Clover

Part III: We bring the storm with us

The next morning arrived quicker than I could dream it up. Mama had been up well into the early morning hours making sure each cardboard box was taped, labeled, and stored neatly in the living room for the movers. Daddy gassed up his truck the day before yesterday, cleaned out the garage, and cooked us the perfect bbq meal last night. I can still taste that chicken — yummy. I slept so hard I couldn’t hear a single thing. I was excited about today; I am excited about today and I just want to hurry up and get on the road.

Daddy says it’ll take about two hours and thirty minutes from here in Summerville to Hopeulikit. At least we don’t have to be on the road for too long. I hate traveling long distances in Daddy’s truck. It’s dependable but it’s old and loud and is a rusty orange color — so, it’s not a looker by any form of the word. Daddy says, “It gets us where we need to go and when and that’s all that matters.”

He has a point but I’d rather be in Mama’s subtle sedan. It’s reliable, good on gas, and Mama always selects the best music stations on the radio. Daddy listens to gospel all day long and not the contemporary or modern kind, either.

No . . . not anything for Clover.

He plays the Georgia Mass Choir, Mississippi Mass Choir, The Winans, The Clark Sisters, The Anointed Pace Sisters, and the list goes on and on and on. Mama sways her head and hums to each song. Sometimes, she even gets emotional. But she has a wider range of music appreciation and that’s what I prefer most.

Daddy says we’re not making any stops so for me to eat, use the bathroom, and put my raincoat in the backseat of the truck with me. Forecast ain’t callin’ for rain but Daddy is usually spot-on when it comes to the weather — better than those fancy dolled-up weather people on the tv. They’re almost always wrong. I do as I’m told and make sure my raincoat is sitting right next to me when we leave.

Mama takes her place in the front seat, next to Daddy. She smiles. A hint of sunlight kisses her cheeks. Daddy smiles back at her. They hold hands for a brief moment. Daddy says a prayer for safe travels and we thank “the Good Lord above” for another day’s waking up — in our right minds. And before you know it, the truck’s radio is blasting Shirley Caesar’s “No Charge” and we’re off to Hopeulikit.

The loud thump-thwack sound of the truck upon ignition is common. I don’t flinch — not one move. I’ve grown so used to this thing happening that it seems second nature. Daddy asks if I’ve made myself comfortable and to him, I respond, “I sure have” and I settle in for what will be an early morning nap. I don’t remember time sailing by so quickly ever before but as soon as I open my eyes, we approached Statesboro, Georgia, and shortly after, Hopeulikit.


It is as if God above anointed my daddy to read the skies. I look up and that same pink burnt storm sky from Summerville greets us. The underbelly of the sky is the most beautiful thing — I wish I could jump straight up and touch it. Just as I was losing myself in my thoughts, the bottom falls out and I hurry to wrap myself inside my raincoat — slapping the hood on my head within seconds.

Mama lifts a huge umbrella to her chest then out to the air and presses a button for it to open. She and Daddy scatter under it before we begin to unload our items from the truck.

The movers pull up moments later. Daddy signals them to start with the bigger items then work their way down to the smaller ones. Two of the men have ponchos on while the other is soaked from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. I wonder, “will he track that mess through our new home or will Daddy advise him to hang tight while the others do what they can before the winds pick up?”

He throws up a trembling hand at Daddy and asks, “Where should we start?” Daddy doesn’t waste any time letting him know, “You can start as long as you and your crew get some plastic laid down in the main areas.”

I watch the men pull out a long roll of plastic and begin rolling from our new foyer, through the hallway, and into our living room and dining room. After that, they’re moving lightning fast, unloading boxes and furniture, and knick-knacks.

Daddy wants to help. He busies himself with the few things we loaded in the truck and I follow behind him to help. Rain is coming down like cats and dogs. I pull the hat of my raincoat tighter and tuck the curls of my hair under it.

One hour later, everything is unloaded and I stand in my new bathroom, peel the clothes from my body, and cough. Mama hears me. I know she’ll want to flood my body with Cod liver oil. Yuck!

I already don’t like Hopeulikit.


Originally published in The Weekly Knob on Medium.

