Vignette #34 “Milkweed Manor”

Never a day passed that I didn’t think about Milkweed Manor.

Yellow Carnation Lane was older than old and younger than young. It had been around as along as there were houses with people to live in them and yet, no matter how much time passed, the homes never seemed to sully or gray or chip, chip away. Except for one, the largest of them all, waiting always waiting at the end where the concrete ran dry.

Milkweed Manor was tall, but only in the sense that it was big. It was wide, but only in the sense that it was squat. When the seasons turned to fall to winter to spring to summer its siding seemed to shift and shrink without changing shape at all. Whenever I looked down the end of the lane I never saw the same picture twice.

Shutters blinked open at the whims of the clouds. The front door, painted dried red, was the only thing that ever seemed to ever stay closed. At nights in the heaviest heat the chimney chum, chum, chummed. Autumn winds blew from its windows no matter the snow, or rain or sun. Lightning had struck the gabled roof 13 times and never a mark had been left undone.

Weeds grew and some black roses filled in the front lawn spaces too. The iron gate was double my height and half my sight. It never ended, no matter how many times I tried to count the bars the number never stopped climbing and climbing. Nevertheless I could always find the 666 of the house number carved into the black, bone shards splintered to cut the number inside.

To this day I have noticed and watched. The neighbors come and the neighbors go but little do they know. Little do they know. I guard the gate, older than old, and a face young as nine. I, alone, bear the secret of the keeper of Milkweed Manor. If you ever come to see 666 Yellow Carnation Lane do not be confused to find yourself turned around back once you came.

No one was there for me ever so long, so long ago. So I guard the gate. Therefore to keep the demon inside never to wake.

Be grateful for those unknown, who protect you when you are alone.

Photo by Carlos de Miguel on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #33 “Listen to Yourself”

Life is not for the weak.

That much I have come to know.

It will pull you. It will push.

Life is hard. Living, though, makes it worth it.

It’s about the extra bit of cream you put in the coffee that was bitter from the start. It’s about the light hearted movie you watch instead of typing the report that night. It’s about taking a little time to sleep in even though the sun is glaring on your face. It’s about the friends and family that are there to hold you close when winter winds blow and bills demand attention and the work never seems to end.

If you need a break. You take a break. That’s it. In whatever shape or way you choose.

Life is not for the weak.

It will pull you. It will push. It will drag you down to the darkest depths of the ocean and bring you so high out of the atmosphere that breath is no longer an option.

But breathe you must. Because you are alive and therefore you are not weak.

You are strong.

So listen to yourself and when you need to breathe… take that break and breathe.

Otherwise
you
will
break……

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #32 “Signs”

I don’t know much about the world. It’s too big and it’s too vast and it knows so much more than I ever could. That’s a scary thought… but maybe a blessing in disguise. The world, just how it knows how everything began, knows how everything will end. It knows how I will end. It even knows your ending.

Even though I believe that to be true, I don’t believe the world wants to scare us. It’s just made of this cosmic magic that we as humans can’t even begin to comprehend. If anything, I think in its own way… it really is trying to save each of us. Not all of us realize this and we fight and we question and we doubt. It’s easier to believe that everything is random, that any misfortune that falls our way is just bad luck and not divine intervention. Some of us want to be saved, some of us don’t. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that’s part of the collective experience of being human.

I believe the world tries to talk to us everyday, in its own way. When it stops raining just as you are about to head out for work, when the cardinal lands on the windowsill just as you had a lonely thought, when the person you most wanted to see walks through the door. All those little moments, even though they happen everyday, are magic.

Or at least that’s how I see it.

Magic doesn’t have to be dramatic to be real. Look around and I’m sure if you’re paying attention you’ll see it too.

Photo by Lewis Meyers on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #31 “Breathe”

Breathe.

It is one thing to say it. Another to do it.

Breathe.

But the world is spinning before my eyes. My brain can’t keep up with the thoughts running through my mind. Over and over and over. And over. My head is stuck in a loop.

Breathe.

But there are nails digging into my back. My shoulders are carrying the weight of the world. My mind hurts so much I think it’s going to explode.

