dix-neuf

Days with friends are so special;
they leave memories to last a lifetime.
Saying ‘yes’ time and again
opens one’s mind to new adventures;
and with new people,
the same adventures seem new again.
Who will you say ‘yes’ to this week?

I went out with work friends today; it was refreshing; here’s Maw-Maw’s pumpkins to spread my fall mood

This post is part of a series! Check out the collection here.

seize

I’ve been struggling with purpose,
though I know everyone does sometime.
I feel as though I know what to do,
but I’ve lost the ability to direct myself.
One day I hope to open myself up
to someone else’s directives so
I can learn from them,
clear my own path through the wood.
I know it’s possible;
I know I can do it,
but the mere thought of my success
scares me.
Am I making sense?

I was just taking this picture of my cute mug, but now it looks like he’s judging me

This post is part of a series! Check out the collection here.

quinze

Almost no one can say that haven’t given their

Utmost effort and was paid what she deserved;

Today the feelings of being betrayed and

Utterly dejected filled my afternoon.

Maybe I ought to start telling myself

New things every morning for which I am thankful.

I like sunsets + clouds together

This post is part of a series! Check out the collection here.

quatorze

The sun and fall breeze
left with the weekend’s ease.
It was a busy few days,
but it seems the way
Octobers go,
each weekend will be as so.
Party here and festival there,
finally Halloween, and we’re
halfway through fall when
we just waited for it to begin!
Enjoy this season in every
way–each autumn memory.


This post is part of a series! Check out the collection here.

a selkie tale – part 14

Fenella dropped to her knees and covered her ears. When she tried to open her eyes, they teared up in the smoke.

“Drop your weapon, you dobber,” Oliver threatened, “Or you’ll answer the same fate.”

“Ah, a wee lad and ‘is li’le friend. You’ll all be dog food by the time master returns. Likely he’ll be back soon after that fun shot,” the goon teased with hoarse laughter.

Fenella’s hand covered her mouth at the bloody sight of the unfortunate brigand, and her heart beat so heavily that she could barely hear their exchange. “Fen, come now.” Oliver beckoned her over, his gun aimed at the second enemy.

“You c’n take me, lad, but you won’t live to tell this tale! The group will be on their way back now.” He grinned with a few rotten teeth and inched toward them–and one of the pistols that had fallen from the earlier distraction.

“Retreat, swine! I’m not afraid of your stories.” Oliver stood strong, but Fenella just wanted to run. “Where did your lackeys run off to? The Gillespie Wood to take advantage of more travelers?”

“You think I’d tell you? Pray, tell me what brought you here, young lad, and without anyone to protect you?” He took another daring step forward.

Fenella bolted. Out of the cave and into the dark brush that waited beside the entrance to the cave. “Fen!” Oliver yelled. Two gunshots this time, two cries of pain, one after the other. Fenella stopped breathing to see if she could hear either of the men left in the cave, but she heard nothing. Twigs stuck into her feet, and she felt scratches down her arms which were already swollen. She covered herself with the seal cloak. After another moment of silence, she approached the entrance again, tears streaming down her face.

“Oliver?” she whispered. She peeked around the edge of the cave to see the second bandit lying on the ground in a puddle of red. Her stomach lurched. She closed her eyes and turned her head to her previous hiding spot. “Oliver?” she said a bit more loudly.

“F-Fen,” came a soft voice. Fenella almost couldn’t see through her tears.

“Oliver!” she cried. When she found him, he was laying on the ground, grabbing one of his arms. Blood pooled around him, and he writhed in pain. His breathing wasn’t steady, and his eyes were closed.

“Help…help me tie it up,” he said between clenched teeth. Fenella ran to his side and ripped the lining fabric from her dress, wrapping it tightly around his wounded shoulder. He thanked her, and together they were able to get him standing and out of the cavern.

“Oliver, I’m,” Fenella began to cry. He sat, puzzled on the ground behind the cave where they’d gone to hide. “I apologize! I shouldn’t have involved you in my quest. I should have heeded my mum’s instruction and never gotten lost! It’s all my fault that you are in such pain.” She wiped her face, leaving a brown streak of dirt on her cheek.

“There’s no need, Fen,” Oliver assured her, placing his good hand on her knee. “Remember I promise to help you? As a friend I couldn’t allow you to act on your own. You would have lost your way again.” He smiled, though the sign of his pain never left his brow. “Let’s find a way home before the others get back, yes?” Fenella agreed through her continuous tears and helped him up from the ground. She gazed worriedly at the thin fabric that was now completely bloodstained. He would lose so much before they arrived back in Gillespie. She recalled her father’s death to a shark, and the cloud of red around she and her family as they desperately tried to distract the shark from his target.

Shaking her head, Fenella made for the east side of the forest where they could hopefully avoid any further contact with the bad men.

a selkie tale – part 2

Fenella sat in the shallows, her flippers sinking as each wave passed through. She watched her mother as she lowered her muzzle into the water and closed her eyes. A flash of sparkling light–like the stars on the clear nights of the full moon–swam toward her. Before she could retreat in skepticism, it jumped to her, pulling at each of her fins and tugging her whiskers. A cold feeling rushed over her body like an icy morning wave.

