In Sweden there remains an old adage, likely it’s relevance stems from the agrarian roots implanted by the pagan community which ruled until Martin Luther decided to hang his hat here and get messy with religion. It is now March twenty-sixth, spring sprung backwards but our clocks leapt forward an hour. I rose the shade from my bed to see if it just might be a surprise of a sunny day only to see snow falling, the gardening spot blanketed white again. Yesterday was gray and rainy, the highlight of my weekend despite the weather was it being “Våffeldagen”. In keeping with the conflicting Christian and Pagen society that dominates this wildly confusing Viking Jesus mystery lies yet another story that complicates waffle day even more so. The origins in English are the annunciation of our blessed virgin Mary; in Swedish it’s “Jungfru Marie bebådelsedag” which is basically the celebration of the angel Gabriel flying down from the heavens to tell the virtuous and virgin Mary that she had a bun in the oven, a very special bun that would change the world. “Vårfru” means virgin Mary, however in some dialects in Sweden during the 1800’s, someone confused the historical “vaffla” (meaning waffle) with Vårfru (meaning virgin wife literally) and thus began a Swedish custom to eat waffles on this very delicate Christian holy day. Now, I was raised primarily in the “Bible Belt” and forced to church school and bible studies throughout my youth. I know Eve was some naked woman made from a rib and gave her man an apple and a serpent was involved. I know old southern spirituals, the ten commandments and some miniscule remnants of biblical “facts” are embalmed in this sixty year old brain. I know that we pretend to eat flesh and drink blood and what I received was grape juice and a paper thin cracker which felt like chewy notebook paper. Yet nowhere in my first sixteen years of obligatory studies was there any mention of Gabriels significant secret, waffles or more likely in my region a trip to The Cracker Barrel for a full plate of biscuits and gravy. Swedes get more vacation days for obscure Christian holy moments, literally days that evangelical bible belters know nothing about, and if they do know we get waffles, jam, whipped cream and berries for messenger Gabriel’s news I believe they just might start a campaign to close down Walmart and at least expect “Eggos”. Now, not only do we have this manic weather to live with, we also still celebrate the pagan holidays and no Christian complains as long as they don’t have to work. Personally, for my twentieth “7th Winter” and my twentieth “Waffle Day” I think a bloody Mary is more appropriate.
There goes Dawgy Dawg!” shouted Sam, one of the usuals at the Purple Pineapple Bar and Grill. Lou the bartender who was mixing up Sunday morning Bloody Mary’s replied without looking up. “Shame nobody claims him.” For two years Lou had thrown scraps at the end of his shift out for Dawgy Dawg and made sure to refreshen a large pale of water for the stray, which was kept under the bar’s rough, grey wooden deck. Dawgy Dawg often could be spotted napping in the cool shade that the raised deck provided free of charge of course.
Dawgy Dawg loved people, especially children and made a perfect companion for daily tourists. Since he wore a collar, everyone assumed he was well cared for and had escaped from his owners for a run along the shore. He loved the sea, the foaming waves that kept him clean gave his fur a natural salty coat. He was often seen laying patiently by a family who was opening their picnic baskets and often got a treat or two as he was relentlessly adorable. Adorable and lonely. At night he would climb up the steps to the Purple Pineapple Bar and greet all the customers; his wagging tail and warm brown eyes were welcomed with a piece of a burger, hot dogs and even fries. Not exactly the diet a well-kept family pet would thrive on, nonetheless his white belly was full at the end of each day. Dawgy Dawg tended to lay under Sam’s feet who sat on the same bar stool everyday and night. Sam, an old surfer who often washed dishes for Lou to pay off his ongoing tab wished he could take Sam home, however what no one knew is Sam was homeless. He had a bicycle and backpack with a small pop up tent and found his shelter on the off beaten paths into the Ginkgo and yellow Birch groves that were slightly inland from the Pineapple Bar and Grill. Lou suspected he may be homeless yet never said anything, instead he let him wash dishes and do small chores for food and drinks. Lou lived in a small one room bungalow and on stormy nights he would worry about Dawgy Dawg and Sam; he knew he could not share his tiny space with anyone and when not working he liked his privacy. Lou was tall, lanky and had long salt and pepper curly hair. His eyes were pale blue, yet his moustache was his trademark. He waxed it daily and curled the tips. He’d always been a loner however he loved his small business which provided him with more than enough social interaction. Each morning he pulled his long locks back into a ponytail and put on his Purple Pineapple trademark cap and tee-shirt, along with old, faded jeans then walked down to his other home where he put on a pot of coffee and at the same time every morning Sam and Dawgy Dawg would appear.
