Story Corps Reflection

I interviewed my Dad for this project.  Choosing a person to interview, was not that difficult because I knew my dad was a good story teller.  However there were several other people that I considered.  His story stood out the most because it related to things I was interested in.  For example my dad talked about how his father saved animals, through the Fish and Game outfit he had set up.  I, being very interested in animals found this story intriguing. Learning about my grandfather saving people really made me realize how much this story was worth hearing. Ultimately my interest in the work my grandfather did is what made me choose my dad to interview.

            When listening to a story it is always nice to have some background information. My grandfather had three kids and they did not have a lot of money.  However he always had a love for wildlife and helping people.  He decided to set up a Fish and Game outfit, and a marine outfit.  In doing this on his own free time, he saved many animals and people’s lives.  Growing up my dad had raccoons and other creatures around the house.  My grandfather would find them without mother’s and take them into his home and care for them.  He also would go out on the boat into the river, in order to help save people. After he passed away a boat launching dock was dedicated to him for all the times he helped people out.

            Before conducting this interview, I had a few concerns.   I was worried that my father would have difficulty answering the questions because he may not have remembered very well.  However, in the end he answered all the questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.  My dad was concerned about the same thing.  I had not given him the questions in advance.  He was worried that he would not be able to come up with answers right away. When I interviewed my dad, I thought that he would mostly be talking about the Fish and Game part of the story.  He ended up speaking more about the marine section of the story.  Although I was a little disappointed about not hearing about the animals, I learned a lot of interesting things.

            The interview process went fairly well.   I learned many things that I had not known.  For example, my dad told me about how my grandfather went and saved three people’s lives.  I also did not know that he had set it up with no pay, on his own time.  When interviewing my dad I felt very at ease which translates into the recording.  The fact that we know each other very well made the process much more relaxed.  If I had interviewed someone else I think that the answers would have shorter and not as through.  However my dad had somewhat of a joking manner making it difficult to get serious answers.  Overall the interview process went smoothly.

            Difficulties that I experienced during the interview was that my father had a little difficulty coming up with answers. In the beginning of the interview he was unsure how to answer the questions.  I stopped the recording several times in order to give him time to think.  Due to this, I realized I should have given him the questions in advance.  My dad’s joking personality also created some difficulties.  It was hard to get him to give serious remarks.  Eventually I was able to get him to give good answers.  After this there were no troubles and the interview went very easy. My dad translated the stories very well.

            The most surprising thing that I learned was about the boat dedication to my grandfather.  I found this very interesting because it showed that people had recognized all the hard work he had done.  I also found it neat that he had done this on his own free time with no money.  It showed that my grandfather really cared about the community and the animals.  However the most exciting story was learning about how my grandfather saved so many lives of people who could have drowned in the river.  This showed me that you have to recognize a problem then create something to fix it.  This is what my grandfather did in his community.  I enjoyed learning about all the amazing things my grandfather did to help people and animals.

            From this experience I learned that it is important to be aware of my surrounding and be an active member of my community.  My grandfather’s stories told me this because it shows that it is important to be a part of your community like he was.  Through his hard work and dedication he was able to achieve something that would benefit his town.  He did this on his own time without being paid.  This also tells me that it is important to not always expect something in return because the true reward is in the knowledge that you are helping someone out.  The animal stories taught me something as well.  It is important to be aware of our environment and be conscious of the other animals that live there.

            My dad’s stories taught me a lot about my grandfather that I didn’t know.  He looked up to him because of all the work he put into helping the community.  I enjoyed talking to my dad because he made the stories entertaining and interesting.  However if I was to do this project again I would give him the questions in advance.  Overall the interview process went well and I thought that I learned a lot.  The stories also taught me some important lessons.  I’m glad that I know more about my grandfather and the work he did.

Morning Ride

The tires squelch in the mud, as we pull into the parking area.  I sigh, not quite awake or ready for the bite of the cold air. Pushing the door open, I step out of the car.  The mud is deep from the recent rainfall.  It trails down the path to the barn.  Chicken footprints give the mud an interesting pattern.  I walk down the path that the chickens have recently traveled.  When I get to the barn, I grab the rusty handle and roll the door open.  An aroma of horses and musty hay fills my nose.  It’s a sweet smell, one that every rider looks forward to.   The horses, knowing someone has arrived, whiny in excitement.  Muzzles press between the stall bars, hoping for a treat.

