Sunday, May 28, 2023

Episode 4



Abe Mero and Buff

Night Flight and Fright


Audio Ch 6 

By an old olive tree was a good-meal-sized bumble bee. She looked exhausted and was easy prey. A delicious morsel if he could bash her against the branch to remove her sting. She didn't buzz away. Was she the bumble bee that made all that fuss at the Meeting of the Many? She wanted to go north. Abe Mero went against all bee-eater bird instincts. He did not bash her but snatched her within his beak. She did not try to sting him, just lay limp as he flew off. He wanted to go north too. He would try to follow the passing flock of young bee-eaters on their way north, perhaps find a mate. She could find a home in the northern coolness. At first it seemed easy.

Abe Mero found a route to a nearby river and rested there, realising he was lost and hungry. Buff, as he found out, was a buff-tailed bumble bee. She was happy to forage among flowers but he was faced with an eating dilemma. He needed to eat bees, bumble bees and any similar insect. These gave him muscle power which would be needed on a long flight to the cooler north. But he could understand her bee mind and there was a flow continuing between them as would happen in the Meetings of the Many. He must help her survive. He must not eat her but instead fly her the distance needed so she could live away from the summer heat. Soon she must lay eggs and establish a new colony of her kind of bumble bee. There was no time to lose. But he didn't know which way to go.

At first, he followed the river. He got used to flying with Buff tucked under his stomach feathers. She would grip onto his skin and it felt prickly. When hungry he would fly high in search of smaller insects and she would fly low among the spring flowers. But he was lost and other birds would come and mock him. This was scary and they would have to move on quickly not knowing which way. Suddenly, when skimming through the tall poplars by the river, he came face to face with the giant beak of a large bird.

It was the Valdelarco stork from the Navaselva Meeting of the Many. This was alarming but thankfully there was that flow of understanding. The stork had left the general rabble of noise that erupted at the meeting where the peaceable plant kingdom lost its peace when the animal kingdom was blaming the plant kingdom. This was all the bee-eaters fault because the flycatchers reported seeing him flying away with Buff the buff-tailed bumble bee. Those flycatchers had such sharp eyes for insects and made a lot of noise about their sighting. The silent knowing of the Meeting of the Many had for a time been lost in a simmering tension.

Strangely, the wise old stork did not want Abe Mero to return to Navaselva but she was willing to give advice on how to get to the north. She knew of the route Old Lobo, the wolf had taken and shared this. Buff the bumble bee’s navigational abilities were super detailed but not able to understand directions for such a long journey. Bumble bees, it seemed could only manage short distances because of their heavier and furrier bodies. Abe Mero was ready to learn and be responsible for the life of the bee. The stork understood this was important and that urgent changes must happen for all to adapt and survive. She was adapting as she no longer needed to fly far south because of warmer weather cycles. But she still needed to recall other flight paths in case food or water became scarce. Abe Mero was relieved to be given her knowledge.


Abe Mero must feel for his inner north but must also recognise great rivers and landmarks. The stork knew all the rivers and their names. Their starting point was the Murtigas and she could guide up this river to the great Guadiana; this river they could follow till its furthest point north. It was flowing down from its source on the high Iberian plateau to the wide waters of the Atlantic.

The stork warned of a great stretch of white rocks stacked high into Outsider homes near the Guadiana. These places were best to avoid but could be a landmark. From this landmark they were to fly north to the ancient rocks of the Sierra Mamede. These were ancient rocks that resonated with the history of the living earth. Swifts and swallows can help from there with a short flight north across the mighty River Tagus.

The stork carried on with direction after direction just in case there were too few messenger birds to help.

Keep to the east of the great mountains of the stars.

Keep northward and find the third great river, the daunting Douro.

Follow the river to its furthest point north. It will turn south again so beware.

Leave the Douro River and head straight north to the Cantabrian Mountains where Old Lobo headed to. This should be a route without too many Outsiders and their deadly tracks.

There was to be the time of moonlight and night flying might be safer.

Use the moon and stars too instead of the arc of the sun. The great bear in the sky should lead to the bears of the north. Perhaps even to Old Lobo.

The stork finished the directions with certainty about the way but uncertainty if Old Lobo still survived there. There had been no news for far too many settings of the sun into the dark sky.


For Abe Mero, his bee-eater view of the world was changing rapidly. He was beginning to understand stork and bumble bee views too. He was used to flying during the bright light of the day. Could he make the change to flying long distances on his own? Without the safety in numbers of a flock, he needed to be wary of danger from birds of prey. He made the change to night-time flying. This also needed senses on full alert but more for direction than fear of hovering wings, ready to strike, except for the silent killer glides of the most dreaded owl, the Eagle owl.

At first the changing positions of the moon and the stars confused Abe Mero but the forces drawing him north were getting stronger. This dark was not the deep dark but shone with silver brightness as the moon rose higher and higher in a blue velvet sky. Scattered higher up were the most luminous of the distant night lights. Some cloud formations were moving lightly in a gentle wind. Perfect conditions for flight. Abe Mero was grateful for this and for all the different viewpoints.


