Winter Solstice 2018

Winter Solstice 2018

 

December 19, yesterday watched the birth of dawn, observed the death/rebirth symbolism found in nature, wondered why and how our Ancestors embraced such simplicity as sacred. It cannot be that far off from my own sensitivity to such mundane events that most take for granted. It’s only a day away from Winter Solstice, or Jöl, as my Ancestors would call it. The time of in-betweens, tell tale signs of sleeping earth. The sun makes his way to his lowest point in the northern hemisphere, begging for clarity. Our minds cannot comprehend such cosmic rays, the vastness of our place in this vision of universe. But we try.

We try to measure and analyze and quantify all that surrounds us, even the stuff that so clearly cannot be quantified or analyzed or measured. It all gets us closer to technological evolution, physical growth and expenditure, but further away from the simplicity of Spirit. And that’s what this season is supposed to be for, to me. It’s a day for rememberance, inward reflection, speculation on our Soul’s journey in our human experiences. It’s for intuitive processing, connecting with the Source that creates all things, destroys all things. It is for prayer and spell, the closeness of family-as we’re all connected.

This is not about dogma or doctrine, it’s about tradition and timelessness. The progression of nature’s turn from Dark to Light, contraction and expansion. I celebrate to share with those I love. I celebrate my Love for the earth. Forget monetary value, as there can be no price for preciousness. Forget material goods, electronic devices, technological needs.

Strip it all away, lay yourselves bare, and revel in the glory and agony of it all…of all it means to be human and alive to witness the sun rise with the turning of the year. Contemplate the clouds and rejoice with the songbirds.

Remember who you are and those you hold dear. Remember the sunset. Remember your origins, and be fulfilled: for it’s the Winter Solstice, the ending point of previous dreams’ gestation, and the birth of a new year.

✨Happy Solstice, all💙

Endangered: a Sunday Short

Endangered: a Sunday Short

I was inspired some time ago by all the recently published YA novels in the fantasy fiction genre. My last student that I worked with got me into the teen fantasy-romance, particularly following sagas of adapted folklore surrounding shifters, werewolves, and other lycanthropes. I normally wouldn’t have chosen to explore this genre at all, except I’ve been noticing the rise in its popularity among tweens, teens, and young adults. There’s not much in this world that could please me more than watching teen students willingly pick out fiction literature and actually enjoy it.

So with my newfound inspiration, I decided to explore the shifter/werewolf fantasy element, albeit with a twist. So without further adieu, here’s a recent flash piece I’ve been playing with, taking place in my beautiful Florida. This short definitely feels like the beginning of something bigger, so I’ll be brainstorming where to go with Mia’s story in the future.

In the meantime, enjoy, and be sure to click the links at the bottom of this post to explore the ever mystifying Florida panther, as well as the rich culture and history of the Seminole tribes of Florida.

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This was her favorite part. If there was something in the world Mia Thompson could love more than David Bowie’s music, she had yet to find it. Cranking up the volume on Moonage Daydream Mia sped her Jeep onto SR 29 North, toward home. She had just finished a particularly straining shift at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge where she’d managed to land her part-time dream job, and she was anxious to get home. Mia had been floored when she was told she’d been granted her employment shortly after summer vacation had started. But today was a daunting day, and the thought of a warm shower and pajamas had its appeal.

Belting out the last of the lyrics, Mia began her routine of formulating her thesis of what would eventually become her entrance essay into the Biology department at the University of Miami. She hoped to present the research she’d been participating in at the Refuge: the growing pockets of small populations of endangered species native and unique to Florida. Using her data, she hoped to persuade a halt on agricultural and commercial development throughout the unprotected northern reaches of the Everglades she knew and loved so much. The land of her family. Her people, her mother would correct her.