            I walk to the first stall on the right as I do every day.  Chance pops his head up, his ears pointed to the ceiling, alert.  Once he notices it’s me, he takes one stride, and is at the door.  His soft muzzle pushes between the bars of the stall. His fuzzy lips, are coated with a layer of this mornings breakfast. I laugh at this comical image.  Instead of bringing him into the aisle to groom, I decided to leave him in the stall so that he can eat his hay.  Quickly grabbing the groom box, I reenter his stall.  I tenderly run my hand along his neck and muscular shoulders.  He pushes against my hand affectionately.  Quickly I brush him off, clean out his hooves, and brush his mane and forelock. 

            Grabbing his halter and lead rope from outside the stall catches his attention.  He glares at me knowing that he will soon be pulled from his hay.  I clip them on him, and lead him out of the stall, and attach the crossties to his halter.  He relaxes somewhat, and almost appears to be drifting off to sleep.  In the tack room, I grab bridal, saddle, saddle pad, and girth; terms only horse people would know.  First I lay on the saddle pad, just behind the bone at the end of his mane, withers.  My shoulders straining, I lift up the saddle and put it on the pad.  By this time the sun is higher in the sky, and the warmth of the day is beginning to show.  The chickens strut into the barn, acting as if they own the place. There is no silence at the barn.  The steady rhythmic sound of the horses munching on their hay fills the gaps.  The girth wraps around his barrel, or stomach.  I pull hard, getting it to tighten. 

            I return to the tack room and get my boots and chaps out of my trunk. The wind sills are coated with a layer of dust.  Putting my boots and chaps on is a great ordeal, and again I find myself wishing I just had tall boots.  Securing my helmet on my head completes the outfit.   When I get back into the aisle, Chance is attempting to nuzzle with another female horse named Monkey.  His efforts are in vain because the cross ties aren’t letting up.  Putting on the bridal is a breeze.  He has always been so good about taking the bit into his mouth.  Grabbing my whip I lead him towards the open barn doors.  The sun is shining now, and I can feel the warmth kissing my skin.  I’ve never been one for polo shirts, so discarding the regular riding attire, I wear an oversized grey t-shirt.  Chance also seems to be enjoying the fresh air.  He yanks me toward the emerald green grass, which surrounds the barn.  However I know it is coming, he attempts it every ride.  I have a firm grip on the reins, so he is disappointed. 

            I decide to ditch the dusty arena, and instead head for the open fields.  Jumps made of natural materials are scattered across the field.  Chance eyes the endless splay of grass greedily.  I picture in my head him drooling, and laugh.  Pulling him over to the mounting block, almost hidden in the tall grass, takes a great deal of effort.  Reluctantly, he follows slowly.  I hoist myself up into the leather saddle.  The breeze ruffles his mane, I smile.  This is true serenity.

Natural Food

Any grocery store shopper has a very important decision to make.  Will they go organic or regular store bought?  The customer must weigh there options.  There is organic with benefits and also regular.  They must decide what is most practical and important to them Different types of people will also have varying opinions on what is more practical. There are three things that will ultimately tell the shopper what to get.  They must decide which has the most reasonable elements.  First a decision about the cost must be made, then effect on the environment, and health benefits.

Buying fruits and vegetables from the local grocery store has its downfalls.  There is a high cost for shipping in foods from around the country.  Added on to the cost of the food is the price for shipping it. Depending on where you live, there are certain growing seasons.  If you live in a more northern region, the growing season is shorter.  Fruits and vegetables must then be sent in from other areas.  The shipping cost is expensive.  Organic foods are geared more towards the region’s growing season.  For example northern region organic food, consists mostly of root vegetables during the winter.  Therefore the shipping cost is greatly reduced.  Also, with a smaller shipping cost, the price at the store is a bit more manageable.  Originally organic foods prices are much higher than regular fruits and veggies.  This makes them a bit less desirable to customers.  However less shipping, is a perk to some.

            As the food is being shipped, the transportation used is not always good for the environment.  These fuels pollute the environment, affecting the plants and animals.  Pollution is leading to global warming which is a very serious issue.  Regular foods have a longer shipping period during the winter.  This leads to more pollution being let into the atmosphere.  Organic foods, as stated in the previous paragraph, have shorter shipping times.  Therefore there is less pollution which helps the environment to keep clean.  Chemicals put on some fruits and vegetables, are hurting the environment as well.