Part I and Part II

The Mountains of Western North Carolina Are Calling Me

A Labor Day road trip could be in the works.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2P2PX9_0axYBkZv00
Long, winding road. Photo by Wade Austin Ellis via Unsplash

Labor Day is September 06, 2021, and while it has been almost a full year since my last trek to the mountains of Western North Carolina, I can’t help but yearn for another road trip.

I have been debating on vacationing in Asheville, NCArden, NC, or Hendersonville, NC this year. That time of “can’t wait to get there” is approaching and while others may head upward to the “friendly skies,” I will slip myself into my midsize sedan and take on the open road.

I’m willing to bet I’ll end up in a majestic and spacious Airbnb in the heart of Asheville for the next three-day weekend on my work calendar. I miss the fresh mountain air, the slight breeze that sneaks in at the witching hour, and the never-ending choices of delicious cuisine.

There are so many things to do during the late summer and autumn months; both indoor and outdoor events, and I plan to enjoy whatever I can while I can.

A short list of current events

An interesting take on art shared by Patrick Dougherty is currently running until September 30, 2021.

Dougherty weaves saplings and branches into intricate artworks, fashioning whimsical forms ranging from gigantic snares and cocoons to sculptural interpretations of notable buildings. Free with daytime admission!

Free as a Bird, modern-day stickwork showcases Dougherty’s amazing and vast talent. The images are luring and incredibly detailed. This could be a wonderful event to enjoy alone or with family and friends.

Arbor Evenings at The North Carolina Arboretum takes place every week on Thursday and Friday and will continue until October 01, 2021.

Sip and stroll through the NC Arboretum gardens after dark (5:30–8 PM) with live music. Light food, beer, and wine available for purchase. Admission is $5 per person.

This sounds like something I’d love to do and for $5.00 per person, I’m sure I’m not the only one leaning toward that decision.

Downtown After Five in Downtown Asheville is a combination of live music, tasty food, beer, and a host of other exciting events beginning at 5:00 p.m. on July 16, 2021, August 20, 2021, and September 17, 2021.

Thousands gather on North Lexington Avenue near the I-240 overpass to enjoy local and national beers and a variety of food vendors. While admission is free, you must buy a $2 wristband to purchase beer, hard cider and wine.

While I don’t partake in the barley-based American favorite drink, I would definitely lurk about happily while feasting on some vintage vittles, soaking up the evening sun, and listening to a few good tunes.

What to do when I get there

I am 80% certain I will venture out to the mountains in less than two months. The list above is just the tip of the iceberg of things to do and I will have to narrow down my itinerary before loading up my car and heading west.

If I don’t get to do anything else, a hike on one of their many trails and takeout from my two favorite eateries, Homegrown and Early Girl, will definitely occur.

It has been too long and I am slowly easing back into some semblance of normalcy but tip-toeing to be on the safe side. I want to dive headfirst into a grand scheme of shenanigans but with COVID-19 still holding steady, according to the COVID-19 NC dashboard, precautions will be in play.

The mountains of Western North Carolina are calling me; it is high time I answer them.


This was originally published on NewsBreak.

How Watching “Luca” Made Me Want to Live Again

Maybe I am ready for the surface

Photo by Tiago Ebisui via Unsplash

On Saturday, June 26, 2021, after my fingers tapped away feverishly at my laptop and my eyes scanned several articles to which I set free into the world of vigorous reading, I slouched in my favorite chair — my heart at ease and mind ready and succumbed to the gift that is Luca. Disney+ has become my refuge — my place of entertainment and subtle peace.

Over the last few months, I’ve enjoyed viewing Raya and the Last Dragon, Soul, and various Pixar “Shorts” that have placed me in a state of sheer calm, maniacal laughter, overwhelming sadness, or complete satisfaction. But it was Luca that reminded me of what it feels like to want to get back out into the world.

Without spoiling the movie (too much), I will tell you it is of a young sea creature who befriends another and the two of them leave their home in the ocean’s deep to temporarily live on land among humans. Both of them yearned to scratch away at the surface and explore a world about which they had no actual knowledge.

