After dinner, when everyone was settled for the night, he began writing stories he had stashed away in books and nooks and crannies.  He was always surprised to see some story starters he had written.  He called them acorns, little nuts that would grow into large trees.  When he was lucky those acorns would match perfectly the new stories that were taking shape out of his dreams and life. They would blend together and spring full grown, with a little tinkering, into a poem or story. Usually the acorns were the springboard and the new ideas kept the characters and their personalities running true without too many deviations. Thus, he was able to relax and write without stress.

This night was different. The acorn he found was not cooperating. He tried beginning with old ideas and then new ideas but nothing was working.  From computer to pencil and back to computer.  He was blocked. His method of letting ideas fall into place was simply non-existent. What was wrong? What had stopped his thought processes?

There was one thing he wanted to try. He wanted to make a quill.  Searching the house he found nothing that satisfied him. He went outside and looked for a goose feather.  In a short time he found one that was suitable. He sharpened it and dipped it into ink.  He felt a surge of energy. The quill was inspiring him!

He heard a noise outside and went to investigate. Quietly he slipped from the barn to the supply room, one building to the next until he saw a dim light burning.  He peered into the room and was surprised to see all the farm animals in organized rows.  There weren’t many horses or cows so they reluctantly stayed close to each other. The pigs were very smart but lazy with ideas that were only partially thought out.  The chickens and other fowl were continually chattering. It was past their normal sleeping hours and they forgot details.  Why were they there?  Who was in charge?  The animals were getting very noisy and some looked very nervous.

The farmer watched with interest as the groups got organized but there appeared to be no leader. Then, a huge skunk squeezed through a hole in the wall.  He strode to the front of the groups and leaped up on a bag of chicken feed.

“Listen up,” he yelled.  “I want this to be a short meeting and we have many items to consider!”

“I’m the best qualified to run this meeting. Right?” He looked around from group to group.” Who’s with me and who is against me? I want to know that right away. Horses, do you agree?”

The two horses wanted to be left alone but the skunk was forcing them to support him.  “We’re with you.”

“Chickens and other fowl, you are not the kind of power troops we need.  If you are considered worthless you will be moved to cages, tenderized and eaten. Are you with me or against me? Should we eat chicken, pork, or beef?”

The chickens were sweating under the lights and were tired and sleepy.  They were running all over, acting like their heads could be cut off.

The pigs suddenly realized they could be bacon without any friends to back them up.

The cow saw the light. Her calf could be hamburger and she would be doing TV commercials recommending chicken as the preferred meat.

The skunk was glib and persuasive.  All the farm groups soon fell under his spell. He had one more thing to say.  “We will begin our plans tomorrow.  First, we wipe out the dogs. They are our common enemy.  Then we get rid of the cats. Our future depends on your dedication. We will expand our territory and right the wrongs committed against us. Onward, my soldiers.” 

The farmer slipped away from the shed, got on his motorbike and rode across the land warning all who would listen. He used a special code, one honk if the animals are coming by land, two if they come by sea.  He rode through the night and might be riding still.  He left one final message. “Be alert and watch out for the skunk.”


July 8, 2017


Returning Home


Fear & Anticipation
Fear & Anticipation (Photo credit: hartlandmartin)


Returning home


With trepidation I set out across country, driving towards the sunset.  After months of wrestling over what to do, my destination was set, my mind made up, and now I was on my way.  One hour passed and already I was waffling. “What if I can’t do this?  I’m not ready for such an undertaking.  I should wait until my life improves.”


I stopped for coffee and took a few deep breaths.  “I can do this.  One mile at a time, one city at a time, and one day at a time and I’ll be there before my mind rebels again.”


Into the dark forbidding night,


I worried and fretted as I took flight,


Taking charge of a new life direction,


Heading for my faraway destination,


Discovering old fears in life’s seams,


Finding new fears in all my dreams,


Returning to my hometown,


Facing the emptiness deep down,


Nothing before me, everything behind,


As I traveled what would I find?


Mile after mile the night called,


And with morning’s light I was appalled,


Everything was arid as far as I could see,


This was not the place for me,


I had left the forests in my hectic pace,


Now rocks and sand were in my face,


Still I was determined I had the power,


To continue traveling hour after hour,


Yet as I left my old world behind,


I became eager to see what I might find,


All the resources I had at hand,


Became power under my command,


My confidence grew as the miles flew by,


Life was insisting on yet another try,


My fears were gone and my strength reborn,


I was no longer tired and mentally worn,


I decided life wouldn’t be easy but I’d stay the course,


Until I claimed my fortune and then I’d rejoice,


One mile, one day, my world loomed large,


My fears were gone, I was back in charge.










The Coin (Part 6)

Calderilla coin
Image via Wikipedia

takes us in directions,

don’t wish to go,

that is how we gain experience,

is how we grow,

learn to survive hard times,

to accept a loss,

we learn to face the wind,

around us waves toss.

Vanna woke with a start.  What time was it?  What about her job?  Then all the memories rushed in.  There was no time for self pity.  She had to start looking for a job.  Where would she go? Jobs were scarce now that
the economy was floundering.  Did she
even have a chance to find one that she liked?
She lay back against the pillow and her confidence returned.  She would go out and see what she could find.

Vanna dressed quickly but primped to look
her best. For the first time in months she would wear earrings. She selected a
pair and put them on. She patted the coin and murmured “thank you”.  If she only had one chance she wanted it to
be a good one.

She turned from the vanity and remembered, “I
have to have the coin.” She needed the coin.
It made her feel good.  It also
seemed to affect those who were around her.  Where would she keep the coin all day?  She didn’t have pockets in this dress.  Her purse?
What if it got snatched or she left it unattended just for a few
minutes?  She didn’t dare lose it or let
it be taken from her.  She finally
decided to put it inside her bra where it would be close to her heart.  Vanna smiled.  She knew the coin’s vibrations would remind
her all day long that its power would be there if she needed it.

On her way downtown the bus ride was
uneventful.  When the bus stopped at one
of the tallest buildings the coin vibrated and Vanna stepped outside.  She looked up and stared in awe at the impressive
and intimidating building.  Already a steady
stream of suited men and neatly dressed women were entering through the
revolving doors.

to flee rather than enter, Vanna took several deep breaths.  The coin began pulsating and her courage
returned.  She pushed her way through the
doors and walked directly across the room to a directory on the wall.  She studied it carefully trying to decide
what to do next. “Full speed ahead.  Why
are you hesitating?”  She was shocked by
her own thoughts.  She had never been this
bold around those she called the big shots.

A voice startled her.  “Could I help you, young lady?”  A well dressed man in a pin striped suit
approached.  He had a kind face but there
was something vaguely familiar about his mannerisms.

The coin was vibrating and Vanna took that
as a signal that she must react. “Yes, Sir,” she answered.  “I’m on my way to the top.  I want a job where I can see the city.”

He smiled and offered his hand.  “I’m Derek.
I’m on my way to the top floor now.
I’ll be glad to escort you, Miss….?
His voice trailed off as if waiting for her to offer her name.  There was no action from the coin so Vanna
only said, “Thanks. That would be kind of you.”

She felt isolated in this world with only
the coin for protection, and yet, the coin was enough.  A sharp tingle jolted her breast as the coin
began to hum.  The elevator climbed
steadily up.  It did not stop even as
others waited and punched the button for the top floor.  Vanna felt a sudden chill and she could
picture Derek undressing in a dark room.
No, not a dark room.  A dungeon!  Her fury rose within while outside she
remained calm and cool.

Her self-esteem should have been low, but she
surprised herself when she turned and said, “Derek, just what kind of job are
you going to find for me?  I don’t want a
small office.  I want a large office next
to the windows.  I told you I wanted to
see the city and that’s what I expect.”

Derek’s jaw dropped.  This lady was not intimidated by him.  There was a glow in her eyes that scared
him.  He thought he could hear a slight
hum but then again he could have been mistaken.
His knees felt weak and his heart pounded.  “You’re kidding, right?”

Vanna stared at him without blinking.  “Derek, you’ve always stepped on those that
are vulnerable and innocent.  In your
path you’ve left a trail of victims.  You’re
heartless and don’t care about people.  I’ll
give you a chance.  In thirty minutes I
want my requests arranged.  Do you have
any questions?”

Right in front of him this beautiful young
woman had changed into someone he didn’t like. He had been a football star, an
Army Ranger, and a mercenary in several small wars. He could always be counted
on to confront and rout the enemy.  He
had faced fabled lawyers and won, bullied his way up as he raced to the top of
the financial world.  Now he found a
small woman making a bold demand and he could not speak.  For the first time in his life Derek felt

(To be continued)


Terrified of the Dark

Figure 20 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...
Image via Wikipedia

Terrified of the Dark

      There are things that once terrified me. My childhood dreams were sometimes filled with creatures of the night and situations I could not get out of.   In the daylight I was afraid of spiders, bees, heights, tight enclosed spaces, and snakes. There are even more phobias, but I was never afraid of the dark.  I thought everyone was like me in that respect but I soon learned that is not true of all people. Some people are terrified of the dark and of things that darkness contained.  In other words, they were afraid of the dark and things that go bump in the night.

      One evening long ago, a group of young men, which included me, was sitting around bored, waiting for something to happen.  “Do you want to see something really cool?” one of them asked.

       We looked at him with interest.  “My grandmother has this old house and it is really interesting.”  He gestured with his hands.  “It’s big, has not been touched for years and it’s really creepy. It’s been in the family and there are things that I cannot even describe. I know it’s getting dark but we’ll bring flashlights.  If you’re scared you don’t have to go.”

       Not only were we bored with doing nothing, but now he had thrown down the gauntlet.  It was a dare we could not refuse and still save face with the others.

      A few miles away and an hour later, it was dark.  The group was led single file into a dilapidated old house covered almost entirely with ivy.  Our escorts walked ahead of and behind us, careful to light the way with their flashlights.  We went from room to room, getting deeper into the house.  Suddenly, our escorts disappeared along with their lights and we were left stranded.    

      There was not a sliver of light.  We did not communicate, being careful not to be first to break ranks or show any hint of being afraid. I backed up until I reached a wall, trying to get my bearings and to gain composure.   In the silence, we were left with only our heartbeats.  What seemed to be agonizing hours was in reality just a few minutes. 

      “Whoosh, whoosh!”  Something broke the silence and continued in a broken pattern.  “Whoosh, whoosh!” The sound seemed to be getting faster and more desperate but not closer.  I clung to the wall trying to fathom the source.  “Whoosh, whoosh!”       

           Two flashlights broke the darkness and two laughing young men stepped into the room, to be greeted by an amazing spectacle.   In the middle of the room, grasping a two by four, was one of our friends.  He swung wildly to keep all things away.  If any of us had opted to step forward, it would have been tragic.  Our friend’s terror had taken control and he was no longer one of us.  His phobia was greater than his reason.   It took a while, but he gradually calmed down…at least from the terror.  Then came the anger and no amount of apologies could make him forget.

      I realized that my normal reaction to darkness was different from his.  It stirred a basic survival instinct in my friend. His reasoning abilities changed and for the moment he became someone different.    

     We grow out of most of our fears but rarely all of them. Because of that experience in the dark I learned one thing that I often share with others.   You respond with fear when danger is near.  It’s a basic emotion. Some of us may only have mild reactions while the fears are intense for others.  How we respond shows how prepared we are to deal with it.


Carnival of Souls
Image via Wikipedia


The oldest and strongest emotion is fear,

So I’ll release any phobia and not hold it dear,

I cringe when I think of letting fear run loose,

Stirring up trouble with adrenaline’s juice,

I know love makes the world go round,

While anxiety shuts those feelings down,

Love opens windows so the sun can shine,

Fear brings little deaths that kill the mind,

Hope brings a sparkle to weary eyes,

Fear douses dreams with untold lies,

Caution could keep me from places I could go,

Keeping me from trying what I know,

My sensitive heart has fears as well,

Letting phobias within it dwell,

For fears enter dreams and claim the throne,

Gliding in silently when confidence is gone,

Jealousy and distrust also climb aboard,

Wrecking havoc with love and cutting the cord,

Sweaty palms and a racing heart set the stage,

My fears overcome me, slowing creativity on every page,

Howling and snapping, fear continues to grow,

Until confronted, stared down, and commanded to go,

Apprehension is hesitant on life’s long ride,

And runs when courage stands by my side,

I may risk it all and not complete a task,

But I’ll try my best, that’s all I’ll ask,

With courage running over I’ll free my mind,

And leave fears in the dust, far behind,

My future is unveiled for me to see,

No web of fear to hinder me,

I’ll step forward and let nothing block my way,

Facing the world bravely, day by day.

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