Buff was grateful to Abe Mero and the stork. She felt there was the chance for her kind to survive in the north but she was also amazed by the beauty of the bird and the skies. The night had been unknown to her prior to this journey. She would always return to her hive before the greater dark fell. Buff the bumble bee knew that even if all failed in this journey to the north, the beauty of the night skies soothed her buzzing brain and gave her compound eyes a glance into the infinity of the deep dark dotted with light.

From her point of view, this journey with the bee-eater was essential for the survival of all her future colonies. She had flown off early in one of her huffs and hadn’t heard how the other bumble bee species were going to try and help her. The Valdelarco stork neither encouraged or discouraged her to return but did point out that the white-tailed bumble bees agreed to change their timings. They seemed to have a longer period of flowers to live off in the early spring. She could have returned but deep down she did not think that white-tailed bumble bees would change their habits. They were quite different to buff-tailed bumble bees and were known as the nectar robbers. Not to be trusted.

In fact, she knew there were many different types of bumble bee, all quite distinct and not capable of being together, each to their own hive. They just didn’t mate as they couldn’t produce any offspring. Distinctly different species. However, she had heard to beware of the cuckoo bumble bees. They could take over the hive and make the whole colony work for their youngster’s survival. There could be so much competition between the many different species of bumble bees. As for the bees, well there were many of them too but they were too small for her to take too much notice of and were easy to dislodge from a good flower.

For her, the Many had not listened to the constant tales of the difficulties the buff bumble bees were going through. No one, until the bee-eater flew forward and offered a helping wing, had taken her reports seriously. This was the opportunity she had to take. She may have seemed to others a big buzzy and rather haughty bumble bee. She could be very bossy. However, she saw herself as a great big fat bumble bee who was rather clumsy on the delicate flowers. Pollen dust would fly everywhere when she landed on a flower. Enough to almost make a bumble bee sneeze. She wished she could turn into one of these magnificent winged and colourful messenger birds, like the bee-eater. They could fly so high and over such vast distances. Then she shuddered. She would have to eat bees.

Truth is though, she was rather scared of the bee-eater and in awe of his strength and beauty. She only seemed full of bluster as she had never needed to be a humble type of bee. Other bumble bees were supposed to work for her. She was just a very determined bee personality and used to her own company before creating a new colony. Her genetic codes determined her queenly role but now there was something within her pushing her forward into new territories.

Building up her food reserves, after the winter hibernation, was now very important. She needed a lot of food but was very fussy about what she liked to drink and was not interested in small flowers. Early spring flowers were opening but the wild ones needed to be simple and sturdy as there could still be intense cold overnight. Buff liked to search for the biggest and brightest. In reality she longed for her favourite, the large and very bright pink of Ms Peoni Broteri, the wild peony of Navaselva, known from an old story as the flower of the wolf. A reminder that when the wolf comes the bees should buzz off.


It was in the light dark of early dawn that some swifts flew around them. These were the messenger birds who could fly fast and far and bring news so quickly. It seemed the group had heard about the attempt of the bee-eater to fly north with a bumble bee. Buff was not sure she was safe with all these insect-eating birds around her. These swifts nested on a rocky mountain. Or so it seemed in the light before the sun came over the horizon. They guided Abe Mero there to rest, feed and regain strength on the mountain rock they called, Marvao the Marvellous. The swifts called out about its wonders. It was a a place of marvels for insects but also for a bumble bee as there were so many flowers close to the clouds.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Episode 3




Meetings of the Many

 Audio Ch 4

Comadrito’s brain was buzzing with the sound of that buff-tailed bumble bee. Or was it the whirr of the wings of this great bird. What kind of journey was he on? Once a skilful predator now he might be prey. There was still no clue from this powerful bird. He was a mere weasel trapped in the talons of this bird. But it was those last Meetings of the Many that trapped him first.

In the dusk the messenger bird calls for the Meeting of the Many were compelling. There was to be no escape. His life would not be an ordinary weasel life. That night he was called to be a guardian of Navaselva. Surely, he was too young, too small? He could smell other dangerous species around him and one slid by close to his paw; the ladder-back snake liked young weasels. But he was safe. In a Meeting of the Many there were different codes that all abided by.

A lone turtle dove began to share her story. These included some old solemn story songs which after a while changed to a joyous chorus of love and survival. That evening was cold; his fur was not keeping him warm and there was no chorus, just one lone voice. The dove’s notes were less melodious and rang out about too many turtle doves and other messenger birds disappearing. When young the Navaselva turtle dove flew with large flocks but the flock was losing too many and last year she had been one of a flock of five. This year she was the only one to return. She had lost her mate somewhere on the journey back.

 Comadrito trembled with tremendous responsibility for the fate of this turtle dove. Was it his greed as a young weasel that destroyed her family? And now she had lost her lifelong partner.

She told of the pairs that did survive their migration journey but were too weak and not able to lay enough eggs, and so, not enough youngsters survived. The dove also sung out about the loss of places to rest and feed on the long journey south. There were great thunderous bangs as well, and she had witnessed terrible fallings from the sky of so many in her flock. Was she to be the last of her kind at Navaselva?

Comadrito feared that the turtle dove might be too old to sing the following year—no more turtle doves with their golden brown, speckled necks and joyous songs of love. That would be sadder than their saddest songs.

