E.M.’s RWP- Discovery at Dusk

Today’s Random Word is: zipline

It was dusk and Gloria’s first camping experience was about to get ‘real’.
As I sat beside the campfire, the last pink wisps of light slipped beyond the distant hills. Gloria had been a ‘good sport’ all day. She’d helped carry firewood from the neatly stacked pile even though I warned her to watch for snakes beneath the tarp before she reached in. After a shudder, she asked me to look first and trusted my “all clear” prompt enough to help. Everything I took for granted she found foreign and frightening, yet she persevered.
The evening was warm, and still, so mosquitos lifted from the damp woods on either side of our open area. After lathering herself with bug repellent and dressing up in sweats, boots, and a broadbrimmed hat, Gloria plopped into the folding chair beside me.
She grinned as I handed her a coffee, “This isn’t so bad. I think I could get used to this ‘nature stuff’.”
Out of nowhere, several shadows dipped through the clearing as if on a zipline from one side to the other. Gloria froze until one came close enough to knock off her hat!
The screech she released must have been heard in the next county. Then she rose waving her arms, spilling her coffee in her lap and raced for the tent.
“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!”, she howled from her ‘bunker’.
With coffee spilling from my nose because of my unrestrainable laughter, I could only squeak, “A bat.”
“A bat?! Those things are DANGEROUS! I’ll get rabies then you won’t be laughing!”
Once I was able to compose myself. I crawled into the tent and explained a few things about the truth of bats. I told her that they were just feeding on the bugs and were expert flyers. That they weren’t attacking her, and she wouldn’t get rabies.
It took a while, but Gloria came back to the campfire. She sat slumped (trying not to be a target) and watched the fine aerobatics of the bats with her mouth agape.
After we returned from our adventure, Gloria researched bats and became an advocate for them telling anyone who’d listen about them.
She started our trip as a ‘good sport’ and ended it as a ‘Good Samaritan’.


Here’s more on bats. They’re terribly misunderstood and fascinating, helpful, creatures.
https://blog.nwf.org/2013/10/10-reasons-you-should-love-bats/

https://emkingston.wordpress.com/2022/04/18/e-m-s-rwp-138-zipline/

Random Word Story #38: Taproots In One Place

broad
sneaky
old
shocking
observe
tree
spell
{ Wicahpi is pronounced Wick-ah-pie}

Wicahpi needed to rest. She sat down harder than she’d intended on a newly toppled tree almost spilling her basket of apples. This last uphill patch to her cottage was always the toughest.
“Oh, that wouldn’t have made me happy, now.” She whispered through he teeth.
She directly addressed the apples next. “You’d make me chase you all back to the bottom. Wouldn’t you, now?”.
Her waist length gray braid swept the ground as she bent forward to steady her precious bounty. She fingered the pencil thin tip of it as her eyes followed the last section of path leading home. Once upon a time, many young men made repeated climbs up that trail to try to sweep her away from the mountain. None were successful. Wicahpi had lived alone for forty-five years and liked it.

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Her deep brown eyes had dimmed a bit, yet, she had those same fine features of the once beautiful woman who’d broken so many hearts. They’ve just been a bit harder to make out, these days, beneath a weathered ninety years of exposure to the outdoors.
Wicahpi squinted as she scanned the canopy of the hardwood forest. It was getting late. A sudden breeze rattled the dying leaves of early autumn trying to shake them loose.
Her thoughts sharply turned to the vixen she hoped to observe again at dusk. Her new friend had come out along the broad stone wall for the last three evenings. They had created an almost enchanted attachment simply through studying each other from afar.
“A little farther, now. I won’t be late, my lady. I’ve slowed a bit, now. I won’t be givin’ up yet.”
As she hoisted her basket, she suddenly became overwhelmingly thirsty. Wicahpi felt her knees buckling, and one shocking moment later, she opened her eyes finding herself lying on the ground beside the frog pond behind her comfortable lifetime home.
“How’d I get so old that I’ve lost my strength AND my mind?” she grumbled.
Wicahpi glanced toward the cottage that her father had built. There was no place on earth she felt safer. Not that she’d traveled at all but one knows when they have “taproots in one place” as her Daddy put it. Her words came out feebly, ” I…I’m fine. I’ll be fine, now.”.
She hesitantly rolled to her knees and sat on her heels. “I’m still flexible, now, aren’t I?”. Wicahpi was talking directly at her own reflection in the twilight darkness of the pond. She was accustomed to doing that. In the next moment, she watched her own eyes widen with terror as she felt a whisper on her neck. “Come, Wicahpi. I’m waiting.”
The old woman buried her face in her hands and shouted, “Oh Lord, what kind of spell has been put on me?!”
Almost paralyzed with fear, she slowly dropped her hands and turned her head at tiny increments for a glimpse of who, or what, had spoken in her ear. There, a few feet away, sat the vixen licking her paw.
“What a sneaky thing to do, now! You gave ME the start of my life!”
The vixen whispered once again. “Come, Wicahpi. We’re waiting.”
The creature then padded straight up to her and licked her on the cheek. She looked over her shoulder, just once, as she trotted away into the dark forest. Along the far side of the pond, several pairs of golden eyes blinked alive in the day’s last light. A warm breeze stirred up the leaves then all went silent.

