I remember the night Creme gave birth so well. I had been checking on her all day. I kept pacing the barnyard, kicking the dirt floor. It was Creme's first time giving birth and I was nervous. I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could stop worrying.
At 7:30 p.m. her waterbag broke and she wasn't progressing. If a birth is going well, a lamb presents with front legs and head forward and is born shortly afterward. This lamb's nose appeared with its tongue hanging out. The legs were pulled back which made the shoulders block the cervix.
I had been waiting for this day a long time. I had decided I wanted to assist. The long plastic glove crackled as I put it on my right hand. My dad squirted a blue lubricant known as "Superlube" onto the glove. Shakily and slowly, I inched forward and knelt to put my hand into Creme's birth canal. It felt like lava, so hot and wet. I could feel the lamb's head and chin. I was so anxious, my eyes were stinging. I could see the lamb's tongue was starting to turn blue and knew the situation was becoming very serious. I asked my dad to take over because he has been assisting ewes give birth for many years. My mom held Creme as my dad put on a glove and lube and reached in. Dad hooked one leg and brought it forward, thinking it would be enough to pull the lamb out, but the lamb was really stuck. The shoulders were too broad. Read more »
A light drizzle falls as a bird sings softly
People in black walk the streets slowly dragging their feet
Their eyes heavy and downcast
Shoes make hollow sounds on the cobblestones
They enter an empty church
where the statues sing to the dead
A sanctuary that saved hundreds
Tears flow into a river
soldiers returning from war disfigured and crazed
adults and children lying on their deathbeds slowly fading away
the continuous sound of hammering as coffins are made every day
No one has been in the church for years
Cobwebs fill the corners
A ray of sunlight illuminates
piling on windowsills
The music I was listening to was Symphony no.3, II Lento E Largo -Tranquillissimo by Henryk Gorecki
My cell phone is broken.... And those cost A LOT!
I can't text or email or play games or look at YouTube videos
or take pictures of my friends, or... or ANYTHING
Nothing to do all day
But maybe mom and dad are right.....
no they can't be... NEVER! but.... just maybe?
Maybe it is better to INTERACT and TALK
instead of being wrapped up in my little device world
Maybe I should go outside
hear a bird chirp and sing its melodic tune, and watch as it flies away
smell the spring flowers that are in bloom
maybe I will see the whole world Differently
I dislike cleaning up after the dogs (it's disgusting!) BUT anything to make a better environment!
I dislike it when our ewes have difficult births. It makes me worry and they can become very sick.
I dislike loud drummers, sometimes they are OVER THE TOP!
I dislike math, I guess it's not my "thing."
I dislike bad things always being on the news instead of positive stories.
Mushrooms are squishy and gross.
In my opinion, Britney Spears is not a talented singer.
Snakes just creep me out.
I dislike friends being late. I like to be on time.
I don't like when friends text instead of interacting.
I can't think
I feel like my brain is closed off
thoughts knocking at a door that won't open
a door that leads to my imagination
that leads to my pencil on paper
I try hard but that seems to make it worse
N O T H I N G
A blank sheet of paper
a place with no thoughts
a neighborhood with no houses
I try to grasp an idea that is too quick
and it wriggles away like a fish
fighting for its life
I try to chase after it, but it disappears
I try to find just one little spark
just one little thing to make my pencil fly
I can't think
It was a cold December morning. Our ewe, Miney, was about to give birth. For the last five months she had been getting ready for this day. She was agitated, laying down and getting up. Suddenly, a clear sack appeared at her back end. It came out slowly and burst on the floor. Miney turned around and started licking the steaming fluid (this is what ewes do before giving birth -they can smell their lambs) and cooing to her lamb. Read more »
The trees whisper to each other as a small, dull, red leaf swirls gracefully to the brown and dusty forest floor
The brook cries softly with tears clean and pure
The trees talk to each other with a mysterious rustling of leaves and swaying of branches
The grass sings lightly and gently in a hushed voice
The leaves crinkle and hiss in strange storytelling ways
This is the funniest story I've ever heard...