“Coffee?” Sam smiled at Lou as always showing off his two broken front teeth. Lou cooked up some bacon and eggs and the three had breakfast together every morning. Sam parked his bike behind the building and learned he had to lock it after it had been stolen a few months back. It was found ditched by a gas station by Lou a few days later. Luckily, Sam was allowed to keep his backpack behind the bar, or he would have lost his few belongings. Sam was proud to wear a Purple Pineapple Bar and Grill t-shirt and cap everyday also. After breakfast Sam in his old cut off jean shorts would dive into the sea and take his morning bath. Dawgy Dawg always followed along, and they both had a playful start to the day.
By 10:30 the beach began to fill up with tourists and by 11 o’clock the tables and stools were full. Dawgy Dawg would make his rounds and find his own entertainment throughout the day. It was Sam who came up with the idea to make Dawgy Dawg a trademark bandana to advertise the grill’s special Pineapple smoothies and hearty burgers. Although the beach was secluded and not near the strip of chain restaurants and the boardwalk a new beach café had opened with a classier menu. It also had a sign at the entrance that read, “No Dogs Allowed”. Competition was not something Lou had ever considered; Sam took a stroll down one day and had a look at the menu. Gazpacho, taco salad, vegetarian burgers and tiramisu were just some of the items that the Purple Pineapple didn’t have. The prices were higher but it was packed with a different clientele, most clad in Izod’s and pricier sun wear. Heads turned when Sam was on their deck; tattooed, bald with bronzed leathery skin he was clearly not of the same echelon. He grabbed a take away paper menu and returned to the Purple Pineapple to report his findings. Lou had a look and said, “Let them eat cake” and laughed. He did begin to make refreshing smoothies and added a soybean hot dog to the menu. The truth is, Lou didn’t need to make any changes as it was the freestyle atmosphere, Dawgy Dawg and the music at night that brought him loyalty; a local D.J. took requests and under the colourful light bulbs strung from the rafters and along the splatted, weathered guarded rails around the deck people danced spontaneously and the tap kept flowing. Lou was an icon who had been there for years and all of his regulars loved Dawgy Dawg mingling around the bar.
One morning Lou started frying the bacon awhile Lou was began putting chairs down for the day but Dawgy Dawg did not show up. Lou saved some bacon and Sam looked under the deck. It was odd as he like Sam and Lou kept a predictable routine. Slightly concerned Sam took a look around the beach to see if he had found some children to play with. No signs of him were to be found. Two, then three days passed, and Lou put up signs and asked the regulars to let them know if they spotted Dawgy Dawg anywhere. He continued to leave scraps under the deck with fresh water when he closed for the night.
Lou deeply regretted he had not taken the stray into his bungalow at night and swore if he ever came back that on stormy nights he would provide shelter for the beloved pooch.
One morning about five weeks after Dawgy Dawg had been seen Sam overheard a couple talking about a dog and how mean the owner of the classier café had been to it. “I will never go back there again!” said a stern faced woman to her husband. “He kicked the poor thing!” Sam ran down the beach to the café and asked to speak to the owner. The server gave him a look up and down disapprovingly and said, “We aren’t looking for help.” Sam persisted. “ I don’t want a job, I am looking for a white and golden brown dog.” The server smirked. Read the sign, “No Dogs Allowed!”
The owner, a stout man with sleek black hair approached. “What’s going on here?” The server explained and walked away. “ Yes, there was a dog, a filthy one at that and I kicked him out. Was it yours?” Sam said it was a stray, but it was a regular at the Purple Pineapple Bar and Grill. The owner laughed. “Oh, this is funny; as unkempt as it’s patrons.” Sam asked the taunting man if he would let him know if he saw him again then sadly walked back up to Lou’s. After recounting the experience to Lou both feared for Dawgy Dawg’s safety. Lou asked Sam to bike down to the boardwalk and said he would call the local animal shelter to see if he had been caught and held there. It was a frantic day and the usual jolly atmosphere seemed to sink without their favourite hound near.
At closing they sat on the steps and talked in a way they never had. Sam finally admitted he was indeed homeless and that he had no known living relatives. He had a job for years as a rubbish collector then the company became privatized and he’s been let go with little notice. He had struggled to keep his apartment for a year or two with odd jobs here and there then he got behind on his payments and was evicted. He shared that he came to the tropical island with his backpack and his last bit of cash ten years ago and pitched a tent. He never thought to leave the island as the weather, despite its wild winds and storms was warm year round and it only made sense to stay. Lou shared he had been married on the mainland for twenty-five years and his beloved wife died young. The house was full of their memories, and he could no longer bare keeping the place. He had sold his house and followed an old dream of opening a tiki bar on a beach when he retired. He bought a tiny bungalow and after obtaining a permit he built the Purple Pineapple Bar and Grill himself. It kept him busy and his mind off his life’s true love most of the time. He invited Sam to come by the bungalow for breakfast instead of meeting at the grill the next morning and they parted for the night.
