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TToT: Raining Lumos and Dobby #DisabledAndCute #IAmAPreexistingCondition #10Thankful

Lord, when you send the rain

Think about it, please, a little?

Do not get carried away

by the sound of falling water,

the marvellous light

on the falling water.

I am beneath that water.

It falls with great force

and the light

Blinds

me to the light.

—James Baldwin, “Untitled”

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The magnolia blooms for a short time only. True beauty doesn’t often last. It comes and it goes.

The rain kept coming, across parts of Ontario and Quebec, for most of the week.

Raining cats and dogs: Lumos and Dobby are mine.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for delicate things in nature.

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We found this cracked robin’s egg on the driveway and I thought it a sweet discovery. My mom improves on the nature and this sign of spring.

I wondered then, where the inhabitant of the egg went. How did the egg land and not crack into even more pieces? I wondered things.

I’m thankful for leftover wine.

My sister had a wedding shower for a friend and there were leftovers. She was kind to share them with me.

I’m thankful for a writing group built around a hand sculpted wand.

One of our members of “The Elsewhere Region” brought in a birthday gift she’d received. It’s like the Harry Potter wand I bought, even the box, but made specifically for her, with love from a friend who knows her well.

The Celtic Tree Calendar

The stories we all came up with were interesting. Mine was about a teacher of the blind who started a braille club in her class and her wand accidentally fell out of her desk drawer. She almost had to reveal to all her students that she was magic, until her visually impaired student saved her.

The others used their very interesting imaginations and came up with wild tales of magic and I was once more blown away by their storytelling abilities.

I am thankful I could help spread hash tags about the disabilities many of us were, in some cases, born with.

The hash tag “I Am A Preexisting Condition” is making the rounds on Twitter since the shocking revelation that the GOP and the House voted in their horrid healthcare plan, which is making many people I know with chronic illnesses and conditions afraid for what will happen.

I felt helpless and wanted to do something. I couldn’t think of what that could be. It’s just so outlandish.

I am thankful for my nephew’s creativity, imagination, and the ideas that are all his own.

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He drew an X on a piece of paper and tacked it up on the door. We saw it there when we arrived the other day and I was smiling when I heard what it’s for.

He put it up to keep the spiders out.

NO SPIDERS

I am thankful I could give my niece her bottle and put her to sleep.

My nephew was staying with his grandparents overnight and he was a bit sad as bedtime approached. My mom comforted him and I fed Mya her bottle. That girl loves to eat.

Then she fell asleep over my shoulder.

I’m thankful for echoes of a memory with a lullaby.

My mom started to sing an old lullaby that her mother, my grandmother, used to sing. This seemed to bring back memories for me, something so vague, about my grandma singing to me.

“Go to bed my little darling. Close your big blue eyes. Soon you’ll hear the sandman calling, far beyond the skies.”

It’s funny that you can sense a memory from the past, so long gone, and even start to wonder if it really happened. I remember being sung to like that, but I don’t know when or how old I might have been. I seem to remember being held, but can any of us remember back that far into our pasts?

Well, I held Mya and the entire time I tapped that song out on her back, gently, over and over again, trying to sharpen my own memories. It didn’t work, but the song is a beautiful one.

I am thankful that France did not make the same mistake the US made.

France is a totally different country than the US of course and I knew they would make the right choice with Emmanuel Macron.

Just a few weeks ago, Canada gave a giant sigh of relief, when our own (he was being called Canada’s Donald Trump) and he was running for the Conservative Party of Canada, dropped out.

Kevin O’Leary is a businessman, like 45, known for his role in Shark Tank, but he didn’t feel quite as outrageous. Maybe that was just my wishful thinking there, but he decided on his own that he couldn’t stay in the race.

I don’t know what will happen with the EU and I hope no more terrorist attacks occur in France or anywhere else, but I am sure we aren’t done with all that, sadly.

I am thankful for the sun to make its reappearance.

Even I grew weary of all that dreary weather, day after day after day. The sun does shine again, but unfortunately, some are dealing with major damage to their homes and their lives. Rain has power to mess with us. The sun revives.