When my dad was younger he loved superheroes. He couldn't think about anything else. In kindergarten he would drift off into superhero land where everyone was a superhero and he was Superman.
One Saturday morning, he walked into the bathroom to brush his teeth. He kept eyeing the curtains that came down to the floor. Before he could think any further, his dad called to him and told him to get on his clothes so they could go to his uncle's.
Later that day, my dad thought he could fulfill his dreams of flying by carrying out his plan. He climbed up on a small wooden stool and tied the long curtains securely around his waist. He took a deep breath and jumped. For a second he swung wildly through the air. The next moment he was lying face down on the floor and felt a great whack on his back. He heard footsteps and his dad threw open the door.
“WHAT ON EARTH?!”
“Sorry,” my dad mumbled, ashamed of himself. As a punishment he received a smack with a slipper and a nice little chat about ripping the curtain rod out of the wall.
And that is why my dad was never interested in superheroes again.
I opened the creaky barn door. The windows were shattered. The air was thick wth dirt and dust. I coughed and looked around. Five ribbons hung on a wall in an old stall that still had hay in it. Mice scurried noisily along the dirt floor.
I looked at all the old shovels, hay, ribbons, pictures, and wondered who had been here. I could smell the leather of the saddles. I could hear the horses munching on their dry, crunchy hay. I could hear sheep crying in their long, loud voices. I could hear hay being thrown down from the loft, the pshhhhing sound of it landing on the ground. I saw a ewe pushing a lamb out onto a pile of straw and watched as it slowly and shakily got up. I watched a mare in pain, drawing slow, deep breaths until she was gone. I noticed children who used to live here, running around wildly in the empty stalls. I saw their mother miliking a cow, her long brown hair pinned up in a bun, her grey dress cut above her ankles. I saw her husband in his tall black boots, plaid shirt, and blue jeans, shoveling manure. I saw their dog gazing down from the hayloft into a warm, spring day.
I discovered a world forgotten and abandoned and felt the memories that came to life through my imagination.
At the top of tomorrow waits the world
Where the edge of silver is the moon
And the hiding place of rain shivers underneath God's mantle
When you toss sadness to the wind, it returns as an unbreakable dream
When you turn hope on high, you'll see yourself as a different person
If you jump into the present, you'll land on eternity
Where the shape of the past fits inside a jeweled box
I chose to interview my friend Jean Luc Dushime. He escaped the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
This is the story he told me:
He was walking through the woods in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with his family. It was midnight and they were escaping by moonlight. They were hungry and exhausted. Suddenly, they came upon a "fluorescent" forest. Everything was glowing from the ground to the tops of the trees. Read more »
I was walking along the beach on Cape Cod when I noticed a blue glass bottle that had just washed up on the sand. I picked it up and saw a note inside. I tried to pull it out but it was at the bottom of the bottle. I stared at it and got an idea. I brought the bottle up on the porch of our house and dropped it. It didn't break. I looked around, grabbed a stick and poked around inside the bottle. I used it to drag the note up the side. I unfolded the note and read it. It said:
2 cups of saltwater
3 tablespoons of sand
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
Well, that's weird, I thought. Maybe it's a good recipe? I ran down to the beach, got the sand and and dumped it in a bowl. I ran to get some ocean water and then I went inside. My sister (still half asleep) stomped down the stairs.
"What on earth are you doing?" she snapped.
"Making something," I replied.
She glared at me and went back upstairs. I put the sugar in and stirred. Then I poured the revolting mixture down my throat. It tasted like seaweed and dead fish. My insides churned like boiling lava. I closed my eyes and threw up all over the stove. I gasped. Read more »
I like dancing to Indian and modern music and moving to the rhythm of the beat.
I like spending time with my family, being together, doing art projects, playing games, and taking care of our animals.
I like singing outside in the field behind my house (where no one can hear me). I sing for hours in the summer and watch the sun until it moves behind the trees.
I like the taste of chocolate melting on my tongue, the flavor lasting only a few seconds.
I like (and love) my birthday, getting older, earning more privileges, getting taller than my parents, and eating cake.