Sam had never been invited by anyone into their home. He woke early and took a dip in the sea to appear fresh upon arrival. Lou’s door was open and he stood in flip-flops making pancakes and said, “Morning my friend, help yourself to some freshly squeezed orange juice and take a look around. In the far back there were curtains pulled open revealing two bunk beds with it obvious that Lou slept on the bottom of the left one. Beside Loy’s bunk was an old milk crate with a stack of books and a small lamp. Between the bunks was a window and the sea breeze could be felt as he eyed the details. Simple. A round table, an old sofa and a small bathroom with a shower, sink, toilet and mirror. Sam took a peek at himself in the mirror which he hadn’t done in a while and saw he was much older looking than he felt.
“Breakfast is served!” Lou and Sam sat at the table and shared a newspaper. Lou noticed Sam squinted when he tried to read. “You want some reading glasses?” Lou inquired. “Naw, I hate news actually and just read the comics.” Lou smiled. He checked his clock above the sink and it was soon 10 o’clock. “Time to head to the grill, just leave the dishes for later.” Sam hopped on his bike and Lou walked swiftly behind him. Sam locked his bike and Lou unlocked the gated stairs. As they approached their regular duties they heard a small, “mew”. Lou looked at Sam, “hear that?” Sam nodded. Then they heard it again and it was apparent a kitten was quite nearby. Sam finished putting the chairs down and followed the sound which led him under the deck. Low and behold there was Dawgy Dawg with not one, but three small kittens cuddled against his furry belly. Dawgy Dawg’s tail thumped, as Sam called out for Lou, “Ya gotta see this!” Lou came down and his heart began to smile. Both gave Dawgy Dog a hug, rubbed his head, scratching him behind the ears as he loved. “Kittens! They are so tiny, too young to be away from their mother. I’ll bring down some milk for them and then you ride down to gas station and pick up some kitten chow, heck, while at it pick up some dog food, too. If Dawgy Dawg is going to mother three kittens he needs a better diet.” Lou ran and got his polaroid and took a few pictures to show the regulars who were forbidden to go under the deck. The day took a swift turn and Lou, Sam and all the regulars cheered to Dawgy Dawg’s return. As dusk approached an elderly woman came by and asked if anyone had seen her cat. She said her cat was pregnant and disappeared a few days ago from her camper van in the pensioner motorhome park. Sadly, a young woman told her she had seen a cat hit by a car near the gas station and her family had stopped to see if it was okay, but it hadn’t survived. Lou and Sam glanced at each other then led the elderly woman down beneath the deck. “Could these kittens be yours?” The woman had a smile that was tainted with a few tears. “I guess she had hidden them when she gave birth. I don’t know how they survived without her this long.” Lou explained that Dawgy Dawg was a stray and had been missing for weeks and they’d begun to give up on seeing him again and they were stunned to find him with three kittens under the deck that morning. “Well, he has kept them alive thus far so he has been doing something right, best to leave them be for now. My name is Kay, and I will leave kitten formula off tomorrow, that is if you don’t mind”. Lou shook his head agreeingly.
He took all the signs down and made a personal vow to keep Dawgy Dawg every night when the kittens were able to move about. A week passed and Dawgy Dawg began to climb the stairs for breakfast, greeting customers at the gate and making more and more appearances. The kittens had begun to eat more and rumble about in the sand, jumping up on Dawgy Dawg and his eyes were on them dutifully. Kay stopped by often and she asked Lou if he knew anyone who could take one kitten. She would keep the other two and be sure to have them spayed. Sam and Lou and become attached to one orange and white mischievous male kitten that made his way up the stairs with Dawgy Dawg and rubbed up against the legs of the lunch crowd. Lou blurted out without hesitation, “I’ll keep the little orange rascal.”
I’m taking them in tonight Kay said, the radio said a tropical storm was headed their way and everyone was bunkering down. She said the fancy café had boarded up their windows and the gas station had a line of cars fuelling up to go the mainland. Lou was aware of high winds and knew this would be a rough one. He told Sam to let people know they’d be closing early and to prepare to secure the Pineapple Bar and Grill as best they could before nightfall.