They never found the old lady who was the last of the family who once lived there. Her disappearance would become a chilling local legend. A demolition crew was brought in from the State because local crews were too superstitious to take the job. Eight months went by before bulldozers roared flattening the abandoned cottage and widening the old path into an access road…
all the while, a gray fox, with deep brown eyes and fine features, sat silently within the tree line watching.Urocyon_cinereoargenteus_grey_fox_Aurora_zoo_image_9810

Random Word Story #37- What’s Eating Bitsie?

Word generator words: sack, sashay, mature, weave, value, bat, organize

There’s a big difference between getting angry and going berserk. Some call the latter being “triggered”.  I’m not allowed to use that term. Mom says, “There’s no excuse for losing one’s cool, ever. People who say they’re ‘triggered’ are simply not mature enough to control themselves.”

I think Bitsie Banks was born triggered. She doesn’t ever say it… or use it as an excuse, though. Her world is just a whole sack of triggers. Maybe she hates what her grandma calls her “condition” or maybe she misses her mom and dad or maybe God just gave her an extra helping of the “angries”? Whatever it is, she doesn’t seem inclined to tell me and I ain’t askin’.

My Dad says, “Everyone has value. Some folks just hide it better than the rest.” I’m afraid Bitsie has hers buried where SHE can’t even find it. When she isn’t screeching her business to the moon, she’s as quiet as an owl swooping in on a mouse under that moon. There isn’t any in between. 

Bitsie lives with her grandma two streets away from our school. When my bus pulled in on Friday, I could see her cutting through the ball field. She usually ducks behind the bleachers and pops out of the dugout closest to the courtyard. It isn’t easy to keep her in sight. She’s three feet two inches tall with her shoes on and there’s a hedge along the infield fence.

By the time I organize my locker and head for homeroom, Bitsie’s always there in the front row. Today, her little chair is empty.

I know, for certain, that I’d seen her. She had her navy blue cardigan on and her usual ponytails were waving wildly from side to side. Bitsie could never be confused with anyone ‘cept maybe a peg legged pirate.
I lept to look out the tall classroom windows that face the ball field. It was empty! Just as the late bell rang, Bitsie came in with a bat over her shoulder. Her hair was full of leaves and twigs. Her sweater was torn almost clean off! That usual stomping gorilla-style gate had been replaced by an alarmingly uncharacteristic “sashay“. Bitsie’s chin lifted toward the ceiling and she winked at me as she passed. Whatever had happened, and whoever it happened to, Bitsie Banks had been the perpetrator NOT the victim.

At lunchtime, she’ll weave a tale Indiana Jones wouldn’t even believe and I’m the only person on the WHOLE PLANET she’ll tell! It’s gonna be hard to wait for this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Random Word Story # 36 … No Thanks, Bitsie Banks.

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Word generator words: multiply- absorbing- art -stew- possess- halting- plot -sun- perpetual
________

I could go on and on about all the rotten luck leading me to a summer camp where I’d meet my best friend but the “before stuff” doesn’t matter.

It was my first day at summer camp. Mom and Dad wanted me to get to know the kids from our new town. My name is Daisy. My mom’s a florist, enough said. Our house has a perpetual odor of a funeral parlor so I have to put cinnamon sticks in my dresser drawers to counteract it. Sometimes, I dab lemon juice behind my ears, too.

