Rays

6 22 2014 (42)

Since the Midwest is completely lifeless in the winter, I went through some old pictures. I thought I had posted this on here before, but apparently, I haven’t. This picture was taken back in 2014 at my grandma’s house, and it remains completely untouched. Somehow, my old digital camera picked up the rich colors when it’s normally particular about being bold.

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Where I Consider Home

The past couple weeks, I’ve been looking through old photos. And you know what old photos do. They bring up memories, both good and bad. Thankfully, my past photos have  reminded me of a lot of good. Reminded me of the place I still call home. I’ve also been messaging (off and on) a lifelong friend, and that’s also had me thinking.

I’ve moved around a bit. It was kind of a byproduct of my dad’s job. Every eight years, it seemed like. Until I got married three years ago, and I moved in with my husband. We’ve moved three times in those few years. Hopefully, we’ll be set for awhile. Moving is tedious and stressful.

The first eight years of my life, I lived in a little bitty town. In fact, if you Google it, it’s registered as a village. Yep. I was raised, until I was eight years old, in a village. It tickles the fantasy side of me. According to the 2016 census, the town had a population of 285 residents. Just to put it in perspective. Sometimes, I wonder if they’re numbering people or if they’re also adding farm animals with their head count.

So you could say I’m a Midwestern, corn fed kid. But that’s not the whole story. After I was eight, we moved to the suburbs. Unfortunately, I’ve been a suburbanite ever since. But to a country kid, the suburbs were city. I’ve since learned that city is much more massive than I so naively imagined. Still, I went from a place that had roughly 300 people, let’s say, to a place that had almost 22,000 residents. Quite a big jump.

Yes. I hated it. With every single fiber in my being. I grew accustomed eventually. Made a few fleeting friends. After I was sixteen, we moved again. To a city with nearly 70,000 people. Which wasn’t too big of a shock to my system. Yet, there was something that has always nagged the back of my mind.

Where did I call home? Did it matter if I had a home or not? What do I say when people ask me where I’m from? Do people even need to know where I’m from? (I’m a paranoid person.) Where was home?

After some soul-searching, I kept coming back to the little town. The “village.” That was where I wanted to call home. Then I came to the second part of my inquiry. Why was it the place I wanted to call home? Well, my favorite memories are from there. That was my childhood. What I consider the happiest part of my life. (Outside of my marriage, of course. I’m sure the husband will read this. Love you, hun.) I still have dreams about being there. I still cry when I remember how painful it was to leave. The other places? Not so much.

There’s something else. The Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. My family has vacationed there for years. I remember going there for the first time. It absolutely took my breath away. It was so green, so much of a fantasy setting. All I required was a wizard to lead me on an epic journey. I felt different there. Felt…free, so-to-speak. I could hike trails, climb along stream beds, see waterfalls. It was everything I needed to fuel my fictional mind. Everything I needed to clear my mind from stress and the mundane of everyday life.

While I do love the beach and ocean, I like to say my heart belongs to those mountains. I try to go there every year. Or, at least, every other year. It fills me with so much vigor, so much life. Reminds me of the times when I was a kid in the little town and allowed my imagination to soar. I’ve been to many places. I don’t know what it is about the Smokies, but that’s where I want to return. I feel like a piece of me has been left there since the first time I went. There’s a piece of my heart in my hometown, and you can bet your behind, there’s a piece of my heart running through the trees on the Smokey Mountains.

I plan to settle down there sometime. Maybe it’ll be when my husband retires. Maybe it’ll be if I can make money off my books. I don’t know. But I do know I will get there. One way or another, I will have my house in the middle of some of the most beautiful scenery. I will find the piece of my heart and run in the forests with it. I will find my wizard and finally go on that epic journey through the woodlands. Along with the characters I’ve created, the creatures I’ve designed, the dragons I’ve made to ride on the backs of. It’s where I can let my mind be unleashed.

