Virtual and Physical

What a strange time to be alive
To be able to explore ancient ruins
To fly with dragons
To fight skeletons
And unlock ancient tombs
While never leaving your room

To speak with a friend
From across the globe
Or read a translation
From an ancient language
While never leaving your room

To exchange ideas
And to create a project
While never setting foot
In the same city

What a time to be alive

What a strange time to be alive
To have the time to stop and feel
The wind upon your face
To see the clouds in the sky

To go and hitch a ride
On a machine that can fly
To travel across the ocean
In hours instead of days

To be in one country in the morning
And be halfway around the world by evening
To see the ancient ruins
And eat different foods

To go and learn a dozen languages
And be able to explore the world around
And not worry about bandits, disease, or animals
All with your own money

What a time to be alive

Some say the virtual world is better
Other say the physical is real
I like to say I live in both

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Beauty of the City

Long had I held
That the city was ugly
With its monolithic giants
And shaped stone
Long had I thought
The towers as walls
And the highways bars
The smell of cars
And constant noise
Were hammers against my skull

But the night came
And I was filled with awe
Of the setting sun
Behind the sky line
Of the towers dressed in light
Or the rivers flowing through
In the quiet moment
The light shown
Softening the hardness of the city
Painting the sky with lights

There is beauty in the city
Through I find it hard to believe
Perhaps this place
Is not the prison I first believed

Monday Stories: High School – Chapter 01

An older woman steps out of the bedroom. She checks the mirror to make sure her hair is in place. With a sigh and picking at some cat hair off her business suite. The woman checks her watch. Worry crosses her face. She leans out of the kitchen’s doorway.

“Amy! Amy are you up?”

Silence answers her.

She sighs and stares at the ceiling. The woman starts down the narrow hallway. She comes to the third door and knocks on it.

Silence answers her again.

“Amy? Amy are you up?” She pushes the door open. She flips the switch and floods the room with light. Clothes are piled on the desk chair. Her walls are decorated with black designs. On the bed a small pile of blankets and pillows shifts.

“Amy? Amy time to get up for school.” The woman sits on the bed and gently shakes the pile. “Come on, you need to get up.”

A muffled groan answers her. The blankets and pillows shift aside and a girl appears. The child has shoulder-length dull brown hair sticking out in several directions. Her light brown eyes looking around sleepily. She sighs. Unlike her mother, the girl has a round face with a small chin. Her eyes are large and child-like.

“Morning mom.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Weird dream.” The girl answers quietly.

“Well, it is only a dream. But I need you to get up or you’re going to be late for school.”

The girl flops onto her back.

“Stop. You need to get going.” Her mother glances at her watch, “And I need to get going.”

“Bye.” Amy says sleepily.

“Have a good day sweetie.” Her mother glances at her watch again, “Please, be careful okay. Joseph Miller is back and I don’t want you near him.”

The teen groans, “How did he get out so fast.”

“I don’t know. Just be safe.” Her mother smiles, “I love you. You’ll be great.”

“Thanks, mom.”

Ten minutes later, the young girl is dressed in a gray shirt and a black skirt. Ankle-high shoes complete her outfit. She hurries to finish a bowl and cereal. A clock in the hall rings out the hour. She drops the bowl off into the sink and heads out the door. On the way out the door, the girl grabs her backpack.

The morning air cuts into her skin. She shivers and pulls a hoodie out of her backpack.

The gravel crunches under her feet and a stench fill her nose. Amy wrinkles her nose at the sewage smell. The kid looks around. She walks down the small RV. Several mobile homes are sprawled out in front of her. Rubbish and junk surround most of the mobile homes.

With a sigh, the kid heads out of the mobile park.

The small teen draws the hood over her head just as she rounds a corner. Ahead of her is a school bus stop. Already a half dozen teens are waiting.

Some wear letterman jackets. Others wear regular clothes like the girl.

Several of the teens notice her approach. One teen nudges his friend. A cruel smile crosses their face.

“Check it out.” The larger one says, “The trailer trash finally joined us.”

The teen feels a muscle twitch in her face.

“Do you see her clothes? Where did she get them? Out of a trash can?”

“What do you expect from a rat?”

The young girl comes to a stop a dozen feet away from them. The teen focuses on the ground in front of her. She does her best to ignore their barbs.

After a few minutes, the teens turn to other topics.

