Saturday, October 30, 2010

Recent Goings On...

So my sister and I randomly decided to decorate our room for autumn last night. It was fun! We gathered leaves, pine cones and branches on our way back from supper, and then scrounged around in the room for other decorations. Here's what we came up with! :)

A huge improvement over the bare white walls!

The leaves are supposed to be drifting down...

One of my favorite parts is probably the turkey up the corner. My Mom sent him last year. :)

All in all, it was a very pleasant Friday evening! :D

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Squirrel Story Part III

For those who have been following these posts, here is the conclusion! If you're just reading this now, though, you may want to go back to this post for the beginning of the story. Enjoy! :)


They visited many more houses. Erin found herself growing more and more depressed with each one – they were all empty, with no signs of life. Squirilious obligingly stood next to each house and let her poke her head in a window. The chambers were fascinating…but felt dead and cold.

Evening was beginning to fall; chilly shadows crept across the forest. The temperature was dropping, and Erin was glad for the warmth of the squirrel beneath her.

She looked at her watch again. “It’s time,” she said softly to Squirilious. “We should just make it to Jewlie’s Rock.”

“All right, then, hang on tight!” Squirilious called back over his shoulder. “I’ll give you a ride to remember!”

He fulfilled his promise. He climbed higher than ever before in the trees and leapt impossible distances between branches, soaring. Erin felt almost as though she were flying each time, looking down at the ground so far below, hanging in the air for a long moment before grasping the twigs of the next tree. She wished it would never end.

She would do it – she would go with Squirilious and all the others to the new world. How could she not? How could she go through the rest of her life wondering, “What if?”

They had reached Powerline Trail. Jewlie’s Rock was on the far side of the trail. Squirilious had to leave the trees for a moment and scurry through the underbrush to get to the rock. Even the smallest of trees was monumental, though, and Erin soaked it all in.

In a moment they were across the trail and standing before the rock. Erin gasped – hundreds, no, thousands of little people and their animal friends stood waiting, bundles of belongings attached to the saddles. She glanced at her watch one more time and was relieved to see that she was right on time. It would’ve been very embarrassing to keep so many people waiting.

She unstrapped her legs from the saddle and slid reluctantly off Squirilious’ back. Her knees nearly buckled, and she realized that she was probably going to be saddle sore the next day.

She looked up at Jewlie’s Rock, a boulder that normally stood a little higher than her head. Now it loomed, massive. Something looked different about it, though – it didn’t look as tall as it should. She blinked in astonishment as she realized what had happened – the entire top quarter of the rock had slid off the back! A faint light glowed from the open top of the rock, illuminating the tiny spring leaves of the birch that hung overhead.

Wellinghurst came forward to meet Erin and Squirilious. His face was solemn but peaceful. “Well, my child, you have come to help us,” he murmured. “We are all eternally grateful to you for your willingness. I hope you had a pleasant afternoon?”

Erin nodded, unable to speak past the lump in her throat. Did they really have to leave? Why couldn’t they keep living the way they had? No one had discovered them so far!

Wellinghurst turned to the people. “Mount up!” he cried. “The time is at hand. It is time to exit Earth and forge new paths!”

A great cheer arose, and there was a flurry of activity as people leapt onto the backs of sparrows, chickadees, squirrels, red squirrels, and chipmunks. There were even a couple blue jays among the animals; they had to crouch down low for the people to climb aboard. Children rode with their parents, though a few children had mice to ride – rather like ponies for human children, Erin thought.

The birds fluttered to the top of the rock and the other animals climbed; they all disappeared in a little flash of light. Last of all went Wellinghurst, astride a majestic and cocky blue jay. Pausing at the top, he turned his mount in midair and waved at Erin. “Command the door to close, and it will,” he called. “You will forever be known in our tales as a truly courageous Earth-child. Farewell!” He dove down toward the top of the rock and disappeared.

Erin suddenly realized that she was back to her normal height. She stood perfectly still for a long moment, staring at the glowing rock. This was her only chance. Never again would she have such an opportunity for adventure…

With a pain in her heart, she closed her eyes. She knew what was right. “Close,” she whispered.

The light disappeared.

Slowly she turned around. The sun was starting to set over the Moat Mountains; her parents would be worried if she wasn’t home soon.

Movement at her feet caught her eye. She looked down and saw a little red squirrel staring up at her, still wearing his harness. “Squirilious!” she gasped, dropping to her knees in front of him. “You didn’t make it through the door!”