All the chairs were chained together and the tables folded down; the put a heavy sheet of metal against the opening to the tiki bar and nailed plywood to the open sides. Both of their caps blew off several times and it had begun to rain steadily. Lou asked Sam to grab the kitten and bike him over to his bungalow and he’d lead Dawgy Dawg the way back with a rope tied around his collar. Dawgy Dawg did not like the rope and pulled hard to get away. Perhaps he was too wild and could not be tamed. Lou gave up and took off the rope and Dawgy Dawg sprang loose and ran away so quickly Lou couldn’t catch him. The winds were picking up and the rain was now a heavy downpour which he could hardly see through. He slightly jogged back to the bungalow and his old knees were aching. When he arrived home there sat under the covered front porch, Sam, the kitten and Dawgy Dawg. He unlocked the door and all four went onside soaking wet. Sam put the kitten down inside the door and Dawgy Dawg ran about sniffing, barking happily stopping only to shake his salty fur off. Lou brought out a bunch of towels, one for the kitten, one for Sam one for Dawgy Dawg and one for himself. He put a bowl of water down and laughed. Sam turned toward the door and Lou said, “wait, where are you going?” Sam said, “my tent”. He’d been through several storms and always made it through even if he never slept as he tried to keep the tent with his few belongings steady. “ Sam, I want you to stay, I can’t take care of these two without you! Take the other bunk tonight and I’ll give you some dry clothes. It’s gonna be a bad one out there tonight.” Sam looked sheepishly down and said, “Oh, I can’t impose. I know you like your privacy and well, my tent might blow away.” Lou stood from his chair and put on a pot of coffee then said in a sincere voice, “Sam, truth is I have had enough privacy for a very long time and I couldn’t keep the grill open without your help. You are my friend. Please stay and we can check on your tent tomorrow as soon as the storm passes.” He handed him some dry clothes and pointed toward the bathroom. Afterwards Lou tuned into the weather radio and handed Sam soe hot coffee. They sat on the sofa with one very loved wet dog between them and a kitten curled up ready to sleep. “What are you gonna name him, Lou?” Good question. “How about Catty Cat?” They laughed a bit and refilled their mugs full. After years of tumultuous happenings in their individual lives, this storm they would ride out together.
Curled around a group of birches, Casper’s tail sparkled in the morning sun. His thick, weathered skin was like brass gone green, he needed a good cleaning, his spikes were tipped with bits of the forests depths it had swept through for months. Leafy remnants, spider’s webs, dried clumps of mud and more. Casper needed a bath. In his heart he longed for his mother who had taught him to fly when small; together they’d play in a hidden lake in another forest, diving while making thunderous splashes, refreshing their moods along with cleansing themselves all at once. He’d lost his desire to travel after his mother died, often losing days to grieving. At night he would find some solace in the gaiety of the forest fairies zipping about in whirls of colour, the plump trolls who were busying themselves with dutiful quests to prepare for winter amused him, especially when they strapped themselves upon gangly beetles like cowboys off for a rodeo. Often the fairies would light upon his long-arched nose causing him to smile, even if only for a very little bit. Their fanciful colours brightened the darkness within the forest as well as his heavy heart, quieting his sadness. As the beetles marched one by one back to their nooks in dead oak trees, the trolls who had dismantled quickly carried on with their purpose. With tiny mounds of moss gathered for insulation, bound twigs hoisted up on their shoulders like seasoned lumberjacks, they were diligently focused on strengthening the walls in their miniscule cosy cottage as the frosty winds would soon be upon them all. Casper yawned letting out a steamy sigh; this warmed the trolls who had snuggled up to sleep away the new day rising and could already be heard snoring. Casper stood, breaking tree limbs with his large body, causing creatures to scurry quickly before he took a step. He was not up for a roar nor a test of his powers. He was hungry and had a very picky diet for a dragon of his size. He snacked on nuts, berries and occasional bird’s eggs which had hatched but still had some gooey insides and crunch to them. He never was able to kill the critters around him. He was, as much as a dragon could be, gentle. His one hankering however was fish. With his mother he would swoop down in the fresh lake, open his jaws wide like a giant whale at sea then let the water into his mouth, using his clenched teeth as a filter the small fish swam straight into his belly. His mother said that small fish were good for his health. Today he would try and lift his wings, fly to the hidden lake and revive his thirst again. In a meadow, he sprang into the sky, flocks of geese screeched and redirected their course as he flapped his velvety wings. He circled the lake slowly and was just about to make a heavy dive when he saw a small, yet taller than normal looking troll. He knew that the aftermath of his landing would hit the being like a tsunami so he settled carefully in a just big enough opening on the ground where he could have a closer look. This troll had water running from its eyes and curly rust coloured hair.