“Hey, Amy.”

The girl turns towards the voice. A dark-haired girl with rich brown skin walks up. She wears jeans and a long sleeve shirt. A bright smile covers her face. Although she is of average height, she is almost a foot taller than Amy.

“Hi, Maria.”

“You doing okay?”

She nods her head.

Maria glances towards the group of teens. She narrows her eyes.

“Was Edward and Jake being a jerk again?”

One of the boys notices her staring. He gives her a wink and licks his lips. Maria sticks out her tongue.

“No.” Amy says nervously.

“That means they were.”

“Oh great. The two freaks are here.” One boy mutters loud enough for everyone to say. “What are we going to do now.”

“Ignore the freaks.”

“Ignore? What about just put them where they belong. In the trash.

The other teens chuckle. They form a small group away from the two girls. Amy and the blonde girl step down the street. Close enough to see the bus but far enough away not to be heard by the other teens.

The sound of creaking gears announces the arrival of the bus. Amy and Jenna rejoin the teens as the bus comes to a stop. Amy lets out a deep breath in relief. She follows the others onto the bus. The driver shuts the door. The vehicle jerks back into motion.

“Have you heard?” One of the teens were saying, “The Devon Core’s has successfully released artificial blood. And they have successfully tested the stuff.”

“Great.” His friend chuckles, “Great achievement for mankind. Making things happen in the world without some use of weapons or something.”

The kids take their place on the bus. Several teens are already sitting in the seats. Two of them wave a hand. One is a dark-skinned girl with black hair. The other is a short boy with red hair.

“Good morning!” The boy says in a thick accent, “What’s cooking?”

Zoe shakes her head and gives them a small smile. They take a seat in front of them. “O’Connelly. How are you guys doing this morning?”

“Not bad. Got my homework done.” He turns to the girl next to him, “Sara?”

“Not bad.” The brown-skinned girl says with a thick French accent, “I was able to run this morning.”

“Nice.”

“You know you like the run too.”

He chuckles as the bus lurches into motion. He points with his chin, “Look there.”

The girls turn out the window. A large building with a glass front stands on a hill. A decorative wall divides the compound from the city. Well kept landscapes and large trees create a beautiful scene.

“I’m going there one day and work.”

“At Ryoka Industries?” Maria says, “Doing what?”

“Genetic engineering.” O’Connelly answers with a bright smile, “I’ll unlock things no one even thought of yet! You just wait and see. I’ll be there. Working hard and unlocking the world! And that compound is the best place to do it. And I am going to work there.”

“As what?” Jake says from the front of the bus, “A janitor?”

He and his friends burst out into laughter.

“At least I’ll have a job. Unlike you.”

The bus explodes into the sound of “ohs” at the reply. Amy turns her attention back out the window as the barbs go back and forth between the two groups.

The brown hair girl chooses to ignore them. Instead, the teen studies her own reflection. Pale skinned and thin as a rail. Unlike her friends and the other teens, she has no muscle definition. Amy sighs as wishes not for the first time that she wishes that she was pretty are at least homely. Or even plain. With an effort, she looks past her reflection.

Amy notices a silver semi truck winding its way towards the Ryoka compound. In front and behind the truck are heavily armored cars. Armed guards walk along the length of the road. The brunette watches the strange procession as long as she can.

“Hey, what is it?” Maria asks in a whisper.

Amy shakes her head quickly.

“Nothing. Just thinking.”

“Oh. Well. Don’t over think.”

To be continued…

Friday Thoughts: Ancient History

Greetings one, greetings all.

Forgive the ramble. When I am writing this, it is late and I had a long day.

Lately, history seems to be coming back in the spotlight. On one hand, you have groups of people fighting over whether a Confederate statue coming down changes history or corrects it. On the other side of the world, you have North Korea who is firing missiles at neighbors. Nuclear missiles. Then much closer to home you have groups of people who 1) Never witnessed 9-11. And/or 2) Believe that it was a setup by our own government.

The best part is the mob mentality that is in high gear on social media.

Oh, you state an opinion that conflicts with their opinion? Boom, attacks on the individual and insults run free and wild. And of course, they are innocent and what not.

Or maybe that is just me going from one social media page to the next.

But that did get me to thinking: how much are we changing history?