Then, she felt different. Her flippers were cold, and they seemed to move around much too liberally. Opening her eyes, Fenella realized that her fins weren’t present any longer; she had feet! She wiggled her toes and giggled. Her arms felt heavy, but she picked them up and waved them in a giant circle.

Oh, the freedom! she thought.

“Fenella,” her mother called, “Enjoy your walk. Return soon, yes? And do not misplace your skins.” Fenella wrapped her arms around her mother’s seal neck and kissed the top of her head. Her family swam away so she could continue inspecting her new body. She noticed her seal skin cloaked her, which must have been normal for humans. She had only seen a human twice before now, and they seemed to wear similar garments.

Standing was one obstacle with which the selkie magic helped. Bracing herself with both of her long arms, Fenella pushed herself onto her knees and finally lifted slowly until she stood tall. Feeling a little too confident, she stuck one foot out and took a brave step, which caused her to fall directly back into the sand. She grumbled, “Humans always seem so graceful when they walk. Why can’t I do it? It can’t be so hard.”

She tried several times more before she was finally able to carry herself, on buckling legs of course. Once on the hard dirt path, Fenella was much sturdier than on the beach. When she turned around, she saw her family’s rolling backs as they swam through the waves. Oh how she missed them already.

It was dark by the time she reached the forest. It would have been much more helpful to have come midday when there was sunlight. The selkie shivered as a chilling wind breathed by. She pulled her skins tighter against her bare skin. So fragile, human skin was, she thought. Perhaps that’s why they wear these clothes.

“Yow!” she hissed, picking a twig off of her foot. “Yes, definitely fragile.” Being human was already so very annoying.

Going Green 🌱

I started something new once I’d moved into my apartment, about three months ago. I’ve always recycled, but now I have to drive my huge bag of recyclables to my mother’s house for it to be picked up. The effort is more than worth it, as recycling even a plastic water bottle is 1) a chance for it to be reused in the construction of a new product and 2) might actually save one animal’s life. If you haven’t seen footage of the pilot whale  (whose body was filled with plastic waste) or the unfortunate sea turtle with a 4-inch straw stuck in its nasal canal, follow the respective links.

Seeing Earth’s beloved creatures in peril through first-hand accounts really illuminates the horrors of plastic waste. So many days do we think of our hectic schedules with work, school, extracurriculars, volunteer efforts, and household duties, that we forget that life is so much grander than ourselves. We live in such a minute speck on Earth, and the way we live as individuals does affect our fellow living creatures. We even affect  our future selves in return. Animals, such as fish, eat plastic by mistake. But…think about what happens after we catch and eat them… Scary, huh?

hermit crab litter - NG going green
Image by National Geographic

Recycling should be made easily available to everyone in any area. If the department of waste in one area isn’t close by, do you think that many people would make the trip? “Just to throw garbage away in a different place?” It is hard with our incredibly busy lives (that we mold for ourselves) to make time for “trivial” matters. But when you think of how much you, special reader, can recycle from your every day garbage, you will see how quickly all of that waste can add up. All of those recyclable items won’t end up in our oceans. Crabs will be able to find only shells to make their home in. Whales and turtles won’t eat plastic bags because they look like jellyfish. Animals can survive and thrive without manmade garbage in their habitat. How selfish of us to use Walmart plastic bags when we all have a green bag or two in our house, holding laundry supplies or kids’ toys. They’re only $1 in most places today, unless you prefer a more expensive canvas tote to do your shopping.

Replacing our plastic straws from fast food places with hard plastic or metal reusable straws will prevent so many animals from choking, suffocating, and ending up with a torn up nostril.

All of these steps make our lives a little bit more difficult, but when you think of that little squirrel who won’t get its head stuck in a plastic six-pack ring or a tummy so full of trash a whale can no longer eat, a readjusted lifestyle can become a little easier to swallow.


