Summer is Dead, Long Live Winter!

Fear is like a spider’s web.  It catches in your hair and sticks.  You can shower, and comb, but you will still find bits and pieces, now and then.

I know spider webs well.  Long hours of my childhood were spent in the woods.  In Autumn there were webs strung between nearly every tree.  It was impossible to avoid them.  The sticky feeling on my arms and face was too frequent to be more than annoying.  It barely phased me to find a spider crawling up my arm.

What bothered me was the old webs.  Full of dead bugs and dust, they were more clingy than the new.  Too find a bit of one in my hair after playing in the woods made my stomach turn.  Sometimes we catch a web.  Other times the web catches us.

That is how the past haunts the present.  It sticks.  You may be well adjusted, happy, successful, but that web still holds fast.  Emotions don’t have calendars.  They forget that what happened ten years ago, has little bearing on the present.

My year didn’t go as planned.  In the Spring I had a schedule for the year.  By Summer the schedule was irreparably shattered.   In the Summer I fell in love, and my emotions forgot that I was happy.

How is it possible to be happy, really happy, but be unable to feel it?  I had felt depression before, when my emotions stopped working, and I couldn’t feel anything.  But to be happy, and feel sad, to know I was safe, and feel scared, took me by surprise.

Perhaps you have felt similarly?  Maybe you have sat among friends on a Summer’s day, sharing with them an activity you love, and felt only coldness.  Perhaps you have had to concentrate on your breathing for hours on end, fighting for calm against an irrational fear.  Perhaps this has lasted for days, weeks, as the frozen knot inside of you is pulled to the breaking point.

With irrational fear, logic makes no impression.

There is no cure for rogue emotions, the past will stick, but it is still the past.  I was happy, even when I couldn’t feel it.  Sometimes, and slowly, reality is enough.  For this present, I want to say thanks.

I am thankful that Summer is gone.  I am thankful for the people who stood by me and understood.  The people reminded me, not by logic, but by walking with me through the anxiety attacks, that I was safe and happy.  I am thankful for the scriptures through which God comforted me.  I am thankful that it is almost Winter and I can feel happy again.

I am thankful that on a bright morning a spider’s web is a lovely thing.

~Gossamer

 

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The Vanishing Field

Once, when I was, perhaps, nine, I was lost in the woods.  I had gone into a thicket, and could not find my way out.  After a moment of panic, I headed in the direction of the most light, even though I was certain that was not the direction I had come.  It led me to a long, empty field.

The grass in the field was clipped short and there was a disintegrating barbed wire fence along the left hand side, but there was no house, no shed, no pond, nothing that you normally find in a North Carolina field.  Only a bright red gate, far off, at the furthest side.

There was a silence in that field which was almost a personality.  Instinctively, I did not venture out into it, though the red gate drew me.  After collecting my wits, I turned and walked in the opposite direction until I found something I knew.

I never saw that field again.  It disappeared.

I looked for the field, a few days later, because the red gate still drew me and because the silence had seemed to hold a secret.  I knew where the thicket was.  A path led to it; a four wheeler path that crossed a leaf choked stream.  Yet, though I followed the path, I could not find the thicket, and where it should have been, there was a much larger field, full of mud and stumps of trees.

It took me a long time to realize what had happened.

In the few days between the time I had been lost and the time I went back to find the field, it was swallowed up.  The trees all about it were logged and the heavy trucks that carried the logs tore and mixed the earth so that the ashy color of an old hay field turned clay orange.  The dilapidated fence fell for good, and the red gate was removed to widen the entrance.

Sometimes I wonder what the field looks like now.  Last I saw it, it was all thicket.  New  growth, crowded together, vying for sky.  Woods that have been logged heal by growing jungles.

There are moments when we come, breathless, to a realization that we no longer recognize ourselves.  The landmarks of our personalities are gone, swallowed by a reckless, violence.  Perhaps it is something we did, or perhaps something done to us.  Often it is both.  There was a time, a bleak, silver morning, when I no longer knew myself. The person I had wanted to be was gone, before I even realized how much I wanted it.  I vanished, and what was left was a mere disembodied consciousness.

The journey home after being lost, is a long one.  Sometimes one doesn’t believe that home exists.  To you who are lost and cannot find the red gate that calls you, I want to tell you that there is a home, just not the one you are looking for.

The road there won’t be easy.  There is depression, anxiety, guilt.  There are long, sleepless nights full of uneasy memories.  There are days when you cannot feel anything, when you do not feel human at all.  Perhaps, in the darkest hours, you may see the red gate, in memory, just out of reach, and weep for impossible yearning.  The desolating emptiness of the vanishing field will suck you in like an ever-hungry vacuum.

