Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Camel Notices Something

Once there was a camel who ran free in the desert, feeling lighter than air, fully refreshed and rejuvenated, his thirst completely quenched and more purposeful than ever.

But he wasn't always like this. Let me start the story over.

Once there was a camel who lived in the desert. He was fairly content. He like the way the sand dunes moved a few feet every year. He liked the adventure of looking for and finding water. He liked the way the land in front of him sometimes looked like it was a mirror.

He didn't necessarily like it when he came across his own footprints in the sand, and he didn't like it when other animals pooped in the watering holes.

Well, one hot and dry day, he awoke to find himself with a load on his back. The truth is, the load had always been there, he just didn't always notice it. You know how that is, like when something stinks, but after a while your nose sort of turns off and you don't smell it anymore.

But today, the pack seemed heavier. He didn't actually know what was in the pack, but something was jabbing him in the side, and he could hear toys and games clinking and sliding around as he walked, and some tinkling He couldn't remember if there was anything of use in the pack, but he carried it nonetheless. It's all he knew to do.

Camel stood up, grunting under the weight of the load, and decided it was time to find water.

He knew of a couple of places in the vicinity that had water, but he was up for an adventure. So he decided to brave the large dune to the East. He had heard of an Oasis a couple of days walk over the dune.

The first few hours were easier than the next few hours, and the first day was easier than the second day, but he trudged along, knowing that the water was waiting for him.

As he reached the peak of a smaller dune, he noticed a figure far off in the distance. He knew not to get excited, it would be hours before he would even know if they were walking toward each other, and then another few hours before they would meet. So Camel occupied his mind with counting games his father had taught him.

How many breaths it took to reach a certain number of steps, then multiply that by the number of heartbeats that took place for every four steps, then divide that by the number of birds he saw flying around, which would change the whole equation every time he saw another bird.

He had another one that included bones and blinking, and another that had to do with how many times he thought of the word "Mochila", which wasn't very often, but you'd be surprised...it did come up. This made for an ongoing proccess where he had to remember how many times he had heard the word. I think he was at 7. Mostly it was when he heard someone say it, although when you are by yourself for long periods of time, words can get stuck in your mind where you say it over and over, and if that happened to "Mochila", that number could climb to 500 easy.

All those hours came and went, and Camel found himself off in number land when the figure he had seen hours earlier was standing in front of him.

It was Jackal.

"Hello Camel," said Jackal. "It's been a long time."

"Yes it has," said Camel. Camel didn't like Jackal. He couldn't remember why, though.

"I see you're still carrying the load I gave you," said Jackal.

Camel suddenly remembered why he didn't like Jackal.

"Hmmff," grunted Camel as he started to step to the side to get around Jackal and keep going.

"It looks like it's made you strong and confident," said Jackal. "And happy?"

Camel though about it and he did feel stronger. And he in fact did feel confident in his abilities.

"I don't know about happy," said Camel.

Jackal laughed a little.

"Then I have something for you," said Jackal. "Something that could remind you to think about being happy."

"I don't need anything else from you," said Camel, still trying to get away.

"Well, it's obvious that you do," said Jackal as he pulled out something wrapped up in a very colorful cloth. "I'll just attach it to your Mochila."

Before Camel could protest any further, Jackal had jumped up onto the load, and attached some sort of jingly bell or something onto the load, then crawled over to the other side, scratched around a bit, lapped at what sounded like a bowl of water, and then jumped down again.

"What did you do?" asked Camel. "What is that jingling? And is there water up there?"

"It's just a little something to remind you to think about being happy," said Jackal. "every time you hear the bell, it will remind you that you are very fortunate to have a load so large and wonderful on your back. Many are jealous of your beautiful and grand Mochila."

Camel couldn't help feeling a little proud of his load, but the jingly bell was already annoying him.

"I will see you later," yelled out Jackal. He was already many meters away.

Camel was glad that he was gone. Jackal took what he wanted, and only gave if it benefited himself. He was not pleasant. Camel stood very still so the bell would stop.

Then he thought about his quest for water, and cringed at the sound as he took his first steps.

After a few hours, the bell sound would come in and out of his mind, and it was not making him think of being happy, it was distracting him from his numbers. He tried to count the jingles, but they were uneven and seemed random.

And he was nearing 100 with "Mochila". It was all he could do to think of other things.

Finally, he reached the oasis. It was fairly small, but it had shade, and water.

He got to the water's edge and gazed into the sweet, cool pool. It was beautiful. He lowered his head to take a drink, and with a loud jingle, his load slid a bit toward his head, which made Camel jolt his head upright to catch the load from falling.

Every time he tried to take a drink, his load would slide, almost falling off, and Camel would stand upright again to keep the load from falling off.

Every time, with a loud, obnoxious jingle.

Camel was getting frustrated. He would have cried if he had any tears, but he hadn't had any water for some time now.

He considered turning back and getting water from that tank of water where the level was a bit higher and he wouldn't have to lean so far over, but he knew he wouldn't make it back.

He turned back to gaze into the pool. He had a feeling this was the last thing he would ever see.

He hung his head and sighed. That's when he noticed something at the bottom of the pool of water. It looked like...he wasn't certain...yes...toys? Games? Some useless objects and small pieces of fabric? There were hundreds, maybe thousands of Mochillas sunk at the bottom of the pool. Well, maybe not thousands, but Camel was excited, and you start seeing things when you get excited.

Camel immediately had an idea. He was, after all, a very smart Camel. Without hesitating, he leaned over and let his Mochila slide off his back, and with a gurgling Jingle, watched it sink to the bottom.

He drank and drank and drank. Oh, it was really good. It was fantastic. It was the best.

As he drank, between the ripples of cool, quenching water, Camel saw that each of the Mochilas had their own little bell.

All of them were silent.


So, this gets us back to the part where Camel is running all happy...let's see:

Once there was a camel who ran free in the desert, feeling lighter than air, fully refreshed and rejuvenated, his thirst completely quenched and more purposeful than ever.

The End

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