There were about 200 kids gathered in the parking lot of Camp Summer Breeze when, suddenly, the crowd parted like the Red Sea. A tiny, nib of a girl was marching through with arms waving above her head. A great squawking sound filled the air as the crowd fell silent. I thought it was a loudspeaker coming to life but that enormous noise was emanating from that three foot tall child! Her name is Bitsie Banks.

I would come to know that Bitsie’s given name was Bertha after her grandmother. Bertha was a large person’s name, and although her personality was certainly large, she went by the nickname given her by a student body who felt inclined to pick on her.

As I was absorbing the odd scene, Bitsie marched up, halting right in front of me. She lowered her arms, and shouted, “What are YOU lookin’ at?!”.  The volume of her question just about knocked me over!

” You. I’m watching you. ” I said. The crowd gasped in unison. She was such a petite, cute, little girl it was hard to imagine she could possess such an intimidating presence.

She seemed momentarily disarmed by my honesty and walked a circle around me like a drill sergeant.

“You smell like my Grandma’s house!”

” Yeah, I hear that a lot. Why are you shouting?” This time, the crowd didn’t react. Everyone had escaped to the main lodge while we were engaged in being somewhere else. This was the plot twist that would change us both forever. With no audience, we were free to be ourselves.

No one had ever talked to Bitsie the way I did. Like a real person, I mean. Her big brown eyes beneath uneven dark brown bangs, softened. She looked like a sweet, baby mouse. I wanted to pick her up and pet her but I knew better. If you multiply the number of kids, in the earlier crowd, times the ones left, a person knows the odds of getting away with crossing her.

“What’s your name, Smelly?” This time her tone was almost normal.

” Well, close. My name’s Daisy. They aren’t the sweetest smellers. I’ll bet yours is Godzilla.”.
This was the make or break moment. The sarcasm stew that would make me, by day’s end, happy I took a chance.
Bitsie threw back her head and howled with laughter.
“Ain’t you skeert? I can chomp your head off!”
“I’d taste just like your Grandma’s house. You’d get sick.”
From that moment on, the shouting stopped.

As the sun set, there was pink, and orange, on the horizon. Bitsie and I were sharing a bench painting a watercolor for an Art badge. We would be entering the same fifth grade class in the Fall. Our talk went from how we had gotten our names, to our hilarious first introduction, then finished, with our plans for after this camping stint.

I told Bitsie that I liked the mean spirited name she’d claimed and how cool it was that she didn’t let it bother her.  She admitted how much she loved her Grandma’s house AND my aroma. Somewhere along the way we became fast friends.

” Daisy? You probably ought to make other friends tomorrow. Don’t you worry about me.”

“No thanks, Bitsie Banks. You’re all a person can handle… and more than I could have hoped for.”

Crickets seemed mighty loud that night.

Random Word Story #35 ~ The Birth of Her Future

Unnatural…unable…shy…race…complex…escape

o-PURSUIT-OF-HAPPINESS-facebook

I can’t remember ever feeling sane. If I try to imagine sensible days, I see flashes of 8mm film. There are kids running under sprinklers and babies taking their first steps, then someone smiles and blows out all the birthday candles. All goes dark.
I open my eyes hearing the movie film slapping itself with its tail and scream out loud. Slamming my brakes, the world spins beyond the windshield. That same world I’m unable to navigate, for once , looks just like I feel.
Stiff armed and legs locked, moments later I’m facing from whence I came. The following quiet is unnatural; no motor, no sirens, no bystanders…nothing. I’m on a road in the middle of nowhere. Just to test my hearing, I start whistling. Give my ears a tug too, just to see if I am alive. How else could I tell? Numbness had taken over years ago.

My headlights illuminate a tunnel.

“Oh, didn’t I mention it’s the middle of the night?”

The most pleasant voice I could ever imagine answers. “It doesn’t matter. I don’t race to conclusions like the others. Go on…”

I crack open the car door and the dome light comes on. In the rearview mirror, I notice my hat hasn’t lost its place in the chaos. Good old hat. It comforts me like my grandmother’s hand on my head when I was a child.

I normally shy away from dark places but this tunnel compels me toward it. As I enter, I can make out a light at the end. It beckons me. There’s nothing complex about a choice between darkness and light.

The tunnel narrows quickly until I feel squeezed. With no option of escape, I fold my arms and release myself from all trepidation. Weightlessness… this must be how pure joy feels.

“Rachel? Wake up…can you hear me?” The OR nurse taps the bottom of my feet. She speaks in a soft singsong voice. “The operation was a success, dear. No more brain tumor.”

