Bravery

Good morning everyone. A bright Monday morning, the beginning of another week and also Remembrance Day here in Canada.

Folks who are planning outdoor celebrations this morning will have to be brave to face the chill that’s settled across the prairies. We had a fair bit of snow Saturday, and now it’s seriously cold. At 7 am it was -22̊ C. Add wind gusts up to 28 km/h for a wind-chill factor of -31̊ C.
For our American friends that’s -7̊ F and with wind gusts up to 17 mph, which gives the feel of -24̊ F if you’re outside for very long. I let our cats outside first thing and they were ready to come in about three minutes later.

So it’s the perfect day to stay indoors and work on my sewing projects, but I will be cooking at the Villa today, both meals. Thankfully I can slide my car into the heated garage there. Dear hubby will have to get up and help me open the door of our unheated garage because at this temperature, the mechanism doesn’t want to work.

Like most people who are classed as “brave”, I’m not particularly courageous or eager to face the elements, but I have a job to do and will do it regardless of the externals. I don’t think any soldiers were enthused about facing enemy guns, but they were given the job, the goal was held forth, and they gritted their teeth and complied, hoping to make it out alive.

Ragtag Community’s word prompt for today is BRAVERY, quite understandable considering this special day. At the 11th hour dedicated folks all over the world will pause for a few moments of silence, remembering those lost in war and wishing, praying, violent conflicts will cease forever.

I hopped over to Pixabay and checked out images of ‘Bravery’; it’s very interesting what they all show. From a dandelion daring to bloom in parched clay to bungee jumping to Rosie the Riveter to Super heroes. Here are a few illustrations of bravery:

Fire.skeeze
Skeeze.Pixabay
Soliers.johnrocks888
johnrocks888.Pixabay
Rocket.WikiImages
WikiImages.Pixabay
surgery-1807541_640
Sasin Tipchai.Pixabay

But some things that people think are brave, like death-defying stunts, I’d class in the realm of… well…a lack of good sense. All in one’s perspective of bravery, I suppose? Like, why on earth would you play with a snake or fling yourself off a cliff if you don’t have to? Different strokes for different folks?

Matador.memyselfaneye
memyselfaneye.Pixabay
bungee-jumping-3164249_640
wfff.Pixabay

Anyway, wherever you are today, I hope you can have a day of relative peace and safety. Let’s all take time to appreciate all the folks who have sacrificed—and are working today—to give us security and a better quality of life.

 

Grandpa’s Bedtime Story

My muse has been fluttering around today, checking out all the prompts and spinning a tale, so I’ll post it while it’s fresh, even if I’ve already done another.

The Word Prompts are Word-of the Day’s LIGHT
Ragtag Daily Prompt’s DEEP
and Crimson’s Challenge #52, this photo:

https://crimsonprose.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/flixton.jpg\

Grandpa’s Bedtime Story

“Deep in the woods you must go
to find the golden sword
but you must never forget
the helpful magic word

for only this word can smash—
all other attempts are vain—
the seal of the calabash
and break the binding chain.

Into a cavern of stone
in the depth of the darkest night,
and you must go alone,
you may hear the call tonight…”

Suddenly the door opens. Mom eyes her two sons. “Not sleeping yet?”

In a voice a-quiver with awe her youngest answers. “Grandpa’s telling us a bedtime story.”

She takes in their excited faces, their wide-open eyes. “I see. Well, now it’s time for lights out.”

“What’s the magic word, Grandpa? Tell us quick,” they plead.

Grandpa tousles their hair “It’s ‘Good night’.”

“Awww….” The two boys groan loudly.

Mom grins. “I think we’d better let Grandpa tell morning wake-up stories from now on.”

Life In A Dark Bubble

Yesterday’s Word of the Day prompt was BUBBLE. I’m coming in rather late here, but this is my response.

paranoia
life in a dark bubble
everybody hates me

mind-767584_640
Image by Gerd Altmann

Not long before this prompt came up, I’d an account I wrote some years ago about a woman I met on a trip we took. She likely would have been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic — if she’d ever sought medical help. It sounds like her doctors had suggested mental illness, but why should she listen to doctors when they’ve all been ordered by the government to destroy people like her? Another man friend tried drugs, but hated the side effects.

I’ve visited with several afflicted ones over the years, enough to give me some picture of what their world must be like. I know there’s a wide range of symptoms and reactions to treatment, but here’s my non-medical insight, for what it’s worth.

“When I was in the hospital,” this woman explained to me, her eyes shining, “they did experiments on me. They poison a person with mercury. The mercury slowly comes out of you through your skin, you know; I see little silver drops on my carpet all the time.”

