Where the Sky was Once Blue Part II – 18+

I was trying to wake up, but I kept dreaming of green fields in the sunlight below mountains, of rivers overflowing feeding oak trees and the willows. Cold air in the autumn. Mari was there dancing in the field, and Fernando was planting pine tree seedlings.

A few minutes later brushing my teeth brought me to my senses, while Mari was singing in Spanish, in the shower. Once she was done, she snuck up behind me, barely covered in a towel… as I watched her hands in the mirror reach for my belly. “I know a reason you and I are together”, she whispered.

“Don’t do it!” I said loudly. Too late. “It’s because we both have bellies!!” And she shook my tummy, laughing her head off, running away. I rinsed quickly, about to chase her, but when I looked up she was sitting on the edge of the bed, towel discarded, her jet black hair still dripping wet and falling over her shoulders, as she questioned me with her smile.

Uh-oh.

We never did make it down for breakfast. But by lunch time I had placed some grilled cheese sandwiches in a pan. I was slow cooking them so the cheese would melt. Fernando was at the table reading a book on sweetgrass, so I asked him if he wanted a grilled cheese. “No I’m making burgers in the basement.” “The basement?” I wondered if Mari knew.

Mari came down adding an explanation. “Fernando has his own kitchen downstairs…. actually two, one for food and one for plant science.” She added, “his burgers are plant based…” Eyeing my work she said, “Oh yum! Grilled cheese with cheddar. I’ll make the salad! By the way we have 4 levels of basement” “What??”

When we sat down to eat, “Mari said, “Hold out your arm honey”. I did but wondering why. She quickly held out hers. “Look”, she said “We are both brown…so that’s the real reason I think Emma placed us together. She knew I couldn’t tolerate a white man’s—” “Ok, ok I get it!” I cut her off. “I get that… but listen, white people are not our enemy”.

Mari looked shocked. I continued by reaching over, touching her with one finger where I thought her heart was. “The problem is in here, not their skin color.” She said nothing but seemed to let something go. Then she said smiling, “I knew you were good for me… in more ways than one….” I felt her foot on my leg.

Mari’s phone began buzzing. She took it out, stood up immediately yelling, “Fernando!! Start the healing bath…. Make it on the 3rd floor and hurry! Emma’s hurt!!

She yelled at me to get the emergency blanket, as I looked out the window, I saw Emma flying in. All I could say was, “Oh no!!”

When we opened the front door, Emma was on fire.

“Oh dear God.”

“Her wings!”

Writing and Image © Copyright 2022 rivers renewed

Next Saturday: Does Emma survive her injuries? And what is the name of the main character/narrator? And do the dreams mean anything?

Where the Sky was Once Blue 18+

In the Not Too Distant Future,

As I looked at my phone, Emma’s text said. “Meet her at the corner of Banner St. and Oak Leaf, and her name is Mari” As I drove the final mile, the sky was still its normal colors of fire. There was orange and pink and sometimes swirls of purple, where it had once been blue. Another missile screamed overhead trailing black and gray smoke.

And there she was! Another human being still alive, and was that her son? As I got out of my SUV limping with my hiking pole, both of them waved. We all had our masks on and protective equipment. I beamed at her, and I was hoping she could tell.

She introduced herself and Fernando her 10 year old, when a cloud of orange exploded, and a popping noise began to rain not far away. I yelled, “A Searching Drone! We need to get inside!”  With our masks and protective clothing off inside, I noticed her middle was large. Was she pregnant?

She mentioned, “I can still have your child…. if that’s what you want….” She smiled with eyebrows raised in a question. I wasn’t shocked at all, and these were desperate times, but I said, “Honey, I’m too old for you, and besides I’m just looking for conversation!” I hadn’t seen anyone in months.

