Acushla Bound – Part Four

Vacation, Day 4 – Enjoy a re-post of a story I wrote while I enjoy a well-deserved vacation!

Pepper took the lead, guiding Mikaela to the next stop in their journey. The mountains were closer now, but still off in the distance. As they left Somewhere, farms of wheat, hay, and corn surrounded them. They passed a few farm houses along the trail; most were quiet with friendly farmers waving hello now and then.

They continued on the trail until mid-afternoon. As the sun floated high above the pair, thirst began to set in. Mikaela reached for a small canteen, but there was only a small sip left. She and Pepper kept an eye out for a stream. They happened upon a small bridge which should go over a creek, but the creek bed was dry.

Pepper continued to plod along. The fields went from flourishing to dry and dusty as their journey continued. At the next farm, they heard some people working outside. Mikaela pulled Pepper’s reigns to direct him to the farmhouse.

Pepper resisted, but only momentarily. He was tired and thirsty as well. He spotted a small trough in the field and hoped the people would be kind enough to let him have a sip.

As Mikaela and Pepper approached the house, the woman of the house hollered for her mate. “Jonathan, we have guests. They look exhausted. Bring something to drink.”

Mikaela slowly moved off Pepper’s back. “Hello, ma’am. Might we trouble you for some…”

“drink? on its way. