The Balloon Ride

239

As Casey Stancil and her parents pulled up to the hot air balloon festival, she felt that familiar feeling of dread again, because she knew what was coming next. They would unload her, lifting her up, and placing her in her wheelchair. After 8 years of not being able to walk she thought she would have been over these feelings by now, but she wasn’t. She was 27 years old, and still relied on her parents for help.

Once she was unloaded, her guide (or was he a tech?) walked over to introduce himself. “Hi, I’m George O’Keefe!” smiling from ear to ear he stuck out his hand. Casey nearly forgot to breathe, but she managed to stick out her hand. “Gosh!”, she thought, “he was so handsome!”

George asked her some brief questions as Casey was loaded into the basket. The balloon was secured with a series of ropes held now by a team of helpers. As George buckled her in, he asked, “Is this your first ride?” Casey blurted out, “Yes, but I only want to go up a little!” “And make sure they hold onto the ropes!” George gave her a knowing smile, and said, “Yes I know, your father told me…”

As George adjusted the hot air, he spoke into his walkie-talkie, for the helpers to let out the rope…..but slowly. At 25 ft. Casey was already thrilled but holding on tightly. At 50 ft. Casey said, “Wow!” George smiled, noticing again her beautiful jet black hair, and dark eyes.

Little did he know that in his balloon, was the world renowned author, and advocate, Casey Stancil, who was attempting to conquer one of her biggest fears, the fear of heights.

   

To be continued.

       

Writing and Image © Copyright 2016, ancient skies

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“When we love people, we give them hope.”

Vision Quest

Mountains and Rivers 274

Nothing was working. He had come to the mountains a week ago in desperation, and he had tried everything, but nothing had changed. His friends were right it was too cold for a tent, so after one night of freezing outside, he rented a cabin.

It was just him and the fireplace now, with a few small pieces of furniture, and a kitchenette. He was thankful the bathroom wasn’t outside. He couldn’t imagine going out there at 3:00 in the morning, with no lights.

But there was no vision, and he sank deeper into depression. Were the self-help people right, that all the answers were inside of himself? He couldn’t buy it. There had to be something, or someone larger than all the problems in the world, even if they didn’t understand why things happened.

The next day there was a glimmer of hope. As he was cooking up some eggs in a frying pan, the thought came to him that maybe his life was not as messed up as he thought. So what if the company folded, and his wife left him, he was still alive right? Here he was in the beautiful mountains cooking eggs!

So what, if he didn’t have any place to go for Thanksgiving. There were probably millions of people just like him, meaning alone. He slept soundly that night even though the bed was still lumpy.

It was day 9 when he woke up the next morning, and the sun was streaming through the front window. There was frost everywhere, and then it hit him. He suddenly knew where he would be spending Thanksgiving. He would volunteer at the homeless shelter, and be serving meals. He knew at least part of the answer, was giving to other people.

It was then, that light began flooding his soul, and he wept.

        

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, ancient skies

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

Moses Thompson

Vacation 381

The wooden doors of the old church were open that evening, but it was not for a service. People were gathering for a rally against guns, and in particular against handguns. The memorial service for 14 year old Tony was last night, because he had been shot down in the streets, yet another victim of handgun violence. The people were angry now, and ready to do whatever it took to put an end to it.

Three angels descended to check out the commotion at the old church. They decided to dress and look like humans. So as they walked casually through the front doors, nobody really noticed them. They sat in the back row, on the left.

The Rev. Moses Thompson was pulled out of retirement to help lead the fight. He was 89 years old now, but nobody knew the people better than he did. He still had a strong voice, and he had fire in his bones, and the heart of a lion. As people piled in, they carried signs, placards, anything they could get their hands on, to write a slogan, and to carry it in the streets.

The microphone wasn’t working that night, but Moses didn’t need one. The three angels just looked at each other, astounded at his voice. The people listened, constantly shaking their heads yes, and saying things like, “Amen!”, “That’s right!” “C’mon now tell it!”

Moses was in full swing and said, “We are tired of this!” “We don’t need these guns out on our streets!” “Too many of our young people are dying, and we don’t need no rich people tellin us nonsense, about the right to carry a gun!” “You wanna go hunting in the woods, that’s your business, but you ain’t carrying no gun in my neighborhood, and not down my street!” He pounded the podium as he said this.