Yes, not at all cheap food is bad for you.  Fruits and vegetables purchased at the store are usually shipped from warmer regions.  The food needs to be kept fresh for shipping, at the store, and at the person’s home. Many companies use chemicals to keep bugs off and to keep them fresh.  However they provide your body with vitamins and minerals to keep you going.  Vegetables and fruits are a much needed source of energy during the winter.  You are able to get them from all over the world at your local store.  Imagine eating oranges from Florida in the middle of the winter.  All these fruits and veggies are somewhat fresh, and are a nice change from having the same foods over and over again.  However all these benefits come at a price, one that some people are not willing to pay?  Organic vegetables can be grown at home during the winter and summer, but there is less variety.  The climate dictates what can be grown. 

             Many people choose to grow food.  It provides them with healthy, relatively free food that they can mostly live off.  Other people have made the decision to buy their food from the stores.  This option offers a wide variety to keep your meals interesting.  However it pollutes the environment, costs more, and is not always guaranteed to be chemical free.  Growing your own food has plenty of benefits and although it is a lot of work, the good certainly out ways the bad. What’s your choice fresh, chemical free, cheap food, or variety with a price?

The Monster

We’ve all been in that place; where we feel alone and lost.  This place is dark. Shadows conceal the light, the way a smile can cover the pain.  The darkness leaves us lost, lost in a maze, with no way out. It’s scary not knowing how to get out. You may feel trapped, like an animal cornered.  Your heart pounds as you try to get out, out of the maze.  Yet at the same time you feel dull, completely drained of energy.  Somehow you keep yourself going because you know deep down that you have to get out and get away from what’s chasing you.  This thing that is chasing you seemed insignificant in the beginning.  It creeped up on you, yet somehow deep down you knew it was coming.  Depression has a way of surprising you.

            It comes in all different forms so you can’t ever truly see it coming. It can start from all different sources.  Perhaps you suffered a loss, or you’ve been tormented by bullies, or maybe it’s just purely self-inflicted.  No matter how it started it now holds you in its claws.  This monster pulls you away.  It withdraws you from your life, confusing you.  Suddenly, before you know it, you’re alone, isolated.  It holds you tight making it seem like there is no way out.  Depression isn’t a twisted thing of beauty, it’s an ugly monster that collects people like trophies.

            Drowning, it’s a word that some people would associate with the process of depression.  It’s slow and painful. You struggle but you just can’t seem to surface.  Your demons swirl around you, as you fall slowly into the dark abyss. Yet you are able to see the light that shines at the surface. It’s far away and seems hopelessly impossible to reach, but you hold on and keep struggling.  The light at the surface is your weapon against the monster that pulls you deeper.  Depression comes fast, but it doesn’t just happen fast. It’s a long difficult struggle with little hope, but the light that shines above you.

            The maze you’re lost in is dark.  The shadows cover everything.  They are both good and bad; they conceal the bad things but also the good.  The shadows are like the fake smile that becomes a permanent fixture on your face when others are around.  This smile has no depth, it does not continue to your eyes.  It covers up all the pain you feel inside, the pain that is slowly eating you away.  This pain was unplanned, a surprise.  Yet somehow you knew how to keep it hidden, or was it the monster?  The monster haunts you with your demons, alone and isolated.  The smile is the wall that the monster puts up, so it keeps you alone, holding on to you.

            You’re terrified, caught in this trap.  What is it you’re afraid of? The truth is that you are afraid of yourself.  That’s another of the monsters wicked tricks.  It convinces you to turn against yourself so that you become your own worst nightmare. It leads you into a trap, one specifically designed for the purpose of surprising you.  This trap was unexpected, so it’s difficult to figure out how to escape, but the light is still there.  You still have hope.  Depression is a gloomy sad place to be.  It brings you against yourself by surprising you and lowering your spirits.

            The truth is, you created your own monster and your own maze.  The monster that chases you through the shadows, the one pulling you farther away from the light, the one that hides your pain with a smile is your own monster.  It surprised you because it was your own doing.  Depression is and ugly monster that haunts you, and isolates you, pulls you away from the light.

American Slice Of Goodness

Being on a gluten-free diet is difficult, and you don’t have as many options.  However you don’t want to give up the American guilty pleasure, pizza.  Pizza is the saint of this country.  People all over indulge on its cheesy goodness.  For gluten-free Americans it’s a bit more difficult to find that slice of Heaven, but more and more options are coming out.  Uno’s, a common chain restaurant, started serving up three options for gluten free pizza.  Another more local restaurant hopping on the gluten-free pizza wagon is Cooper Hill.  The third is a popular mostly New Hampshire based organic pizza place, Flatbreads.  All three of these restaurants are serving gluten-free pizza each is known for different things such as the pizza itself, its variety of options and its price.