And this last photo isn’t the most pleasant sight. I begin with a beautiful flowering bush and I cap off this TToT with the scene we came across in my back yard.

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I have squirrels living in the top of my garage and this one came to a sad end, landing in a tree and hanging there until we noticed it. Poor thing.

Loss and endings. I just hope those affected by the flooding, in Quebec mostly, can salvage something of their homes.

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Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights

Acrophobia

Welcome to the second-last episode of Frightful Fiction Friday.

Last week was a common one, fear of spiders:

Arachnophobia.

This week’s is another of mankind’s biggest fears of all time: the fear of heights.

***

4.
Heights. With heights comes trust. We have to trust that we won’t fall, we won’t lose our step and trip, we won’t fall victim to a push. the idea of our fate being out of our control is unacceptable. The idea of making a mistake or a misstep that ends in more than a scraped knee is overwhelming. One of our greatest comforts in life is knowing there’s a way to get back up after a fall.

***

He grew up in England’s capital. His parents had taken him up for rides in the big ferris wheel, The London Eye, as a child and from that first ride up and overlooking all of London he had been afraid. He was afraid of falling, of somehow being dropped from an insane height and splattering on the ground far below.

This never happened of course, but once he was old enough to make his own decisions he decided not to put himself through the torture. He hated the feeling of his heart racing and his palms growing slick with sweat. Why in the world would he do that to himself?

So then what was he doing up here? He was visiting the city of Toronto for the first time and when some friends heard he was going they dared him to try the CN Tower’s Edge Walk Experience they had seen on the BBC. They were very much familiar with his fear of heights and they predicted he would never have the guts to try something so crazy. After all, they themselves weren’t sure they could do it when it came down to it.

“Now then,” said the tour guide. “I want you to know you are all safe up here, in my hands.”

He looked around at the guide who was speaking and the others in the group, all looking some modicum of nervous, but they seemed to be working through it. He, on the other hand, had grown steadily more terrified as they had gone up in the gliding elevator and stepped out into the little room before making their way outside and out on the edge.

“You can take a few steps toward the edge,” said the guide. “You are perfectly safe.”

HE stared out and into a white, empty, blankness. The day was foggy and there was no grand view of the city below. This made the experience both better and worse. There was no expanse of buildings and streets that he knew were out there, stories and stories down, but the unknown of the foggy air was disconcerting. He hugged the wall of the tower and vowed not to yield to the pressure from guide or from the brave actions of the other group members.

Brave or stupid?

“I think I will just stay right here,” he said, trembling.

“Well if you change your mind,” the guide said reassuringly. “To the rest of you…feel free to take a few more steps toward the edge. That’s right. Now turn around and take a few steps and you’re at the edge. Now, I have been doing this for a year. I have taken many groups up here and haven’t lost anyone yet.”

The group all looked at one another and laughed nervously in response to this.

“Have you ever stood at the edge of a subway platform with someone and wondered, what if I pushed them?”

The tour guide did not just say that. He couldn’t believe she had just spoken those words. Was this a part of the experience, to push people’s thoughts to the brink? This was definitely not making him want to come away from the relative safety of the building.

“No,” a few of them said in reply.

“Well, I think it’s really only human to think such thoughts,” the guide added. As she said this the others had all done what she had recommended. They were each in separate stages of approaching the drop off the side of the tower with their feet, spread apart and their backs to the fall.

He saw it in his mind even before it happened and he saw it play out in slow motion, in a strange sequence of events.

The guide reached up above the heads of the harnessed tourists and pressed a button, releasing the seatbelt-like apparatus holding everyone safely together.

He saw the looks on the faces of each of them as their straps holding them secure loosened and they fell backward, over the edge.

For what seemed like only seconds they dangled precariously in the open air, their faces frozen in horror, until they disappeared from his sight and into the white nothingness.

***

In the final week I will end this series and the month on Halloween. Young and Twenty’s list of common fears,

5 Fears and What They Say About Us,

has been a wonderful exercise for me in writing spooky stories.