It’s the same sensation I had playing in the woods around my lifelong friend’s house. We could be anything we wanted, whether it be cowboys and space rangers, secret agents, horses, or anything else our limitless, child minds could conjure. It was our sense of freedom. Our sense of belonging. The mountains feel the same way to me. They always have and always will. I can be that little kid again. I can be anything I imagine myself to be. I can be free.

Where do I call home? Well, it’s a two-fold answer. My hometown, I consider to be my past home. The Smokey Mountains, I consider to be my future home. They’re almost the same to me in importance. Both places hold pieces to my heart. And that’s okay. Because I know where I came from, and I know where I will end up.

And it’s always home.


Clouded Rays


Bookmark Contest 2011

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I was rummaging through some old papers, and I found this, so I decided to put this up for Sketching Sunday. I drew this back in 2011 as a part of a bookmark contest for our local library. The theme was “Picture It,” so I went with the imaginings of a young lady as she read her superhero story. Unfortunately, I didn’t win or place. Nevertheless, I was proud of it. Especially with how the rocks turned out.


Aurora Borealis

I dared not look up, instead keeping my gaze down. Snow crunched under my boots as my headlamp revealed my short puffs of breath. If I accomplished one thing in my mundane life, it would be climbing this mountain. The wind whipped against me. Making me pause until it died down. I hated this stopping and starting. My muscles burned and were frozen at the same time. This was by far my most painful experience. But it would be worth it. Once I reached the summit.

A sigh of contentment escaped me as I ascended. It took me three days, but I made it. In time to see the Northern Lights. I dropped my pack. Turned off my headlamp. Ripping off my goggles, I exposed my eyes to the frigid night air. I breathed deep. This was why I sat in the same cubicle for ten years. It was this spectacle that had given me hope, given me life.

Greens, blues, even purples danced above me in silent song. Flickered in lazy waves. I held my breath as tears formed and froze. It was more magnificent than I imagined. More breathtaking than all the pictures combined. It sent me into meditative peace. My heartrate calmed. My aching muscles forgot about the trek I had made. Everything centered on the marvel I witnessed.

The colors suddenly shifted. Convulsed and swirled in an organic pattern. A tendril broke away from the rest. Floated towards me. I remained motionless until I couldn’t resist any longer. Hesitating, I reached out a gloved hand. My finger grazed the tendril. Pleasant warmth flooded me, driving away the cold. I jumped back. Not expecting to make contact.

As the tendril snaked away, the form of a woman took shape. She was made of the Northern Lights itself; her hair never left the Lights, and her feet never touched the ground. Her eyes snapped open. Revealing themselves to be twin stars. She turned her gaze upon me. Partially transparent form lambent.

I stumbled back into the snow, landing solidly on my butt. I blinked several times. Couldn’t fill my lungs with enough air. Which had been difficult to begin with in the thin atmosphere.

“Peace, warrior.” Her mellifluous voice kept time with the Lights. “I have waited 1,210 years for you.”

My gaze darted around. Me? I was no warrior. I wasn’t even a weekend warrior. Surely not me. I resided to pointing at myself.

She seemed to nod. “Yes, you. My name is Aurora Borealis.”

Knees shaking, I pushed myself to my feet. Found my voice in my dry mouth. “That’s what we call this. I mean, you, I suppose.”

“Yes. Because that is my name. I have known yours, for you are worthy. You see, I am from the past. I live in the future. Yet, I am aware of the present. I have experienced and waited for this moment for centuries.”

I rubbed my eyes. The Northern Lights had taken the form of a woman, spoke to me, and told me I was worthy? I must’ve passed out after I reached the summit. I checked over my shoulder. I wasn’t lying in the snow, so this wasn’t an out-of-body experience. My gaze returned to the ethereal woman before me. Yes, she was still there.

Her form wavered. “I am real. You will come to belief in time. You always have. However, you must understand. They have killed my brother, Aurora Australis. They seek to destroy me next. You must unravel the mystery that will rewrite history and save us, as well as humanity.”

“What,” I finally blurted. “You want me to be some sort of savior? I barely made it up this mountain. Who’s ‘they?’ How am I worthy of anything? I never even made Employee of the Month. Are you even going to answer any of my questions?”