Casper had never seen such a smooth skinned troll. The trolls he knew had warts and thick red noses, wore rabbit fur robes and boots made of birch bark. This troll was spotted like a poisonous mushroom, had dark blue cloth from his waist down to his bare feet. Casper had not seen a troll’s feet or toes nor cared to. On his upper body was a red as a cherry cloth that covered the troll’s arms and neck. In his hand he held a stick with a string attached. Casper was quite impressed, being cautious not to make the sighing sound that made new creatures run away. He watched until the troll began to shiver as the sun was now lowering behind the tall firs around them. Why did the troll not run to his cottage, seek warmth and comfort like the other trolls from his forest? Casper carefully moved toward the water, still on the other side of the lake from this spotted creature. He quietly lapped up some water, or so he thought, and it caused a rather noticeable wave on the opposite shore. The troll jumped up, then leapt backwards and looked up and saw Casper’s big emerald eyes and made a sound that was like nothing he’d ever heard. It was so high pitched it made his senses heighten and he felt a bit frightened. “Mooooom!”, a sound came out of the mouth that reminded him of a baby dragon’s cry when left in the nest alone. Casper lowered his body and remained still intending to show that he meant no harm. Neither moved. The troll inched backwards and hid behind some brush, regularly peering out and having another peak at Casper. Night was coming fast; would this troll be okay in the darkness alone? Casper always slept in his own forest where all the creatures knew him, and he felt welcomed. Suddenly the troll threw a stone across the water, and it skipped and bounced like magic. Casper turned to see the troll do it again and again. Casper picked up a stone and tried but it just sunk to the bottom quickly. The troll made loud noises again, “Mooooom! It’s a dragon, a real dragon!” Casper waited to see another troll, but no one came. The troll was obviously beginning to shake more either in fear or due to having no birch boots like most trolls on his small white feet. Casper decided to let out a warming sigh which would roll across the lake and perhaps comfort him. A steam rose above the darkening lake and the troll felt the sensation, his shivering stopped, and his mouth opened wide without a sound. Then it yelled, “Are you a good dragon?” Casper couldn’t speak this being’s tongue and blew warm sighs of air again. “Thank you for warming me up, I mean unless you are about to eat me for dinner!” The troll jumped behind the bush again and called out, “Moooom!” Casper decided he should swim to the same side to have a better look. He rose carefully from the lake and laid his head upon the rocky edge. The troll looked out at him and threw a stone bigger than the others and it hit Casper in the eye. Casper made an “Ouch” sound that dragons make when hurt. “Oh. I hurt you?”; the strange troll emerged once again and began to babble on with so much speed that Casper wished he could shut down his sensitive hearing. Instead, he chose to move carefully down the stony shore onto softer ground and lay on his side to feign sleep. Perhaps the troll would stop making so much nonsensical noise now, however he kept one eye slightly open to be sure this weird little troll wasn’t going to throw more rocks at him. Darkness had come and the moon was not full. Casper’s eyes saw easily in the darkness, but not the trolls. He continued to pretend to sleep and felt the troll tug on his tail then rub his wings gently. The bothersome troll crawled up on his back and crept up his long neck then looked down at Casper’s eyelids. He felt the troll touch the place where the rock had hit him and in a low tone say, “Poor dragon, poor me, poor us.” Casper tried to be still, yet the trolls little cold feet tickled tremendously. He opened his eyes and there was the troll hanging upside down peering into his giant emerald eye. “Please don’t sleep, I’m scared!” Gibberish again. Water fell from the troll’s eyes and landed into Casper’s. A warm, faintly familiar magical moment happened right then and there. In that very second Casper understood. This troll missed his mother, too. Once more he let out a sigh to warm the air and the troll ran down his arched-nose and stood as close as he could in front of Casper’s good eye. Casper could see the troll’s face very well and sensed his desperation and stared wearily back at him. His thoughts were both kind and grouchy. “I never had my dinner because of you, so can you please get off my nose, close your eyes and sleep now?” Since dragon’s can’t speak his own irritation was unnoticed, quickly he softened and felt the tingling of sadness for his new, seemingly unshakable companion. “Please stay awake dragon!” Casper doubted he could make any sound so complicated but gave it a try with just one wish upon the twinkling stars above, “Make this most unusual, loud small toad of a troll disappear.” To his surprise the troll crawled on top of his head, slid down his neck then nestled in the softness of his left wing. Casper worked up the courage and sighed, feeling love rise from his heart and flow out easily. Without much effort he simply cared. No noise came from the troll. He turned his big head down and made out the wee one in his wing. He was fast asleep. Casper thanked the stars for granting him peace and carefully closed his eyes to rest. It was the first time in a very long, long time that Casper felt a sense of comfort inside and together they slept in peace. Dawn woke Casper and he looked down to check on the troll. What? He wasn’t there? Suddenly