And what was happening to the many swifts, bee-eaters, swallows and other messenger birds? They used to swoop down the valley in great flocks. Comadrito did not understand how so many messenger birds could be lost.

 Had this Meeting of the Many really heard the turtle dove’s story? Or were all too preoccupied with their own survival stories?

Comadrito knew many plants and trees were suffering too. The plant kingdom of Navaselva blamed the animal kingdom and demanded help. Without the wolves, the wild boar and deer were destroying young trees. Too many insects were causing plant plagues. The bats of Navaselva tried to keep this in check but there were fewer of their species too and they couldn’t eat all the mosquitoes. Fat bats cannot fly well.

The equilibrium of Navaselva was unsettled. Not that long ago the tall pines on the ridge had discovered cotton balls amongst their tall branches. Caterpillars would emerge in long processions and eat their tough needles. The pine trees were not happy. Neither were the mongoose, martens and weasel families. Comadrito learnt not to touch these juicy-looking creatures when a sibling of his rolled in pain after trying some and died in the den that night.  A meeting of the plant and animal kingdom helped solve some of that problem. The hoopoe bird, with its crown, but more sociable than superior ways, called in a whole flock to help eat away at the problem. Comadrito was relieved the hoopoes were scooping up these hairy caterpillars. What was good and tasty for one species could be death to another.

At the Meetings of the Many there were stories of hope and of horror. The messenger birds would point their wing feathers in the direction of the Outsiders. Outsiders had changed from natural predators to the cruellest of killers. Stories from the deep waters were of great blood baths. The swift’s stories of the great tuskers, once comical and joyful, were now full of torn tusks. Outsiders were now the strangest of hunters and left so many bodies to rot while only taking the hard tusks. How could an animal eat a tusk?

Comadrito had never seen one of these Outsiders, but they seemed to be in so many of the stories shared at the Meetings of the Many and some came too close to Navaselva not so very long ago. Navaselva was a place where the Many should find sanctuary but Old Lobo and his wolf pack could no longer safely stay and moved north.

Comadrito’s mind came suddenly back to the fear of his own imminent death by this great predator bird. His eyes opened to a surrounding brightness. Was he already dead? Was this all his life amounted to? Memories of Meetings? He then felt a sharp jab from the claw of the great bird, the pain of being conscious. He was now getting very wet but it didn’t seem to be raining. The bird was flying through low clouds. Comadrito drifted off again into more memories.


At that first spring meeting after the sad song of the turtle dove, Comadrito was close to a bumble bee that was buzzing with a whinge and whine. Her sounds were not heard in the general hubbub about the weather and the terrible losses of many birds. The bumble bee buzzed around Comadrito’s head and he wanted to take a swipe at her. But he had learnt to be more respectful. He held himself upright and seemed to be pawing the air instead. This was noticed by the jays and ravens who drew a lot more attention to his and the bumble bee’s location. Finally, the buzz of the bumble bee was heard by all, thanks to his movements.

At Navaselva there were many species of bumble bee and not all were of the same point of view or inclination. But when Buff, the buff-tailed bumble bee made it clear that it was getting too hot for her body to survive, there was a shock in the silent spaces of communication between the Many. Buff wanted to move to the north. There were reports it was cooler there. Some butterflies had been on the move. She wanted to move but needed help. She could not fly long distances in her rather bumbly body.

When she became more distressed, she caught the attention of a bee-eater, a bird with radiant colours and an angelic way of flying to catch bees, a bird with a self-interest in maintaining a high numbers of bees and other such insects. Abe Mero, a young male bee-eater had heard from another flock of bee-eaters travelling to the north. Perhaps it was a good place to go with more choice of bees. Warning cries were heard from the older bee-eaters.

 Comadrito was confused by all this unusual commotion and the Meeting ended in disarray as the rising sun climbed over the tallest of the oak trees. The shock that any animal might need to leave the special protection of Navaselva was profound and echoed the loss of Old Lobo. It reached deep across the soil and into the roots of the plant kingdom. A summit between the kingdom of plants and animals was called for. The plant kingdom could not lose such an important contributor to their pollination and reproduction cycles.

The old white gecko, with its reptilian roots from the great era of the plant kingdom, called for the summit. Messenger birds squawked in alarm rather than singing the dawn chorus and the commanding male deer bellowed down the valley. The great black vultures of the western rocks circled high above, signs to other vultures and birds of prey, booted eagles, buzzards, falcons, to know there was to be a very important meeting. Maybe even the imperial eagle would arrive.

Comadrito had never been to a meeting with the plant kingdom. He knew the reports of how so many plant species suffered when Old Lobo and his wolf pack went north. Wolves helped keep these greedy herbivores’ numbers down with the result that more young plants survived. The plant kingdom wished for the return of Old Lobo and always made this clear to the animal kingdom at any joint meetings.

The gecko called for the summit to be near the ancient tree. This was the tree with eyes deep within its hollowed centre. Here the remains of the twisted trunk connected the roots to the leaves. Their knowledge was deep within the earth. It was also where the knowledge of earth and the living met with the sun. Plant knowledge used the sun’s rays to make food within the leaves, to store food and to draw water deep in the earth to the roots. The lungs of the living earth. No animal could do that.

