In the beginning the earth coughed and choked on its own dust. Blowing across the arid, sun parched ground; the wind listened to the earth. She caressed the earth with gentle breezes, wafting the dust into fine particles. The earth smiled at the kindness, and sneezed. She loved the wind tickling her hills and valleys. They played together through joyful days. Yet the earth always coughed as the dust swirled through the air. During one boisterous game the dust rose so high into the sky it became trapped in the clouds.

Floating amongst the white mists of the cloud the dust grew heavier and gratefully fell back to earth with a splat. A splat! The earth sensed the gentle new feeling and cherished the moment. The first rain had fallen on earth. It was never the same after that.

The rain, being sociable, liked to form groups and found little dips in the earth’s surface where it could gather with its friends and share in a huge wet heart of life. The earth and the wind found a new game. Together with the water they raised little wavelets that sped over the flowing watery groups. And the earth rarely coughed and never choked on her dust again.

In the heat of the high summer sun, beside the white edge of a quarried rock face, an inquisitive child clasps a brachiopod in his hand, closes his eyes and imagines 350 million years ago.

Floundering, resting on the soft bed of the tranquil shallow sea, we were warmed, comfortable. Shellfish moving in our own slow determined manner. Close by, the coral reefs and sea plants glowed in the crystal waters, yet on the sandy beach the grasses were yellowed and crisp. Overhead a hunting bird swayed in the slightest movement of a thermal, watching and waiting. A tropical storm would be welcome, yet the sapphire sky in unwavering beauty persisted, cloudless. To the north fields of burnt brown herbs lay quiet whilst black oryx, disturbed by hovering dancing flies, found shade under luxuriant trees and bushes. Small patches of veiled mist hung close to the hillsides, and the valleys rested in a blue haze. But, no clouds billowed to promise respite from the heat above our lagoon.

The creaking sounds from an underwater volcano rippled through the wave less sea, hot lava oozing and flowing through the water, covering the floor in rounded durable pillows, fizzing and spitting, billows of steam rising to drape over the beach. White sunlight reflected onto the sands, heating them even more. The white echoed in the bones scattered by the water’s edge, the skeleton remains of those who came to drink, lay down from old age and tiredness and never moved again.

In the eras after our time the grey sky clouds gathered, threatened light rain became heavy downpours, the lagoon filled, streams grew to be overflowing rivers. The muds churned the seabed in the tumult and only the largest and the smallest of the creature’s bodies were saved intact.

As the storms subsided death was replaced by fresh life. The waters drained to be replaced by great rivers coming from the northern hills. Islands formed as the sea filled with silt. Islands rich in plant life, with a green fullness, ferns and trees tall and replete.

‘Were there any fish?’ asks the child. There survives no witness of an answer to his question.

Page last updated: 13th Jan 2011