Once a field has been logged, it cannot go back to the way it looked before.  The scars are too deep.  Yet, there is healing.  Beyond the emptiness, is a new person who will someday be you.  A person who has grown beyond the red gate.  You will not be who you were before, you will be more.

There is no red gate, but there is a growing forest.

~Gossamer

Dear Fellow Snails,

snail gastropod slow garden

When threatened snails hide.  They disappear into a hard shell and become inanimate.

There is an inhumanizing shell.

Perhaps it begins with a harsh word.  Perhaps a personal failure.  Perhaps a tragedy.  It is easy to turn inward and block out the world.  Easy and miserable.

The thing about shells, is that they block out more than the pain.

They block out context.

What is it like to be inanimate?  It is something like a moth, colorless, emotionless, serene.  Emotions grow stagnant in the darkness and reality seems distant, unimpressive.  Yet, at last, deep within you there is a fluttering.  The stirrings of meaninglessness.  And you remember that moths, though creatures of the obscurity, thirst for light.

The desire to belong is insatiable.

Dear Fellow Snails, escapism vice and vise cannot change the fact that you were never meant to be a snail.

~Gossamer

New Year

It being the first week of the New Year in reality and I am simultaneously writing the first week of the New Year in my novel.  I thought it would be fun to let my main characters meditate a little on the last year, and make resolutions for the new.

A little context may be necessary.  My characters are modern aliens from a vaguely medieval culture which has discovered a way to visit Earth and uses it to secretly steal our inventions.  My three main characters are siblings in their late teens early twenties (Earth equivalence, their year is longer than ours.)  Their names are: Ristauer, Ermin, and Tierce.

Ristauer:

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Yes, I know his eyes don’t match. Please don’t rub it in.

Things would have gone a lot smoother this year if the King would have minded his own business.  On the other hand, since science is his business, it would have been equally more bearable if he had ignored it altogether.  As it is, I am dealing with a broken nose and black eye just hoping that Ermin and Tierce won’t be the next to get hurt.  I wish Ermin hadn’t locked me in last night.  I know she meant well, but if I could have made it to the council, even if I couldn’t speak, they might have been persuaded to postpone Nisseal’s trial.  There is nothing I can do for him now.

I am going to make the King pay though.  The council can’t ignore me this time!

 

Ermin:

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It has been an interesting year.  I can say that much for it.  I learned to make shoes. Tierce started his apprenticeship.  We even had a pet dragon for about a month.  That was . . . um . . . fun?  Then there was Nisseal.  He was just a inexhaustible bundle of joy.  My only regret is that we didn’t argue more.  I guess I should stop being sarcastic, he is in really big trouble right now, but it is his own fault and I did warn him.

One thing is for sure, I am not going to stress out about people’s stupidity this year!  I’m not going to worry about Ristauer either.  If he wants to spend the rest of his life being angry at everyone, that is his choice.  I think he actually enjoys it.  No, I know that isn’t true.  He’s miserable, and that is why it hurts me so much.  He needs to just . . . chill.

I think I’ll get a job.  Maybe selling shoes.  No! That would be pure torture.  Think of having to deal with people all day!  I’ll find something else.

Tierce:

(Sorry no picture, his nose is really hard to draw.)

This time last year we were traveling.  No, this is the eleventh, we had already arrived.  It has been nothing like I imagined.  I’ve barely spoken to Turquoise at all.  I’m not sure he likes me, maybe in a few years, I’ll know enough to be able to talk to him like Father used to.  Maybe Rennalin will answer some of my questions by then, as well.  She almost seems afraid.  It was really nice of her to not be angry with me for missing class yesterday, that is the first time I’ve missed.

Hope Ristauer’s face doesn’t hurt as much as it looks like it does.  I think I know who did it.  Who else would have key to Nisseal’s apartment?  But if Ristauer doesn’t want anyone to know, I guess it doesn’t matter.  I wonder what Ristauer is planning?  Nisseal was right, he is always planning something.  Maybe he will let it go and start something new.

I keep having nightmares about the dragon.

 

There they are, I think I’ve spent more time with these three weirdos this year than any single real person.  I hope you enjoyed meeting them, and are having a better time than they are!

~Gossamer

 

Liebster Award

https://juliascreativecorner.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/the-liebster-award-pastel.jpg?w=560

I got an award.  What for?  I have no clue.

 

Rules:

1. Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you.

2. Answer the questions that the blogger gives you.

3. Give 7 random facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 7 blogs.

5. Notify those blogs of their nomination.

6. Give them 7 questions to answer.

 

First things first.  Thank you Bethia!  Please go check out Bethia’s blog at Reflections on Glass.  It is worth your time.  She writes much more faithfully than I do.