The old tree called the meeting into silence, to wait in silence, to be deep in the silent ways of the world. The Many needed answers.

The roots sensed that there was a warming and the plight of the bumble bee was a warning. But the buff-tailed bumble bee did not need to leave Navaselva. The bumble bee must stay. The white-tailed bumble bee could change its timings. Flowers were blossoming earlier. Adjustments could be made.

But it was too late. Earlier that day there were reports that Abe Mero, the young bee-eater, had flown to the north carrying the bumble bee. Nothing like this had ever happened before.

A ripple spread out to touch many of the minds of the Many. Could it become too hot and dry around Navaselva? Would more and more species need to move? The aim was always to adapt and survive, but how when conditions were changing so rapidly, so drastically? Were there safe places in the north? Was this the time to find the lost forest of the last living wild? Where was it? Was it in the north?

The branches of the trees creaked as a wind blew strongly through the valley. The lost forest was one of the ancient stories that mustn’t be told and mustn’t be searched for. Comadrito shivered with the sudden cold gust. The wind blew the story away.

The messenger birds began to revive a story from Old Lobo. A story of survival against all odds. In the long, long, ago time, the north was covered with frozen coldness and many species travelled south to here in Iberia. Was there another great change coming about?

The wing feathers pointed to that one species, the Outsiders. The trees shook their branches. This two-legged species was up to something. It had caused so much destruction that maybe it was changing the weather? This was disputed. No animal could change the weather. The plant kingdom seemed certain of this but wanted more knowledge.

An animal was needed that could enter into that two-legged Outsider world and be fearless in discovering what that species with its oversized brain knew. All attention turned on Comadrito. He was under scrutiny. A weasel, known for courage and persistence, was small enough to go unnoticed. Comadrito’s sadness about the turtle dove stopped him turning his tail in refusal. Then there was an overload of requests for the other  quests he must undertake.

He must go as far north as he could, and come back with as much new knowledge as possible from all the different worlds: plant, animal and Outsider.

He must seek out other meetings of the Many for help and guidance.

He must find the bee-eater. The bee-eater must come back. This was the main clamour from the messenger birds. The bee-eaters at Navaselva could not afford to lose a young male.

What about Buff? The plant kingdom wished for the return of the buff-tailed bumble bee but this may be beyond the possible.

The plant kingdom longed for more knowledge of the great forests to the north. Their rooted connections with the great forests had been lost long ago, but if the weather was turning against all living things, the ancient forests of the north could have knowledge of how to survive changes. 

An old mountain oak tree remembered ancient trees telling stories about the lost forest. This might be important now. Maybe the forests of the north knew about the lost forest.

There was a cracking sound, the wind blasted down the valley again. And then there was a tremendous breaking sound and the old oak’s roots were dragged out of the ground.

Comadrito crouched down fearing the powerful strength of the wind. He understood the desires of the trees and the birds but was there some deep destructive anger in the wind that was preventing any stories being told about the lost forest of the last living wild. Why was this? There was a chasm between the living earth and the forces of nature. Those forces were indifferent to whether a living being like the great oak tree died. These forces were indifferent to any living being. 

Fear, sadness and loss clouded over the Meeting but all were determined to send Comadrito  first and then maybe others on a journey of discovery to help all adapt and survive.

Comadrito feared the unknown. He was not like his siblings who ventured beyond the safe boundaries of  the valley. The Many had their purposes for him but he needed his own. Could he find a mate for the Navaselva turtle dove? There must be more of her kind in this special north where Old Lobo had gone. Her plight seemed forgotten by the Many in this new crisis. This idea gave him courage. He knew he wanted to be able to help this beautiful dove and keep her stories alive.


The beat of wings above Comadrito jerked his mind back into the present. The talons of the great bird were digging into his fatty tissue, built up from plentiful mice, voles and a recent rabbit. He became tense. Perhaps, Navaselva would have to manage without him. Perhaps he was just prey? Why hadn’t the noisy donkey he had heard come to the rock? A white bird had told a tale about being on a donkey, which Comadrito had found quite funny and surely a donkey would have been the safest way for a weasel to travel north across the land of Iberia. How else could an Iberian weasel travel?

Now Comadrito was in the grip of an unknown giant bird, high above and far away from his valley home. Could he manage to kill or escape this great bird? He sensed his blood running ready to fight on landing. He was now poised in the air ready to attack. He was a born killer with strong instincts to defend himself. He could not return to Navaselva without pursuing the purpose of the Many. Or without a mate for the turtle dove.


The bumble bee sensed movement in the air. She tried to raise both wings, to lift off but nothing happened. She was too exhausted, her body weighted down onto the warmth of the rock. She felt her life did not matter. There was no way for her to escape to a cooler climate. There would now be slow starvation for her and any colony she was able to produce. As the bee-eater caught her in his beak, she was ready to give up her life. She waited for the bash against a branch. It didn’t happen.