Then, that most pleasant voice I could ever imagine whispers…

“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

Random Word Story #33: A Place Behind Her Eyes

adult beautiful beauty blond
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I use a random word generator and write a quick story with them. It’s fun! Check out my category of them. 🙂

queen
valuable
grape
fixed
star
sin
Here’s my story:

These were NOT Cheerios!
Stella flung her styrofoam cup across the table and watched the golden rings dance across the kitchen carpet. A few made it into the dog water dish. That made her grin for the first time in days. “Bullseye.” she murmured into hand.
The lady wasn’t happy. She even said, “I’m NOT happy, Stella.” as she stooped out of sight beneath the table to scoop them up.
Stella heard at catechism that lying was a sin. She guessed lying to kids must be an exception because the grape juice was NOT grape juice either! Yuck!
This place was a nightmare already! It was everything she feared a foster home would be. There was nothing familiar… No one to trust… And, nothing good to eat!
Jean, the case worker, said she’d only be here until her mother got “fixed“.
Yeah right.
You can’t fix stupid.
She loved her mom but good choices weren’t her specialty. Running off to Hollywood to become a STAR and leaving her 8-year-old daughter alone at the park was her latest “brain fart”. Jean asked her not to use that term but Stella knew the word “retarded” was a no-no and, besides, it really fit the situation. It stunk!
Stella had to believe her mother was just stupid or the unbearable alternative of her mom not regarding her as valuable would have to be considered. That would NOT be okay.
The lady sat down beside her. Stella hadn’t even noticed that she had vacuumed the mess and cleared the table while Stella was visiting the “place behind her eyes”. She was the queen of that secret place where time stands still and everything is true.
Stella went there often. Stella wanted to live there forever. Now, she was NOT happy.

Random Word Story # 31~ The Prize

Deutsch: Filzhut
Deutsch: Filzhut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

aerodynamic…checker…quests…weeks…icier

Here is my story:

At 23 years old, Martha was growing tired of video quests. She’d spent the last 6 years, huddled in her bedroom with a cramp in her gaming hand. But she knew this wasn’t living. At least, that was what everyone told her. The only, sure thing, was that she hadn’t felt anything but empty, since forever.

On Monday morning, she disconnected her x-box and got out of bed before 7:00 am. She said no online “good-byes” and walked away cold turkey. “Done” , she thought. She had big hopes that her afternoon job, as a checker at the drugstore, would take on new meaning… Her daydreaming might turn to the ordinary and her future companions would, at least, have a heartbeat. Yes, an exciting real quest had just begun!

Over the next few weeks, Martha had terrible moments of withdrawal. As she rode along in her car, the landscape would, on occasion, morph into unnatural colors and appear two-dimensional. Customers would randomly remind her of barbarians she once knew. She caught herself wondering how her gaming friends were getting along and had anyone really missed her? Several times, she plugged the game in, late in the loneliest hours, and sat poised to press the power button. Martha resisted. Her new quest, after all, must have her full attention just like the others.

She had realized in the first day, that she was a “junkie” when her new freedom caused her to enliven senses she had forgotten. A cherry snow cone had tasted icier than she had ever noticed. Martha had also felt weightless out-of-doors. She tilted her head to the sky and embraced a color blue that could not be produced by artificial means. Her campaign caused her to start walking the mile to work.  But, a strong north wind reminded her, humorlessly, that the upright human body was not aerodynamic when, one day, she was swept right off of her feet.

Martha’s quest became less of a struggle over a month. She had secretly hoped for her Prince Charming to appear for the “happily ever after” she felt was due… every quest has a prize. He didn’t. Oh well, she was enjoying a brand new attention to a neat appearance, just the same…no doubt she’d “level up” soon.

But one day, she found herself listening to the lyrics in songs she, had thought, were familiar. Martha would spring out of bed thinking about the new movie she wanted to see and an organizational chart project she’d begun at work. On one of her walks, she’d noticed a library. She had NEVER known it existed. Martha was spending days without a thought of gaming. Her co-workers started begging her to take her break with them, once they found out, that she had an ability to make them laugh. She felt an eagerness that no other quest had ever offered. What a feeling!

Today, her boss offered her a raise and gave her a hug. It was then, in that moment, she realized her quest had no levels. This quest would go on as long as she did. To touch, to taste and to, embrace the little things, was her prize. At least, she was “in the game” every day.