He rubbed against her hands, soft and warm. “I meant to stay,” he said. “I wanted to be with you. May I come live in that oak by your house?”

Tears of joy burned in Erin’s eyes as she gently picked Squirilious up. “You may,” she replied, and turned toward home with her friend perched on her shoulder.

The End! :D

Friday, October 22, 2010

Squirrel Story Part II

If you missed yesterday's post, this is Part 2 of a story that I'm sharing for your enjoyment. I wrote it a couple years ago in Creative Writing class and thought it turned out kind of fun. Enjoy, and be sure to tune in tomorrow night for the exciting conclusion!!! :)


Erin stared in astonishment: atop the craggy, waist-high rock stood a dozen tiny people, each no more than three inches tall! Many of them held the reins of saddled sparrows, chipmunks, or red squirrels. Their clothing blended in with the browns and grays of the early springtime forest.

One man stood nearest the front of the group. Dressed in flowing, silvery gray robes, like the bark of a beech tree, he had a long white beard and wore a tiny woven circlet on his head.

Because it seemed the right thing to do – and because she wanted a better look at the tiny people – Erin sank to her knees in front of the rock, her heart thundering in amazement and excitement.

The little man nodded, looking pleased. “My child,” he said in a voice that was tiny but surprisingly deep, “You greatly honor the people of Whitaker Woods by coming to hear our request. I commend your noble spirit, for I know it is no light matter for a giant such as yourself to respond to something so unusual as a talking squirrel! You were chosen in part because the younger of your species seem to be more willing to accept such notions.

“Allow me to explain why we have sent for you this day: For many, many years my people have occupied this vast tract of land known to you giants as Whitaker Woods; in fact, we have been here far longer than the woods have borne that name! In recent years, however, the giant people have become far too active, erecting dwelling places ever nearer our borders, crisscrossing our territories with trails, allowing the ridiculous beasts known as ‘dogs’ to rampage through our forest and harass our animal friends…you see the picture, I hope.

“The bottom line is this: we must leave this world as soon as possible. We have a door designed for just such a purpose, but we need someone to shut it behind us, for it cannot be closed from the inside. We have watched and waited for a long time for a giant sensible and kind enough to assist us, and my scouts tell me that you are the ideal candidate. So I ask you, are you willing to help us exit Earth?”

Erin stared wide-eyed at him, wondering if she was dreaming. This couldn’t really be happening, could it? Words came from her mouth, though, confirming that she was not dreaming. “Uh, I would be glad to help,” she stammered, even as her mind screamed, But I just found out about you – you can’t go now!

“You are distressed,” Wellinghurst observed. “Giants’ faces are so easy to read…so large…well, my child, what is troubling you?”

Erin swallowed, not liking the idea of her emotions showing so clearly. This was her only chance, though! “Why do you have to leave now?” she blurted out. “This is so incredible – little people living in the woods! There’s so much I want to know about you!”

Wellinghurst’s solemn face softened slightly. “Well, I can’t deny that we are a fascinating people…very well. I shall grant you three hours among us, but at the end of that time, you must promise to do what we have asked you!”

Erin, almost choking on her excitement, gasped, “I promise!” Suddenly she was falling, tumbling through the air past a huge gray cliff! She opened her mouth to scream, but just then something swooped underneath her. With a breathless jar, she found herself astride a huge bird. She looked around wildly, clinging to the soft, flexible saddle on the bird’s back. They were soaring through the trees, which had become immense. The reality of the situation hit Erin with a jolt that made her gasp – she had become a tiny person and was riding a sparrow! Wellinghurst had been very literal when he had said that she could have some time among the little people.

The sparrow dove back down to the boulder and landed lightly in front of Wellinghurst. Erin noticed that one of the little people near the back of the group was fitting Squirilious with a saddle. She dismounted from the sparrow shakily but was so excited that she barely noticed her trembling. Whitaker Woods looked like a whole different world when she was only three inches tall!

Wellinghurst, now more than a head taller than Erin, beamed at her as she approached. “Squirilious has offered to be your guide for this time,” he said. “He will carry you wherever you wish to go in the forest and in the evening will bring you to Jewlie’s Rock for the departure. I hope you have a pleasant time seeing our great forest as we see it.”

“Thank you, sir,” Erin replied breathlessly.