I like challenges and accomplishing hard things: entering writing and art contests, writing a novel, public speaking.
I like drawing, letting my pencil flow around the paper like a bird flying.
I like winter (when it's not freezing) and the soft fluffy snow on the ground.
I like being with my friends and doing fun things with them.
That day I felt like I wanted to have time alone and needed to be away from home. I wandered absentmindedly down the road and drifted into the woods. I entered a circle of trees and sat on a small stump covered in white. The ground was frozen and blanketed with shining powder. Branches rose up and formed a dome like a cathedral. Logs made rows of benches. The sun shone between the trees, its light became the scenes from stained glass windows. I turned and looked at the stories of angels and gods and wondered for the first time, if all those myths were true. I sat in silence that seemed to last forever.
A cold breeze touched my neck, giving me the feeling someone was there. I slowly got up and walked toward the altar. I stepped onto the velvet carpet and looked up at the statues that towered above me. The rays of the sun were sinking behind the trees. I realized I had been there a long time. Reluctantly, I said goodbye to this wondrous place and made a promise to return.
I wake. A bright light glides toward me. Not a shape but a sparkling shimmer. I feel drawn to it. I quietly slip out of bed as the light slides through the door to the outside. I look down –my body is transparent! I try gliding and slowly move through the door.
It's dark outside. I follow the light, slowly moving into the woods. The air is thick with fog. Unexpectedly, the mist clears. A figure moves toward the trees. The moon washes over the shadow that disappears into the stillness. The woods seem cold and unwelcoming.
I move into the woods and see a sharp image in front of me. Three people are huddled, sleeping and shivering with cold. The shimmering light beckons me to the edge of the woods. I watch many people lying on hard cobblestones of old streets and realize for the first time how horrible poverty and hunger are.
I see the lives of others who aren't fortunate like I am: to be loved, to have a home, to not be hungry. The light dims. I see a small boy crying near a river. The boy doesn't move, just sits there. I feel sorrow and the bitterness of life and how loss is so much harder than I ever imagined. Read more »
"So, Mr. Jackson," my teacher barked at me. "Why haven't you been at school for the past two weeks?"
"Well, I'm really sorry," I started. "I was walking to school when I was kidnapped by a skeleton riding a motorcycle. It took me to California where I was forced to eat thirteen gallons of perfume flavored ice cream on the beach. When I finished the ice cream, I ran to a bus station and the station manager dragged me to a clothing store (which was awesome). I bought a pair of jeans with pictures of leprechauns on them. I was prancing around San Diego when I noticed the most wonderful free flight to New York City. I was desperate to get back home (and, more importantly, school). When I got on the plane there were no seats. I sat on top of the plane all the way to Kansas. I was dancing to pass the time, lost my balance, fell, and landed in Kansas City. I hitchhiked to Frankfort, Kentucky where I got a free lift from a pilot who flew me to Hershey, Pennsylvania. From there I ran as fast as I could to New York City. When I got home my mom screamed at me for seven hours straight about how I shouldn't run away from home. I tried to explain, but she wouldn't hear it."
"Uh huh," my teacher hissed, sarcastically. "I don't buy it. I think I need to call..."
I never heard who Mr. Smith was calling because I turned into a cheetah, ran out the door and never stopped until I reached Australia.
A gray sky
neither dark nor light
Snow piling in drifts
seemingly soft puffs
branches of trees
I trudge down a deserted
parties of snowflakes
and walk into
an abandoned garden
covered in white gowns
Fiery red cardinals
startled by my presence
fly into nearby trees
flakes of snow
long gone by
as darkness approaches
and think of
and the taste of
I stood at the window watching the red tail lights disappear.
The word pierced me.
Alone again like a wound reopening. I turned and heard the dark house whispering. I listened as the chandelier clinked and swayed, knowing that I was on my own in the haunting world…
I watched as cars came and went in the stillness of the night. I fixed my eyes on a shape lying on the road. I knew I was one of "them" now.
Alone in a world of sadness.
Mist swirled and formed shapes of others who had lost their lives. I stood in the center of the room, rooted to the spot, watching for hours, lost in memories.