            Have you ever tried eating a piece of dry, hard, cardboard? Well that’s what Uno’s gluten-free pizza tastes like.  The crust in hard like a rock, with a dry dusty coating.  The cheese, on the other hand, is not dry, it’s like a bowl of cheese filled with grease.  Somehow the cheese does not lend a hand and make the crust less dry and dense but rather sits in a puddle.  However it gets better.  Uno’s has a rounding total of three options for gluten-free pizza.  There is regular cheese, veggie, and meat.  The veggie pizza comes with crunchy peppers, and mushrooms.  The meat is either pepperoni or sausage.  The regular cheese is a soggy, hard, dry rimmed disaster.  I personally can only stomach the veggie.  The peppers somewhat mask the flavor of the hurricane of dull flavor, and moat of grease. However there is nothing that beats the cheap price of about $10.  Very little of precious money is forked over for this hot mess. Uno’s does not have the easiest access for Northwood or Strafford.  The closest one is located in Rochester. This is quite a drive depending on where the person lives.

            Soft squishy crust, with a somewhat average pizza flavor: that’s what you get at Cooper Hill.  This local pizza joint is quite popular with gluten-free locals.  It’s almost just like eating regular wheat pizza.  The crust is soft with a little bit of crunch. The cheese is soft and gooey, maybe a bit too greasy for some people’s taste.  It’s the average pizza.  Cooper Hill has loads of delicious options to decorate their pizzas.  There are spreads of meats from chicken to bacon.  The vegetables are available in a wide variety.  They also have different types of pizzas you can get like Hawaiian, buffalo, Greek, white cheese, etc. I’ve experimented with many different toppings.  Some combinations I have fallen in love with.  However these pizzas understandably come with a slightly heftier price of about $11-12. It’s one that many people are willing to pay to sink their teeth into an average American slice of delicious.  Convenience is one of Cooper Hill’s greatest assets.  Northwood and Strafford residents, can either use the speedy delivery or drive the short distance, to the quaint, friendly environment of the restaurant.   

            Organic is a word most people either shudder at, or jump for joy.  Flatbreads will turn any organic hater into a fanatic.  The crust is soft, airy with a crispy outside.  The cheese melts into a gooey puddle of heaven, the seasoning adding a spice of unique flavor.  Everything is organic, yet somehow to people’s surprise still delicious.  Flatbreads has a wide variety of options. Most sound strange and frightening, but once a bite is taken you realize you’ve been missing out.  An example of a strange yet tasty combination is there tomato, spinach, mozzarella cheese, and homemade balsamic dressing.  The organic vegetables, cheeses, meats, and sauces melt the taste buds. I’m very loyal to my cheese and herb gluten free pizza.  Although I occasionally branch out to some of the crazy combos, I prefer my cheese and herb.  With this level of goodness comes a heavy price of about $15-17.  Flatbreads prices are high but the taste is worth it.  The one downfall to Flatbreads is location.  There are several Flatbreads in New England.  Many are not close to Northwood. 

            Gluten-free Americans are being introduced to a variety of options of pizza.  The American treat that they have been missing is finally available to them.  Uno’s is known for its cheap prices.  Cooper Hill is known for its wide variety of options.  Flatbreads is known for its delicious taste.  Everything depends on what is important to you: taste, variety, or price.  In the end it comes down to being able to enjoy the American slice of goodness.

Francie is Shaped By Brooklyn

“A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” by Betty Smith is the story of a young girl named Francie who grows up in Brooklyn during the 1910s and all the struggles she encounters.  Francie goes through many things that impact and shape her life.  However despite her struggles she remains to have a positive outlook on life.  Throughout the novel she sees things in the most positive of lights.  She enjoys and finds happiness in the simplest of things. Francie sees everything better than it actually is and is able to survive through difficult times because of experiences, people who helped her along the way and because of where she grew up.  Francie is shaped by Brooklyn and the people that live there.

            Throughout the novel Francie is faced with constant difficulties that greatly impact her life.  Things like the death of her father, poverty, and discrimination.  However she had positive figures in her life to show her the way and how to see the best in life.  One of these people was her music teacher.  He showed her the positive aspects of school and how music could affect her life. “He was so vibrant, gay, jolly-so intoxicated-with living-that he was like a god come from the clouds.  He was homely in a gallant vital way.  He understood and loved children and they worshipped him” (Smith 164).  In this quote the music teacher is being described.  He has a positive impact on Francie’s life because he shows her how to love life and experience the joys of it, he also shows her that not all people are the same, some are loving and caring.