Just breathe.

Don’t you know there are bills to pay? Don’t you know I haven’t touched another person in over two months? Can’t you see the people being attacked in the street? Everything is so wrong, how can things ever get better? HOW CAN YOU TELL ME TO JUST BREATHE?

But the oxygen is escaping my chest. I feel woozy. There’s a fist clutched around my lungs. If I don’t take a breath now, my body may give way. So breathe. I grimace.

My first attempt is a shutter. The kind you get when the winter wind blows right through you. I feel the emptiness rattle around inside and my shoulders twitch up to my ears. It is more like a gasp and less of an inhalation. Keep breathing.

The second is easier. It’s still not perfect with the air catching in all the other places except where it needs to go, but it softens the pain in my forehead. At least for a second.

Do it again.

I do it again.

Again.

I do it over and over and over. And over.

Do you feel better?

No. Yes. I don’t know. A little.

Keep breathing.

I can’t just stay here forever.

If you want to live, you keep breathing.

But what about money? What about the loneliness? What about the world?

You can’t do anything for anyone without first taking a breath for yourself.

I keep breathing. My shoulders sag. My vision sharpens. The nails in my back fall out one by one by one. The fist clenched around my lungs loosens, slowly… slowly… slowly….

Are you breathing?

Yes.

How do you feel?

…Better…

Good.
Now, go do what you have to do and don’t forget

Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #30 “The Racetrack”

Before I can help it my fingers are flying across the keys, and I’m helpless to stop it. The thoughts are racing by, each one trying to overcome the others. Many succeed in flying straight ahead to the finish line, but some are left far enough behind to get trampled and lost in the mess on the track of my mind. My fingers are helpless in the competition. They just keep tapping and pressing and moving to the instructions they’re given, like announcers trying to keep the rest of the audience informed. The racing thoughts that get lost come out in bits of shattered fragments on the rapidly filling once blank page. A random horseshoe in the middle of a sentence that otherwise would have made perfect sense. A lost stirrup, ripped from the saddle lying by itself at the end of a paragraph, or a scrap of paper with the headline ripped from the top to be hidden somewhere else in the dirt of the track.

It takes a moment, after the burst, before I realize the race has ended. The winners are clear on the page. I need a deep breath because it’s over, and even though I haven’t even left my seat I am exhausted. I’m not part of the competition anymore, I’m a bystander, a visitor looking on from the stands. As I go through the sentences it is just like watching a recap on a screen. By the time I reach the last word, my mind and fingers in tandem have had to edit and cut. Getting rid of the things that don’t make sense, disregarding the racers that came in last, and painting the victorious in the appropriate light for the prize winning picture.

But this is just the derby, wait till the stakes get higher.

Photo by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #29 “Wayfarer”

There is a path stretched out behind you. It’s concrete made with no bends in sight. As straight and narrow as the length of a computer screen, the width of an office desk, and the depth of the manager’s suit covered gut. The sun is the color of a fluorescent light, and the air is as stuffy as a hot classroom. Expectations, rules, the conventional like shackles pressing down onto your shoulders and binding your feet to the floor.

There is a path curving ahead of you, serpentine and shifting. There is no way to know what is going to come at you next on that mist covered trail. It changes its shape at every turn depending on the decisions you make, and there will be many decisions to make. Monsters lurk in the depths, some friendly and some not. Different than the behemoths you’ve fought before. These are stronger, and will swat the weak at heart away with a single slap across the face. There’s no tradition on this path to hang across your shoulders, but there is no guidance either.

And don’t forget the paths stretching to either side. You could go right where all the noise of the roaring waves is. Take off your shoes and let the sand crowd around your toes. Let the water call you in closer and closer till it caresses your skin. Let the call draw you in further and further till its over your head and all you can live, see, breathe is ocean.

Or, you could go left into the silence of the woods. Trees will stand over you and their leaves will cover you from the rain, while burrows will protect you from the wind when the storm comes to call. You can stay as long as you wish but this path can run around and around in circles confusing even the most skilled travelers. Everything will start to look the same until you forget there was anything different before.