he heard a new sound, a windy sound that was quite jolly. He looked about and there at the lake’s edge was the little one with the stick he’d had when he first noticed him. He had a long string dangling into the water; he saw the stick jerk downwards then in one swift move the troll yanked the stick out of the water and there, flopping on the end was a small fish. The troll made more giddy sounds and put the fish on a large flat stone. Casper was ravenous by now and knew that one small fish might feed the troll but never him. He let out his morning soft roar and the little troll ran toward him. “I have to eat, and I can’t give up on my mom finding me.” He screamed loudly, “Moooom!” several times and then the water in his eyes began to fall. Casper so wanted to help the pathetic, lanky troll. Casper nudged with his nose as carefully as a giant dragon could for the troll to move away from the lake. He kept nudging him until he was safely away from the flood he was about to create. The troll understood Casper had good reason and obliged. Casper immersed his head under the water, opened his mouth allowing the fish to swim in, and for the first time he didn’t swallow them rather he spat them all out onto the shoreline and there were hundreds of them flapping about. He went down again and took a big belly full for himself then sighed with smelly warm fish breath toward the hungry troll. When the troll saw all the fish, he was exuberant, yet instead of eating them he began picking up downed tree limbs, pushing them into a pile, and striking two stones together. Casper must have seemed curious as the troll looked up and tried to explain fire by gesticulating the shape of flames and making noises that came out like POOF! Casper nudged a fish that had stopped flopping toward him. The troll shook his head and kept on with his task. Casper decided if he ate the fish then maybe the troll would eat the others brought up for him. In one quick lick the fish was gone. The stubborn troll kept at his strange task when suddenly a small spark appeared. Casper now realised that the troll wanted fire, like the ones in his forests made when they stayed up on special nights and played their wooden flutes and danced. Casper nudged the troll to move back, he was more assertive now and the troll understood to run. Casper took in a deep breath then with all his might he roared, fire shot out of his nostrils and the fish, well, they were without a doubt baked. He then watched as the small, thin and obviously starving troll munch on them spitting out the bones which Casper licked up and found quite tasty. There were far too many fish for one small troll. Casper knew the feeling of hunger, of missing a mother and yet, he could not stay in this forest for long as he recalled his mother always coaching him to look about for strange creatures who did not like dragons. As much as he wanted to help the small waif, he knew he had to return to his own forest. He tried as much as a dragon can to communicate with the little eyes as green as his own, with rusty curls falling over his forehead, tiny brown spots on his nose and cheeks, with the cold bare feet and teeny toes. Troll studied Casper. He was clearly trying, too. Just in that second of what one might call friendship, one full of caring and tenderness, trust and newness a loud clanging noise came from the far side of the lake. Casper had never been that far, and his tail thumped shaking the ground beneath them. The troll looked up and with his high-pitched scream called out to the noise. “I’m here! Next, they heard a sound that echoed with a deep stern voice, “Benny? Stay put boy and we will come to you”. The troll had water in his eyes and rubbed Casper’s nose, “You must go, they will hurt you.” Casper did not move. Then the boy pushed Casper as hard as he could repeatedly. Casper realised the small troll was nudging him for good reason, urging him to go. “No one will believe me when I try to say you are gentle.” The sounds from the troll were more like a plea now and Casper recalled once again his mother’s instructions. “This is not our forest; creatures here don’t like dragons.” Casper’s emerald eyes were full of water, too; his tears were like buckets of rain forming small ponds. He stood and was much higher than the treeline, there he could see a group of taller creatures like his wee troll coming fast. He bent down and let his friend kiss his eyelids then sprung up from the opening from where he had his first glimpse of this new, quite loveable strange new creature. Benny waved with both sadness and joy, for he had made a memory no one would ever believe and soon he, unlike Casper, would be reunited with his mother. Casper’s heart still felt warm for this special troll had given him reason to care again. The late morning sun shone beautifully upon his wings reflecting a deep purple hue. Good things can still happen and just for fun he roared as loud as he could in a very long time. Although nearing his own forest, the lost troll could hear Casper and jumped into his mother’s arms and said, “I really was saved by a dragon!”; the mother smiled at her sweet son’s vivid imagination and held him tight. Casper vowed to return to the lake now, perhaps the spotted troll would, too. As he lay gently down in his usual spot in his own forest, fairies circled around him, delighted he was back. The small trolls in their rabbit fur coats and birch boots looked at him with relief. They too needed his warm sighs to lull them to sleep. Benny promised his mother to never run off from camp on his own to fish again without telling a grown-up. However, he knew, without a doubt he would return one day and so would Casper.