            Another character that greatly influenced Franice’s life in a positive way was Mary Rommely, her grandmother.  She did not directly help Francie but rather helped Katie, her mother, and taught her how to show her child the way to happiness.  Mary Rommely’s words had a great impact on Francie’s life because it gave her many great tools that would help her to survive all the difficult things to come.  “‘Because,’ explained Mary Rommely simply, ‘the child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe.  She must start out by believing in things not of this world.  Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination’” (Smith 84).  Mary takes it upon herself to tell Katie how to make sure that her child can always find its way back to happiness.  This helps Francie develop her imagination, which carries her through all the rough patches.  Not only does it give Francie imagination but it gives her the will to carry on and the knowledge that there is something greater, something better out there.

            Francie was shaped into the person she became near the end of the book by both her environment and experiences that occurred throughout her childhood.  She grew up in poverty with little money but her imagination never failed her it helped her to get through the struggles. Growing up she had very little.  An example of this is, “’who wants to die? Everything struggles to live.  Look at that tree growing up there out of the grating.  It gets no sun, and water only when it rains.  It’s growing out of the sour earth.  And it’s strong because its hard struggle to live is making it strong.  My child will be strong that way’” (Smith 95).  In this quote Katie is talking about how the tree is struggling to live and survive, yet its struggle makes it stronger.  Katie believes that her child, Francie, will be strong this way, because she too will struggle.  Francie, like the tree struggles greatly throughout her life because of the time period and her social class.  However like her mother thought she too is made strong by the hardships she faces

            Francie’s environment is not the only thing that shaped her and her personality.  Experiences she had throughout her childhood added to shaping her into the person she became.  An example of this is, “One day after one of those “rescues” Francie asked Mama: ‘when explorers get hungry and suffer like that, it’s for a reason.  Something big comes out of it.  They discover the North Pole.  But what big thing comes out of us being hungry like that?’ Katie looked tired all of a sudden. She said something Francie didn’t understand at the time. She said ‘You found the catch in it’” (Smith 218).  This quote describes a game that the Nolans used to play when there was little money and not enough for food.  They would pretend to be explorers till enough money could be put together to purchase food.  Francie finds that the game really isn’t a game but a cover up for their poverty.  This is a big part of Francie growing up, her imagination isn’t there for everything anymore.  She finds the loopholes where reality comes through.  However it still helps her see the best in life.  Also she learns that even though her family is poor and struggles they can still get through it and come out stronger then they were before.

            Francie finds the simplest things in life, a source of beauty and happiness.  She can see the good in just about anything, and the smallest things can fix the problems or the pain she experiences being poor in the 1910s.  “’And she doesn’t have to worry about me, either. I don’t need to drink to get drunk.  I can get drunk on things like the tulip-and this night’” (Smith 405).  Francie and Neeley, her brother, are talking about getting drunk and their experiences with it.  Francie states that she gets the feeling of being drunk just from a flower or a night.  She is so easily pleased, that things so small can influence her life.  This would make the reader think that she would be much more susceptible to being hurt, especially with the difficult life she has.  However it’s the opposite,  Francie is able to withstand all the difficulties life throws at her because she can so easily grab on to the good things.  She can see past everything to the better times that she knows will come.

            In this book a girl named Francie is shaped into a person that can get through experiences that are difficult, with the use of imagination and her ability to find the good and beauty in just about anything.  She also is able to experience happiness from the smallest of things.  She is shaped by people like her mother, grandmother, and many other people.  However she is also affected by the environment she grows up in and experiences that occur throughout her life.  In the end she is always able to get better and get through it because of her way of seeing the good and finding happiness in the hidden aspects of life that many people overlook.

The Patience of Waiting For the Wave

The waves roll steadily, coming closer and closer.  They seem to creep along, lying in wait to attack their prey.  Slowly they inch closer to me, waiting for the right time for attack, their blue mouths hungry and gaping, aching to swallow me whole.  I’m not scared; I am prepared for their attack.  I push with all my weight on the nose of the board.  The board dips down and I slip into the watery cave of the wave’s belly.  The cold water encircles me holding me down.  There is no escape.  At the same moment that these thoughts enter my mind, the nose of the board breaks free, piercing the soft watery flesh.  I return to reality.

