distance

The lights bobbed in the distance, as if the land had turned liquid and they were beacons moving up and down with the swells.  Blinking my tired eyes did little to stabilize the view.  This was nothing new, though.  My weak eyes had long had problems with lights at distance in the dark.  That sentence would remain true if it had just been distance.  The dark only made it worse.  Lights were a trick I would always fall for, a riddle I could never solve.

The lights continued to bounce and I carried on, trying to ignore them and their trickster commentary on my shortcomings.  The day would come and the lights would fade behind me and out of my memory while the sun took its place in my horizon.  The distance would solidify once more.  My sight would improve.  And the two, intertwined, would improve my mood even if only for a short time.  Sometimes that is all that is needed, a small moment of hope and brilliance, of clear sight, to fight against the darkness of our days and thoughts.

The lights crashed and retracted.  My mind raced.  The road beneath my tires slipped by from the darkness ahead to the darkness behind, the dashed yellow line ticking off the miles.  The lights, moving unnaturally in their swaying, hypnotizing, distracting way, tried to grab my attention, tried to suck me into their depths and I ignored them.  But, not entirely.  They held too much sway in the way they moved, like buoys on a rising sea, for me to forget them entirely.

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safe 4

Well, what do you know, I found some more to write in this safe series.  I’d say “enjoy” but I’m not sure that’s really the point…

…..

She had seen the patrol car pull into the parking lot and knew they were coming for her so she had already begun to walk away when the officer called out to her.  She was loath to talk to them.  Sometimes, most of the time, they just wanted to make sure she was okay but that didn’t make up for the few times where they hassled her, threatened her, and treated her like less than human.  Those interactions always left her worse off and she didn’t need that at the moment.  It had already been a rough week.

They called out a second time and she didn’t feel like she could ignore them anymore.  She hoped that the edge she heard in their voice was from nerves and compassion rather than nerves and frustration.  She turned towards them and smiled.  “Good afternoon, officer.”

“We received some complaints that you were harassing the customers here.”

That was a common accusation and she had learned of all the ways she could respond that silence was the best.  If she denied it, the officers would scoff.  If she admitted to it, they would scoff.  If she said nothing, they would usually take a minute to study her and then she would see what kind of officer they were.  The good ones would see she wasn’t a threat to anyone, including herself, and then would ask if she was okay.  The rest would threaten her with jail, put her in handcuffs, search her, or worse.  She didn’t like to think about the worst of the worst.

“You have someplace warm to get to?”

She breathed a sigh a relief, “Yes, officer.  I’m headed there now.”

“You want a ride?”

“No, thank you.  I like getting my steps in.”

The officer chuckled a little, seemed to study her for a moment longer and then shrugged their shoulders.  “Stay safe.”

“Thank you, officer.”

She turned away and carried on, not yet sure where she was headed.  She had options, of course, that was the only way to survive long term on the streets.  But, that didn’t mean any of them were good options.  That depended on the day and who else found their way to the various spots that offered shelter from the cold and the rain.  Sometimes the streets were safer because the people you didn’t want to meet found their way to the shelters when the weather turned sour.  She was cold, though, and would risk it for a couple hours just to get warmed back up.

Which one to head to, though, was the question.  She stopped on the corner of the grocery store parking lot and looked up and down the street, gauging her options.  The rain picked up and lashed against her face, driven by a brisk wind coming in from the coast.  Each dropped pricked at her exposed flesh like the tiny sharp icicles they were.  Still, things could have been worse.  The officer could have been one of the bad ones.

Ten.

Wedding - TOS walking away

Ten years ago we stood on the side of a mountain, in front of our friends and family, and promised adventure.  Yes, we promised to love and honor and cherish and all that too.  But mostly we promised adventure.  I believe we have kept that promise to each other.  They  haven’t always been glamorous.  They haven’t always been perfect.  But, there have been adventures aplenty and we have survived them, enjoyed them, struggled through them, planned them, been pulled into them, won hard-fought victories over them, and all side by side.  I wouldn’t want anyone else standing by me.