You can even sit down and stay just where you are. The safest spot of all… at first sight. This is the one with the greatest risk to gain the greatest loss.

So, chose wisely.

Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

Vignette #28 “How to Stop Time”

Do you want to know how to stop time?

Take notice of the wind streaming in through the open window nearby. It may be strong with a storm spinning in the sky, or gentle with gulls guiding the way to the gorge. Either or… listen to what it’s saying with a rash yell in your ear or a soft whisper against your cheek. It knows the secret of rebirth because it lives on and dies down many times through out a single day.

Pay attention to the sky because unlike a human, it cannot lie. The sky knows no other way than the honest truth. Years, months, days are just materialistic things to an expanse that has and will forever see and cover all the world underneath it.

Look to the earth, for it is the one watching over you the most. Everything you have and will ever need it looks to give to you. Kindness and generosity layered through its being from the grass underneath your feet to its molten fire core deep below the dirt. It will give until the end because that’s what creators do. Love and love, and even when they are gone somewhere else out there they’ll still be looking out for you too.

Let the air slowly fill your lungs like the first breath after a deep sea dive. Something so small and natural that it’s often forgotten how essential it truly is. Realize that you are alive. If you can breathe then everything is okay.

Only when you are present in each and every moment do you have the universe in your hand and then, and only then, does time does not exist.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Vignette #27 “The Last Bouquet”


It was something I knew I wouldn’t see…. for a long while at least.

Everywhere around me the world was moving. I could see the registers flying as item after item slide down the conveyor belt. I could see carts hustling through the aisles all lost in some maze that only had one way out. I could see the workers with their faces set in stone and their fingers moving miles a minute. In a modern day grocery store this is what panic looked like.

I wanted to cry.

Instead, I focused on the stems in my hand. Red like the shade of the sun as it rises in the summer, like harvest apples waiting to fall from the tree, like the feathers’ of a cardinal sitting on a branch. Red, the color of the petals of the roses in my trembling fingers. After today, there would be no more flowers. They needed room for other things. Things that were running off the shelves like scared little mice when the cat’s around. Things like paper towels, toilet paper, water bottles, bread…. things that I was sure we had enough of before.

But no more flowers. In times like today, there was no more space for beautiful fragile things. Right then though, I felt like us humans were the most fragile things of all.

Photo by Ivan Jevtic on Unsplash

Living Life #26 "Do it."

Today is yours. No one can take that from you.

If you want to sleep in because your head hurts, then do it. If you want to sit and stare at the rain, do it. If you want to take a walk then just go, don’t come back till you have had your fill. If you want to pull all the books down from the shelves and build a fort to hide in, do it. If you want to do laundry and put extra fabric softener in, do it. If you want to let the dishes sit, then let them sit. And you can sit too.

No one knows how you feel but yourself. If today you are not right then that’s okay. Really, it is. One day you will feel right again. I promise. You have to have some bad to appreciate when it’s good.

So just remember.

Today is yours. No one can take that from you and that is the most magical thing of all.

Photo by Tonny Tran on Unsplash

Living Life #25 “The Thaw”

I remember my window where I couldn’t see outside. Frost had touched from corner to corner as if ghosts had been peaking in through the night as they passed by.

I remember my breath as it became visible before my face. Sighing was all I could do to get through the daze my mind had fallen into from seeing too many gray days.

I remember my hands rubbed raw red and numb. No matter how I clenched them or how long I kept on the mittens they rarely thawed.

I remember the moment when that all changed.

I look out the window and the sky isn’t gray but bright, ocean blue. As if the sea had somehow floated into the air, and the fish turned to clouds of fluffy white cotton.

I look at the grass where for what seemed like years there had only been slush. I can see the concrete of the street with the sun glinting off and rushing away the memory of the black ice that was once underneath.

And I look at the tulips, just starting to peak up from their perches. Purple, red, orange, and yellow. Colors of a sunrise peaking over the world. I had forgotten in the long days of winter what color looked like. Until now.

Spring has finally come, and now I am awake.

Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash