Shooting For Normal

It was a rough day.

Six people had called in sick at work, four of my classes had their finals today, my car broke down, and now?

Now I have to do dishes.

And fix the broken lamp that my cat knocked over.

Great.

Sighing, I get out the broom and dustpan, ready to give in. Throw it all away.

And, in that small moment of weakness, I say it.

I say it.

“Okay Dad, you can come take me away any time now.”

It was a joke. One-hundred percent, I was joking.

But, wouldn’t you know it—

That’s sayings got some truth to it.

Speak of the devil.

Right? Continue reading “Shooting For Normal”

Wolf Hound

Silently, I watched my father’s hound rush off. Bouncing through the grass to get the goose. Giddy. Proud to make his master happy.

“Why don’t you make yourself useful and collect the geese Holt?” my brother asked, not an ounce of venom in his tone. “You’d be faster than Finn.”

My dad hit him lightly. Smacking him gently with the butt of his rifle as the words floated and sank, digging into the earth.

“Don’t say things like that to your brother. He’s a werewolf, not a dog. It’s a legitimate condition,” Dad snarled.

My brother didn’t mean anything by it. Not at all. It was a suggestion made by a young mind. Someone who doesn’t quite understand.

But…

Still.

I think about it all the time. Continue reading “Wolf Hound”

The Stellar Path

“How can you be sure that that’s the right path?”

When she asks, her eyes are focused far off. Lingering in the dark. Clinging to the blank spots in space that neither of us can see into. That neither of us—her, with her newfound knowledge, and me, with my vast experiences—can see into.

We are blind out there in those places.

Tucked between the stars.

The darkness that those places are purveying.

But not winning.

Not if you don’t want it to.

That’s what I can see in her eyes as she looks. Not curiosity. Not wonder.

Fear.

I shake my head at her. Already, she has made a critical error.

You don’t look between the stars for knowledge.

You look there for guidance. Continue reading “The Stellar Path”

This Valley

I remember being on the mountain. Seeing the hills below. The way they rolled on, coated with trees. Grass peeking out beneath the trellises of tickling winds. The way everything seemed serene down there. Peaceful. Calm.

I remember being on the mountain with you standing next to me. Proud to show me the view below. You weren’t like the other one. That one was proud because he thought it was better up here. Thought the snow and wind and height gave him something. And, to an extent, he wasn’t wrong.

But.

Unlike you, he didn’t understand what it was the mountain was giving him.

What it was that made this place so special. So glorious. He didn’t understand.

The mountain gave him nothing but a view.

The world, as it is. As it was.

And down there, watching the people move their flocks in the valley, it gave him the greatest gift of all.

A picture of what will be. Continue reading “This Valley”

Changeling

Nothing is ever as it seems.

That’s a given.

Gather all the evidence you can, all the data, before treating a problem. Before you start to try to get rid of the problem, make sure you’re pulling at the root, and not just masking the problem. Because if the weed isn’t pulled up by the root, then it comes back.

Usually, with a vengeance.

And I’m not just talking about gardening or lawn maintenance.

I’m talking about pest control.

Continue reading “Changeling”

Secrets For Secrets

It was my father’s. And it was his father’s. And it was that man—the man that fathered my father’s father—it was his, too.

Never step foot inside.

Never peak through the window.

Never light the hearth fire.

It calls and it comes. It sleeps and it wakes. It watches.

And it waits.

Waits for the one who will break the rules.

What is it? I remember asking my father that over and over again as we stared at the house. As I gazed on the rotting boards and the crumpling paint. As I watched its shuttered eyes wink at me.

And he told me it was a secret. A secret that no one could know.

I wonder…

How far should you go for a secret?

Or, is it more important to ask:

How far are you willing to go for a secret? Continue reading “Secrets For Secrets”

What I Learned From The Wilderness

The rain is a pattern. A beat. It drums endlessly, shuffling from leaf to leaf, from branch to branch until, finally, it hits the ground. It moves, and it shifts and it desperately reaches for something solid to land on.

The ground soaks it in, this melancholy soundtrack.

Eats it up. Adores it.

And who could blame it?

How could you not love something that falls so far for you? That reaches down from the heavens, just to crash into the ground below? Just to have a small, tiny chance to shower you?

The rain is cold, and wet, and sometimes its unwanted.

But it’s beautiful.

In the wilderness, it’s a love song. One that I can’t help but appreciate. That I can’t help but sing along to.

Thirty years in the wilderness, and still.

I find it beautiful.

And still.

I find myself.

In this mist, and under these branches, and in this downpour, I find myself.

I find my way. Continue reading “What I Learned From The Wilderness”

Selfless Instinct

Endure.

The sound blasts through the sky. It makes the birds stop and blocks out the sound of any semblance of sense. Those in the immediate area lose it, while those far enough away run for their lives. Uncertainty fills the air.

Endure.

It’s a command.

It doesn’t come from above, nor does it come from below. It’s a call. A demand. Something that can’t be ignored because it isn’t a phone ringing, and it isn’t a dog singing. It’s not loud, and it’s not soft. It is what it is.

It comes from within.

Endure.

So I do.

I take my cues from myself, and I turn, and I run.

I endure. Continue reading “Selfless Instinct”

I Lived

The pain was pretty bad.

No.

It was horrible. Terrible.

Excruciating.

Like sucking shards of glass into my veins. Like my whole body was floating in lava. Like someone was replacing my air with rubbing alcohol.

It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.

And still.

It wasn’t over. Continue reading “I Lived”

Perfection is Overrated

It was bright.

And I could hear him. See him. Almost as if he were right there, floating in front of me.

That was how I knew I’d failed.

He was staring at me—right into my eyes. And I was staring back. I could feel the tears well up, the pressure building in my sockets. The way it tightened my throat.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Everything,” I croaked. My voice tiny, small. Much smaller than I remember it being.

Ah.

This was that day.

Figures.

Of all the things I’d see in my last moments, it would be this.

It would be this. Continue reading “Perfection is Overrated”