4 letters and 4 truths about control

Dear Internet,

Hi, I’m Gracie.  I like Dora and Elmo, coloring, and blogging.  I’m eight years old.  My parents have told me that I’m going to live a long time, but I know the truth.  I have lymphoma and the prognosis isn’t good.  In whispered conversations with the doctor, between sobs, I have heard that I most likely only have months to live.  They are brave for me, but they don’t need to be.  I’ll be okay.

I’m writing this quick letter because I wanted the whole world to know that they don’t need to be sad.  It is going to be okay and, to paraphrase the words of my favorite dinosaur, chances are I probably love you,



The massive heads of the metal giants rise and fall in the gloom.


To my crush,

I know I haven’t said more than two words to you (“hello” on two separate occasions) since the start of the year.  I wish I had.  I just can’t seem to find my voice when you smile at me.  You deserve more than my silence.  You deserve more than this note, but I had to tell you how I feel.

I think you are the most beautiful girl, inside and out, in our class, and I wish I had the courage to shout that from the rooftops.  I wouldn’t want to embarrass you, but that’s how much of an impact you have on me.  Will you go to the spring dance with me?



The derricks noiselessly pull their prey from the bowels of the world.


To my classmates, friends and family,

If I were able, this is the letter I would be writing to you from … well, I’m not really allowed to talk about what comes after.

At my funeral, there was much talk about “too young.”  We like to think we are in control of our lives as we learn and grow and prepare to become adults, but the reality is, no matter how much we think we are, we still have no say in what happens to us.  The driver of the car that hit me wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t speeding, he wasn’t distracted driving.  The sunlight glinting off his windshield momentarily blinded him as I stepped into the crosswalk and he didn’t have time to stop.  I could have just as likely been the driver as I was the pedestrian.  So could all of you.  So, is there really such a thing as too young?  Any time we get is a gift.  Every day we wake up is a miracle.  You should embrace that and stop worrying about the illusions of control you’ve built up.

Love each other as you loved me as you said your goodbyes,



The black gold spills from pockets that are already stuffed full.


To my future employer,

After receiving my application and then Googling my name and checking out my Facebook page, I would appreciate if you would take a minute to review my resume before tossing me into the round file bin.  I put a lot of hard work, energy, and time into obtaining my degree from a well-credited university and feel that I deserve more of your consideration that my online persona.  Do you remember school?  The pressure to be social, to do and be more than the person locked away in their dorm room studying?  Do you remember the struggle to balance a part-time job, your studies, and your friends?

My online persona paints a certain picture of me, but it is only one subset of my life.  When you factor in the coursework I excelled at, my diligence in studying when it was required to maintain a high grade point average, and finish near the top of my class while still maintaining a healthy social life, you can easily see how I would be a valuable acquisition.  I’m dedicated to the causes I believe in.  I don’t give up on my dreams.

Now that I’ve finished school, my new dream is to work for you.  Please give me that chance,



Another day dawns, and the sun shines on the oil rigs pumping away.

Oil Derricks at Dawn
Image credit: Mike Robinson


The night moans and the sirens wail…

Image Credit: Etsy
Image Credit: Etsy

The windows are open wide allowing a teasing scent of rain, the hint of respite that will never arrive, but there is no breeze to cool the aching flesh.  The walls pulsate under the pressure.  Skin sticks to sheets.  The oppressive heat weights the air, clogging lungs, until breaths come in gulping gasps.  Tossing and turning, the sheets in shambles, the minutes of the night pass one drip of sweat at a time.

Lights splash against the ceiling as the tires’ squeal is drowned under the doppling siren.  One more selfish rant against the world for hording the elusive sleep and deserved relief.  Toss.  Turn.  Toss.  Turn.  Sweat.  Repeat.  A choked moan escapes cracked lips and is swallowed by eternity.

The night moans and the sirens wail…

Image Credit: Frank Capria
Image Credit: Frank Capria

The call squawks over the radio, selfish moans are given voice, and the light bar goes to work.  Tires slip and squeal on the wet pavement, the heat pulling the moisture from the ground, until purchase is found and the bus hurtles into the night.  The deserted street welcomes the company and bids good luck.  Time, as always, is of the essence when a life needs saving.