Flooded with grief.
Never to be seen again.
I feel leaping heart-beating joy
As I fly through the brilliant blue sky
Dancing and twisting up and gliding
The beating in my chest is a feeling of pure ecstasy and happiness
I spiral up and down and hug the clouds
As my heart does another flip
I float over
The grassy plains
And watch birds soaring, singing melodic radiant songs
A bluebird drifts past me, the sky carried on its back
I am part of the sky
I see an open field and swoop down, landing softly
I let out a long, deep breath and inhale the wonderful smell of summer
I look back at the setting sun
And feel the stilness as the shimmering ball of light slips away behind
"Wait! Stop!" she shouts.
I am scared. What had he done? I stand in the cold wind watching my breath form small wispy clouds. I hear a distant scream and run quickly, trying not to slip on the icy sidewalk.
"Oh! Ahhh! Help!!
I shiver and feel a heaviness in the pit of my stomach. What is happening?
"No!" Silence. Then yells. I lean on the building trying to think this over. Chasing...screaming...was it a fight? I feel terrified. Do I really want to find out what this is? No! my brain shouts. Yes! my heart says, beating so loud, it feels like it's trying to leap out of my chest. I am horrified...worried...guilty. I should never have left home without telling someone.
I run back the way I came. I knock on a door loudly. A young man opens it.
"Eexxxcuuuse m-m-me," I stammer. "I saw...I heard..." How do I explain this, I wonder desperately.
"I'm sorry...goodbye," snaps the man as he slams the door.
I stand there, then run to the next house hoping someone will help.
I stepped onto the elevator and pressed floor 275. At floor 56, the elevator stopped and two beautiful foxes strutted on. Waaaiit, foxes...?
"G"day boy, said one plump, female fox.
"What's up?" asked the other, his stomach growling loudly.
"Um...hi," i said.
"WHAT'S UP?!" Mr. Fox barked again.
"The... sky," I said quietly.
"Hmph! Looks like 'No Speak to Foxyosis' to me," said the female fox.
"No, it's not, he's just scared, aren't you boy? By the way, do you know of any good restaurants in this place?"
"It's always about you, isn't it?" sniffed Mrs. Fox waspishly.
Then the foxes started screaming at each other. The door opened and they ran out, still fighting. I heard a distant yelp.
I whirled around expecting to see a teenage girl. Instead, I saw a teenage chicken.
"Hi! I'm Ruby, Do you like doughnuts? Have you ever laid an egg? I have a crush on Justa Beaver. My favorite celebrity is Chicky Minaj. We're the same age. I'm Ruby, did I mention that? I have two enemies, Kenny and Dexi. They carry pepper spray and chicken pox...."
"Oh, that's cool," I said in a monotone voice. "By the way, did you know that there are foxes in the building?"
"HELP! NO! Oh no!" Ruby squawked and hit the control panel. The doors opened and she flapped away.
"Helllloooo!" said a ...LION! I fought the urge to run.
"Know any decent restaurants here?" asked the lion, "Cuz I haven't eaten in like, for ev er." Read more »
I walk through the woods listening to the joyful bird sounds, not thinking about anything really -just letting my thoughts wander to the sky. I come out of the forest into a large, grassy meadow and that's when I see it. The brown and white animal lying on its side in the grass. Slowly and quietly I tiptoe closer. I gasp. A brown deer with a stomach as white as a blanket of snow lies there heaving and snorting. It's not only the deer itself that is amazing, it is what I am witnessing. A clear bag of water is erupting from the doe's back end. The bag breaks, the deer gives one last push and a small. dark, wet, bloody sac slides out onto the soft green grass. The doe stands up, licking off her newborn fawn. I watch, mesmerized by the shock, joy, impossibieness and magnificence of it. The young fawn lets out a cry almost as small as a hummingbird's chirp and tries to stand up, but falls. It tries again. After many tries, the baby walks slowly and shakily toward its mother's back legs, searching for nourishment. Finally, it grabs a teat. The mother stands quitely and patiently nursing her young fawn. Read more »