What could I say? You’re imagining this? But she wasn’t. She actually saw these drops. Just as someone else saw an upside-down cross on a hospital curtain one night — a sure omen of evil to come. Who can understand why or how the mind perceives silver drops, or beetles on all the plants, or people pulling their hair in the night? For the sufferer, the only “logical” explanation is that someone is trying to drive them mad. Once mad, they’ll be taken to the psych ward and quietly disposed of.

“There are two kinds of people in this world,” another fearful person told me years ago. “Those who wish I was dead, and those who think I already am.”

“Most of the people in this world don’t even know you exist,” I replied. However, that’s reality, and reality usually doesn’t cut through such fear. I wasted my breath.

Many, many times people trying to help a person through their hallucinations waste their breath trying to explain that, “No, it isn’t what you imagine. You still have all your hair; no one has pulled it out.”

I’ve learned that my rational explanations will never combat paranoia; they just can’t pierce that bubble of fear. The afflicted, be they on welfare, members of ethnic minorities, Christians, or whatever else makes them unique, see themselves as slated for destruction — and no one recognizes the danger they’re in. If you don’t agree, if you won’t see how the government is out to destroy people like them, you are either burying your head in the sand or you’re delusional.

Sadly, some misguided religious people see all mental illness as “demonic” and their answer is some type of exorcism. This is usually a double whammy for the sufferers. Not only are they NOT cured by this ritual, plus now they live with the guilt of being possessed by evil spirits, and/or the thought that God must have given up on them, too.

From what I’ve observed, medication has had limited success in treating this type of mental illness. Some works great — for a time. There is some healing in the aging process. I once read that schizophrenia loses some of its grip on a person’s mind after age fifty. The problem is the dangerous situations they tend to live in, often being homeless and isolating themselves.

Another friend of mine who has suffered from fears very much through the years became a Christian in her twenties and the words that help her the most are the scriptures about God looking after his own. He does see, He does care, and He has looked after her amazingly well in her circumstances. When she calls me, greatly distressed because something suspicious happened, or someone said something threatening, we talk about the day when the trials of this life will be behind us and we’ll live in Heaven, safe from evil, free from care. Focusing on that better place makes the troubles of this world more bearable.

The Night of Feathers

Here’s Sammi’s weekend writing prompt, and my response:

AURORA BOREALIS

The northern lights took the form of giant feather plumes that night, and I, alone in the house, felt sheltered and comforted under the heavenly glow rippling above.

Northern lights.ansgar scheffold
Pixabay image from Ansgar Scheffold

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This actually happened one night some years back. Edgy because my husband was away on a trip, I glanced outside around midnight and saw a lot of lights in the eastern sky. I went outside to get a better look and discovered that the aurora was not only in the north and east, but completely circled our village in the sky above. I’ve never seen northern lights in the south before and probably never will again. Others who also saw them commented on how spectacular, and how widespread, they were that night.

Of course I thought of angel feathers, then the Bible verse:
“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4

On Hues of Blues

I checked out the Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: How Green Is Blue. If this is some expression in common use today, I’ll admit that I’m rather uncommon and have never heard of it. At any rate, I was struck by the unusualness of it.

But wait…is unusualness actually a word? My word processing programme accepts it but the built-in Word Press spell-checker highlights it as an error. (It highlights programme as an error, too, but I’m using Canadian English today.)

I slid my mouse over to the Merriam-Webster site and they list unusualness as the noun, with the adjective being unusual, though its awkwardness does cause my mind to stumble a bit. STUMBLE is the Word of the Day prompt word this morning.

For the word unusual M-W offers alternatives like unique, off-beat, curious, odd, peculiar. If you want another word for your tongue to stumble over, try chromaticity, which isthe quality of color characterized by its dominant or complementary wavelength and purity taken together.”

In The Eyes Of The Beholder

The hues of blues are a common debate at our house: my beloved sees every blue-green shade from aqua to turquoise as green, while I call it blue. For example, is this fence blue and the sign green? Are they both green? Or both blue?

Blue fence + quote

Likewise, are these ducks swimming in green water or blue?

Ducks.Amy Spielmaker

The Colour of Emotions

It’s interesting how, in English, certain colours have become attached to emotions. A blue sky is always a sunny, cheerful one. Not so with a blue day or a blue mood, which rather suggests depression. It could be that people were green with envy long before Shakespeare came along, but his use of “green-eyed jealously” forever sealed the colour and the feeling in the Anglo mind.

Thus if you say, “How green is blue?” folks may hear, “How much sadness is caused by jealously?” Knowing someone has what you want, or that others have so much more than you do, can get you down if you focus there. Human as we are, envy does cause us to stumble at times as we go through life.

Asking, “How blue is green?” could be interpreted as, “She’s depressed and that’s why she’s looking at others and thinking they are so much better off.” Sad to say, when a person’s depressed they are usually inclined to see “everybody else” as upbeat, prosperous, and content with life. Other sad, lonely, desperate folks tend to fall below their radar.