            My shoulders ache as my hands push against the water.  They thrust the water backwards and propel me forward. Each time my hands slip into the cold unforgiving water, I scoop it up and push forward.  This continuous movement somewhat dulls the ache in my shoulders.  Then once my hands hit the water, the dreamlike stance is broken, and a chill runs up my arm.  It is the monster, the ocean, telling me I’m not welcome.  However I push forward, and the chills trace up my arm.  I can almost imagine it creating silvery lines, made into delicate patterns up my arm, but that is just in my mind.  The strain of the movement tears through my shoulders, but I keep going.  I’m in search for that perfect wave.

            The waves are average today.  They aren’t monsters, hungry for the taste of flesh and bone crushing.  They also aren’t turtles, gliding along gently nudging those that float in this watery abyss.  Rather they are like small cars out for a summer drive, lazily rolling along the glassy surface of the ocean.  Then they seem to go up in speed, the summer drive turning into a race to reach the shore.  It’s as if they don’t know that they are doomed to crash and crumble to pieces, only to be reborn and continue the dismal cycle again.  As they crash they create a cascading show of sparkles glinting in the sun.  The shine makes them appear larger then they are.  However they are the perfect size for me, and amongst them I will find my perfect wave.

            I push myself up so that I’m sitting on my board.  My legs dangle in the water, a great temptation for sharks.  I’m not scared of the thought of a shark swimming up underneath me and snatching my leg for an afternoon snack. Although there are rarely sharks my legs covered by the thick black wet suit material give the allusion of a seal.  The wetsuit restricts my movement but it keeps me warm from the ice cold water, that sharks don’t exactly care for. This is Hampton; there are rarely ever sharks.  The water here mostly consists of small crabs, the occasional seal, some small fish and lobsters.  The lobsters and crabs scuttle across the sandy bottom the fish swimming above them, the birds of the sea.  There are very few rocks lining the shore and the ocean. However ate every stair case there is a pile of large rectangular rocks that stand in a firm row pointing towards the edge of the water.  They are like a pathway leading to the ocean.

            As I sit on my board, I look out at the ocean, not admiring the beauty it possess, like many of the beach walkers.  They stroll lazily along the sand not squishing between their toes but getting caught in the ridges on the bottoms of their shoes. The sand is cold; it’s almost like walking on snow, not the hot sand most people think of when they think beach sand.  They stare out at the ocean wrapped in thick coats, pulling their collars up to their noses.  They look out at the winter ocean admiring the crashing waves, as they crumble on the shore, then slink back into the ocean.  I look out for another purpose.  I scan the horizon for the wave, not just for any wave but rather the perfect wave, one I can ride all the way to shore on, one that I can practice achieving the perfect angle or turn.  I don’t see it yet, so I keep searching.

            Finally my eyes rest on the wave, the wave that will give me the feeling all surfers desire, the feeling of catching a wave.  This feeling keeps me addicted, always wanting more, keeps my mind on the ocean and the waves.  It gives me the insane idea to get up early and jump in the ocean in the middle of winter.  The wave I’m looking for comes closer and closer.  I use my hands to turn myself so that I’m facing towards the beach.  It’s somewhat a nerve racking feeling, to turn my back to the waves coming up behind me, knowing very well that it could crash over my head and pull me under.  I place my feet in the perfect position to easily lift me into the correct stance.  I lie waiting for the wave to come up behind me and carry me to shore.

            I sense the change in the flow of water, telling me that the wave is approaching. I push my hands deep into the water and dig as hard as I can.  The board begins to move forward, gliding along the glassy surface, pretending to be the color of blue. Each time my hand reaches for the water I can see the reflection; it’s somewhat of a dizzying effect, like seeing double.  My shoulders ache as I keep paddling.  I won’t let up; this is the wave I’ve been waiting for all day.  Finally the wave catches the fins and the back of the board.  It jolts and pushes forward.  There is a slight drag from the cord that keeps me connected to my board.  Quickly I push myself up, and lean to the side so that the board rides alongside the wave.  My search is over for the day.  I have found my perfect wave.

A Change of Heart

The sun filters into the room, through the crack in the beige curtains.  It makes a line of gold on the yellow walls, creating stripes.  I lift my hand to cover my eyes as the light runs over my face, shining in my eyes.  The light flickers like a lighter going on and off, except the flame in the rays of sunlight.  I open my eyes again, moving my hand away from my face.  Its blinding as it crosses my vision I can’t see anything except for the bright yellow glow.  Hope crosses my mind, a flicker of emotion that has been absent.  Maybe, just maybe she will be there.   Maybe I will see my grandmother again

It’s been almost a year, but the pain of loss hasn’t faded, not even a little bit.  It is like the ocean.  Sometimes the pain is storm waves, so much so that’s its overwhelming and you feel yourself slowly drowning in it.  Other times it’s just a dull ache like when the ocean is flat, except for the tiny waves disturbing the surface.  The flicker of sun on the waves is the dash of hope that will occasionally fill you, lessening the pain, making it easier to bare.  Hope is a true beacon of light, blurring your emotions so that you can’t clearly separate one from another.