It was actually cozy in her kitchen as she took out a platter of fruit and cheese. Another drone scanned the neighborhood. “I’m sorry the fruit is canned, that’s all we have left now.” I understood. I was so grateful, and we made small talk about how much supplies we had, and would the plagues ever end? Everything was going just fine until she took my hand and began massaging it with her thumb.

She said, “It’s just that I really need…I mean I really really need some…some…company.” Well I admit it. I was nervous. Who wouldn’t be?

When I found out she wasn’t actually pregnant, that was it. I was in trouble for sure. I didn’t know what to say. She practically dragged me up the steps to the bedroom, mentioning on the way up that Fernando would be in the basement, tending his plants. “His plants?”

Later, after I thought our wildness had subsided, I was beginning to doze off when she moved in close again. I felt her rub my arm.

She whispered, “You awake?”

Writing and Image © Copyright 2022 rivers renewed

Next Saturday: Why did Emma place us together?

Emma on the Border

The French cuisine was exquisite along the border. Emma reached for her steak knife, cutting deeply

into the honey glazed chicken, as she was bathed in the soft glow of candlelight in a quiet corner of the café. The meal reminded her of a certain general who always wanted her, honey glazed

The plan worked.

show ‘em a little leg, have him caught in a web of a beautiful seduction, and before he could be her champion… she called forth the wolves,

he learned his deadly mistake as he quivered on the marble steps. She had towered over him

another Nazi leader decimated,

eliminated,

then fertilizing the moss covered soil that would one day carry Allied tanks.

Emma poured herself another glass of wine, smiling sardonically, looking at her reflection in the shine of her steak knife. Then she cut deeply again into the honey glazed chicken, while a wolf howled in the distance.

She would never be the victim of anyone.

It was 1941.

Writing and Image © Copyright 2022 rivers renewed

Emma on the Train

If the spirits of the poets are subject to the poets

then the spirits of wolves are subject to the moon,

and Madrid never gave away any of her treasures

because there were too many vampires

in Belgium,

night clouds cascading

into dark poetry.

It was 1941.

Narrator: Emma wrote these notes on the back of a napkin, while taking the train to Paris.

Writing and Image © Copyright 2022 rivers renewed

I’d Rather Have a Cup of Coffee

I’d rather have a cup of coffee with a transgender woman…. than with any extremist on the right, most likely she won’t even own a gun let alone an AR15….. she hates violence of any type,

and since she studies history, we could talk about the constitution…. “assault rifles are not in there…” she continues, “do you realize how long it takes to reload a musket?”

She’s getting her PhD next year, but she tears up, reaches for a tissue from her purse because children aren’t being taught about the pain of racism, “slavery really did happen…. we need to acknowledge our pain, so we can heal”…. I shake my head yes,

when I mention the radical left, she laughs saying, “I’m more of a John McCain myself…..you see how people assume?” …. She mentions the only radicals she knows are in a musty old basement on the east side of Brooklyn, university students writing their manifesto….. “by the way, they have no guns,” she quickly adds,

“I think people just want Grandma to have her electricity on, to have heat in the winter, and some decent food to eat…. instead of dog food out of a can…. is that so terrible?” No not at all, not even one bit, “that’s not radical…. that’s being human,” I add. “Exactly!” she says.

Yes, I’m sure I could have an amazing conversation with a transgender woman….. but not with an extremist, from the right.

What time does Starbucks close?

Writing and Image Copyright © 2022 rivers renewed

The Legend of Holds the Fire

Perhaps there have always been healers and seers among the People, but one in particular is still talked about today. All the People could see she was a very special child from the moment she was born. To this day her mother says that when she was born, Holds the Fire sang instead of cried.

No one understood the language, and some said it was an ancient one from when the People were first created from the Earth.

When she was 3, Holds the Fire ran to the injured Songbird, when she was attacked by a bear. At first, Holds the Fire was pushed away, but she snuck through the crowd and touched Songbird. Everything changed from that moment. Holds the Fire’s beautiful brown skin changed to red and then orange, glowing as if embers from a holy fire.