Squirilious bounced forward, his tail twitching in excitement. He now towered over her. “Ready, ready, ready?” he demanded. “Climb on and let’s go!”

Erin, with the help of a smiling little woman, climbed onto the saddle and strapped her legs to it. She suspected that the ride was going to be a little rough.

Sure enough, as soon as Erin was settled, Squirilious took off with a fantastic leap onto the side of a nearby Hemlock tree. Erin wouldn’t have had a chance of staying on his back if she hadn’t been thoroughly strapped on.

For a time all they did was make their way through the trees, bounding from branch to branch seemingly miles above the forest floor. Squirilious scampered up and down tree trunks, chattering and laughing as he went, obviously enjoying himself immensely.

Erin simply hung on tight, thrilled beyond words. She tried to soak in every last detail, knowing that the experience was once in a lifetime. Unless… A thought strayed into her mind. What if she went with the little people through their door to another world? What adventures might she have there? What marvelous things might she see? Her thoughts spun out of control and she gasped for breath in her excitement. She would do it! Just like the characters in all the books she read, she would leave Earth and have incredible adventures of her own.

But then who would shut the door behind her? Like clouds creeping in front of the sun, darker thoughts intruded on her happy vision. What would her parents do if she disappeared? What if she missed home once she was in the new world, but couldn’t ever get back?

Her tumultuous thoughts were interrupted as Squirilious suddenly skidded to a halt on a branch high in a White Pine. She looked around, wondering why they were stopping, and let out a cry of delight – they were visiting someone’s home!

Nestled against the trunk of the tree was a carefully built log house, small to her even as a tiny person. It seemed to be held in place by a combination of dried-grass ropes and pine pitch. The little front door had a window cut into it with a curtain gently swaying in the breeze.

“My good friend Bancroft and his family lived here,” Squirilious commented. “They’ve packed up now, though, and are probably riding my cousins Rambunctious and Trillium to Jewlie’s Rock.”

“Are the animals leaving too?” Erin asked in dismay.

“Some of us are. But don’t worry – there’ll be plenty of animals left in the woods. Not many of us have learned to speak and carry passengers.”

Before they moved on, Erin glanced at her watch and saw that one hour of her time was gone. Two more hours to decide…

To be continued...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Promised You Randomness!

I've decided to do something a little different today - it's story time!!! I've always enjoyed writing. My first year here at Northland I took their Creative Writing class and had a lot of fun writing this short story. I do feel a need to insert a mild disclaimer: I am shifting away from fantasy in my writing, not because it's wrong but because I feel that it's not the best use of my time and energy. This story is just meant to be fun! I'll post the first part tonight and the rest of it in a few days. Enjoy! :D


Erin didn’t know what made her look up from her book as she sat in the sun on the front steps. Glancing around, she spotted a red squirrel near the base of the big oak across the driveway and decided that its movement was all that had caught her attention. About to go back to her book, she paused and looked more closely at the squirrel; something wasn’t right. Instead of bouncing jauntily along, the little red squirrel was crawling as if exhausted. It came to a halt under a rosebush in the flowerbed on the far side of the driveway and lay still, eyes nearly closed, breathing labored.

Full of compassion, she set down her book and approached the animal cautiously, wondering if there was anything she could do to help it, even as her mother’s warnings about sick animals played through her mind. As she slowly drew near, the squirrel turned its head and looked at her. Shock jolted through her as it opened its mouth and spoke. “Come closer,” it squeaked. “I have a message of utmost importance for you…”

Erin stood frozen, staring at the little animal in disbelief. She looked around warily, thinking that someone must be playing a very strange trick on her, but her grasping mind could not come up with even one person who knew where she lived, much less knew her well enough to try to joke with her. Maybe she was dreaming - her mother had told her often enough that all the fantasy books she read would lead to strange dreams…

“Didn’t you hear me?” the squirrel snapped, jerking his bushy red tail impatiently. He rallied his strength and sat up in a pose more typical of squirrels. Fixing his small black eyes on Erin, he continued, “I, Squirilious the Red, have been called upon by the people of Whitaker Woods to deliver a message to you. We need your help. I am not the one to explain the intricacies of the matter, however; you are to come with me and our great and mighty Chief Warlord will make all things clear to you.”

“Warlord?” Erin repeated nervously, taking a small step backward. “Whitaker Woods has a warlord?” She’d been walking in the small wood down the street for years and had never seen anyone there except for recreational purposes. She certainly hadn’t noticed any wars!