“Everything will come to fruition. You shall see. Take one of my children as a guide.” She lowered an arm. A star descended, decreasing in size until she captured it in a lantern made of the Lights. She handed her precious child over. “I must go. My faith resides in you. You have always been brave. Do not forget my words.”

With a final pause of affirmation, she retreated back into the sky. The Northern Lights receded. Faded into nothingness. All that remained was darkness. Only for a few moments. The morning sun crept up from the east. Setting the mountains on fire with the reflecting snow.

I stood in dumbstruck silence. Too many questions for my brain to comprehend. I had only wanted to see the Northern Lights. That was the one exciting thing I wanted to do in my life. I didn’t want to be recognized for doing something great. I just wanted to see the phenomenon that had filled my dreams ever since I was a child.

Was that it, then? Had I really been chosen? I finally looked at the flickering lantern. The star twinkled with unknown secrets. My gaze returned to the scenery in front of me. What was I supposed to do?

Before I could think another thought, I was, indeed, transported to the past.

*Author’s Note: Short Story Saturday brings a somewhat short story. I tried sending this to a few online short story publications, and it got denied. I like it the way it is, so instead of changing it, I decided to publish it on my own blog. I just won’t get paid for it. Which is perfectly fine. I don’t write for payment; I write for my own enjoyment. Hopefully, others will enjoy it as well. 


Turn Back Time

If I could turn back time
Would I find a way
To say
Everything I meant to say
If I could rewind the clocks
Would I actually argue
To do
Everything I meant to do
If I could travel into the past
Would I make a decree
To see
Everything I meant to see

But then…
Would I make the choice
To turn back the time
And live the rest of my life
In a state of constant rewind


The Butterfly Dragons

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“I just wish they weren’t so afraid of the camera. It’s the only way I ever get to see them,” Aesilver lamented. She sighed and propped her chin in a hand, rose gold hair settling around her long, pointed ears. Her elbows rested on the wooden railing also supporting her camera, but she jutted her hips enough that her decorative bells jingled.

“What are you even talking about?” Calena tossed her lavender bangs from her face, trying to get a better view of the simulated lush environment. Her dangling earrings clinked in response. “This is a botanical gardens. There are no creatures here. You’ll need to go to the zoo.”

Aesilver threw her head back. “Were you not listening to me at all? It took the hover tram two hours to get here. I was explaining the whole way.”

The other elf shrugged. “I guess I tuned it out. All I want to see is the diamond flower. It’s supposed to be the only living plant left in existence.”

“Mm. It is a pity the humans decimated the plant life. Everything is artificial now. Even the animals can only be found in zoos anymore. But that’s to be expected from a race who only values currency.”

Calena played with her holographic phone. “Don’t knock it. Currency is what keeps us living like the princesses we are. Now shut up and tell me what it is you’re trying to find, so we can go look at the diamond flower.”

“The butterfly dragons!” Aesilver lifted the slender camera to her silver eyes. “Be quiet so they’ll come out.” After a few moments of silence, she gasped. Repeatedly smacked her friend’s arm.

Two dragons, no bigger than a fairy butterfly, flitted about the richly colored flowers. Searching for synthesized nectar. Their dainty bodies were patterned exactly off the insects, and there was nothing fearsome about them. In fact, they were thought to be extinct. But they could occasionally be seen in the botanical gardens by a lucky visitor.

Leaning over the railing, Calena squinted. “I don’t see them.” She swatted away the other’s hand. “Stop hitting me.”

Aesilver held the camera display in front of her. Eager to see her pictures. As she scrolled through, she frowned.

“Oh, no…what?”

“I didn’t get any of them.” Her rose gold lips pouted. “We’ll have to wait until they find the courage to come out again. I don’t know why they didn’t show up in any of the pictures. I had it on rapid capture.”

Calena groaned. She allowed her head to fall onto the railing, lavender braids falling around her porcelain face. “We are going to be here forever!”


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