Hundreds of lights glowed in rows along the hillside, the tidy street lamps of the tucked away neighborhoods. But, they didn’t look like lights or even starbursts in the pre-dawn darkness of my travels. They shone clearly as crosses. Crosses. Hundreds of them. Was it a sign? Was I on the wrong path? Was I on the right path? Was it just my tired eyes once again playing tricks on me?

It wouldn’t have been the first time.

As I drew nearer the crosses became clearer. Beacons of light burning in the night, burning away the darkness.

My breath stuck in my throat and my blood raced. Was I witnessing a miracle? Had sleep deprivation finally driven me crazy?

Perhaps either was likely. The road turned away from the hill-nestled neighborhood and the vision disappeared. Eventually my pulse slowed and I breathed normally again. Eventually the memory of those moments will fade away, returning to the darkness. Eventually even these words will be lost.

That’s as it should be.

The fleeting nature of things makes them more beautiful, from a tired vision of street lights turned crosses on a morning commute to a silly handful of words grasping at finding deeper meaning…

every journey is different


The stone-stepped path works its way toward the pass and then beyond, far out of sight but never out of mind. The destination is known and yet it is different for all who take the journey. Some find beauty. Some find strength. Some find what they were missing. Some find and so on and so on and so on… Like the rocks that line the trail and mark the passage of miles, the possibilities are beyond counting. And that is just the trail itself. There are even more possibilities for those who step off the well-worn paths and find their own way.

The Mountains


They never stop calling me.  The mountains.

I hear their song always.  I can hear their rushing waters in my commute to work, the cars rushing down the blacktop.  I can hear their deafening silence at night when the Little Prince finally falls asleep.  I can hear the whispering of their tall pine trees in the swaying palm fronds brought to life by the ocean breeze.  I can hear the lapping of the lakes at dusk in the sink while the daily dishes are washed, dried, and put away.  I can hear the stomp of my boots on the hard dirt trails in the way my work shoes echo down my alley in the early morning stillness when walking to my car.

I wake from my dreams with their song ranging in my heart.  I go through my day with it tickling my thoughts.  I go to my slumber with it gently caressing my soul, a lullaby to ease my transition.

The songs might torment others, who long to walk the wandering trails of the backcountry, to see what so few others will ever see.  While I do long to flee the city for the rare air of high elevations the barrage of invites, the constant pulling of adventures yet to be had, does not drive me to distraction or annoyance.

There is work to be done here, in the kingdom, in the day to day.  There are chores.  There are responsibilities.  There are moments to be lived of equal and often greater adventure.  I love the mountains.  I love the Queen and the Little Prince.  I love the life we have carved out for ourselves in the Kingdom.

Besides, I know they will be there, waiting for me when it is time to head into their dark canyons and climb their soaring peaks.  They will be there for me again and again as desired, as needed.  Because, they never stop calling me.  The mountains.

Jesterly Challenge Month – November 22nd

My Cousin Cathy challenged me with a picture prompt.  Tell me what you think of my story and tell me what you would have written instead in the comments.


Ireland 2015 Cathy 558

The proof was there.  I pointed it out but nobody would believe me.  They claimed I’d made the footprints and I was just trying to rile them.  I am many things, but I’ve never been a prankster like that, and at the time I wasn’t sure what hurt worst: that they didn’t believe me or that they didn’t know me as well as I had thought.

I’d seen the creature walking in long strides through the forest.  The movement and the brown colored fur caught my attention immediately and froze my forward steps.  When I focused in, I caught the features of a distinct face rather than snout and my jaw dropped.  I’d wanted to call out then but had been so filled with awe and terror that I couldn’t find the air to push from my lungs.  Perhaps that is how it has gone hidden for so long – those who see it are struck dumb by its size, power, and beauty and that allows it to escape before it can be witnessed by others as well.

