Thursday, 16 February 2012


  Behind the mountains to the East there are more mountains, and behind those, when the 15 bends around the air force base, for a moment you can see them. Rocky, dusty white peaks, brushing the clouds. They look lonely and far away, and they make me want to touch them.

  Pictures and peeks into places I've never been make me ache to explore. Photographs frustrate because I can't feel the sunlight and smell the air. Those mountains make me want to dive into the barren southern Californian wilderness, and drink in the wild beauty. The otherworldness. The emptiness.
  But I'm here, the artificial noise of the freeway pushing into my ears, the music turned up (pushing back), and buildings crowding against each other in the spaces between the fields of asphalt and concrete. I'm restless. How was it possible, just a few weeks ago, for me to be tired of change?
A sea to ride off on, a wilderness to get lost in, a mountain to climb up on. Anything! The songs and the stories press out against my ribs, nearly breaking my heart, but I can't hear their voices. I feel so full, and I feel like I could never have enough. I cherish this restlessness; the storms in my soul. I cherish the days I can feel fire and beauty and truth pouring out of my eyes; and I cherish the Maker that filled me with this spirit that feels too big for my skin, and who seeds my thoughts with greatness.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

STC - Non Fiction Love

The prompt was "tell the story of a moment that you felt supremely loved." I wrote two. One from my childhood and a poem about the Christmas gift Jon made for me (a hand bound book, titled: Things I Love to Know About You.)

 My parent’s bedroom was the door just to the left of mine in our tiny rectangular hallway. The bathroom was to the right, and my brother’s room straight ahead. Between my brother’s door and my parents’ was the living room - with it’s blue carpet, blue couch, and blue curtains. It’s probably around eleven o’clock, but it feels like that space in the night that seems absolutely timeless to a child. I never made it a habit to visit my parents at night. Just when I had really bad nightmares that I couldn’t shake off and when I was sick. Tonight falls under the second category... kind of. I’m somewhere around 8 years old, and I’m growing. Consequently, my legs feel like they are rotting from the inside and will fall off at any moment. Calcium supplements helped, but not immediately. I gently nudged Mom’s arm. She rolled toward me and mumbled. It was never difficult to wake her up. It was like she was always waiting on the edge of sleep, just in case we needed something.
“Mom, my legs hurt really bad.”
“Did you try to go back to sleep?”
“Okay. Let me get you your calcium.”
 I sat on the edge of the bed, staring at the shadows the hall light cast on the wood floor. She came back with a big pill and handed it to me, with her water. I didn’t have a problem swallowing it, but I hated the bitter taste it left in my mouth.
“Can you please rub my legs for me?”
She sighed and made room for me beside her on the bed.
“Can you tell me a story from when you were a kid?”
Lightly rubbing the worst spot, just above my knees, she began:
 “When I was your age I had a little grey pony named Dapples because of the light grey spots on her belly. I loved her, but she was so stubborn - pretty much every Shetland pony is. She would do this thing when the neighbor kids rode her: She’d put her head down when they were running or trotting and stop really fast and send them flying. I knew she did it so I could keep her head up, but one time I was riding her in the field behind our house, and she got her head away from me and took off. She went right under this tree branch and knocked me out cold. Grandma came out because she heard my dog barking. She found me waking up under the tree from the dog licking my face. It chipped one of my teeth and broke my glasses. We found Dapples, back in her pen, eating.
 I also used to watch cowboy shows a lot and they would always slap their horse’s rear when they put them away, so I tried it. Dapples kicked me right in the gut. I didn’t know it, but Grandpa was behind the shed watching the whole thing and laughing. As soon as I got my breath back I looked at her and said ‘damn pony.’ When I found out my Dad was there I thought I was going to get into so much trouble for cussing, but he never said anything about it or told anyone, except maybe Grandma. For weeks I had little hoof marks on my stomach.
 But Dapples wasn’t anything compared to King. He was a chestnut pony with a blonde mane and tail. He was the meanest and most beautiful pony I’d ever seen. He was so wild Linda, Judy, and I couldn’t ride him, but Grandpa hooked him up to the pony cart once and tried to drive him around. King took off running, just like Dapples would, but he took the cart under the upstairs deck on the back of the house and ripped the harness right off, smashed the cart, and about broke your Grandpa’s leg. We sold him after that.
 After a while your Grandparents bought me a Pony of America because they were more mellow than the Shetlands and I got hurt too often. I named her Miss Little Spots. She was a black appaloosa with a white spots on her rump. She was such a great little horse. I taught her to rear up like the Lone Ranger’s horse. Whenever I’d take my sisters for a ride, I’d make her rear and they’d fall off the back. Linda wouldn’t trust me after I’d done it once or twice, but Judy would always believe my apology, and I’d always knock her off again. Eventually Grandma made me break the horse of rearing because she was afraid it would fall back on me. To do that, I carried a little piece of garden hose with me when I was riding and when she’d jump up, I’d smack her between the ears until she stopped doing it....”
 My last thought before morning was how warm and soft everything felt laying next to her. Her skilled hands had lulled my aching bones to sleep.
 I don’t remember how many times I’d heard those stories and the dozens more from her childhood. I practically grew up in that little town in northern Kansas. I knew it’s geography like the back of my hand even though I only visited once. With these hours and hours of late night story telling, my Mom made it possible for me to live her childhood all over again with her as my best friend.

The Bandit
He stole a shadow’d glance
Of a shrouded, vast expanse.
The warp and weft of an inner scene
Observe and reflect: his chosen means.

He kept a journal, he made a book
Of every corner, cranny, nook.
A map, the anatomy of my soul;
He kept every habit and emotion’s roll.

My Bandit you must have no fear,
Your stealing glance has drawn you near.
Your story’s true, like the clearest bell
You’ve won the country that you know so well.