Black and White photograph of one shoe and the front wheels of a power chair deep in the woods
Photo: Wheelie Walks by Tanya E Raabe

Tired of the deafening silence that threatened to consume her. She edged into her new, state of the art, power chair and left Covid lockdown at the door.

The motor hummed a comforting tune to the eager wheels still learning to bite the kerb but spare the heels of those walking on foot.

Poor souls! Or so the wheels thought.

“Beware of the potholes,” she reminded them as the pavement turned into a dirt track and the light dappled through a cathedral of trees.

It was not long before she heard sweet bursts of song, penetrating her mind like a soothing balm. She could feel her heart slowing the blood in her veins.

      “This is why I came.” She thought.

Stopping, she listened to the language of the trees, as they whispered above the low hum of bees. They spoke of ancient magic, of fairies and elves, who lived long before mankind could walk on two legs.

Gently she reached for her phone camera, eager to capture the beauty of nature. But it clicked too soon and captured her foot and the tip of a wheel.

She was about to delete it to save space on the memory stick but instead decided to use it in her art. Some persistent arrows were trying to move her on, on, on, but when she powered up, her juvenile wheels, all forlorn, refused to budge.

          “We’re trapped!” cried the small ones at the front and dug themselves deeper into the earth.

The sun laughed, spitting sunbeams all over the place. The wood huffed and puffed, whipping up leaves to mop up the mess.

Unfortunately, this just made the whimpering wheels more distressed and she found herself getting annoyed at their childishness.

      “Did they teach you nothing at the factory!” She growled.

But the wheels just cowered and lowered their eyes.

To cheer them up, the leaves sang one of their favourite songs about a boisterous hurricane who fell in love with a warm breeze. He followed her to the ends of the earth and back. When they finally met they made the earth crack with the force of their love. Their union gave us fierce winds, strong enough to pull the tides away from the moon!

“Oh dear,” the wheels cried, “That is very scary, I hope it doesn’t get too windy!”

But the leaves disagreed, they loved the winds, especially the children, who played and danced with them in the coolness of Autumn.

      “I hate to interrupt,” She said, “But I really would like to get home for a rest!”

Just then a butterfly flew past and this pricked the wheels up at last.

      “Oh, oh, how wonderful, can we catch it and trap it?”                                                                

They charged at full speed, past the persistent arrows, who were not at all offended that they had been completely ignored.

      “I do hope they don’t get lost.” They groaned, afraid they would lose their job and be replaced, by the boss.

Later that day, she was found in a ditch, by Winnie, a kindly white witch who lived in a caravan on the edge of the wood. She told local reporters,

      “I was out gathering medicinal plants and ‘erbs when I heard a woman, cursing and laughing, she was!  She can’t have been upside down that long because the wheels of her chair were still spinning!”

I wrote this piece as an experiment after reading ‘Seeing Stars’ by Simon Armitage, a wonderful collection of prose poems. A good few had me laughing my bed socks off!

If you want to see more new Ann and Tanya collaborations, head on over to www.poeticpalettes.wordpress.com and check out Tanya’s visual interpretation of my poem, ’13 Ways of Looking at a Wheelchair’ and our new piece, ‘Creation’.