Monday, October 31, 2016

A short, Halloween-y story...

   He stalked through the darkening woods, slipping between trees and attempting to ignore the dirk thunking softly against his leg. He was not looking forward to this. His first assignment, and already he was trying not to get lost. The trees whispered to their neighbors, placing bets on the fate of this unfortunate wanderer.
   Our traveler stopped short, regaining his bearings. A twig snapped, and he froze. In his peripheral vision, a great horned, four-legged shape moved. He swallowed a scream, but then he realized the shadow was only a buck, wandering at dusk (as deer are wont to do). He dared to move. The buck sensed his presence, and bounded off. The man breathed, blending his sigh of relief with the soulful wind slipping past the leaves. He journeyed on.
    Almost there.
    The man reached a boulder, significant to him in some way, and halted again. He scanned his surroundings, growing ever darker as the sun left the sky, wreathed in brands of fire and iridescent purple-blue cloud. He explored the immediate vicinity for a short while, then settled down in a concealed area. Left alone with his thoughts until his assignment arrived, his mind quickly wandered to the argument he had had with his brother not two days ago. He flinched just remembering it. It had been triggered by something stupid, like who was to recruit friends to help butcher pigs this year, or another unintelligent thing like that. He and his brother hadn't been communicating at all well for the past couple months, and now it had cumulated in this ugly battle of the vocals. He was fairly certain their neighbors a few miles away had heard them bellowing at each other. Gods...the argument had been so irrelevant, so dumb, he found it hard to imagine how it had even started. But there was no denying its presence as part of the rift between them now, a rift that was growing ever wider as the weeks wore on, like a gap between icebergs. He had been so angry at his brother that day. He had gone straight to the Assassins' Guild and told them he was ready for his first assignment. They had told him he needed to be angry, to be distracted by something so as not to notice the blood when it spurted; to be absorbed enough in something else that he only gradually became aware of the horrors he would wreak with his own hands. Oh, he had been angry that day, angry and distracted. In fact, distracted enough as to not notice who he was actually going to kill, just where and when. Afterwards, he had been too afraid of punishment for inattentiveness on his first assignment to ask again who he was killing. So here he was, waiting and watching beside a lonely path. Listening.
   Almost there.
   A twig snapped under the weight of a biped; ferns rustled in its wake. Warm blood rushed in its twisting veins, sentient thoughts ran their course through its head; thoughts of pig butcherings and argumentative, idiot brothers. Thoughts of woods at dusk, and the things they conceal. The fellow wanderer did not notice the sneaking murderer as it passed his hiding place, and neither did it notice as a shadow detached itself from the others with grievous intent. The cursed, following shadow slipped a hand into his boot. His prey remained unsuspecting, and continued on its way. Until its journey was cut short by deadly sharp iron against flesh.
  The ground was red. His hand was red. The knife was red. His victim's clothing, that was red too. Why was there so much red everywhere? And so sticky... The kill had certainly pulled the man out of his reverie. He had put all the anger he held against his brother into that cut. There had been a lot of it. Its quantity and power had scared him.
   He was forgetting something. Oh yes. Who was his victim? He rolled the corpse over onto its back, so he could properly see its suddenly all-too-familiar face...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A picture that a dear friend sent me when she was on a road trip. This is in Yellowstone National Park.

Cultural Shoebox

          Hello to the greater internet blogger community. I feel as if I have to explain why this blog exists, and under such a strange name. It is here, being run by a high school student because I am supposed to write assignments on it for my English class. Not sure how I feel about that. In fact, I feel rather confused, shall we say! If one takes a brief glance at the web address, one will see it titled "" It's titled after a Dog Train song called, surprise surprise, "Cow Planet." If you don't know what or who Dog Train is, you should go find out! (Click here!)  They have some of the most fun music to listen to for smaller children, and I harbor some very fond memories. 
   Now that the explanation I felt I owed to the few who will ever read this strange excuse for a blog is over with, it's time to get down to the bone. This was an assignment to write anything and everything that has ever influenced me to make me into the person I am today. Hence, Cultural Shoebox. Now, 5,475 days (give or take a few) is a lot of days to account for influential happenings, so I suppose I'll start with this...
  I was living in the urban setting known to many children of city birth. We had a backyard garden, a large porch, a raspberry patch, and an Alaskan huskie puppy. I was a perfectly content 5-year-old, occasionally running around screaming, stealing lettuce from the garden and feeding it to the dog, and dreaming of horses. Until the day we packed up everything, and moved to a 20-acre property, 45 minutes from the nearest town. This didn't really affect me much, mostly because I was five. These 20 acres of unexplored territory consisted of three acres of open yard, 17 of woods, and an ice-cold creek. We lived on a dead-end dirt road, one of three residencies on it. The house was one level at the time, and in need of some repair, but that's a different story.  This is the place where I spent 2/3  of my life, and was a major influence in making me the nature- and animal-loving, let's-go-jump-in-an-ice-cold-creek person I am today. 
  I never really socialized with anyone but my family from when I was school-age up until age twelve. The reason for this is that I was homeschooled, up until sixth grade. I did see other people, don't get me wrong! It's not as if  I lived on an island all by myself. My mother started me playing viola when I was eight, and I also participated in two local classes specifically for homeschoolers: a P.E. class and an art class at the art institute. This gave me my love of swimming and of art. I am a bit of a fish in the water and I doodle on almost anything I can get my hands on. After the sixth-grade mark, I went to a newly opened Waldorf school in my hometown (an hour away from where we lived at the time; the school is called Spirit of the lake Community School). Waldorf education is an incredible way of approaching education in a very holistic way. This method was developed by Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900s, in Germany.

Image result for spirit of the lake community school  
  I have also harbored a none-too-secret love for horses (and other animals) all my life. My mother, being the amazing person she is, got me lessons scheduled at the local boarding barn about ten minutes away from our house when I was 8. This continued on for about four years. It was rather sporadic after that, however. But that only served to intensify my want/need to be around horses, and I still dream of owning one someday... Friesians are one of my favorite breeds of horse, and one that is on my "dream breeds list," so to speak.

  Another huge part of my life has been music, as I'm sure you have probably guessed by now. I have been playing the viola for many years, and have also dabbled in recorder, kantele (as mentioned down below), fiddle, and a teensy weensy bit of banjo. I also love to sing. I have never taken lessons or been in choir, but I sing all the time. And I do mean that. Most of the time I'm singing something from The Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber is the best!) but it could also be a folksy song I learned from my time in the aforementioned Waldorf school.
  I have always wanted to become more in touch with my ethnic heritage, of which the two largest components are Luxembourg/German and Finnish culture. Two ways I plan to accomplish this goal are to learn the languages of these places, and to someday visit them. Some interesting aspects of these cultures are as follows: 

  • Finland has its own ethnic instrument, stemming from the legend The Kalevala, the history of the Finnish people. It is known as the kantele, made of wood and traditionally five-stringed (in its oldest form). It has a beautiful bell-like tone. I started learning to play it once, and very much enjoyed the experience. Here's a video:

This is way more strings than I have ever seen on any kantele! Apparently this is what's known as a more modern "concert kantele." I have only ever played a five-string kantele, and I make no claim to be this awesome!

  • Luxembourg is a tiny little country squished betwixt France and Germany. As such, and after having been passed through, invaded, used as an access route to other countries, and generally trampled on by its neighbors, its language is a very odd mix of German and French. It sounds like German, but printed it looks like German with French accents!
       This has been a short history of the major influences of my life. Thank you for reading. 

              -SIGNING OFF-