Ten years ago we stood on the side of a mountain, a mountain we have continued to go back to and enjoy, and little did we know what our lives would look like.  We could have guessed.  We probably would have gotten pretty close but we wouldn’t have known all the little things have that made each day an adventure of its own.  Job changes.  Cats.  Home projects.  Children.  Some of those have been easier than others.  All of them were great because we went through them together.

Ten years ago we stood on the side of a mountain, a mountain covered in snow, having already fallen in love with it and each other and we vowed to face all of our future adventures as one.  One force.  One team.  It was a brilliant day, blue skies from horizon to horizon and the warm spring sun made everything shine, and pretty much every day since has been brilliant as well.  We adventure together.  We shine together.  We are brilliant together.

thunk

dav

His fingers had begun to sting but he hardly noticed them.  The burn of the string didn’t register.  His focus was on his form, on the nock, on the target.  His vision seemed to shrink as he steadied his breathing and prepared to release.  His anchor was good.  His positioning was good.  His grip on the bow was steady but loose.

With a fluttering whine and a thunk, the arrow buried into the paper.  Another bullseye, or near enough.

He smiled.  He was learning quickly and having fun.  The first was a surprise, the later not so much.  He had always enjoyed target practice.  He had always assumed he would enjoy working with a bow and arrows too, he had just never had the opportunity before.  Based on the few experiences he had in his younger days, he had assumed that it would take a long time for him to get good.  Whatever the reason, the calmness of his body inherent in no longer being a child or the humility to receive instruction that comes from experience and wisdom, he picked up the right form very quickly and his groupings continued to shrink.

One more skill that could be useful at some point but that he hoped he would never need.  With society crumbling with each passing day, though, he was actively pursuing all the skills he might need.  Given the number of people at the range learning with him, he was pleased at how many other people seemed ready to stand up and ensure their own future.  Then again, he was only guessing that’s why they were there.  Perhaps they had other reasons.

Again, he hoped he never had to find out what those were.

On being six

Dear Little Prince,

Though you aren’t so little anymore, are you?  With six years behind you.  With most of Kindergarten behind you.  With all of the adventures you’ve had in the last year.  Piano lessons.  Archery lessons.  Snowboarding in Mammoth.  Snowboarding in Colorado.  Growing into the role of big brother, champion of and for the Littler Prince.  I don’t have the right words to tell you how proud I am of you, but that won’t stop me from trying.

I catch glimpses of the person you are becoming and have no doubt that you will change the world.  You are fiercely passionate and, while that can get you in trouble from time to time, that drive will see you take control of your environment and shape it into what it should be.  You are a leader and will have the charisma to inspire.  You still ask thousands of questions a day, and that curiosity about the world, that drive to understand, will also work for you.  It already is as you grasp new concepts and better yourself, gain knowledge.  You happily tackle new projects.  You want to over-achieve not because you want to be better than anyone else but because you genuinely are interested in things beyond what society has deemed appropriate for your age.  Your passion and your inquisitiveness will help you succeed in whatever you choose to with your life.

You love your brother and want to see him succeed as well.  That too can get you in trouble when you try to be a parent to him but the two of you will figure that out over the coming years and will be friends for life.  That friendship will be more valuable than you know.  You are putting in the hard work now to build that relationship when he is too young to understand more than it is fun to drive you crazy.  Stick with it and he will support you in everything you ever do.  As a younger brother myself, I know this to be true.

We have our rough moments, of course.  You still have so much to learn about being a part of this family and being a part of this world.  Every single day, though, you surprise me with how much you’ve already learned and sometimes that makes me forget how much you still need to learn.  I do my best to be patient and to give you the space and time you need to figure things out and I’m sorry that I sometimes fail you.  We’ll get there eventually.  We’ll figure this thing out together.  I have no doubts about that.  We are both too stubborn not to.

So, I’ll continue doing everything I can to help you become the best person you can be and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings for you.  New adventures.  New knowledge.  New wisdom.  I think your sixth year will be even more amazing than your fifth.

Love you,

Dad/Matticus/The Jester