The memories are still strong in my mind, even though I know they will slowly fade and become nothing more than a wisp of a thought.  I remember her reading to us, stories of princesses and kings.  These memories are some of the stronger ones.  So for now I play them in my head, over and over.  There where times where she took us to the beach.  We’d play in the sparking waves, as she stood on the beach watching over us, just as I know she is doing now.  As the light dances across my hair spinning it into gold, I remember.  I remember the laughter, the smiles, the tears, the hugs, and most importantly the love.  That love is what keeps me from breaking under the weight of the waves.

Her smile shines in my mind, another ray of happiness.  I remember her dark, tan, wrinkled skin.  It felt like leather under your fingers. Her gray hair was like thin silver, flowing like waves.  She was thin but not too thin, and beautiful, anyone who remembers her would say so.  I only knew her in her old age, but pictures of her as a young woman show her remarkable beauty.  She wasn’t just beautiful on the outside, she had a kindness that would make anyone feel better.  When I cried she was always there to comfort me, her arms wrapping around me, keeping me safe.  I remember the way we used to swing together laughing, and talking.  She understood me even though we weren’t the closest. When I was younger we’d curl up together in her bed till the sun came up.  These memories play in my mind, I hold on tight to them.

The sun begins to fade and the rooms starts to darken, like the memories in my mind.  I pretend to twist the light around my toes, spinning them in circles.  I trace the circles of regret, because I do regret the later years.  My mind picks apart all the things I could have done.  I just want to forget all the mistakes I made but I know that’s impossible.  So as the sun thinks farther, throwing wild shadows across the room, I hold onto the good memories.  These are the ones I want to remember when all the others fade, the ones that make me smile.

Tears begin to spill down my cheeks, racing to the tip of my nose, or the curve of my chin.  They are the opposite of what thoughts bounce in my head.  I want to go back, and slow everything down, so I can stay in those moments forever.  I wipe the tears, smearing them across my face.  Along with it the hope, that the sun had brought. Another tear runs down my face, tracing the path of the others.  I close my eyes and see her, her beautiful smile.  When I open my eyes again hope has returned and the light along with it.


It seemed quite despite the mild roar of the wind.  The wind twisted its way around the trees, and large rocks, howling as it went.  Despite this is was silent, like the world had stopped.   I felt it, like a wave rolling over me, cascading down my body.  It was deep, thick almost,  though I knew that silence could not have thickness.  The quite was eerie, with the slight howl of the wind cutting through leaving an invisible trail.  I knew the quiet was mostly in my mind, I erased the noises around me and created my own private silence.

A blanket of white, that’s how most people describe the snow.  That’s not how I see it.  The word blanket is not nearly enough to describe the scene.  To me the snow is a torn feathered blanket thrown in the wash.  It tumbles and whirls around, a tornado of white.  There are small clumps and large clumps spattered like a paint splatter on the ground, it’s almost too much whiteness to distinguish one form the other.  In a way it’s ugly and creepy, you can’t see, there’s no noise, and just too much white.  Yet people seem to find this scene of disaster beautiful and enchanting.  Maybe the reason it’s seen as beautiful is because it’s such a mess.  Disaster is beautiful in its own way.  In fact it truly is stunning.  So it’s really not a blanket but more of a flurry of feathers, that cascade down, creating a bed of white.

I watch those feathers make their way to the already covered floor.  From a distance if you’re just watching it seems as if they rush to the ground, flying at a dizzying speed.   However if you care to observe and look closely, you will realize that they float gently, taking their time. Its then that this disaster becomes beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing to watch.  Steadily they drift, forming a dance in the air.  Moving back and forth, side to side, they catch you attention.  This dance of the snowflakes holds you in a trance, one that is a struggle to surface from.  You can’t break your eyes away, it’s too enchanting.

In the same way, the bigger picture can be just as mystical.  I walk on a path lined with snow covered trees.  The pines are wrapped with the small flakes.  Its twisted around the green needles in the same way a popcorn garland twists around a Christmas tree.  The effect was quite stunning.  The other trees, with their old snarled looking braches held the snow aloft.  This look was slightly less majestic.  You could see the buildup of snow on each individual branch, an extension of what was already there.  It was spectacular, a sight like no other.  In these moment is when you most appreciate the water crystals that we call snow.