Jay Ro

Food for Thought

 Audio ch 5

Jay Ro bashed her fist on the desk full of papers with the determination of a hungry bee-eater that wants to eat but must first get rid of the sting. She was frustrated with only finding snippets of stories. She wanted to find the whole manuscript and get back to help her nana with any revisions needed before… Before what? She must make up for the time lost during those teen years when she was obsessed with diet and difficult friendships. For some reason when she was inside her nana’s Spanish house her mind was filling up with flashbacks from those years. Maybe another walk was needed.

She went out onto the porch and caught the sounds of a bee-eater close by. How odd, but it was the time of year that these colourful birds would gather together over Navaselva. She grabbed her nana’s binoculars and scoured the skies and then the tops of the trees. There was one bee-eater calling from the stag head of the old cherry tree. A little further down the tree was a woodpecker. Different birds with different colours, flashes of red, strong beaks and different ideas of tasty food. Jay Ro strolled down to the pond to check on the young frogs. As yet there had been no sign of local storks or herons looking for their favourite food. All needed to eat.

She seated herself quietly by the pond. How did her own story begin? Or was the question how did it all go wrong? Her childhood was happy. She loved her primary school. Yes, there were tiffs with friends but nothing nasty. The games in the playground were full of running around as horses or super heroes. She would become the super horse like the ones she read about, Bucephalus, Pegasus or the Asgard horses of the Norse sagas. Then there were the skipping games and ball games. In Year 6 it became a bit more cliquey and some girls would go off into little hush hush secret chat groups about the boys. Jay Ro loved being with the children who liked to make up little plays; one was about animals on a farm but the teacher didn’t like it and they weren’t allowed to show it to the younger classes. Animals eating other animals was not considered appropriate. But for how long can you keep the reality of experience from the innocence of the young? She missed those innocent days.

The changeover to secondary school was hard. Not many of her friends went to the school and she felt very much on her own for the first time. The first day went better than expected and there were no older students there. Stories were rife about how the older ones would take your ties and cut them short… or worse. That didn’t happen. The first year went quite well but she made few friends and there were lots more intense fall outs. The following year was all change. Groups were rearranged and older students became a part of your form group; some idea about being more like a family. Jay Ro wasn’t used to older siblings but others were and different friendship groups were formed. Jay Ro knew she was lonely, wanting to belong to a group or have a special friend. This was all before meeting Gaia who joined the school later.

Perhaps it all started with teasing, she wasn’t sure now but she remembered the tears welling up when one of the older ones, Tracy, started calling her names.

Grandad Joseph’s words came to her. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Or at least don’t show it, he had added. Tears were welling up. She missed her grandad but these girls now thought they knew what buttons to push. Rubbing the tears away she walked off hearing their hoots of laughter. She was crying because she missed him. He had died suddenly of a heart attack in the summer holidays while she was in Spain with Nana G. A decision was made that she was better staying there. When she returned the funeral was over, there was no grave, she was left with nothing, not even an empty chair where he used to sit. It was as if Grandad just disappeared.

At school, life seemed harder and it was more difficult in the new form grouping. The older girls focussed on how you looked: big nose, small eyes, fat parts, breasts, how you tied your hair or even wore your school uniform. Jay Ro wasn’t interested but this seemed to make some of Tracy’s other friends pick on her more. Some days it was just giggles and whispers behind her back, other days it was a nudge and a push or pull her hair during registration. The teacher never noticed and Jay Ro got told off for making ‘unseemly noises’ when she screeched in pain once.

At home she would wander into her parents’ bedroom to stand in front of the long mirror. There was a sewing box nearby and a dressmakers’ tape measure. She became obsessed with measuring all the parts of her body. She was certainly expanding. Puberty, curves coming, skin breaking out in spots. It was happening. Jay Ro started skipping breakfast. She didn’t like school lunches so just ate a bag of crisps. In the evening she would not eat much, saying she ate a big lunch. Within a few months she had lost her ‘puppy fat’ but also gained some shape with newly-emerging breasts. At this point no one in the family talked much about her changing body or experiences at school. Nor did anyone one talk about Grandad. There was one photo of when he was young but that was not the face she knew. There were more photos of their beloved dog who died the year before. Jay Ro wanted to be reminded of Grandad’s smile, his wrinkled frown, his eyes.

There was some croaking by the pond. Jay Ro jumped back into the present. Could she see them? Yes, two frogs, Iberian frogs with a thin green stripe. And what was that swimming along, swift as if the water was its home. A grass-snake? Effortlessly it climbed up the bank and then was nowhere to be seen. Some bumble bees buzzed around the pink scabious flowers around the edge of the pond. There were also some tiny butterflies, gatekeepers. She wondered what gates they looked after. Who they let in? Who they kept out?

‘Hi, there, uh is it a penny for your thoughts?’ Jonas was standing nearby. ‘Or a peseta?’

‘Peseta, what’s a peseta?’

‘Old money, the currency here before the Euro. Still can be found under mattresses or floors. Perhaps your nana has some hidden?’

‘I’m more interested in finding her stories, this novel she says she has written. You know my mother thinks it’s all imaginary.’

‘Oh really, but certainly real, she read quite a bit of it to us. And then wanted to change certain things. I’m sure you will find it.’

There were tears coming. Jay Ro wanted to brush them away but knew Jonas well enough to talk.