Is removing a statue going to make people forget it? That it will no longer honor a system of slavery? What do we lose if we stop talking about the Holocaust? Or the known facts of 9-11? Will that make a difference? I remember what I was doing on 9-11. I was sitting in front of the TV playing with Legos. Yellow thin ones were in my hands when I looked up and saw the two buildings with smoke pouring out of their sides. Of people jumping. I remember the camera capturing the first one to fall. Then the second one. Hearing about the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. I remember the shock and fear on my mother’s face. Watching our military force repaint their vehicles from the forest green to the desert brown.

But there are generations that did not witness 9-11.

They don’t remember a time when we were not in the East. Or that our military hardware was painted dark green, not light brown. Or that bombs exploding in industrial countries were unheard of.

To them, this is the norm. Everything my generation grew up with is in the past. History. A bit sobering to think that your childhood memories of watching old cartoons are weird and outdated. Makes me want to go to my parents and apologize for making fun of their childhood shows.

And have them wonder what in the world is dial up. Or that at one point in time, mailing a letter was the fastest a text message could go. Or that you couldn’t talk to someone six time zones away on your cell phone. If we wanted to do that, we better have sixty dollars worth of quarters, no one else waiting to use the booth, and a real friendly telephone operator.

If you know what I’m talking about, smile. If you don’t, then you are illustrating a point of mine: lost history.

How much of history have we lost simply because no one is teaching the whole of it? We know the Christians Knights of the Middle Age marched off on crusades and invaded lands. But how many people know that it was in response to the Muslim Moors invading from the East? Let’s try something closer. Japanese internment at the beginning of World War II. That was not the best move but it was understandable. Why? Because the government of that time just got surprised attacked by Japan. They feared a Fifth Column, their own citizens rebelling and aiding the enemy. A fear that Germany came close to making true except one of their recruits came to our side. Yes, I like military history.

We remember history to learn from our past, both the failures and the success. But if we forget the circumstances of that time, the information available only then, then we lose part of our history. No. History isn’t always fun or pleasant. But we can’t hide away the parts we don’t like. Or change the parts that hurt. We, as a civilization, must face the past and learn from it in its entirety if we want to stop repeating mistakes.

Which brings me back around to social media. If a photo with some words pops up. Doubt it. Check it. Demand sources. Check for yourself. And if you find your assumption to be wrong. Either keep digging or accept that you are wrong. Don’t let others do your thinking for you or you’ll become a puppet.

Thank you for reading my rambles!

A Lazy Day

A lazy day today
No work to do
No task undone
Just the sun
And boating for fun
Maybe a photo or two
I ready to go
Yet the cry of child
Ruins it all
No game to watch
Or fish to catch
Just a child with homework
A mother stressed
And a white cat that’s now blue

The day passes by
The questions make no sense
Wife struggling
The cat can’t be found
And now the bath tub is cracked
Blue paw prints trail the house
And the ceiling is leaking
Now we find the homework is missing

Day is slipping by
The plumbings fixed
The homework is found
But the cat is still missing
And now the kid is blue
The wife is crying
And smoke alarm is wailing

Night is falling
The cat’s been found
But the kid is gone
The alarms are going
And dinner is burning
Anger is building
But then I remember the verse
To set the example

A deep breath
A quick prayer
And back at it
The paint can is found
And the cat is showered
With only twenty-three scratches
The smoke is gone
So is dinner

Eight o’clock
And the house is quiet
The child reads
And the cat preens
Dinner round two is done
And the leaking stopped
I didn’t catch any fish
But I did solve homework
And had a blue cat

I look to my wife
And give her a big grin
Is this what your week is?
She laughs and shakes her head
No, sometimes it is crazy

Heaven’s Lamps

orange moon against a black sky

The first thing I saw this morning
The last thing I saw this night
The first had no light yet shined
The second had no shadow yet casts shadows

A moment’s pause is all I have
To look upon those forms
With a child’s wonder
Long forgotten

Beneath their light
I thought and wondered
Beneath their path
I recalled and remembered

The first held mystery
The latter commanded fealty
One was the hope in the night
The other was relief in the morn

Throughout the ages
They dance through the sky
Often alone
But sometimes together

Throughout the ages
Old and young looked above
Some with awe
Others bowed in worship

Those two bodies
Have traveled through time
Those two bodies
Have counted the ages of man

Orange sunset with green field