Love was an old brick Road

Once we carried wishes in our mouths, our bleeding hearts choked up on poetry and whiskey, the nostalgia of childhood dreams.

When romance was the ocean calling us down to the shore, we ran in rhythm to the pulse of the waves, and stripped down beyond our naked vulnerability, plunged ourselves deep into the indigo of what we thought we’d have.

When love was an old brick road, we danced in ryhthm to the beat of the setting sun, kissed his feet goodnight and worshipped the moon as she rose.

Love was an old brick road, but somewhere along that path our travel plans unraveled, and I ended up walking alone.

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+LJ

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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.]

Freyja’s Chosen

‘Tis savage, it is, the way you mortal men war among yourselves. Your lives are fleeting, in an instant created, and in an instant destroyed. You war and raid and praise in Our names, yet you know not the true faces of Us. We are not as your mortal minds conceive Us, and in your ignorance, you’ve built a fancy that your blood oaths and sacrifices keep us sated, keep us above you and benevolent.

We are all around, beneath the Mound, within it, and above it. We are neither benevolent nor malevolent. We are the Stars, the Sun and the Moon and the tides that bear down on the coasts of the Land you claim as yours. The Land you fight to conquer. We were here long before you, Mortals, and we shall be long here until the day of doom upon the world, and ever after Ragnarok takes us all into the Chaos.

But ’tis the ferocity…your ferocity in your battles that belies your honor, your heart, your need to believe. You worship Me, you worship my Maidens Valkyrie, as if honoring us on the field of battle will sublimate and separate you into a Clan you cannot possibly perceive.
Still I watch you call your Kith and raise your Swords and Shields, and still I do not turn away, because it is Love I see mortals live and die for; Love that forges hearts of steel and Spirits of iron; Love that gives me longing to invite you Warriors into my hall to rejoice your valor. Odin has his pick over Mine, but those I choose are those that hold Love above all else.

Mine own are Warriors who have not forgotten that it is Love they fight for, even in Death.
Because of this, I choose to praise your deeds as you praise those of the Gods. Because of Love, dear Warriors, I choose to open My Hall to your kind, calling you home to rest where you will meet your Loves left behind when the world dies to ash.

 

 

~Líadan Rán~

Transparency

I wandered until I was lost. Trodding sodden ground, clutching the blackness of obsidian destruction. A temporal fascination, overbearingly familiar, like déjà vu, surfaced from the cold dark waters of a buried consciousness, a buried light.
White was deathly, like pale fingers creeping in to paint splotches of scaled-down readiness across a canvas of nothingness.
The bleak of winter would comfort me now. In a world where spring is springing, where greens and blues decay under the whiteness of my sliding spirit. I am darkness in this light. This encompassing trend of rising to the occasion has been lost on me.
I feel as though the zigzag of humanity’s crumpling form is winding around me. I have learned this lesson before. I have learned to distrust. My weary ways have haunted me, have coalesced around this storm that swirls throughout my being. I am sick.
The grit and dew sparkle like dogmas cradled within the hierarchies of man. I have learned to hate and love in equal measure. I have tasted the waxen futility of this fight. This war on life. Control is today’s special. Beating the innocence out of the disciples of creation. My creation is eating me alive. Conquered and devoured. I can’t twist my view to the periphery of this room. My prison cell, I built it from the gifts I was given.
I wandered until I was lost, and now,
I’m not quite sure I ever want to be found.

The Wooing of Emer

The myths of the Ulster Cycles and other legends and folklore that flow out of Ireland have been of interest to me for quite some time. After reading Cuchulain of Muirthemne: The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster by Lady Gregory, I became immersed and fascinated by the story that builds between Emer and Cuchulain. Evidently, he spurned her, betrayed her with another, and she spits fire at him in return.

Anyhow, this poem was a vision of sorts from what Emer herself may have felt upon meeting and interacting with the golden man himself.

The Wooing of Emer

The strain of my heart against his ribs
The heated blood that rises within me
He hath possess me, body and soul
Do I dare to utter the words to him? He who is golden and wild and ever-wandering
Seeking the Hero’s Victory
Foolhardy, indeed! You, whom I love
Leave me behind to pine? I think not,
I will surely protest in outrage of mistaking me for a meek and mild fawn,
A shy creature, poised and soft and compliant
O, not I! I am of a fire: rare and beautiful and deadly to behold!
For I will forsake you just as you forsake me
As surely you will be burned if you seek this thing,
This prize, this championship too bold to behold
And in your Victory, your blood shall be shed,
Upon the Stone of the Old Ones
You will perish, Dear One, and I refuse to bare the pain
So leave me now, and find your Warrior’s honorable death,
You who resemble the Sun, fiery in your lust to conquer
I will be no conquest of yours, and I shall stand fast with a Spell
To protect my heart

 

 

Read more about the legend and myth of Cuchulain and Emer on Wikipedia.

[Photo: Cú Chulainn Rebuked by Emer by H.R. Millar, 1905]