The crowd erupted with yelling and cheers. They were given some brief instructions about going out in the neighborhood, and collecting signatures for the petition. Moses said they would work with the city council.

The three angels went invisible without anyone noticing, and floated to the ceiling. They briefly hovered at the top of the ceiling watching the people, then quickly melted through the roof. They headed in the direction of Gabriel as quickly as they could. Their boss needed to here this. Something very positive was about to break loose in this community.

          

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, ancient skies

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People XXXIV – Traditions

Canada and More 224

As they pulled into the lane of their farm, Jeremiah got out to open the two sets of gates, when Miriam’s phone buzzed with a message. Since everyone that she knew well was in the van, it had to be Roger in France, or…..it was…..and it was from Anuniaq, in Northern Quebec! She began reading Anuniaq’s message in French, while Jeremiah was finishing the second gate. She became so excited, she yelled out the window, “Jeremiah come quick!”

When he leaned in to the open window of the van, Miriam explained, “Anuniaq is coming to the farm, and he is bringing someone with him!” “You mean they’re coming here??”, Jeremiah was astonished. Miriam said yes and Jeremiah asked, “Won’t they get stuck in the snow?” “If they don’t get stuck in the snow coming down here – what about on the way back?” Miriam had already dismissed his question, and said, “He won’t get stuck Jeremiah, because he is driving a commercial snow plow!”

It was three days later when they heard the roar of a large diesel coming down Stevenson Lane. They had a habit of keeping a few windows open, to take in the crisp fall air, but only during the day. The diesel was sounding like the 18 wheelers they used to hear so often.

It was a Friday and they were all preparing for the Sabbath meal. Jennifer loved these times, and was hoping Miriam would teach her the prayers someday soon. She loved the language and the tradition, and was dreaming of doing the same, whenever she had her own place again. She was beginning to think of having a family, maybe even more than baby Jacob, and herself. She believed now that her boyfriend Jacob would have wanted that for her. She admired the candle holders, as she placed them on the table, and placed the candles in each one.

Miriam was hoping that Jeremiah would pull out of the slump he was in. He had been sulking ever since he heard the news about some of the Inuit coming, but he wouldn’t tell her what it was about. Privately, he was worried about being behind schedule for getting ready for winter. The Kentucky trip had taken up several days, even though it was needed, and now he was certain the visitors from Quebec would take up even more of their time. And besides all that, the house was too crowded!

His mood changed dramatically when he saw Anuniaq get out of the huge snow plow, and then help the passenger down from the cab of the truck. They all rushed out of the house to meet them. Anuniaq spoke French mostly to Miriam, after his initial shock at how tall she was. He was about 30 years old, with a strong, quiet looking face. He introduced his passenger as Anhah. She was a short, older woman with long, flowing, silver-gray hair. Her face showed the wrinkles of having survived many rough years, and yet the all joys, and cultural strength of the Inuit. Her eyes sparkled with life. Jeremiah noticed immediately that these two were filled with peace, and they were gentle spirits.

As they all sat around the Sabbath dinner table, Miriam covered her head and began chanting the prayers so familiar to the Pennsylvania survivors. She was singing as she lit the candles, and the words in Amharic were welcoming the Sabbath. Jeremiah joined in for some it and Jennifer too, when she remembered the words. Cathy and Cory were smiling ear to ear, loving the sounds of the languages.

Miriam also sang the same prayers in French, for their guests that night. Their eyes teared up with the sheer beauty of the moment. Unexpectedly Anhah began singing in her Inuit dialect. Everyone was stunned, especially when they heard the translation:

Oh Great One, Oh Great One

We thank You for this food, for this food,

Give us the strength, to hunt and fish again,

And in this place, to gather in the food,

Oh Great One, Oh Great One

No one said a word after they heard this. They just soaked in the beauty. One thing was for certain though…….. life on planet earth was becoming more beautiful all the time.

      

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People XXXI – Burying Fear

Mountains and Rivers 020

“Oh no you don’t!” “You’re not leaving my here all alone!” It was Jennifer yelling, even though she had just put Jacob back to bed, after a feeding. She continued with, “Think about it…..you want me to stay out here, in the middle of nowhere, with a baby, and there’s a bear in the neighborhood!” Jeremiah had not thought of it that way. She was right for sure, and he knew it. Jacob began crying, wondering why is Mom was yelling. Jeremiah looked at the clock in the kitchen, and saw it was 3:32 am. He paused, then said, “How soon can you be ready?”