Now for her questions:

1. What is your favorite color and why?

Green.  To be precise, a light, clear, yet warm, green.  It reminds me of the moss in a cedar forest near the house in which I grew up.

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2. What was the first book you remember reading?

Hop on Pop.  I learned to read with it.  Fun fact: I didn’t learn to read until the fourth grade after which I graduated quickly from Hop on Pop to The Hobbit to Pride and Prejudice.   It wasn’t that reading was particularly hard for me, I was just stubborn and reading didn’t fit into my life plan.

3. Do you prefer having short hair, medium length, or long hair?

Long.  Short is okay too, but medium is always in the way.

4. Describe a wave.

Caught in vibration,

We stand mute,

Gathering thoughts from a frequency.

Instrumentation,

Drum or flute,

All of the music that we can see,

Equals sensation,

Rhythm in mote,

Illation trapped physicality.

5. Are you a hot-natured person, a cold-natured person, or in between? Basically, do you like the heat on or the AC?

I would rather be cold than hot.

6. What is your least favorite song?

To date it is Danse Macabre.  I think it is brilliantly ugly, which is, in my opinion, more ugly than something which is simply poorly made.

7. Why on earth are you on the computer looking at my blog?! Don’t you have better things to do, like reading the Bible, writing a book, taking a walk, or rolling on the floor laughing?

What do you mean by better?  I know I am supposed to be answering questions, not asking them, but you are implying that there is never a time when reading a blog post is the best use of time.  Which leads to the question: Why are you on the computer writing your blog, don’t you have anything better to do?  But I think you do a great job and that both writing and reading are great uses of time, in moderation.

 

And now! *Drum roll* Seven random facts about Gossamer!

1. Gossamer is not my real name.  Oh, you already knew that?  Well Ginny isn’t my real name either, it is short for my middle name, but it is what I answer to.  I distinctly remember when someone first told me what my full name was.  It was my older brother and I didn’t believe him.

2. I have an vaguely British accent.  My parents and older siblings don’t have it.  I grew up in the southern United States.  We didn’t watch much television, very few movies, and they weren’t all or even mostly British.  I had no idea I had it until people started commenting on it.  Apparently, I somehow made it up.  If anyone has a theory on how this happened I would be delighted because it is awkward to repeat this long explanation whenever someone asks me if I am British.

3. My favorite philosopher is Blaise Pascal.  Just thought you would like to know.

4. I am the only person in my family of seven with red hair.  I promise I wasn’t adopted.

5. There was a time in my life when I refused to wear anything but white shirts and cotton print skirts.  And then I complained when people thought I was Amish.

6. I have a notoriously bad memory and was once an innkeeper (I ran a Bed and Breakfast for two years.)  I think I am actually Barliman Butterbur.

7. Animals tend to like me when they first meet me and then find me annoying on closer acquaintance.  People tend to have an opposite reaction.  I find both processes amusing.

 

Time for nominations!

2: Hannah Heath

3: Bard on Pilgrimage

4: this journey called life

Hmm. Well it seems that all the other bloggers I follow have already been nominated in the near past.  Since this award seems to have been created for the purpose of discovering and getting to know bloggers, I’ll just list a few of my favorites.  If you don’t know about them you should definitely check them out.

Write for the King

The Artful Author

The Sarcastic Elf

Tea with Tumnus

 

Lastly, seven questions for my nominees to answer:

  1. What is your favorite type of weather?
  2. Why have poets been strangely silent on the subject of cheese, and how can we fix this?
  3. Do you prefer fantasy or sci-fi?
  4. If you could visit any fictional world, which would you choose?
  5. What musical instrument do you most enjoy listening to?
  6. Waffles or pancakes?
  7. If you had a pet dragon what would you name it?

 

That is all for now.  Happy New Year!

~Gossamer

 

 

 

 

Dry Leaves

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A few days ago I discovered that the feeling of dry leaves, crackling, beneath my bare feet is exquisite. I remember being asked, so many times, as a child: “Doesn’t it hurt to walk on that gravel without shoes?” I would smile and shake my head. But that wasn’t true. It did hurt. I still walk on gravel with bare feet, but now my reply to this question is: “Yes, but it is a nice sort of pain.” Few people believe me. I like to feel what is beneath my feet. It is the texture. The shifting, angularity, of the gravel; the prickly, softness, of grass; the delicate, crunchiness, of dried leaves.

It makes me wonder about God and art. When we create art, we have in mind exactly how we want the audience to interact with the art. Should it be felt, seen, heard, tasted, or smelt? Sometimes it is a combination. Does God have something similar in mind for creation? Is there some way in which trees are best experienced, for instance? I don’t know.