And now I’ve exhausted my thoughts on this topic and shall wish you all a day in the pink.

He Had It All Planned

Last week’s Crimson Creative Challenge was the picture of an old bridge with a tunnel underneath. See it Here. I wrote this story in my head, but only now have I got it in a proper file.

It’s a modern romantic tale — a bit silly perhaps. Sadly, it violates Crimson’s 150-word limit by almost 600 words, so I’m going to use a different picture and post it as my response to today’s Word of the Day prompt: CAREFUL. Nevin’s plans were carefully made, but he didn’t factor in one little unknown that made all the difference.

 

Tunnel.Nuremberg

THE TUNNEL OF LOVE

“Here we are.” Nevin and Wendy got out of the car. “Let’s get us one of those paddle boats and sail away.”

Wendy’s eye sparkled. “I love paddle boats.”

Ten more minutes, he thought, smiling. Everything’s set up and the operation will be in full swing before she catches on.

But Wendy had stopped and was staring toward the dark opening. “Umm… Is that the tunnel you want to go through? It’s so…dark.”

“That’s the idea, sweetheart. Couples do a little smooching in the shadows before they come out the other side.” He kissed her cheek. “And I’ll be right beside you.” He took her hand and tugged her toward the paddle boat rentals.

She turned to him, her face pale. “Uh… I don’t think I can do this.”

Nevin raised his brows in surprise. “Why? You’re not scared of the dark, are you?”

“No. It’s just that when we were children my brother and I explored a cave one day. We didn’t know bats were roosting in it and our light scared them.” She shuddered. “We were so terrified. All those bats flying around us…and that awful squeaking. I’ll never forget it.”

“But there’s nothing to be scared of here. You can believe the River Council won’t allow any bats to roost in their tunnel. Come on. You’ll like it inside.”

They walked closer to the tunnel’s mouth and Wendy peered in, just as several high-pitched squeals drifted out of the tunnel. “Ack,” she shrieked and jumped back.

Nevin groaned. What’s he doing in there anyway? Tuning the thing? I’m gonna have some sharp words for him about his rotten timing.

Wendy was clinging to him now. “I’m sorry, Nev. I just can’t go in there.” The desperate note in her voice tugged at his heart.

Nevin pictured his careful plans sailing south. “Okay, I don’t want to force you to do something that terrifies you. You go back to the car, Wendy. I have to make a phone call.”

He pulled out his cellular as Wendy walked back to the parking lot alone, probably still thinking about bats. He kicked at a protruding cobblestone. Bats. Rats! Once he knew she’d be out of hearing, he dialed and waited for Cole to answer.

“Plans blew up,” he said. “Who knew she’d be scared of dark tunnels. And bats.” Nevin gritted his teeth. “It didn’t help that she heard some squeaks from the tunnel at the worst possible moment.”

“Hey, man, so sorry about that. I had no idea. Just doing a bit of…never mind. I’ll still get paid, won’t I? It’s my time. I need the cash.”

Nevin blew out a sigh. “Yes, you’ll still get paid. We’ll work something else out.” He ended the call, shoved his phone back in his pocket and headed for the car.

“Who knew,” Cole grumbled, replacing his violin back in its case. He brushed the strings lovingly before closing the lid.

“Women!” He yanked at the balloon strings he’d wrapped around a loose stone. And what was he supposed to do with these? The neighbour kids would probably like some balloons. They wouldn’t care about the writing… But they couldn’t be left floating around; he’d best just pop them.

He frowned when several strings pulled loose. Before he could grab them again, a capricious breeze swept the two bobbing balloons out of the tunnel. Cole shrugged and took a better hold on the others. Picking up his violin, he headed out the other exit.

“Look, Nev!” Wendy, standing beside the car, pointed. “Those balloons just blew out of the tunnel! Hey, there’s even some writing on them.”

Nevin slapped his forehead. He was so going to have words with Cole. Maybe I’ll only pay him half what he asked for.

If the breeze would at least move the things away, but no. The balloons dipped down and bobbed toward them; now Wendy was racing to catch one. Talk about the best laid plans going awry.

She succeeded in grabbing the end of a dangling string. “It says… Oooooh,” she squealed. “It says, ‘I love you Wendy. Please marry me’.” She turned to him with a huge grin. “Oh, Nevin, you’re so romantic!”

“At least I was trying to be,” he replied. “Things didn’t work out as planned.”

“Oh. You had these in the tunnel…and I spoiled it. But these balloons popped out at just the right time. And my answer is yes!” She flung herself into his arms. “I would be delighted to marry you.”

He grinned and wrapped her in a tight hug. “Then we have a perfect ending.”