As they began loading the van they had, Jeremiah slipped into the darkness, to call Roger Preston. He and Monique were still in France. When Roger picked up, Jeremiah said “Roger?”. “Jeremiah my good man!” Roger was always glad to hear another person’s voice. Jeremiah explained where they were going and why. Roger knew all about Kentucky, from Cathy telling him, just last week. Roger said, “And it could be dangerous, if the man is as crazy, as he sounds.” “Yes…” Jeremiah continued with, “I’m also calling to ask for prayer.” “Meaning, Monique prays, so can you ask her?” Jeremiah was not all that religious, but he knew a good resource when he saw one. Roger said he would ask her, and that he would send up some positive thoughts as well.

They left at exactly 4:10 am, which was good considering all they needed to load. In addition to some overnight bags, there was a diaper bag, a stroller, and a playpen. Jeremiah thought, “Why do women need to carry so much?” He didn’t tell anyone, but he also put a wooden case in the back, which contained a beautiful 12 gauge shotgun, with a carved stock. And he packed a pair of binoculars and a telescope, so they could look the place over from a distance.

They drove west towards Pittsburg, then southwest, down into West Virginia, and did not stop (except for short breaks) until they reached the Kentucky border. It had been 9 hours of straight driving, and they were exhausted already. Two hours later they were in the hills, and close to the cabin that Cathy and Cory had stayed in.

Cathy and Cory were in the middle seat holding each other, and absolutely terrified. Cathy was holding Cory with one arm, and her purse in the other, which still carried the huge handgun. Once in a while Cory would whisper, “Mommy, I’m scared.” Cathy held her closer.

About a mile, from the cabin driveway, Jeremiah pulled over the van and told everyone to wait there. “If he comes after you…..you know what to do.” Taking several cases with him out of the back, he headed for a deer trail, and some hills that would give him a good view of the cabin, without being too close. They waited. It was the longest 20 minutes of Cathy’s life.

Suddenly, Miriam’s phone rang. They all jumped, Miriam answered and said, “Yes?” Then, “Ok, yes we will.” She continued with, “Jeremiah says there is no danger, but we all need to come to where he is, on top of the hill.”

Once they got to the top, they found Jeremiah sitting on the ground with the telescope, pointed at the cabin. He motioned for Cathy to come close. “Look through here.”, he said. It took a minute for Cathy to focus her eyes through the lens.

She gasped. She saw Lance’s badly decomposed body, on the front porch, covered in blankets, in the rocking chair.

To be continued.

       

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People XXX (30) – We Stick Together

Mountains and Rivers 155

They talked late into evening. It was the first time really, that they had made a big decision, together as a group. Miriam was the one that was most afraid of guns, and Cathy was the one most afraid, to not have one. After a lot of talking, and after sending Cory to bed, they voted. Each person said yes, but they needed restrictions.

Any guns they had, were not to be used against people, unless for some reason, they were attacked, and even then they should talk about it, if possible. It had to be a life threatening situation. The same was true of any bears, or other animals in the area, that would be harmful. Jeremiah gave the example of a dog having rabies, trying to bite them. They would simply have no choice. A bear being in the vicinity, was not a sufficient reason to shoot the animal. No one wanted that.

They all noticed though how Cathy could not wait to get her hands on the .357 magnum. It was strange really, and her face even changed, once she had it in her hands. Miriam asked her though, to please keep it in the kitchen, on top of the refrigerator.

Over the next week, Miriam, Jennifer, and Jeremiah all noticed a continued change in Cathy’s behavior. She was more jumpy, and actually carried the pistol in a holster, on her belt. Any sudden noise outside made her jump. Late one night, Miriam and Jeremiah were talking in bed, when the topic came up. They both agreed, that Cathy was still very much afraid, and that they would talk to her about it the morning.

After breakfast Jeremiah asked to speak to Cathy outside. Suddenly Jacob vomited all over the kitchen floor, and Miriam and Jennifer were busy cleaning it up, so Jeremiah had no choice but to tackle the issue by himself.

Outside Jeremiah said, “Cathy you’ve changed over the past week, you seem very afraid.” She said nothing but sighed, and looked down at the ground. “The gun has made your fear worse, much worse……instead of you being more confident.” Gathering courage he continued, “We should go down to Kentucky, together Cathy, and face Lance – Miriam and I……well…… we can go with you.” Cathy panicked and stuttered, “No! I….. I…… cannot do that…..there’s no way!”