The snowshoes that held my feet, left trails behind me, marking my path.  Anyone could see the places I had walked, the traces I had left.  This reminded me of life the trail I left in the snow was a mark I had made on the earth, in the same way the things I said left a mark on

Barnes 2

people I’d spoken to.  I affected the snow like how I could affect a person, changing it from how it originally was, just by an encounter.  This made me think as I wandered the path lined with trees.

My muscles strained from walking so far in the heavy snowshoes.  I ached to take them off.  So I sat in the path, and pulled the shoes off.  They dug into my feet as I pulled, creating red lines that crisscrossed across my heels.  Feeling hot, I also took off my snow boots.  Then I put them in the snow, right in front of me.  The shock of the ice cold woke me up.  In a way the snow felt hot the longer I left my feet out.  It was so cold that it felt like they where on fire, creating an entirely interesting and undesirable feeling.  However the shock was welcome, in a way, it awakened me and gave me back some energy that I had lost trekking through the deep snow.  Slowly I pulled my boots and snowshoes back on. Then I rose and began walking again.

As I walked the silence was broken by the song of a bird.  The bird you always think of when you think of snow, a chickadee.  Its song that gave it its name, rings through the trees.  With the noise comes  life.  The deadened forest seemed to come alive with the song.  Also the sky seemed to brighten, a color more alive than the dull gray it was before.  Though snow is beautiful it brings with it a sort of dead silence that hangs over you throughout the winter.  However with the chickadees song the deadness lifts just a little bit bringing with it the prospect of spring.

The path I’ve been walking spits out onto a street.  The street is narrow because of the piles of snow that line it, after a recent plowing. It was dirty snow, slush almost.  The road was brown from the dirt and snow mixture.  This is my least favorite aspect, the slush is disgusting and depressing.  A car flew past, spraying me with slush, it honked in apology.  This is the true deadness of winter.  The lack of white was suddenly sickening, I missed what I had previously not cared for.  That’s the way winter worked one second cursing the endless white the next yearning for it.

There was a thin layer of slippery snow that covered the road.  I trudged carefully not wanting to slip, and get all wet.  Every step I took I heard a squelching noise from underfoot.  The sound entertained me as I continued walking, each step the noise sounded again.  My boots were now sodden from the hours of snowshoeing.  I ached to get them off and for my feet to be dry once again.  All I wanted was to be reunited with the warmth from the house, and shake off the blanket of cold that held me out in the snow.

I finally reached the door, and I opened it.  A rush of warm air brushed my face, it was one of the best sensations I ever felt.  The warmth crawled over your frozen face, slowly warming it so the chill disappeared.  I turned to look over my shoulder, thankful that I was no longer out in the cold.  However the beauty of the scene staring back at me was slightly overwhelming.  The snow seemed to  twinkle like stars, across the entire yard.  The trees looked elegant draped in the snow.  I was in love with this winter wonderland.

Fear (creative writing piece)

The women raised her head and looked around, she
missed the ability of being able to see. There was no one in sight.  She looked around the room with her white milky eyes, a creak sounded behind her.  Fear and adrenaline coursed through her.  The women jumped and spun around, her eyes
searching for the source of the noise, momentarily forgetting her
blindness.  Her long grey hair seemed to
stand on end, due to her fear, as her body sat stiff as a board, waiting.  The creak sounded again, this time louder,
and closer. The women drew her arms in close to her body, afraid that something
would reach out and touch her.  She
reached into her filthy shawl, her hand grasping for something she knew was there. Finally her old wrinkled hand met with cool sharp metal

She grasped it tightly, like it was the only thing holding her in place.  It was like a lifeline of sorts, at least that’s what she thought, trying to reassure herself.  The noise stopped and she sat, waiting for it again.  Fear, that’s what she felt, in the silence after the noise.  It swept through her whole body, creating a wave of adrenaline.  The women shot up, despite her old limbs she was fast.

The knife was in her right hand, it was small, not very large, but it was sharp. The knife could easily cut through flesh, but that’s not what the women planned to use the knife for.  The knife was for a different purpose, it was for the shadow that edged around the room, the one that was creating all the noise.  It was black, as black as something could possibly be.  The women knew this despite her not being able to see it.  This was not the first time she had encountered the shadow, but she knew it would be the last.  With the knife in hand the women charged the shadow, driving it right through where its heart would be.  She killed it and along with it her fear.  The fear that had been penetrating her for so long.  She was no longer afraid to die.