I am right with you, aligned as Ursa major and minor as the whole universe continues pulling us towards Love. Keep sharing, keep the voices of women before us alive. Feel unheard? Say it louder. Shout from your guts, CRY. Stay vigilent, mindful of your own inner work. No one can take your powers away unless you hand them over. SHINE. MOURN. Support other women in their struggles, be a woman’s woman, a teacher, a student, carry TRUTH as your flame. Stand up for your beliefs, run from insipid gossip, protect our tribe. Contribute loyalty, sing and play. We are the givers of life, the arches that span like rainbows, we are the gem other’s seek, we dig our hands in the Earth’s soil from every land. When weariness takes us down, rest upon the lap of love, honor your emotions, they need not be sacrificed for anyone. Bleed, bleed , bleed. Breathe deep, call out to the silver stars, the full moon light. Kneel with gratitude as we harvest what we’ve sowed. Mabon is upon us, the cyclical switch is eternal. Place your hope on the table, feel the change within your seasoned soul. Give. Live. Sunbeams, dawn, redgold leafs lie upon your mantal, for tis nature that earns the highest of all awards for her sacred healing, her mysterious essence, her endless ability to keep the house in order, the home in our hearts beating. Blessed Be.
Listen….hold your loved ones tighter. Okay. Those who love tf out of you and stick around through the good, the bad, the ugly. Hold them close to your heart. Let them know you appreciate them. Reciprocate that love and support. There are a lot of people who cannot and will not be able to handle the baggage you carry but there are those that will. Even if it’s one person…that’s your fuxking person, man. Love them. Cherish them. Hold them tighter. Those connections are RARE. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t let them slip away.
Underneath my colorful quilt, a friendship lost, a friendship built Stolen youth, years gone fast, I found someone though time has passed Once running, laughing we did not share, our hurts or pains that brought us ner Your big brown eyes, subtle composure, two hidden hearts with no disclosure We both were hurting yet never shared what life we'd led nor truth or dare We grew up, struggled through, found our way and lost it, too Strong women now, we rebuild our bond, between us lies a salty pond One day before my body breaks, I beg to see you; it's our fate One more time to laugh with you, soon I'm sixty and so are you In a foreign land I reach across to hold your hand Life's been harsh with some good times too, May we meet again for I love you.
Release, LET GO, Still, Be, Flow, Hear the ripples of Love? My far away calls, to you? Listen as the night stars breathe out LIGHT; No pattern, no scheme, no day, no regime; Belong as you are, NOW, float in the storm and free yourself from the pain in whatever way you feel it, close your eyes, rest, accept how it is right now. Rock keeps Lm steady as she fights off the bruises of time, she is feeling soft, needing warmth from the western winds, she is above water at least and knows there is no pattern to getting to the right place; she will let the wild waters take her where she needs to be. She hopes you will meet her along her journey and hop in the stream, the sea, the river, be there rocks, waves or sandy patches she vows to be constant with her effervescent Love; Mindful of your presence always, she hears your TRUTH as she holds you tight no matter, no matter, no matter what, Lm won’t give up on you. Blessed Be.
Bound by societal conformation we adorn our fingers with proof we are part of another; we have consigned within ourselves to be part of a whole. As a pair, wedded or not, both persons give part of their sentient “SELF” away. Inside the heart’s overflowing bloody pool many are tredding and desperatly clinging to reach the shore and shake off the idea of identifying themselves as seperate; like a wet labrador retriever humans often dedicate their entire lives to this bigger entity called marriage. Leashed, we toddle along and are faithful to our significant other in roughly 75.9% of human to human relationships. Yet, what if you were never whole on your own to begin with? Entrapped like a caged chimpanzee, your inner being never came forth. Lm was and is still hidden under layers of sediment and has never been set completely free. What does freedom really mean? How does her dedication to another feel when she is only a ghost of herself? Lm is not bound by religous doctrine and her insecurities wrestle with her pride daily. Why do people hide behind their roles, children or religion? What exactly is friendship? What makes one fear being who they are? Rock allows Lm much freedom to explore without guidelines. As far back as I can remember I have been shocked when others hurt me. It’s as if I have no shield between the real world and my heart. If I am betrayed I am not very good at forgiving. Where does this come from? I recently opened a door to a haunting memory at a southern USA summer church camp. I had one good friend joining me on this adventure and there would be new youth from all over the state of Tennessee to converge into this lovely, peaceful setting. I had my menstruation as I recall and was in much pain and couldn’t get in the pool. In the girl’s dorm before lights out I wrote in my journal and slipped it under my pillow each night. I described breakfast, vespers by campfires, the piney smell of the forest and my activities of the day. Each night at the campfire there was a boy who I thought was very cute and had a mean crush on. Note to all blossoming empathetic beings, never leave your journal where it can be found by others or in particular, don’t