Smiling to herself at the thought of her mother and what she’d surely be cooking up for dinner, Mia let herself relax and enjoy her familiar surroundings. State Road 29 was a country road and mostly straight traveling, leading south toward Ave Maria, Alligator Alley, and her lovely Refuge and the Fakahatchee Strand, with occasional bends along the way. Travel about an hour southwest, and she’d hit Naples and Marco Island. North brought her to LaBelle, and Miami was only a two hour drive southeast.

Soon the wetlands started giving way to drier land, offering up sand pines, saw palmettos, sawgrass, scrub oak and the occasional live oak draped in Spanish moss. The road started the last of its bends here, where the air was growing still and humid. Mia breathed it in; she loved this place. And she was going to save it.

Halfway through Changes, Mia turned her headlights on, cursing the longer than usual shift. Should’ve called in, she thought. She hated driving this last stretch of road into Immokalee in the dark. She sped up, shifting to fifth, hoping a little more speed would get her home sooner.

As she rounded another curve, she spotted a creamy blur dart across the road and into the brush, heading east. Into the gathering shadows. Slowing down enough to see the spot where the thing ran, Mia looked for a place to turn around. Using an old gravel trail as a drive, she reversed and headed back to where she remembered seeing what she could have sworn was a panther. She’d been waiting and watching these areas her whole life practically, and she wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by. Especially since the elusive cats tended to stay within the bounds of the refuge. She had never heard of panther sightings this far north, but this area was virtually uninhabited by humans, so the possibility that it truly was a panther was quite high.

Pulling off to the shoulder, Mia parked the Jeep and cranked up the emergency brake. Flashlight and cell phone in hand, she headed toward the edge of the pine and oak and alligator grass. The flashlight’s beam only illuminated a small portion of what looked like a deer trail, though Mia wasn’t sure. She’d be late for dinner, but she very much wanted to see if she could spot the big cat. So she took a steadying breath and stepped onto the scrubby trail.

[Featured image, Florida panther, courtesy of FloridaPanther.comRead about this endangered species here.]

[Read about the Seminole Reservation in Immokalee,the history, and culture.]

Within tempestuous Nebulae

Within tempestuous Nebulae

Stars collide
Within these eyes
Memories seducing
Blood alive
Cosmic shifts
Rip meaning from time…
And I became high
A sweet euphoria
awareness
Pulsating in rhythm
To this
Galactic lullaby

[Featured image: Cone Nebula, star forming region located within the constellation Monoceros; photo courtesy of constellation-guide.com]

S’mores Apples

S’mores Apples

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One of my favorite desserts in the Fall time is s’mores and caramel covered apples. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it! It is such a creative idea that I would have never thought of and you should definitely try it. Not many ingredients required, but it can get messy.


Ingredients:

  • 6 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 bag Large Marshmallows
  • 10 oz. milk chocolate chips
  • 2 c. crushed graham crackers

Directions:

  1. Remove stems and skewer apples (see “Tricks for Sticks”).
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add marshmallows, and stir until melted.
  3. Dip apples, one at a time, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.
  4. Then, in a double boiler over low heat, melt chocolate chips, stirring continuously. Dip an apple into the chocolate, stopping two-thirds of the way up. Immediately dip the lower…

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The Law of Highest Resistance – and how to know if you’re a Viking

The Law of Highest Resistance – and how to know if you’re a Viking

Nothing with worth ever comes from taking the easy way… It seems I’ve been cultivating what I reap only after I’ve met resistance on all fronts and poured my sweat and blood and tears into the thing.

“The Law of Highest Resistance”

BJØRN ANDREAS BULL-HANSEN

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Let me tell you what it means to be a Viking. It means that you follow what I like to call The Law of Highest Resistance. I have lived by this rule for most of my adult life and in this blog post, I will try to explain what it means.

As we all know, life is not always easy. But it’s human nature to choose what seems to be the easiest way out of difficult situations. We all know people who tend to do that. It could be your co-worker who always wants to go for the easy, short-term option, or it could be that alcoholic who always chooses another drink instead of sobering up. We see people like that every day. Among our friends and relatives, among politicians in the news. The human population seems to have a very high percentage of what I like to call «easy…

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