive in a system designed to prevent us from expressing ourselves as nature intended. We are all naturally inventive in many different ways, each with its own particular value, yet we’ve become weighed down by a system where our movements and freedom are dictated by the clock, rendering us too busy to stop and ruminate.

In these days of uncertainty, if we pause from scrolling down to the next post on conronavirus, we can see housebound mothers, dressed to the nines, singing their hearts out on Facebook, just like they’ve always wanted to do, but felt too shy. We can watch dads and mums getting to know and love children they never had time for before. We can see grandpas and grandmas fashioning the most ingenious devices from things they found lying about the garage. We can peek at couples dancing round their living rooms as though nobody was looking. We can learn how to prepare exotic dishes from home cooks. And we can roar with laughter at the antics of dogs and cats. Above all, we can see people sharing. We can observe ourselves unleashing a deep desire to share our lives, knowledge, joy and experiences with others.

For far too long through history, we have been made to feel as though we will drown in an ocean of our own inadequacy if we don’t keep floundering hopelessly to keep our heads above a waterline that continually rises on an eternally incoming tide of debt. Yet, like money itself, debt is an illusion, an emperor without clothes, revealed in his nakedness, if only we allow the scales to fall from our eyes. If we want to know how money is conjured out of nothing, by those who control its supply, we only have look at the way our masters have suddenly discovered an entire orchard of money trees for themselves to plunder. Remember the countless times they told us there was no such thing as a money tree?

We have been imprisoned in an ongoing nightmare by those who would have us their slaves. This is the moment we can wake ourselves out of it. Living under a seemingly ever-present shadow of illness and death has the ability to make us appreciate the fact we are alive. To wake each morning in the knowledge that any one of us or our families could be struck down at any moment, should make each moment we live, infinitely more valuable. We must learn to treat each day as though it is our last. Every moment we share with the ones we love must be treated as though it will be our last. We must seize the chance to free ourselves from the shackles of the blind consumerism that is destroying our planet and enslaving us to the workplace. Good can come out of any situation. But only if we make it.

So far, only our doctors, nurses and their support teams are fighting for our futures. Many have already sacrificed their lives for our lives. We must show them we are deserving of the sacrifices they have already made, and will be making for some time to come. Things must change and, in light of our governments’ signal failure, it is up to us to change them.


12 comments on “Missive from Andalusia IV

  1. J.D.
    January 3, 2021

    This was posted early last year but it’s even more powerful now that we’ve begun a new year and the external world is still dealing with the same issue. So much truth in your words.

    “For far too long through history, we have been made to feel as though we will drown in an ocean of our own inadequacy if we don’t keep floundering hopelessly to keep our heads above a waterline that continually rises on an eternally incoming tide of debt.” This confinement has been an opportunity to view life, and ourselves, in a very different way. Some rose to the challenge while others continue to cling to the old way.

    May the coming year bring you true freedom and prosperity, Bryan. I’m honored to know you.


    • Bryan Hemming
      January 5, 2021

      Thank you for your kind words, Julie, they touched a spot. They’re particularly heartening coming from someone I regard as an exceptional writer. I cannot tell you how impressed I am by your work. Not given to flattery, these words come directly from the heart. The most amazing thing is that publishers and agents aren’t queueing to sign you up. You have a way with words that can only be described as gifted. That said, I fully understand some of the words that read so fluidly off the the page, don’t always get there quite so fluidly. And therein lies the real art to beautiful prose, it reads as though it takes little or no effort to write.

      I wish you all the best for this coming year and look forward to reading as much of your writing as you care to post, always longing for more. It reminds me of those long-gone, read-by-torchlight-under-the-blanket days of childhood.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.D.
        January 7, 2021

        And thank you for your kind words, Bryan. They really mean a lot. Maybe in some other era I’d capture the attention of the literary world, but the current cacophony can’t be bothered with the likes of me. Whatever. I can’t be bothered with it, either. 🙂


  2. rangewriter
    April 12, 2020

    This is a fabulous essay, Bryan. As far as I’m concerned you hit the nails on their heads. I’m actually enjoying this time (but for the misery of the too many who are falling prey to the virus or to untenable debt from loss of work). I have an excuse to be the hermit that I am. I need make no excuses for staying home, alone, eating my own healthy meals by myself, and going for blessedly quiet walks through residential neighborhoods with practically no traffic and even the dogs seem mollified to have their people at home with them. And the planet is getting a slight breather (no pun intended) from our onslaught against it. I’m really not looking forward to the “return to normalcy.”

    I’ll be sharing this great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      April 13, 2020

      Thanks, Linda. This break from what has come to be known as “normal” life should give us all a chance to weigh up our options, which are far greater than we are being led to believe. Having been caught up in the spectacle of the Democrat primaries – for me it’s an exercise in observing human behaviour, as much as anything – I begin to see how limited options have become in the US. But it isn’t just in the US; western governments are leading the rest of the world into believing there is just one viable way, their way. Yet the present crisis shows us how false that is by exposing the lack of preparation there has been for an entirely predictable event. I first read about the inevitability of pandemics sweeping across the globe two decades ago, at least. I just hope that enough people get round to seeing how incompetent our leaders are when it comes to a real crisis.


      • rangewriter
        April 13, 2020

        Your last sentence, therein lies the problem. People have become so complacent, so caught up in their own private dramas, that they are not connecting the dots. I’m mystified by this. My fear about the future is compounded by the realization that America is not alone in this blind fog.

        I’m glad you and your wife are well and staying safe. You’ve been penning a great series. I went back to read the previous entries that I had missed.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. eremophila
    March 31, 2020

    Reblogged this on Eremophila's Musings and commented:
    It’s good news week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      March 31, 2020

      The longer we are kept in lockdown, the longer we have time to think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • eremophila
        March 31, 2020

        For you, that’s productive. Me on the other hand, can be dangerous if I think too much😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. eremophila
    March 31, 2020


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Martina Ramsauer
    March 29, 2020

    You say here, in this wonderful post, exactly what I have been feeling these weeks, as a person closed into the house, but did not really have the courage to admit that I enjoyed my flowers much more, the food I am cooking and above all the phone calls of my beloved ones! Thank you very much.:)

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on March 29, 2020 by in Articles, Journalism and tagged .

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