Sweat pools at the bases of necks and drips down backs, hot on hot, offering no relief.  The air blasting from the vents is nothing but a harsh reminder of the constant throbbing warmth in all places the conditioned air doesn’t reach.  Dry lips are licked and forgotten in the war between hold and cold buffets of air.  The siren loops and the echoes bounce and tremble off the tiny houses of the residential street.

The night moans and the sirens wail…

Image Credit: kshillaker
Image Credit: kshillaker

The day had been so intensely hot, who could have expected the ground to be wet.  A timid step placed incorrectly was all it took to slip and tumble down.  The concrete was not kind in its greeting.  A moan of pain and grief rent the darkness.  Shapes hovered vaguely and then were swallowed by the night as slaps of footfalls sped away.  It was amazing how hot it was.  Still.  The disappearance of the sun hadn’t brought any relief.

But, there, something different, a small area of cool spreading out from the spine, warding off the blistering of the pavement.  The forehead sweat running down both cheeks was forgotten as a bright spot of selfish enjoyment crept in for the first time in days.  The spot grew and the feeling, the touch of chill, was accented by the approaching sirens.  It was a magical sound that reverberated up from the ground and engulfed the rent flesh.

the truth of it

gunnison day 3 028

We’d spent two days on the mountain already:  two wide open days, learning the trails, enjoying the adventure, testing our limits and taking it easy.  And then, on the third day, we found a new run, away from the main thoroughfare, that was perfect.  It had sections that forced us to practice our turning and improve our skills, and sections where we could relax.  Plus we were the only snowboarders on it so we could ride in huge arcs back and forth across the steepest sections without worrying about getting in anyone’s way.

We daydreamed about owning one of the cabins that dotted the backside of the resort.

We marveled that the beauty of the Rockies.

We wished our trip would never end.

The blue skies and clean air were a treat.  And while Crested Butte will always rank behind Mammoth as our favorite place to visit and go boarding, there was something magical about being in the Colorado Rockies.  Whenever I look at this picture (which is in rotation as one that I use for my desktop background both at home and at work), I feel that magic stirring within me and a longing for adventure grows anew.

When it calls, I must answer.


Since he is using one of my pictures, this is a quick little truthful write up for this week’s Once More with Feeling picture prompt.  Be on the the lookout for my next post which will use the same picture and be flash fiction.



upside down fire


The sky was wrong: the bed of hot coals was supposed to rest beneath the raging flames not rise above them.  What could have caused the confusion?  My mind immediately went to the Riders.  Had they passed through recently?  Had their steeds, or their quarry, churned up the sunrise and spread the coals across the horizon in their wake?

My eyes searched for any sign of them thundering along the edge of darkness.  Where did the swath of destruction lead?  What would I find if I followed?

Were they headed my way?

I gripped the wheel tighter and moved my eyes back to the road.  Let them come, if they would, I was ready for them.  I turned my truck and drove into the heart of the fire.


Somewhere lost in the Sierra again.

my little piece of forest

If I were given a plot of land, and had the financial means to do with that land as I pleased, I would turn it into a private forest, with my house lost somewhere in the middle.

I would bring in oaks and pines and intersperse a few giant sequoias.  It would be a dense tangle of trunks and have a veritable canopy of green overhead.  Some light would filter through the limbs and needles to fall on the earth below, but not much.  A stream would cut through the woods, large enough that I would need a bridge to cross it, but still small enough that I could wade across to cool down in the summer.

A single lane dirt road would cut through my forest to reach the cleared space I would leave for my home.  It would be a simply affair – just large enough for my family, with a wrap-around porch and a couple rocking chairs positioned strategically to catch the last of the sun setting as it disappeared beyond my tree filled utopia.

Simple, yes, but that is all I would really want.

Somewhere lost in the Sierra again.
Yeah, I think this would do just fine.