trust that good people won’t do bad things. I looked daily at the activity sign up sheet and made sure I was in whatever group he was going to be in that day. I laughed at his jokes, smiled with my shiny braces and always looked to see where his eyes wandered around when we met for campfire sharing before bedtime. My friend who came with me was very outgoing and had a sense of confidence I did not. She was the oldest of in her family of three sisters and one foster brother. We did not attend the same school however so my relationship with her was built on our both being in the loosely labeled ” Non-Denominational Christian Youth Group” in my part of the state. She would call me and ask if I was going to youth group each week and if I was going our mothers took turns picking us up. We also took ballet, tap and jazz dance lessons together and mall walked on Saturday nights together sometimes. She would become to me the monumental meaning of ” two-faced”, a term used in school amongst clicks talking about who could and could not be trust worthy. The depth of my innocence and lack of competence in social circles hadn’t hit me yet. I was not only the naive one in most situations but also the silly one. If I had no idea what to do I would make others laugh. Laughing was and is a good thing unless you become the target of others cruel wit. As camp neared the end of the two week stint I shared with my friend who had taken the long bus trip to western Tennessee with me that I had a crush on this boy. Unbeknownst to me was she already knew. Customary at camp was to give our new friends our addresses and many took photos. I asked my friend to please get a photo of me with this sweet boy and I would then suggest we exchange addresses. I stood as close to him as possible and he draped his right arm behind my neck and over my shoulder in full camp pal mode. I got his address and ran back to tuck it into my journal. What? Where was my diary? A sting swelled in my cheeks as if I had been slapped and tears broke loose. We were to all sit on the cabin steps for a group photo and I didn’t go back out. My youth counselor came in to find me and asked me why I was upset. As I told her my journal was missing she said that surely it must have fell behind my bunk bed when I was packing my things to go home and she would help me find it after. Teenage or middle aged trigger warning bells are chiming. I sit down and my friend asked me what was ” that all about?” and I told her. After the group’s picture was taken we were to pick up our lunches prepacked in the dining hall to eat on our buses home. I ran to get mine and as I was heading back to my room I saw my counselor with my journal in her hand; she always had a happy smile that all youth group leaders have, “I found it on the lower bunk.” I was grateful but certainly confused. We loaded our bus to the Nashville suburbs and my crush boarded his bus to far eastern Tennessee. My friend sat next to me and we ate our Lay’s potato chips first and giggled about different things we’d experienced all the way home. When we got off the bus I gave her a hug, never expecting it to be my last. I gave my film to my mother to have developed when she was driving. She stuck it in her purse and asked me lots of questions. I couldn’t find words to talk to my mother. I wanted to say I had a crush on a boy and I froze. I never could openly talk with my mother and I wasn’t about to start then. Days before school was to start my mother came home from work with my camp pictures developed. Excitedly I looked at each one and threw away the ones blurry with my big thumb also in them then, wait! What was this? My mother was near but busy making dinner yet she heard my outburst of tears and saw me run to my bed and do a full face down on my mattress kicking my legs and sobbing. She couldn’t understand my words but kept asking what was wrong. She looked at the picture and didn’t see what I did. As my photo was examined my TRUST, my Loyal Beagle friendship myth was broken. There I was with the boy who I had a secret crush on that only one person knew about. My holier than thou church pal who’d taken the photograph had also not only read my journal but given it to him to read also. There I stood like a fool, the rush of being close to this boy had my eyes reflecting my giddiness and well, the boy with one arm around my neck hanging over my shoulder had his other hand pulling my journal out from under his tee-shirt from the back. Yes, my friend took this photo and had shared my secret. Trust crumbled and I was unconsolable. On youth group night I overheard my mother speaking to my ex-friend’s mother about who was driving and I ran to her and motioned for her to cover the wall phone’s speaker. I blurted out I wasn’t going because I had a headache. My mother finished her conversation and hung up. A headache. She felt my head. I didn’t feel warm. I got out of this one night of humiliation yet I did not get out of my life sentence of anxiety when attempting to make new friends. To this very day that memory still comes up. I still take on the smiling persona that Rock helped Lm build to bravely navigate through social situations and sadly, this would not be my first lesson on friendship and meaningful communication. I would be hurt again and again because I cared too much. Today’s goal is strengthening my boundaries and my family which I have built on one solid foundation, Love and Trust. I am a good friend to hold onto however, without doubt I will remain in my stairwell peeking out at anyone new who wants to try to know me. I am still recovering. Still easily bruised and I am still fighting to understand what makes Lm happy.
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