It was in her hands. Healing was in the hands of Holds the Fire. Songbird, who had been screaming in agony and fear, immediately calmed down. Healing washed over her as waves from the sacred lake. And Holds the Fire spoke in that ancient language again, the language no one could understand.

When she was older there was much work to be done. Rattlesnake bites, war wounds and emotional trauma took their toll. And no man was brave enough to ask her to marry. Maybe she didn’t want that type of life anyway.

To this day though…..all the People know….. she is their Mother.

Writing Copyright © 2021 rivers renewed, image public domain c.1900

Note: I’m bringing an early Christmas present today! This is brand new. Merry Christmas!

Singing to the Corn

In the days when wolves were still the Elders, and when there were not many horses yet living on the Plains, the People moved west, to grow their food and for sunlight sparkling in rivers that sang.

And Buffalo Bird Woman would sing to the corn, touching tenderly each stalk. Her gentle ways, her heart for the Earth produced an abundance of food, making the People very happy.

The Earth loved Buffalo Bird Woman, and some say she is the first human….. to ever grow pumpkins.

Poetry and Image Copyright © 2021 rivers renewed

Note: Buffalo Bird Woman was a real person, and she really did sing to the corn, however the rest is fiction.

The Seeker

Prayer smoke ascended into the grey sky. He hadn’t expected the rain and it was difficult to keep the fire. Yet his plan worked of bundling dried leaves and twigs in plastic before he left.

As the sun set, the rain fell harder then suddenly stopped. Night songs began, including tree frogs and an owl. Was it worth it to come out here?

He had no choice really but to reinvent himself. So many fragmented pieces. He gathered up what he could and sought the wilderness.

Was it wrong to not care about his culture? Breaking off a piece of dried spinach, he realized it probably was. He refused to stand in line anymore though, walking into the abyss.

It was the dawn that brought deliverance. He peeled back his wet sleeping bag like layers of skin, knowing he would have a different name today.

The sun would bring a new life…..and the healing would begin.

As he stood on top of the mountain.

Writing and Image Copyright © 2021 rivers renewed

Note: This is about a First Nations man seeking a vision as part of his culture, and seeking healing for himself.

Storm in the Night

Blackfoot Lodges c. 1900

Lightening cracked open the sky, and thunder shook the earth again. The storm was on top of them. Most of the men and women were outside now, even though it was the middle of the night. The wind was getting stronger and was playing havoc with the lodge flaps, so the people were busy closing them, tightening the lodge poles, and gathering in what they could. Anything they could not grab was tossed into the air. Children were crying, mothers were screaming, and the men were busy giving commands that nobody heard.

A few of the men tried tending the panic stricken horses. Herding them into a small space worked well in spite of the noise. Another crack, and more rumbling from below. It seemed as if the earth might break open with the shaking. The men stayed with the horses as long as they could, until the hard driving rain forced everyone inside.

No one could sleep. Young lovers took advantage of the time, parents held their children, and some worried about the damage to the village. Would the horses return? They would have to wait until morning.

There was one person that was not awake or asleep. He went to live in the spirit world that night and left his body behind. Lone Horse had been an old man, loved by all the people. He had wisdom from the Creator, and usually after a council meeting people would say – “Lone Horse thinks….” or, “Lone Horse says…” Now there would be an empty seat at council meetings. It was a great loss for everyone.

His wife, Cricket in the Meadow, would not find him until morning. They had been married for more than fifty years, and the people would worry if she could survive the loss. Her health was frail, but fortunately there was still the sparkle of light in her eyes.

Their one child died at a young age from the fever. They carried this pain for the rest of their lives, but it gave them both a vulnerability, a sensitivity, that brought out love in all they did. The people would wrap their arms around Cricket in the Meadow, holding her tight, enveloping her with their love, for as long as she needed. They would get through this somehow, together.

Still, it was a dark time.

Writing Copyright © 2021 rivers renewed, Image public domain