I shall end on a dark note next Friday with a story of fear in facing the darkness.

Acrophobia seems to be the most common of the phobias. I think it is probably less so in the visually impaired community, but I can only speak for myself.

For further reading in exploration of this, check out this post on my ultimate test of this hypothesis:

Walking On The Edge.

How about you? Are you one of the many who are terrified of heights or have you had any interesting experiences of conquering this fear?

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Arachnophobia

Last week I started the first of the five Fridays of October with a writing prompt from:

Five Fears and What They Say About Us.

My story:

Phasmophobia,

well it seemed to frighten some more than others.

Now, for Week Two, Young and Twenty makes a good point about spiders being a metaphor for the differences we shrink away from. A creature so different from us is likely to give us the creeps and it does for so many. This can easily be turned into the nightmares of horror movies or dark dreams.

When I think of spiders, I don’t think of the little guys crawling on my arm. I think of the giant spiders in Harry Potter or the evil female spider and her descendants from Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

Then I try to write from what would be my nightmare, something that could happen in what might seem like everyday life. When you can not see one little spider is nothing really to freak out over. The texture of walking into a web or brushing up against one with my hand is enough to make me squirm though.

***

2.
Spiders. Although many spiders are less dangerous than a bear, we hold a stronger sense of resentment. We fear the unknown and we hate the idea of living amongst something so different than us. It’s not surprising that we hate spiders, as we’re guilty of looking at everyone different from us as though they have eight legs.

***

No big bad monsters that chase around a dark town square. No evil spirits haunting dreams. No lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!

I just happen to glance down and spot him crawling along your arm. You automatically flinch and pull your arm away, as a shiver of revolt pulses through you.

“He’s just a little spider. I can’t believe you are afraid of a measly little daddy longlegs.”

“Oh but they’re gross.”

Now that you’re alone and it’s not just a joke, the walls seem to be crawling with, not just one, but millions. You could handle one of them on your arm, others who have no fear of spiders mocking you, but now you see them everywhere you look, crawling out of every crack and cranny.

The sun shines through the window, but the pane soon fills with their bodies and their legs, eight at a time, (sixteen, twenty-four, thirty-two…) Webs stretching this way and that.

You stand and try to run from the room and your face feels the sticky spidery tangle. They are weaving their homes all through the room. They all communicate with one another, squeaking their plans all around their webs.

“Don’t let the human escape,” they conspire.

You are being closed in. Oh, how you’d like to go back to that one tiny crawling spider on your arm, when now spiders and webs encircle you. Just outside you can hear the birds chirp and the cars drive by, but it’s as if these hair thin webs are becoming a sound barrier, blocking out the world. You could scream, but the spiders say it’s no use. You don’t know how you can hear them, how you can make out their cries from all around you, but somehow you understand every word.

“Pinch yourself,” you say in your own head. Or was it? Strangely assuming, hoping you said it in your head so these monsters can’t hear you. What are you talking about? Spiders can’t understand English, even if you could open your terrified mouth to speak out loud.

You lift your arm to pinch the other, hoping you will awake, but webs tickle your hand and you instinctively pull back, your hand dropping to your side. You are being pinned in and you suddenly realize you have been backed into a corner. These spiders have forced you into the corner by the television, which was on and up loud when you noticed that first spider on your shirt.

I hear the plug being pulled and the sound of the electrical charge makes this, suddenly, all so real. As if all these spiders weren’t real enough. Maybe you think you would have been woken up when the sound splits the air of the heavily webbed room. Nothing can save you now.

The sounds from outside are muffled now by the squeaks of these eight-legged web-weavers…did they hear me call them that? you wonder. No…they couldn’t possibly. The room grows dimmer and dimmer now, no more light streaming in.

***

If my above story doesn’t cut it, isn’t enough to freak you out then I include, as a final thought, this news story:

http://abcnews.go.com/Weird/wireStory/spiders-force-family-upscale-missouri-home-26106285

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