‘I’m sorry. I was thinking about my grandad and miss him. And that makes me think about Nana G. She is my only grandparent now. I hope—'

‘I think we all hope. And yes, that she will come back to Navaselva. Let’s eat together this evening. I remember the time we first met you and you turned your nana vegetarian. And then us, or almost.’

Jay Ro laughed now but at that time she was caught up with all kinds of eating dilemmas. And most were not healthy options.

‘Well, I didn’t mean to and it was sort of… well complicated. Yes, good idea, I can explain more, and you know, I owe you and Carmen, that summer was great fun. You really helped me turn a corner. I’ll make some vegan chocolate cake. It’s all about vegan now with my college friends.’

‘Great we can have a debate about sustainable food whilst eating well. And let us help you sort through some of those piles of papers too. Your nana definitely printed off the novel before her computer crashed. And thinking about it I’m sure Carmen had a print out of the opening chapters; you know, the ones that get sent off. She was giving some feedback. You can at least get an idea of how the novel begins. I certainly remember a bee-eater flying off with a bumble bee.’

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Episode 2


Audios for Episode 2

Audio for Ch 2

Audio Chapter 3 Jay Ro

Episode 2

Into the Minds of the Many


If you listen with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul, you may just hear, in that moment between moments, the stories the trees murmur and the reports the birds bring. You may begin to grasp the point of view of one of the many, many different life forms on this earth. You may even begin to understand your part in this saga whether through the eyes, ears and nose of a common weasel, on the wings of a black kite, buzzing with a buff-tailed bumble bee, or a rainbow-feathered bee-eater with an eating dilemma. You may just be able to overcome the barrier for our species and enter into the minds of the Many.





It must be a point of fact that there are many different points of view on this earth, La Tierra, the Living Earth. Too many points of view for a small weasel to get its sharp teeth into. But there was one fact he had to really make sense of. He was going on a journey. His short legs trembled as he came out of a borrowed burrow and into the warm light of day. Poised on a mossy green rock, he waited and wondered.

Life as a young weasel at Navaselva was safe and fun. Now there was fear. There was a sad fact if a fact can be sad. One of the many species living on this earth created too much fear. Having lost the ability to connect with the different views of others this species became known as the Outsiders; a species that lived without the deep knowledge of the Many. It had not always been so and there were remnants of stories told by the reptilian members at the meetings of the Many. These were called dreamtime stories, half remembered, half forgotten, of a time long ago. After the turning away and turning against the Many by the Outsiders there was a time of great change. Now it seemed there may be another time of terrifying change. Comadrito the weasel was learning much from the Meetings of the Many in the Navaselva valley and was now to go on a journey to discover how to help the Many adapt and survive. Or was he more likely to be caught and eaten?

Comadrito’s tail twitched. He must be alert. He must be fully in the here and now. A shadow passed over his body. Danger but the warmth of the rock soothed his paws. He was called to wait here. His ears heard the normal chatter of the local birds but then all went quiet. He should move, but somehow felt safe with his paws stuck to the old rock.

 Comadrito’s whiskers sensed the movement of air. His instincts were to withdraw into the abandoned rabbit burrow. Another shadow passed over the old hollow tree. He must trust his colours of deep brown on a mix of green, grey and brown. He must trust in the calling of the Meeting of the Many.

Within a whisker tingling it was too late. Great claws gripped around his slender body. The firmness of the boulder under his paws became the emptiness of air.

Comadrito’s eyes could not take in his sudden change of view. His body sensed being lifted high into the spaces of the sky where the birds flew. His point of view was changing and his eyes struggled to focus—the world below him grew smaller until the great trees looked like small bushes. 

Now that he was in that sky, he longed for the rustle of fallen leaves and the smell of warm, wet earth beneath his feet.  He was used to close contact with the undergrowth. He was used to the glossy, smooth leaves of low-growing trees and bushes that would brush against his coat, and the madroƱo tree with its strawberry red berries and white flowers on overhanging branches, glinting and dazzling his eyes against the brightness of a deep blue sky. He even wanted to feel the bristle hardness of the broom plant scraping against his sides, cleaning dirt off his coat. Or the hunger he felt in the winter and the disgust of trying to eat the bitter viburnum berries and being almost stung by a bumblebee nearby on the pink clusters of the viburnum's flowers as they began to open. He wanted his paws back, safe and alive on the living earth.

Above all that he knew he was numb. His body first tense, was now limp, playing dead within the grasps of the talons of this great bird. His gaze rolled upward to the sturdy legs, the feathered body and giant wings thudding through the air. This powerful creature belonged to the air and was designed to easily swoop and kill small creatures. He saw the hooked beak that could break into his flesh. Quickly, he glanced down again, to break the fear of being eaten alive.

Comadrito was above the height of the tallest pines along the valley ridge. His eyes took in an amazing view and he quivered with a feeling of elation but this was soon followed by deep dread. All seemed dotted green below but there was no sense of smell around him, just the beat of wide wings as they ascended higher and higher. His instincts were confused. Why did he not move quickly for cover when he sensed the shadow. Shadow stories always foretold death.