“Cathy do you always want to live with the fear, that Lance is after you, waiting behind every bush, ready to jump out at you?” There was a long pause, and Cathy continued to look down. She said, “No, I don’t.” He knew he was being too pushy, and was about to apologize, when she burst into tears, and ran into the house.

It was almost midnight when Cathy knocked lightly on the Miriam and Jeremiah’s bedroom door. Miriam was asleep, but Jeremiah was up with a light on, reading The Prophet, by Gibran. He put on his robe, and saw Cathy, when he opened the door.

She said, “Can we leave in the morning?” “I’m tired of being a victim!” Jeremiah shook his head yes, and said, “And we will be right there with you…….you’ll see……we stick together.” “Is 4:00 too early?”, he asked. “No, the sooner the better.” And she went back to bed.

Just before falling asleep, Cathy thought of Jeremiah’s words, “We stick together.” Her mother used to say that…….especially during the tough times…….. Cathy slept soundly for a few hours, until the alarm went off.

To be continued.

       

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People on Earth XXVII – Love and Hope

Oceans 807

Jennifer could not find the goat’s milk anywhere. It had been three weeks now since Jacob was born, and she was starting to mix in a little of the goat’s milk for him. But then, she could not find Miriam and Jeremiah either. She searched the house and looked outside, but there was no trace of them. They were often in the lab building, working on testing soil and plant life, so she headed there.

But she was surprised, when she opened the door, and they weren’t there either. She looked around, was that a noise upstairs? She walked over to the door that led to the second floor, knocked, but then opened it without waiting. She didn’t really pay attention to the noises she heard, “Oh no! Shhhh! Lift your arm – quick! Ouch! Shhhh! Move your head!” Jennifer did get one foot on the bottom step, but heard Jeremiah yell, “Don’t come up here!” It was then that she understood, and she was horrified. She said, “I’m sorry!” I am soooo sorry!”, and she began backing up, with her hand over her mouth, and turning ten shades of red. Fortunately, she did not see anything.

Then she heard Miriam’s voice. “What do you need, Jennifer?” Still embarrassed, Jennifer stumbled over her words, but managed to ask about the goat’s milk. “It’s in the freezer, you have to thaw it first.” Without replying, Jennifer left in a hurry, and closed the door. It wasn’t until later that she thought the whole thing was funny. It took a while for the young couple to recover, but eventually their lips started searching again. He buried his face in her neck, and her nails………well……… the rest of it is not to be told about here……

Later that evening Roger called from England, and Jeremiah was in the kitchen cooking dinner, so he reached for the phone. Jeremiah had spoken to Roger a number of times now, and he enjoyed their conversations immensely. Roger had been a Professor of British Literature, before the wars, and he could tell you anything you wanted to know, about the great poets that had once walked the British Isles.

“Jeremiah!” Roger was obviously exited, “Jeremiah, you were right!” “I found someone, and she is in Croatia!” “I was using that software you gave me, and I was able to look her up, and I called her Jeremiah!” “She sounds amazing.” Jeremiah was excited for him, and said, “Roger, that’s wonderful!”

Roger went on to say it was not a romance, they were just two people, so alone they were going insane, and now suddenly, the future seemed bright again. Roger continued, “Even if we are just friends forever Jeremiah, it is one of the happiest moments of my life.” Jeremiah had tears in his eyes, and asked, “What’s her name?” “Monique! Isn’t that beautiful?” It was beautiful. The two men talked for almost an hour, (that’s a long time for men). Roger shared all about their plans, to meet in France, in fact Bordeaux.

But the good news was not over yet. The next morning, after breakfast, Miriam was in the lab building, while Jeremiah was still in the house shaving. She just happened to check her email, in case, like they did once a week usually. When she saw her inbox, she screamed. “Oh God!” she said, as she printed it out quickly. She was screaming with joy as soon as she had it in her hands. She ran towards the house, screaming, “Jeremiah!” “Jeremiah!”

They all came running, and met her in front of the house. As tears streamed down her face, she yelled, “There are seven more people alive!” “They are in Northern Canada, and they are Inuit people!” Chills ran up and down their spines.

To be continued.

       

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”