Outraged, Squirilious the Red flashed up a nearby fencepost, a flame in the bright sunlight, and cried out in his fierce, high-pitched voice, “Of course Whitaker Woods has a warlord: our Champion, his Eminence, the Great and Mighty Wellinghurst the Third!”

Erin blinked. Wellinghurst was the name of one of the trails in Whitaker Woods.

Remembering his exhaustion, Squirilious slid back to the ground and lay still a moment, panting. In a calmer voice, he acknowledged, “Of course, it’s rather the entire point that you do not know of his existence or of his people. Forgive my redheaded temper, if you will be so kind. But we must be moving now! Onward!”

He skittered madly toward the road, and Erin, not knowing what possessed her, found herself following.

Squirilious paused at the edge of the pavement and turned toward Erin. “I fear we are about to face what may be the most perilous part of our journey,” he said gravely. “Many of my compatriots have been slaughtered by the great ferocious beasts that haunt this barren strip of land. One nearly got me on my earlier crossing. I am fortunate to have escaped with my life!”

Assuming the squirrel was referring to cars, Erin looked at the road, which was empty of traffic of any kind. Oak Street was a quiet road. “Human mothers always teach their children to look both ways before crossing,” she told Squirilious nonetheless.

His tail twitched violently. “Look both ways?” he chattered. “Why – why – what a perfectly tremendous idea! That way the blasted beasts don’t have a chance to sneak up! Fabulous!” Carefully looking in each direction, he zipped across the road, Erin hot on his heels. At the other side, he stopped again and looked up at Erin with admiration shining in his black, beady eyes. “How perfectly fantastic!” he gasped. “I can see why you were chosen! Oh, I have so much to tell my cousins…”

Chosen for what?” Erin asked in alarm. Squirilious had already taken off again, though, and she had to run to keep him in sight. They were on a trail now, an unnamed path that led from Oak Street to Whitaker Lane, the main trail of Whitaker Woods. It was one of Erin’s favorite times of the year, after the snow was gone but before the foliage and bugs made it difficult to wander off the trails. The weather was warm enough to leave her coat behind, but not uncomfortably hot.

Squirilious took to the trees as soon as he could, leaping from branch to branch along the trail, chittering to himself as he went, apparently fully recovered from his earlier discomfort. Erin raced along after him, her blond ponytail bouncing. She wondered what passersby would think if they saw her chasing a squirrel!

After a moment they turned off Whitaker Lane onto a side trail, then swerved into the trees. Erin’s legs were starting to grow tired and she was gasping for breath, but she feared that if she stopped to rest she would lose Squirilious and would never find out what was going on! What was she chosen for, and why had she of all people been chosen? Shy and quiet, she was never picked for anything at school.

Just as she was about to call out to the squirrel to pause for a moment so she could catch her breath, he came to a halt at the base of a low granite boulder. He turned to Erin and squeaked, “Madam, the Great and Mighty Warlord of Whitaker Woods, Wellinghurst the Third!”

To be continued...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I got to go on another walk today - I'm taking every chance I can to enjoy the nice weather before it gets cold! I don't think Wisconsin is much colder than New Hampshire, but the wind makes it pretty intense in the winter. My sister, roommate and I went down to Reflection Lake. Most of the brighter colors had faded, but the oaks are coming into their own with a spectacular deep red. I think we missed the peak of the foliage but (this will teach me not to complain!) I heard that during the paintball retreat last weekend two teenage girls responded to a simple Gospel message and accepted Christ as their Savior!

There are still a few yellow trees around...

Here's the lake itself. The school puts out a few canoes during the warmer months, so we took a spin around the lake. It's so peaceful being on the water!

"The grass withers, the flower fades; But the word of our God stands forever."
Isaiah 40:8

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Autumn Walk

I got an unexpected blessing today - I had really wanted to go on a walk and enjoy the fall foliage. Today was pretty much the first day I've had a little bit of time off from homework in a while, but most of the trails were closed for a paintball tournament. Now that would spoil a nice walk - being shot at! :) But this afternoon it occurred to me that there's a section of smaller trails that the paintball people probably wouldn't be using, so my sister and I got to go out after all. Autumn is my favorite season!

In parting, here's a verse that's coming to mean a lot to me as I seek to grow in Christ: "I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Ps.16:8