Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Walk Away


I see that you are ready
 Backpack on
 Water-bottle filled
 Compass clipped to your belt loop

That look in your eyes
    That believes the world is yours to conquer
No fear
No regrets
Only anticipating the glory of the climb

You are ready to walk away

But here is a map
You don’t think you need it, I know
 The path is clearly marked
    Signs posted
        Lookout areas clear
            Some even have benches so you can rest
But the path is always changing
And I have circled areas that are worth leaving the path for

I know you want to do this alone
That you are ready to walk away

I know
I’ve done this climb
I’ve got the scars to prove it

Even though the path is only wide enough for one
You don’t have to climb alone
I’ll conquer this mountain again
  To be there to help as the gravel moves under your foot
    Your hands bracing your fall
    Feeling the pain as the pebbles dig into your palms
    Maybe even drawing blood
I will be there to make sure you don’t slip down the path
    Having to cover the steps again
        Because sometimes the tricky spots
        Keep making us stumble 
Over
And
                       Over
And
Over
Simply because we are alone

The view from the top is beautiful
But somehow more magical when you share it
Be it with one or twenty people

I know you want to walk away
    That your youth craves the adventure
    That I would slow you down
        For my legs are tired from all the treks I’ve traveled
    But there are lookouts
        Where I can rest while you adventure off the path
        Finding your own adventures

But always together
    We can climb
    And share the view
        And the pride of conquering this mountain

Because there will come a time when my legs won’t carry me
When you will even need to rest
    On a bench to watch your own son
        Walk away...
   

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Alone

The following story is from my 12 year-old daughter. She gave me permission to share this story. What do you think? 

Alone 

    The wind sighed as it blew gently, rattling the branches of the leafless trees.  It was in late September, a warm but cloudy Friday in Hastings, Nebraska.  Wrinkled and dull-colored leaves danced as the wind gingerly carried them, and the brown and lifeless grass wavered in the breeze.  

    But none of this was any significance to a young, six year-old girl, whose name was Emma.  She stared straight ahead as she slowly walked to Heartwell Park,  which had been her favorite since she could remember.  When she arrived at the entrance, she looked to her right. “Come on Lily. Maybe some ducks will be out today.” Then she glanced behind her, ”Keep up Elizabeth! You don’t wanna lose us!”

    Then she entered the park, walking past the playground equipment; the merry-go-round, slides, and the monkey bars.  As well as some desolate picnic pavilions.  No one was at the park except the trio, but it was still early in the afternoon. Plus, it was cloudy despite it being warm. But that didn’t bother Emma, actually, it made it better.  

“Hmmmm, it looks like the ducks don’t want to visit us today, Lily!” Emma stated as she studied the empty and still water.  She turned her head and saw the swing set.” Hey! I have an idea! Let’s go to the swings! Race you there Lily!”

Emma then ran as fast as she could to the swings. “Ha! I win!” She yelled out triumphantly when she reached a swing, panting slightly.   When Lily didn’t say anything, Emma decided to comfort her. “Hey, it’s okay. I’m sure you will beat me next time.”

Satisfied, she then hopped up onto the swing.”You don’t need to push us Lizzie.” Emma said to her babysitter,” See? I can push myself.” She pushed at the ground as hard as she could to swing.  But to her disappointment, she didn’t get very high. ‘All well,’ She thought,’ I didn’t want to get high anyways.’

She turned her head to face Lily who was on the swing next to her. She opened her mouth and was just about to say something when she heard a ‘meow’ coming from near her feet.  Emma peered down and was surprised and pleased to find a black and white cat sitting next to her swing.  “Oh, hi Henry!”

Henry meowed again in reply.  “Yeah, it is nice out today!” Emma returned.  She swiveled her head to her right.”What Lily? Oh, no, my parents don’t know that I am here.  But we have Lizzie with us! I think we will be alright.”

She chattered to her friend for a bit, occasionally switching every once and awhile to chat with her babysitter or Henry.  They didn’t reply much, but Emma didn’t notice or really care.  

After running out of things to say, Emma simply gazed straight ahead, her mind floating off into the clouds, knowing that her friends wouldn’t mind her silence.  Something was nagging the back of her mind, but Emma ignored it, desperate to keep the thought out of her mind.  

Hearing a car screech to her left, Emma jerked her head just in time to see a car screech to a stop, but too late.  It slammed into an opossum, and Emma could see without a doubt the opossum was killed.  Emma blinked rapidly, helpless to control her mind as it forced her back into a memory Emma never wanted to think about again.


“Come on Lily!” Emma giggled as she skipped down the sidewalk.  She grinned at the sound of laughter from behind her.