What I’m Doing
  1. Deconstructing K-Cups to Recycle – I put a basket next to our Keurig coffeemaker at the office in which everyone can toss their single-use K-Cup. I found this tool that allows me to cut open a K-Cup to pour out the coffee grounds and separate the 3 recyclable materials it consists of: aluminum top, plastic cup, and paper filter. All of these are recyclable and can be thrown separately from each other. The sorters at the recycling facilities will NOT deconstruct these themselves. Can you imagine how much waste they have to sift through?
  2. Replacing Single-Use Plastic Straws with Reusable Straws – I know…this one is tough for me, too. I received these hard, plastic straws as a gift, and I love them. I don’t mind washing these at all. It’s difficult not to grab one when handed a drink at a fast food restaurant, and Starbucks always hands me that iconic green straw with my iced tea or frappuccino. Reusable straws are not hard to come across. You can also use paper straws, which are biodegradable. Check your local superstore, or order some online from Walmart or Amazon. If you frequent Starbucks, they also sell that famous green straw in a reusable form. Look out for those by the mug wall. (P.S. I’m currently saving up plastic straws to reuse them in some fashion…I’ll keep you posted.)
  3. Avoiding Plastic Coffee Stirrers – At work, our bosses provide us with miniature plastic straws with which to stir our coffee. In my effort to reduce my straw usage, I developed a new method to my coffee brewing when I’m away from home. I first pour in my creamer and then let the coffee brew over it. At a local coffee and gelato shop, they have provided customers with pieces of dried pasta with which to mix their honey or cream into their beverage. It was so innovative, and I’m thinking about buying cheap pasta and doing the same at work…but one can only spend so much extra money!
  4. Struggling with Plastic Bags – As well as with the straw dilemma (just the sheer number of them), I’m struggling with this lifestyle change. I just discovered this wonderful thing called Walmart Pick-Up. I buy my whole shopping list online; someone shops for me; then I drive there so someone else can load it into my car. I don’t even have to get out of my vehicle. Unfortunately, each item in my cart gets its own bag. If I get one pack of butter, one bag of tortillas, and one yogurt, I’ll have three plastic bags for which I now have to find a use. Usually I reuse them as trashcan liners, but I collect so many that I’ll never be able to use them. There is a plastic bag recycling box at the entrance of most Walmarts, so I will soon make use of those. If there is a Target nearby, I believe they also do plastic bag recycling. Keep in mind your department of waste will not recycle plastic bags. It’s sad…but true.

    TrashDebrisManagement - vermillionville
    Image via Vermillionville.org

The first thing I want to improve is using reusable bags when I do shop in-store, and I also want to get some reusable produce bags when I buy my fruit or my rabbit’s veggies. There’s no need for single-use bags anymore. We can shop without being wasteful. When I can, I will also recycle my excess bags in the store.


Are you making steps toward a greener life? Are you sharing your inspiration with others? It’s hard to change your whole lifestyle, but isn’t saving our future family’s planet worth the extra effort?

01-harp-seal-pup-nationalgeographic_1936617.adapt.590.1
Photograph by David Doubilet, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE | Read the linked story to find out what plastic did to a little seal pup like this one.

What about saving the innocent animals? How can you turn down this face?

❤ Michelle

 

When One Learns to Fly

Friday afternoon as I was decompressing from work, I was startled by fussy squawks from the jays outside. I watched one come to my porch to grab a peanut. Assuming the pair were just hungry, I resumed whatever I was doing until I was ready to leave to visit my family. But later, as I walked to my car, I was stalled by a horrific sight–a baby blue jay had fallen nearly twenty feet from the oak tree and flat onto the pavement! I was sure it was gone from such a plummet, but then I saw it breathing.

I threw my bags into the car and grabbed a cardboard Honey Maid Graham Cracker box from the recycling. Tearing it open, I slowly approached the wee feathered babe. I saw its eyes flutter open as I slid its limp body of electric blue feathers from the cement and onto the box. It began to screech at me, as its parents did while they swarmed the tree branches above my head. I thought it must have knocked itself unconscious.

Baby Blue Jay

Careful not to juggle him around too much, I placed him beneath a bush outside of my apartment gate. He sat on the box breathing heavily. I ran inside to refill the birdseed, and I placed a pile next to the baby just in case he’d want a bite while he recovered. Apparently I’d popped his bubble, and he began to cry at me again–beak wide open so I could see his magenta baby bird tongue.

Then I thought, well, other people might like to see this. Maybe I could get a good photo while he sat regaining consciousness. When I returned to capture his beautiful face forever, he regained some strength, stood, and hopped off around my neighbor’s fence! It was a blessing. My heart was beating so quickly during the endeavor because I thought he wouldn’t make it to live another day with us.

I realize, then,  that American culture has made us vain, making us believe that we need to tell all of our social media friends about everything we do. We want to document every moment, meal, trip, and we don’t just appreciate what God gives us; we take these little nuances for granted. I saved a baby bird from being run over. I should have relished in the fact that he was breathing and his parents watched from inside the bush while I fed them. Observing him and making him comfortable with my presence would have been so much more rewarding than attempting to take a picture. I think his retreat was a sign that I need to learn to enjoy life and not always try to snap an Instagram-quality picture. I don’t know how quickly I will change my ways, but being aware of the appropriate time for photos will be my goal.

This baby bird helped me to see just how precious our moment was, just me and him. Petit Bleu.

I am not certain on Petit Bleu’s condition, though I haven’t seen him or any jay feathers lying around. His right wing was fanned out when I found him, so I didn’t know if it had been broken or not. When he hopped away, the wing seemed to fold back into place and he flapped both of his wings enough to allow him to jump up to the sidewalk and around the side of the fence. I believe I might have heard his crying this morning when I saw his parents stopping by for breakfast. It seems he may be alright, after all.

❤ Michelle