Perhaps his life was to be short without the challenges given by the Meeting of the Many? He did not fear death but he would fight if there were a chance to live. The opportunity to bite the scaly legs and claws that held him was lost. He was too high up now. One of the stories from his ancestors told of surviving an eagle attack by digging teeth into the stiff legs of the giant bird, but there was no biting back now on these talons that held him or he would drop out of the sky to certain death. He must wait and find out if this was part of the plan.

But he longed to be back in the undergrowth of the trees, in the valley far below, with the species of the earth not the sky. Some species he crossed paths with, some he just smelled, and others he heard in the distance. There were his distant cousins: the big and bossy beech marten with its large bushy tail and the fearsome mongoose that arrived at the same time each day at the drinking hole near his burrow. These cousins were best avoided. He had seen one tackle a slippery ladder-back snake with one crunching bite. Another caught one of the many friendly but noisy blackbirds that loved to dig up the leaves. The gentle genet mother with her striking coat and spotted tail also lived nearby. She was gentle with the young weasels that played with her young. But was terrifying when a mongoose attacked her kits. Her sharp teeth bit hard into the tail of the mongoose. The mongoose fled.

The talons of the giant bird gripped him tighter, making sure that he, the prey, would not fall. Comadrito felt a warm uplift of air. Could this be a messenger bird sent by the Meeting of the Many? But there was no sign, and no inward communication.

Down below, the valley of Navaselva was disappearing. Great trees became like small dots of insects. The rocky boulders of the Meetings were now a thin scratch. The valley looked like a giant paw print, trod into the side of the mountain by some fantastical beast from a dreamtime story.

That was his last view of the valley. He gasped for oxygen and then his mind fell into a series of strange images.

There were eggs, shells cracking, smells of contents good enough to eat. When a young weasel, some smell had drawn him up one of the tall oak trees. A bird flew in fright from her nest. He ate one egg and was full. He then ate four more, and in his greed, the last one fell. He remembered the long mournful call of one of the Navaselva turtle doves. Her eggs were gone and her mate far off.

In the next Meeting of the Many that summer he was not just told off but his family shamed. This was not the right behaviour for resident weasels at Navaselva. Birds were to be kept safe in this special valley and their eggs were not to be taken. He had only just been introduced to the Meetings that year and was already getting a bad reputation. He could not keep still. He was always ready to chase and pounce on small creatures, in particular the different butterflies; swallowtails, festoons and fritillaries. They were out in good numbers with so many wild flowers in bloom and wanted to tell their stories about the wonders of the purple scabious, the tiny pimpernels, and the wild red poppies and whiteness of Madonna lilies. These stories were important to the Meeting of the Many. When all was well with the insects and plants, all would be well for all.

One butterfly was different. She was called Pasha, the two-tailed pasha. There were never the right flowers for her. She knew her beauty as a butterfly, her large size, her flightiness. She was just too full of herself. She would annoy Comadrito and the young genet as they played. So they chased her but could never catch her as she flew up into the trees. But they were shocked when they saw her drinking the fresh pee of the rather exalted but scary El Zorro, the fox. Now they knew what she was full of. And another time Pasha was on the fox poo which for a weasel was the worst of smells. Why did such a high-minded butterfly need to do this? Comadrito was too young then to understand all the intricate and indelicate ways of the wild.

Comadrito’s mind went from his days of being a carefree youngster to the clear and present danger he was in as the powerful bird lifted him high above a swell of clouds. There was still no sign this was a messenger bird ready to help him go north on a quest for the Many. Perhaps he was to be fed to the young of this giant bird and their beaks would not be small and would certainly be sharp. His mind filled with the memories of the recent meetings as he tried to understand his predicament.

Comadrito was called to attend the first Meeting in early spring by the weasel families of Navaselva. All female weasels were busy with their young. Larger male weasels had wandered too far off. He was the one close to the territory of the old rocks not far from where he was born the previous spring. All seemed right with his world until the mournful cry of the turtle dove and the buzz of that bumble bee.



                                             Jay Ro



There was a chill in the air now. Jay Ro’s fire-lighting skills would be put to the test. And she would have to go out in the dark again for some twigs and logs. Carmen and Jonas, Nana G’s lodgers and friends, were just through the orchard gate in their small but comfortable home. She knew they would help but Jay Ro wanted to be alone.

Opening the door again and with wood bucket in one hand, and torch in the other, she carefully trod over to the very well-organised wood pile. Jonas took pride in his wood skills, from wood carving to superbly-designed wood piles. But caution was needed as so many animals liked to live around the wood pile including a rather large ladder-back snake she had seen now on several occasions. It was not poisonous but could bite if a hand went into where it was resting. For all Nana G’s love of the wild this happened to her.

‘We have to understand wild creatures, they cannot be expected to understand who is on their side’ were her words when she sent a picture of her swollen hand and her bemused face.

The bite was deep and was the first time Nana G needed to visit the ‘Urgencias’ or Accident and Emergency of Spain. It was also the time she decided to ask for help with work at Navaselva and Carmen and Jonas came to stay. They shared the same values as Nana G and helped to manage the land so wildlife would flourish too.

Jay Ro managed to shine the torch brightly into the wood and gather enough twigs and medium-sized logs into the bucket. A turtle dove was still calling out with low rhythmic patterns like a song. This was the inspiration for another of Nana G’s stories about The Meetings of the Many. Was this story written down? Or did it only exist in Nana G’s mind?