“Wait up Emma!” Lily yelled back as she ran to her best friend.  The two girls laughed when they caught up with each other.  Lily was a young six year girl, with snow blonde hair and blue eyes.

“Wait girls! Let me catch up.” Groaned Elizabeth, their babysitter.  Elizabeth was a sixteen year old, with dirty blonde hair and green eyes. She ran up to them, and the trio all walked in a steady pace.  

All the sudden, something black darted in front of them. “Woah!” Lily yelped as she nearly stepped on the thing.

“Oooh, look! It’s Henry!” Emma said excitedly, bending down to pet the cat.  Henry meowed a greeting and rubbed his head against her hand.  Henry was mainly a black cat, but had a white muzzle and chest.  He also had beautiful blue-green eyes.  However, Henry was a stray.  But one day, on the first time the girls met Henry, they petted and fed him a treat.  And ever since then, the cat followed them around.

“Hey Henry!” Lily cooed as she rubbed the cat’s back.  The girls snickered again when they heard the cat purr.

“Huh, he just seems to keep finding us wherever we go, doesn’t he?” Elizabeth observed, also bending down to pet the cat.

“Maybe he’s magic.” Emma whispered to Lily, causing her to giggle.

“Yeah, maybe he is a magic cat.” Lily whispered back.  Once they were done petting Henry, the girls set off again, now joined by their small, black companion.  They were all talking and laughing when Henry suddenly darted onto the road to investigate a dead bird, who looked like it had been ran over.

“Eeewww, Henry! Don’t eat that!’ The girls grimaced in disgust.  Then a car, who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, zoomed down the street.  Henry jerked his head up, but froze.  

“HENRY!” Lily screamed and darted out onto the road in hopes of saving the cat.

“No Lily! DON’T!” Elizabeth shouted and and ran after her.

Then came the worst moment of Emma’s life.

“NO!” Emma screamed as the car collided into them. “NOOOO!”

*Thunk*

*Scream*

*Crack*

‘The car didn’t even stop,’ Emma thought distantly,’ It didn’t even stop.’

Emma stared in horror at the corpses now lying on the road, blood pooling around them.  Elizabeth’s legs looked crushed after a tire ran over them.  Emma thought she could see something white around her rib area.  Lily’s head was bent at an awkward angle. Her head had a bloody gash.

‘Get up! Get. Up!’ But they didn’t.  And they never would again.

Emma felt numb, unaware that she was still screaming.   Tears were rushing down her face, soaking her cheeks.  She wanted to run to them, see if they were alive, but her feet were rooted to the ground.  She felt like she couldn’t breathe.

‘This can not be happening! This can NOT be happening!’ Emma screamed in her mind.

“NOOOOOOO!”

    Emma gasped sharply, her mind finally allowing her to leave.  Her pants were sharp and short, panic and horror flaring in her chest.  “ No, No.” She choked, tears dripping down her cheeks. “Please no.”

    She whirled her head around, desperate to find someone, anyone, there.  But nobody was.  Henry was not by her feet.  Elizabeth was nowhere to be found.  And Lily had disappeared by her side.


    They were gone.  

    Dead.

    Emma hiccuped and wiped her cheeks, unsuccessfully trying to clear away her tears.  She looked up at the sky.  ‘Why? Why did they leave?’

    Emma slid off the swing and stood still for several minutes, staring at the ground, watching as tears fell from her chin.  She sniffed before shuffling her feet forward, slowly making her way back to the entrance of the park.

    Alone.

    Behind her, the swing that she had previously sat on, was still gently swinging.  After a couple of moments, the swing next to it also began to sway.

    Back and forth.

    Back and forth.

    Slowly getting higher.  

    As if someone was sitting on it and someone else was pushing it.

 
                                                                   FIN

Please leave any feedback for my daughter in the comment section, thank you from both of us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Google Maps

Flying from Lincoln
To Denver
To Phoenix
To Portland

I sat in a window seat
And watched the world go by

It looks nothing like Google maps.

I watched farm land
Rise to mountains
That fell into desert that bled
Into grey rainy weather

But I never saw a bright red line that indicated a state line
Or a small black one to show a county
Or a dotted line for a new time zone

No,
I watched rivers snake across the land,
I watched straighter roads do the same
 At times I could see the vehicles
 Rush with the tide

But instead of division lines
I connected every city
Every town
Every farm house
With the roads that cut across the surface of this country
It would take time,
 But I could walk out my door and see anyone

I found it interesting how easy we are all connected with the things we make
 Roads
 Phones
 Airplane Seats
Yet, the person next to me has nothing to say
 Earbuds are in the way

From 40000 feet
This life doesn't look anything like
Google Maps.