Friday Fictioneers : Hearts of oak

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook


 

When Gloria thought of the oak tree, she thought of Grandfather.

Both gnarled by age and weather, carrying the scars of ancient wounds, of injuries which – no matter the suffering – they survived. They grew frisky in the spring, snuggled to near-stupor as the days grew short and the leaves lay about in golden dunes.

The morning after the storm she knew. When she saw that heart of oak split, scorched black to its pith by lightning. She knew.

At nine her phone rang, grandma with the news – it was sudden, a stroke in his sleep.

Spring would miss them both.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Visit here, share your own tale and don’t forget to read the others too!

91 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : Hearts of oak

  1. “Spring would miss them both.” What a beautiful last line. And I love the idea of Grandfather growing frisky in spring (naughtily, I wonder how Grandma responded!).
    Very enjoyable story, Lynn!

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    1. Ha! Hadn’t thought of Grandma’s side of things. Let’s hope she wasn’t too put out every time spring came round! Thank you for the lovely comment Penny 🙂

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  2. Both gnarled by age and weather, carrying the scars of ancient wounds, of injuries which – no matter the suffering – they survived.
    I loved the parallel too.
    Beautifully written, as always💕

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  3. Meant to put the quotation mark and add something more but as usual the screen is blank. Can’t see what I am typing even now.🙂🙂
    Best wishes,
    Moon

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    1. Thanks Kevin. Sorry I haven’t commented on your story – the link through your name on the comments doesn’t work and I couldn’t find you on Rochelle’s blue frog! All the best

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  4. Beautifully written, Lynn. As I mentioned in someone else’s story, every family has the one strong as oak character whose loss will cause an impact. Lovely bit of wordplay comparing the characters of the tree and grandpa.

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    1. Ah, thank you Joy. I changed that adjective a couple of times. Not sure what made me think of frisky, but it was the closest I could think of to how a tree might feel as spring wakes it. Thank you 🙂

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      1. Would love to. It can be summarised thus: “Even clever girls need to get some and Jane IS a feminist icon because she grafted hard for everything else, insisted she deserved it as an equal and she didn’t give up her self respect, moral fibre or what she probably believed was her mortal soul – however much that soul seemed partnered with his.”

        The older I’ve got the more I abjectly hate Rochester for how he plays Jane like a fiddle. However, given my own wee experience with ill mental health, and the struggles of getting people to see past it – I see-saw between relating to both Mrs Rochesters… Only very recently did I have more sympathy for R as a person ‘tainted by association’ – (paltry in my book) BUT he was effectively sold in marriage too, his breeches did most of the persuading. The thing that morally incenses me about him is this – HE BELIEVES HE IS JUSTIFIED. And there are times when I agree that you shouldn’t dutifully yet disdainfully shackle yourself to someone and you should “get some” and there are days when he matches Old Harry for the way he plays that poor girl’s heartstrings. She is his clean new slate and she is…. bright, red chalk under white. Apologies for this rant.

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      2. No apolgy needed. It’s why she’s so interesting, because she is fiesty, strong willed, brave, but a woman of her time too, who wants marriage and a man who will provide etc. She couldn’t be much more liberated and still be respectable-ish (and published) and I’m sure Bronte wanted to be read as well as to shake things up a little. After reading The Wide Sargasso Sea, it was the first Mrs R I pitied, reduced to a cypher, left to perish while Mr R scrabbled a happy ending from the ashes of Thornfield … No doubt more than he deserved.

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      3. Ach well what can you do…. a woman always wants her own way and usually it’s somewhere slap bang in the middle so she doesn’t really have to choice, because we have to make enough hard black-and-white choices as it is. Look at Queen Elizabeth I’s position on the Church.

        To be published! *swoons*. I think she was just plain annoyed. And in that era far more than this, when you’re annoyed about something, you write a whole BOOK not a tweet. Yes Wide Sargasso gave a lot more cultural context on poor Mrs R1.

        He got a boon because Jane needed a bonk and a bank. BUT she can’t dare be a woman with even an intellectually attractive well-moneyed husband from the gentry, so let’s rough up the lovely Timothy Dalton (who only looks better for it, even now) and make them two “ugly” folk who made good. Perhaps it was Charlotte exacting writerly justice for moral fortitude?

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      4. Of course, you’re right on that last bit – Jane can only have Rochester once he’s damaged goods physically, once no ‘lady’ would want him anyway.
        Did you see the drama about the Brontes on the Beeb a few months ago? About the fiesty sisters (Emily and Charlotte always rowing) and Branwen, the ‘genius’ who sank into a bottle, too terrified of not living up to the hype his family had built around him. Not sure how accurate it was, but it was an interesting watch

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      5. Yes I really got FAR too emotionally involved in it – Branwell was painted as the loose cannon on whom Golden Boy hopes were disastrously placed. “To Walk Invisible” twas called. I thought it was really well done, although what I wouldn’t give to swan in and be all “I have another, Jane Eyre is ready to go to the publisher” just like, super smooth, “Yeah guys, I wrote more than one novel in the cinematic space of less than ten seconds.”

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      6. Ha! Yes, poor Branwell was depicted as a pain in the rear, quite honestly, the burden of all that expectation truly too heavy for him to bear. I enjoyed the grimy graft of it – these where no fainting, feeble girls, swanning about playing at writing. It was hard graft, important – vital – to them. They had a healthy/unhealthy competitive spirit between them too, egging each other on. What a tragedy they all died so young

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      7. She acknowledges anyway that she is a drab slave, she reminds him she is a ‘paid subordinate’ and something triggers when she begins to realise that he doesn’t want to treat her as such almost from their first meeting. It’s a much more direct skirmish of wits than Austen would have written but there is a political argument in there too, about what constitutes a girl’s education – and what calibre of woman painting and piano lessons produce.