With the fire now crackling Jay Ro opened her tablet and began to write as if she could hear her nana’s voice telling the turtle dove story. Get the gist. Let it flow.

Early in the evening, before the stillness of the dark, different birds gave voice to their stories in song. These would be the stories of the past times from the Meetings of the Many. The swallows would tell tales of the giant tuskers and how these first got their long trunks.

At first Nana G’s stories were full of fun but then a darker edge would creep in. The turtle dove’s ancient song showed the beginnings of cruelty and indifference to the wild world.

After flying over the vast sandy stones of the desert, turtle doves gathered to remember their migration songs. The saddest song was about a pair of turtle doves, partners for life at the time of the Great Changes. One was caught by the ape like hunters and kept for a while. The good mate flew down to help. But to no avail and was trapped too. There was lots of noise, even song-like chanting as if the dove was special, important. But it was killed with a blow within sight of its mate. This dove too waited on death. There was a chance to escape but its wings could not move, weighed down by the horror of the loved one’s brutal death.

     The turtle doves knew the songs about the Great Changes from experience. These were slow and solemn songs, and told of when this ape species with its oversized brain and odd way of moving on two legs, changed its behaviours towards the Many. This was the beginning of the cruelty and indifference. It hadn’t always been so.

     The turtle dove’s songs went further back to the time when there were deep connections between all species and fair hunting for food. There would be praise and thankfulness to those of the Many that gave food to this One, the clever apes. Ancient cave rocks told stories of this closeness. Dreamtime stories told of special places like the valley of Navaselva where there could be deep communion and communication between all living things.

     And then came the Fall Out. Not in all places, but over time the Many lost the One. The One began to believe it was above all other creatures, better and much cleverer. This was the time when this species began to be known as the Outsiders—creatures that continued relentlessly to tear apart the wild and the deep forests and even tear apart the inner workings of things.

      The fire was warming her up now. Had she got that right? Was that how Nana G would tell the story of the turtle dove? Or was Jay Ro bringing in her own anger at how indifferent humanity was to the continuing destruction of nature? But Jay Ro knew she became indifferent when a teenager at that school, struggling to be friends with Tracy, she ended up letting her best friend Gaia down. There was certainly a fall out and a loss of innocence.


Her phone rang; it was her mother. She could speak more easily with her mother now but her father never rang her and his disapproval of her friends, past and present was the barrier between them. He forbade her to see Gaia and now was angry about her involvement with the climate action groups. He would flare up like a firelighter on fire but the flame did go out quickly too. Jay Ro put another log on the fire, the slow burning wood of the encina or holm oak. Why was his father, her grandfather Joseph so different? She missed him. They could talk about anything together and he understood. He never judged or made her feel judged. He was the one always there for her at home while her parents worked and worked.

 She listened to her mother’s voice. Was it concern or did her mother not trust her?

‘I’m okay. I’m warm. I can make my own fire. Yes, and I’ve eaten. There’s no need to worry about food now.’

Carmen and Jonas had left her some soup and their homemade bread. They were really not far away but it was a dark if short path to their converted shepherd’s hut or ‘casa de monte’. Why did her mother always seem to create something to worry about?

‘I’m not on my own. I can ring or shout or send their dog back as a messenger!’ She bent down to stroke the mottled brown giant of a dog at her feet, Lola. Lola, was a Spanish ‘mastin’, very large but quite like a mastiff used for guarding. But really friendly to humans. Dogs made you feel less alone, somehow. Her mother did not really like dogs or Nana G’s love of the wild and desire to lead a solitary life close to nature.

‘Look, I am not having much luck finding this manuscript of Nana G’s. Can you try and get some more detail from her? There are so many rooms in this house with books and papers in them.’

‘Well, I think you are on a wild goose chase. I think she’s probably imagining she wrote a whole novel.’ There again was her mother’s dismissive tone. Jay Ro wanted to defend Nana G.

‘Nana G told me lots of stories when I was here in this house. I can’t find those either but they were real and I’m hoping she wrote them down.’

‘Really, she never told stories to your aunt and I when we were young. It was our grandad, Nana G’s father who did all the story telling. And there was always a wolf, a good wolf. I have never come across any of those written down either. Pity, they might have made a bob or two, like Watership Down. Just come home soon and don’t spend too long looking.’


‘Just an old expression. Shillings, oh no, money, a bit of money, not pounds. Pipe dreams writers making money. I hope you are not thinking about writing as a career.’

The conversation ended rather abruptly and Jay Ro did not find out much more about her nana’s health. Putting another log on the fire she felt uneasy. Her mother created doubts but did not seem to know or understand much about her own mother. Jay Ro believed Nana G and hoped to find more than a novel about a weasel. She wanted the stories of her childhood back.

Was that still a turtle dove calling outside in the dark? It must be very alone. Had it lost its mate or flock before the long journey to its winter home in Africa?

Episode 10 To be continued.

 Episode 10 To be continued We have come to the end of Part One and we hope you have enjoyed reading so far. Part One is titled ‘Into the Mi...