I am something simple that shares an experience with the world I now travel, thanks to the wind and the whims of mankind. (word-count 1238)

It came from nowhere. A massive streak of feline appeared through the ocean of grass like a mirage in the rain.

I saw it only out of the corner of my eye. Up until then, it was just a blissful day in the countryside, the sun shining and the breeze cooling my thin, pale skin. I could have been in any country, for around me were trees, streams, hills and an abundance of nature.

I’d been watching a blue dragonfly as it danced over a brook. For a moment, it hovered in my face, as if to interrogate me for being there, or maybe to warn me, that while this place was beautiful, it was also deadly.

Had I also been a dragonfly, perhaps I would have understood. But I wasn’t, I was yet another species, a thing, oblivious to the dangers of this new paradise I found myself in.

How I arrived at this spot I’m not certain. I don’t live like other creatures. In fact, I don’t think I am a creature, yet I have a heart and I can see and hear. I know the wind carries me from place to place, often without my permission and often when I want to stay put.

I am one of the millions that circle the earth. Some live for only minutes while others the likes of me live for centuries, given luck and the fate of jet streams and weather.

But now I stood frozen to the spot, my eyes fixed on the feline. The feline, a huge yellow creature with black streaks along its body, stayed motionless. Its eyes focused on me and me alone. The dragonfly still danced around me and the hum of its wings could have been saying ‘told you so told you so’.

Cats were no stranger to me, for I had encountered many on my travels. I knew they were a danger and I also knew they were a strange beast. I had my enemies, dogs being worse than cats and others who either wanted to use me, torture me, try to eat me or just play with me.

Cats were inclined to do the latter and up to now, I had survived such encounters. But this feline monster was giving me the shits even though I don’t poop. I could sense behind its natural beauty lay untold power and strength. The cat’s eyes went deep into its soul, like puddles of clear honey that one could sink into an eternity of nectar.

As our eyeballs met, I found it mesmerising, for the sweetness of such fantasy gave me false hope that this was also the purest moment, a bond between two creatures that needs no words for it to be special.

I had encountered a similar feeling once when I came face to face with a huge snake. I had hooked onto a stone crop, surveying the land laid out below and the lake of trees beyond.

I had dozed and when I woke, I sensed an impending doom like no other. Then, this enormous snake reared its ugly head from the depths below, a few inches from my face.

It too had looked deep into my eyes and slowly I felt hypnotised by its presence. The feeling of doom evaporated into a sweet feeling of euphoria and I wondered if this was how it felt when one died.

But I guess the snake was only curious, or maybe it too was mesmerised by my presence in its backyard, for it gave a hiss and then disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, leaving me somewhat shaky and excited together.

Or maybe on that occasion, it chose not to partake of a substance that might do it harm. A moment on the lips for the snake would have indeed been a lifetime on the hips, if snakes had such things.

The yellow and black beast of a feline moved.

I came towards me, a slow deliberate motion with its body close to the ground. I knew this was stalking mode, but I couldn't run or walk. I relied on the wind and on gravity and sometimes, the tidal flow of water.

Here I had nothing to help me, except a passing draft and the Dragonfly, who’s help would be neither use nor ornament in such dire circumstances.

The feline came close to me, it’s cold nose almost touching my skin. I could smell its warm breath, a strong odour of devoured food enveloped me as it sniffed my frail and shaking carcass.

As it touched my skin, the cat jumped back, afraid. It came at me again, sniffing cautiously as it did. If I were to become its plaything, this feline’s jaws and its gob full of teeth would shred me to bits in seconds.

But then it sat, very much like a well-trained puppy dog. It looked me in the eye and almost smiled. It licked its paw and started to wash its whiskers. I know from past experiences with these creatures that washing usually means they’re cool and calm.

There before me was a cat of the wild, a beautiful beast of nature that now asked me many questions, not by talking (cats can’t talk) but by body language.

I had never mastered the art of body language. My body was commanded by the environment around me and in response, all I could do was smile and flutter my eyelids, enough to tell the cat of what and who I was.

My eyes and my heart were part of my unique design, for once I was stylish and had grace and poise in the human world. Sadly, that had been many moons ago and once discarded by those humans, I was left to fester amongst the garbage humans generate.

I had indeed experienced the route of all garbage. I wish it not on my worst enemy, for it is demeaning to be carried as waste through the streets and to be dumped as useless and forgotten. Only for the grace of powers that be am I free today to dance with the wind.

Now my features were very much faded, just barely serving a purpose for communication and for an awareness of the world I travelled. Had I not been unique, I would be blind to how beautiful this world is.

There are those in this world that want to banish me. They claim I and my ilk can do untold harm to the environment. Unintentionally yes, maybe we can. But we are man-made, a brilliant invention of humans that will never die.

Even the day humans become extinct, we will still ride the ferocity of the wind and the flow of the oceans and we will still tell such stories that humans rarely read about.

And on that point, a gust of a breeze catches me again and whisks me high into the air. As it takes me on my next journey to wherever a lonely and battered plastic carrier bag might end up, I say farewell to my passing friends the cat and the Dragonfly, now just memories in my thin and plastic heart.

Next time you use a carrier bag made of plastic, please spare a thought for me and where I might be in the world. And please, treat your carrier bag with respect.

There is often more to us than you might dare to think!

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