Welcome back, NEKNEERAJ . You have chosen a haunting image for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge 103.
latoday.deviantart.com: me & my best friend
Cat and I would slip down the stairs, sock and paw-footed in the pre-dawn sepia. I reached high, and undid the bolt so the door swung open into the morning. Cat skittled out; I followed carrying our paper bag. Muddy rubber boots left on the porch; carried to the bottom step where I shoved them on. Cat lead the way; she knew all the shortcuts. Only two ups and 3 downs, two twists around hawthorn trees, shuffle through pine needle carpet, and forest became lake. I always let Cat chose which spit of land, which beach, which over hanging branch we would launch our ships from.
Great-grandfather showed me, fingers like tree roots, to fold, and fold, and fold, then crease, fold, crease, release. Between his mangled hands rested a delicate sailing boat. “She’ll sail to Borneo and back,” he cried. “Just you see. When I can get up (always tomorrow), I’ll take you down to the lake for the launch.” Next, would always be, “And mon petit oiseau, what shall we call our brave ship?”
We had lots of names as Great-grandfather made me many ships before he passed. I wrote the “moniker” as he called it on in bright coloured crayons while he told me the letters. “Boudicca.” “Joan of Arc.” “Eleanor of Aquitaine.” “Mirabai.” “Mary Wollstonecraft.” Mary Seacole.” “Harriet Tubman.” “Florence Nightingale.” “Charlotte Perkins Gilman.” “Rosa Luxemburg.” “Virginia Wolfe.” “Billie Holliday.” “Bessie Smith.” “Wangari Maathai.” “Audrey Hepburn.” “Shirin Abadi.” “Aung San Suu Kyi” “Malala Yousafzai.”
Then on launching day, Cat and I would reach the lake just as sepia turned to orangy-yellow. Taking a boat out of the bag, I gently placed it on the water. Cat thomped it with her paw, and I recited what Great-Grandfather taught me, “I dub thee the “Elizabeth Fry”. May ye always sail straight and strong. May ye find Borneo and return to tell us the tales.”
It’s my daughter, and her cat, Cat, who now launch the ships of the Women Warrior Line. She will dub the Shirin Abadi, the Aung San Suu Kyi, the Malala Yousafzai and send them off to Borneo. And wait for each’s return.
Today is International Women’s Day: the ships of the Women Warrior Line represent only a small number of influential women throughout history. Then there are the millions upon millions of women who left no record of their heroic survivals, their deeds, their kindnesses, their friendships, their revolutions, their rebellions. They too deserve a paper ship to sail to Borneo. For some of the names, I used women who changed the world and from there links to other sites. This list is by no means representative, and there are so many names that aren’t here. To those who I’ve omitted, I owe an apology and no doubt a debt of gratitude.