Trying to meet their goal introduces them to a town of avengers who make it their life’s work to rid their waters of “sea monsters” and they find a friend in a young girl who has a goal of her own. Giulia/Giulietta gives the two friends a spark they needed and through no fault of her own, causes Luca and Alberto to fall into a verbal brawl that opens their eyes and changes their hearts.

But it was Luca that reminded me of what it feels like to want to get back out into the world.

If you are a sentimental being, then I assure you, this animated film will pull at your heartstrings. There is a connectedness to truly living and the longing to explore everything the world offers at every angle and from my chair — I felt the need to get up and out into a once locked-down-and-plagued-realm and live — seriously live. I haven’t felt this way in a long time.

From the deep, I saw myself swimming to the surface, gathering my pre-COVID-19 self, picking a place on the map, packing, and getting in my car to head straight to that very spot. I envisioned traveling again — more importantly; I wanted to travel again.

I wanted the fresh air of the mountains hovering around me. I wanted the expansiveness of the unfamiliar to reach out to me. I wanted . . . to feel free again and to act on it with no regrets.

I felt the need to get up and out into a once locked down and plagued realm and live — seriously live.

I wanted to be Luca.


As life would have it, things are slowly trying to reopen and people are re-familiarizing themselves with their favorite places — if those places are still up and running. They are taking flights to see family members. They are reconnecting with friends and holding newborn babies. Many of them are seeing and meeting with relatives who they have not seen in over a year.

While watching Luca, I wanted to be among this crowd too. I want to shed a bit of skin and drive back down to Asheville, North Carolina, or Southern Virginia or the tail end of Georgia. I saw myself with my carry-on, phone, earbuds, and books, boarding a plane to Alaska or Washington or Texas.

I think I’m ready to live.

I wanted . . . to feel free again and to act on it with no regrets.

The movie has a variety of quotes sure to stick with me as the future introduces itself. A few of my favorites are:

“Look me in the eye. You know I love you, right?” This is from Luca’s mother, Daniela, as she tries to make him understand why she does what she does for him — his safety is of the utmost importance in her eyes.

“Silencio, Bruno!” A mantra/motto for Luca to say — gifted by Alberto to get him through his fears — sort of a way to speak to that inner voice inside you that constantly hounds you and attempts to get you to not do what you intend to do.

“You got me off the island, Luca. I’m okay.” This is also from Alberto as he bids farewell to Luca right before he takes the train to go to school with Guilia.

“I’m not crying, you’re crying!”

I didn’t think an animated film could reach its hand out to me, lift me from my disillusioned state, and show me I can live again and I should at least try. Trying is the hardest part, though, isn’t it? I am one step closer to willing my body to press itself against the world. I simply have to put on my shoes, tie them, and place one foot in front of the other.

There is a world out there slowly opening back up, ready for me to take a damn chance. Maybe it is time I emerge from the deep and make my way to the surface. But then, I learn about new variants of a virus that blows through every system it touches, leaving people forever changed, and I am hesitant again.

I don’t want to be. I just am.

And then there are days when I shake myself free from my prison and say, “Let me just grab my mask, hand sanitizer, and various supplements, notepad & pen, music, and Jernee. I have places to go, people to see, and living to do.”

“Fifteen minutes at a time, though. Fifteen minutes at a time.” Deep down — in the wells of my wavering spirit, I plea not to pressure myself. And I won’t. But maybe, just maybe, it is time.


Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium.

wild child

microfiction

My little wild child stands in the woods–blows the dandelion seeds into the air and captures them when they fall. I look on with a smile plastered across my worried face. How long will she have in this world living wild and free before this world comes for her? My little wild child–notices my frozen, frustrated face and collects her seeds–places them in my hands . . . “Better days are growing, we just can’t see them right now, they’re only seeds.” My little wild child . . . lights up my life . . . lights up my life.

Going Nowhere

Silver and Black Digital Alarm Clock on Table
Photo by Burst via Pexels

Time doesn’t stand still for me. I beg it sometimes. My plea goes unheard. A faint whisper greets my ear, “What are you so afraid of”? I respond, “Now? Everything.”

Time cocks its head back & laughs. It gathers data on me and maintains its surveillance.

I’m free to go nowhere.


Originally shared via Twitter.