Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

errr….yeahhhh….the summer reading list…

NOTE: Twilight doesn't really have a plot. Unless plucking a daisy saying, “He loves me, he loves me not” is a plot. yeeeah. I'm not sure why I thought it did. I feel a little bit sorry for my past self. Silly past self!

 

Tess of the D'Urbervilles…so Tess' illegitimate baby has died and I haven't the heart to go on. I mean, it's summer and not a really horrid hot summer…soooo…

I guess I have to talk about Twilight as I keep pestering and jabbering to poor Jocey about it. There's a couple things about Twilight you should know. One, it's about a high school girl. So if you don't like high school kids, ignore this entry. Two, it's about a high school girl falling in love with a high school vampire boy. So if you like high school stories but not vampires, again retire. Steph was really the one that got me turned onto this book, otherwise I'd never have read it because I don't like high school stories. BUT I've always been curious about vampires, and I did my research when I was a teenager, because c'mon, Immortal. I have never wanted to be immortal (I think it would be excrutiatingly boring after a few lifetimes or so) but I've always been intrigued. Why the Yetti has never interested me as much, seeing as they're probably immortal, I'm not sure.

Anyways, I ate up Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It's a plot driven book oh yes and plot driven books Cannot be resisted. At all. I read it one night for about seven hours (with Jeff seated on the opposite sofa reading His vampire and zombie book. Now that's true love) and nearly passed out from my blood sugar levels dropping really low at about the eighth hour chiming (I'm not diabetic or anything but I have a massively sensitive system). Ahhhhh, but sugar level dropping while reading a vampire book is ironic.

I have huge arguments with the character development (as there being none) but you have to give it to Meyer. She's in the right genre. It's young adult- where character development for the intended audience is a bit in the wings. So I'm chewing through this book, wanting to know more about the protagonist, Bella and the boy, Edward and all I'm gettig is that Bella finds him so hot, she's willing to die to be near him. Oh yeah and he's beautiful and fights his monster I-suck-your-blood side. Over and over and over. And yet, and Yet, I'm all agog to read to the next book. I mean, I have to. Because Hello! The plot! Which no, I haven't elaborated but need I? Two teenagers in love, one is vampire, you guess.

All I'm saying if you're one for plot and vampires seem rather quirky, give this series go. I doubt Reading Rainbow would endorse it but I believe I would. It's a great summer read. But you don't have to take my word for it.

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Tides of Snow and Ice

This winter has been a continuous series of freezes and thaws: it’s the warmest winter on record, the tenth one in a row. A more usual winter starts with a deep freeze and then stays cold for months. Instead, snow falls, piles up and vanishes; rises up again and retreats, now falling as rain, swelling rivers and creeks. Rain and snow mingle together until everything runs with water; hillsides and flat-sides are coated in a deep, dark mud.

I stopped on my walk today, halted by a sudden flash of gold. The sunset rays were falling into a tiny puddle spanning the space between the root and trunk of a maple. The puddle reflected gold and silver on top and below was dark mud, black and brown, full of microorganisms and other tiny creatures unseen by the human eye. I briefly considered putting my hand to the shining surface. It beckoned, winking like a diamond, but pull of my walk was irresistible and I continued forward. 

Mud is for March and April, mud so thick and heavy that it can pull shoes off and make them disappear like a magic trick beneath the solemn and still brown. Mud in February is a strange slight, an awakening that shouldn’t be occurring yet. It’s all the more cruel because even though the temperatures rise, they inevitably dip into the single digits and everything freezes solid. Many times I’ve spotted squirrels and tiny birds on the creek’s ice, searching for openings to drink from.

During this particular thaw, the creek casts off ice, it’s center opening like a dark cut. The water sings as it cascades over the rocks, proclaiming it’s momentarily relief from the grip of winter. In Scandinavian folklore, there is a belief that given the proper offerings, a creek could teach a human how to play the most bewitching music. I crouch down near the creek, record a video of it singing on my phone and replay its music in the evening while lying on the couch. I should give something in return for the pleasure of its song and I consider. Perhaps some lavender buds I have stored away for a certain recipe, or a small pinecone I keep on a shelf to admire, or birch bark I retrieved from a favorite tree cut down years ago. 

The next day I return, and after waiting for a few dogs and their owners to pass by, I crouch next the side of the creek and sprinkle lavender buds into the small, clear stream. The buds vanish as soon as I drop them into the water– as if they never existed. I drop some more in and the same occurs; they’re gone before I can blink. The current flows by, washing over stones, fleeting by banks of mud, until it vanishes around the bend where the pine trees tower overhead.

As I gaze at the water, first downstream and then upstream, my own self quiets, stills, and momentarily dissolves into the landscape. The relief, though short, is palpable. Alone becomes together and perhaps that is what’s this practice of thanking the creek has been about all along.

Winter in the Time of Climate Change

There is a stream near my home and I walk along it nearly every day; I know its moods and seasons nearly as well as I know my own. We are family and our connections are pure: we’re both made of water.

Every day brings more distressing news about the environment. Big changes need to happen but whatever change that does happen is so slow. Global warming is now being felt by everyone, some more than others. I go out and walk along the stream when the news and all the unfortunate future unknowns press in too hard. Right now, it is running fast. This winter has been a series of freezes and thaws. November hit hard with a heavy, deep freeze and I expected this to lead to a  white Christmas but instead, it’s been a muddy, wet winter, full of more temperate days than frosty ones. The thermometer rides up and down, every day propelled by a bouncing ball rather than a steady progression of tiny fluctuations.

The stream locks and then unlocks. It accepts each freeze and thaw with inestimable grace. After reading the news, it is hard to know what is near or far, here and up in the sky, in the mind or in the present moment. But the stream is always present, it knows no other moment. It lives in eternity; as David Hockney said, “It’s always now. It’s now that’s eternal.”

The creek is still here, I think to myself whenever I see it, it is still living. It runs forward through this strange January, sometimes under the ice and sometimes not. Patches of green moss dot the banks nearby, beyond that the nearby plants are broken, brown, and dried. They are asleep, listening to things I cannot hear, dreaming of things I barely know of.