It smirked at me.  It was a definite twist of the lips upward in a rueful smile, and that’s what finally broke my trance.  My feet stumbled backward first, caught off guard by the emotional expression, hinting at playful intelligence and humor, and that terrified me more than its presence.  So, my steps falteringly lurched backward until I ran against a tree.  Luckily, I didn’t hard enough to do any damage, but, unfortunately, it was a loud enough knock that the beast decided to vacate the area more quickly.

Bounding forward in giant strides, longer than before, it disappeared quickly.  Unsure why or how, but knowing, I guess, that I didn’t want the experience to end, I gave chase.  As I dashed forward, slapping away long hanging branches, I called out to the others, “Bigfoot!  Bigfoot!  You guys!  Hey, you guys!  Bigfoot!”  I didn’t wait for any responses.

It moved so quietly I couldn’t follow it by sound.  It moved so quickly it was well beyond my ability to keep up with its pace.  I managed to catch glimpses of its fur as it moved further and further away, and then I saw it duck into the small ravine and I lost sight of it altogether.  When I got to there, the wet footprints where it had first entered the water glistened on the stone steps lining the middle of the creek.  I wanted to follow, but by then I could hear the crashing behind me of my friends getting close.

Grunting and panting from the excursion, they all hunched down and peered around me to see where I was frantically pointing.  Then with scoffs and shakes of their heads they turned around and made their way back to our camp.  Not a single one of them believed me.  Perhaps that isn’t fair.  Perhaps, it is more that they were afraid to believe me.  I’m not sure.  Not that it matters anymore.

It was the stones, arranged so aesthetically down the middle, which made me linger long after the others had left.  Who had placed them there?  Where did they lead?  Thinking back over the trail map, I didn’t remember seeing the small stream anywhere near our camp.  Perhaps it was too small for the makers of the map to want to include, but that didn’t ring true in my heart.

I carefully lowered myself down to the first stone I could reach and stepped from stone to stone until I came to this archway.  If you’ve found this note, that means I haven’t come back through yet.  I don’t know what to tell you.  I don’t know what I will have found on the other side or if you should follow me in or not.  But, I suspect if you are here, then you are like me and will need to know what’s on the other side, where the creature went, and what comes next.

I wish you safe travel and good luck wherever your path leads you, and perhaps I’ll see you on the other side.


Lightning crackled over the mountains in the east.  The flashes mirrored off the clouds and slick ground in dizzying displays of the heaven’s might.  The storm, however, was far enough away that the thunder never reached his ears.  He considered turning left to take the path towards the hills so he might catch the outer banks of rain and soothe his tired body, but his legs kept him true to the southern trail.  There would be time enough for rest when he reached his destination.

Allowing his eyes to look down the length of the range that hedged the eastern horizon he saw it intersected his trail in the distance anyway.  The storm probably will have moved on by the time he reached the start of his slow climb, but he could at least hope the clouds would linger to provide some relief from the attentive sun.  It scorched the world with no consideration for soil or flesh.  It dried and parched to the point of splitting.  It showed no mercy and he had been woefully unprepared when he set forth all those days ago.

It had been a normal morning, with the songbirds of the meadow rejoicing the closing night and his old home creaking as it struggled to wake ahead of the coming day.  He had gone out just as the sky had started to brighten and warm to collect some odds and ends from his garden for breakfast.  The crashing of hooves echoing against the stillness of the morning had shattered the peaceful calm, even before the riders appeared and…

Well, then his quest had begun.  To track them down.  To repay them for their deeds.

Lightning flashed again in his periphery but he didn’t turn to watch the storm dance among the peaks.  His focus had returned fully to the south, the home of the raiders he followed, and the vengeance he planned on dolling out once he caught up to them.  No, he had not been prepared for the grueling nature of the trip but that mattered little when he had no plan for the return trek.

He gripped his staff tighter, sweat running down his hand to drip into the hard-packed dirt at his feet.  Calluses had formed quickly in the first days of his journey.  The scarred flesh of his palms, and feet, matched those of his heart.  The exterior ones would never heal because they wouldn’t be given the opportunity and the interior ones wouldn’t because there were none left who could aid their recovery.

There was no point in planning on a return journey because there was no one left to return to.