In a way, I think our art is simply a way of searching for different and better ways to experience God’s beauty in the world. I remember the first time I had the urge to do this. I was walking on an old dirt road between two soy bean fields. From where I stood one could see several other fields, each bordered by a narrow strip of trees. To the right stood a pair of silos, one dark gray, with a white top, the other streaky white, with a red rusted top. Below and in front, though I could not see it, I knew there ran a stream. A slow, wide, brown stream. The banks were low and the grass on either side was combed flat by constant flooding, and bleached yellow by the sun. A brown stream, edged with gold. There was an old, abandoned, farmhouse, in the woods below the silos. I never went near it since I did not know the people who owned it, but I could catch glimpses through the trees. It had a wide front porch, and on the porch’s sloping roof stood a single wooden chair. I always wondered who put it there, and why?

As I stood on the dusty road I realized that to almost anyone else, this place would have no significance. It saddened me to think that the stream would change, the silos and house rot and disappear, the fields would be fenced in for cattle, and this scene would be lost forever. Never again to be discovered or enjoyed. That evening, I wrote a story about the dusty road and the golden stream. It was the first story I had ever written. I was nine. It was a very poorly written story, but I wanted to share something beautiful.

Now it is ideas, more than pictures, that I try to convey in art, but the urge is still the same. When I write a story, play a piece on music, or draw a picture, I am calling out to you: “Isn’t this beautiful? Please love it!” It is glorious to me that God not only has given us such richness of His beauty in creation, but also makes us so that we want to share it with each other. Have you felt the dry leaves with bare feet this fall? It is worth doing.

~Gossamer

My Dad’s Yurt

It is time for a house tour.  I live in a three bedroom, five living room, two kitchen, house.  It also has four outside doors.  One for each side, because symmetry is everything.  It is almost as though the designer of this house was an algebra teacher.

Here is how I imagine he was thinking:  Okay, the stairwell is the equal sign, and we have a living room with a stone fireplace upstairs, so we need one downstairs too.  Now a kitchen on both sides, but what about this corner between the kitchen and living room? it is too small for anything but a bedroom, but bedrooms are so boring!  Lets make it into a tiny, useless, living room.  Yeah, that will be fun.  So two of those.  Now, I suppose we do need some bedrooms, or no one will buy the house, so lets put two downstairs.  And, two upstai . . . no! I can’t do it!  I’ll put one upstairs, but I can’t bear to ruin it with any more!  Hmm, how can I make this work?  Oh, I know!  I’ll add a garage and another tiny, useless, living room together, that is pretty much the same thing.  What next?  Oh! I forgot a dinning room!  Well, I’ve run out of space, so lets just make the upstairs kitchen extra large and hope no one notices.

Now don’t get me wrong, we love this house.  It is truly beautiful.  The stone fire place, a wrap around balcony, multiple porches, lots and lots of windows.  The funny thing is, my parents, who own it, don’t even live here.  They live a five minute walk uphill in a tent. A really fancy tent.

Allow me to introduce you to my Dad’s pet yurt.

snow yurt

Now I no longer live here, but I did live in it for two years, and I consider myself something of an authority.  Therefore, allow me to present the pros and cons of yurt living:

Cons (I like to end on a high note, so we’ll start here):

  1. Poor insulation.  There is only a few pieces of canvas and a half inch of foam between you and the wild outside.
  2. Mildew problems.  Water tends to condense on the vinyl that lines the walls and ceiling and then tracks its way down collecting on the ply-wood baseboard.  Recipe for mildew.
  3. Summer heat.  See number one.
  4. You have to go outside to open or close the windows.  Yeah, it is a lot of fun to do that in pouring rain.
  5. No sound  barrier.  This isn’t a huge problem but it does become slightly annoying when your little brother sleeps in the loft above your bedroom and makes a habit of dropping his book on the floor late every night, just as you are falling asleep.  The sound could be compared to a miniature avalanche.

Pros:

  1. It is a great conversation starter.  Just try to imagine how cool it is to be able to say nonchalantly, “Actually, I live in a yurt!”   That didn’t come out very nonchalant did it?
  2. You can hear the rain.
  3. You can hear owls at night.
  4. And songbirds in the morning.
  5. You can even hear snow falling, if you don’t believe me you should build a yurt and try it.

Now you might be wondering why we thought living in a yurt would be a good idea in the first place.  Well, the simple answer is, our house doesn’t have enough bedrooms for our family, remember how the algebra teacher kept adding tiny, useless, living rooms instead?  My favorite answer, however, is that living in unusual houses runs in our blood.  My grandmother grew up in a house which incorporated two school buses.  But that is another story.

~Gossamer