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      8. Yes, she’s certainly smarter, better educated than the average marriageable girl of the time. And let’s face it, she couldn’t have been more scorned – a plain girl and (horrors) a governess to boot! They were pretty damn low in the pecking order of a grand house. I love how she’s plain, not conventionally attractive – young people of any era should not be taught that only the pretty should deserve or expect love. It’s why I hate all the tropes of romantic fiction with the gorgeous young heroine, the love songs with beautiful women who command love at first sight. 99% of us aren’t those people, but we still need love. Rant over 🙂

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      9. Yay. I knew I liked you. Fellow ranter. 🙂 I’m afraid tis the order of the day the ironic thing being even the ‘plain’ are probably beautiful simply by virtue of their youth. I wish I’d not hated on myself at sixteen. And I’m sure you know that this phenomenon is called ‘insta love’. Yes we do. Go get some Lynn! Those people are just NICER HUMANS as well. Generally.

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      10. I had never heard of insta love – didn’t we used to call that lust? I’m sure deep feelings can come out of this initial mutual attraction, of course, but its a dangerous game, being attracted to someone because of their looks alone. We’ve all known stunning people who are gits underneath! I hear you about the teen self loathing – I remember punching myself I thought I was so unattractive, had a short run bulimic phase. Unpleasant, but nothing unusual for a teen gir, sadlyl. Isn’t it sad, the time we waste disliking ourselves, when really, we’re pretty okay. It took a little while for me to fall for my other half, not that he’s not nice looking, just that he’s not ‘obvious’ I guess. We just clicked in other ways, stayed up late talking night after night. Been together 27 years, so we must be doing something right.

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      11. How lovely. I’m horribly shallow really. Insta love is actually not necessarily lust, it’s sort of the concept that in mere moments, you have love at first sight, but really LOVE love, as in “you are my deep, Platonic lost other half in a deep spiritual sense and I just ‘know’ this instantly so let’s just not bother with characterisation shall we?”

        Very dangerous, but like I said, most of my problems are because I’m abrupt and superficial at times. Yes, there are horrible attractive men. Quiet attractive men infuriate me. I can’t read them. Yes we do spend too much time hating. I think people don’t have time these days for anyone not ‘obvious’. More’s the pity.

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      12. It sounds delusional at best, but then falling in love is, isn’t it? It’s like a disease, some awful, painful, thrilling disease of the brain that picks you up and takes over your life and body completely. If you’re lucky, you’ll find after all the initial fizz has died down that you do actually like the person left behind 🙂 Online dating doesn’t help the modern phenomenon of love, does it? That awful moment of judgement where you sum up a person by a single photograph. Some people look awful in all photographs, and have a charm about them in the flesh that might not come across on the screen. Terribly cruel way to date.

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      13. I’m done with the subject in all honesty. It’s an effing shark enclosure and my heart has pretty much calcified during the entire nihilistic process. Hideous doesn’t even cover it.

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      14. I know someone else who feels the same way, has cut himself off from the whole deal. It’s a terrible way to choose a life partner. I keep encouraging him to join groups, take evening courses instead, just to meet like minded souls. Horrible

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      15. Well, my religion matters to me, so it’s just the fastest way to meet people on the same wavelength spiritually and morally. Yes, it’s hard. Especially post-University. University is a cultivated koi pond by comparison by everyone is obsessed with work or partying. Not with meeting their life partner – unless you’re in a faith community that promotes marriage.

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      16. I wondered how you get on meeting a partner in the Muslim community – are there online noticeboards/forums that give you the opportunity to meet potential Muslim partners? If not, someone should set something up! It’s tricky if a partner hasn’t emerged ‘organically’, as it were, and as you say, if you’re not into drinking or nightclubbing. But you’re only young, love. Plenty of time for you yet x

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      17. Twenty eight isn’t young biologically Lynn love. 🙂 And yes there are, although if you really want to talk about this perhaps email is better.

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      18. Twenty eight sounds young biologically to me – but then I am fifty in a couple of years! At your peak, I’d say 🙂 I hope the sites you mention are useful – well as useful as these things can be

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      19. What a great shame they’re not better. It must be tough to find someone who is compatible with you so far as religious and world views is concerned

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      20. You’re right. He’s not the blogging type, though, I fear, which is perhaps a shame as you meet some genuinely nice people blogging – perhaps more than on dating sites!

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      21. Yes! You really do! Our internship is hiring in the UK if he’s in the U.K. and interested in Marketing? Everything is digital. You didn’t mention his age though, it’s full of Uni students mostly. Under thirty most likely.

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      22. Yes, me hopefully! Some of the most relaxed and youthful and intriguing people I have ever met have been around that age. It’s simply a meeting of old souls and the young at heart. It’ll happen for him.

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  5. Beautifully done, Lynn. It reminds me of the song “My Grandfather’s Clock”, which used to send shivers down my spine when I was a kid:

    And the cock stopped, never to go again
    when the old man died.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It certainly is when you think about it. But then so many things we teach children are – Rockaby baby, London Bridge is falling down, the end of Oranges and Lemons (here comes a chopper to chop off your head!) Funny old lot, aren’t we?

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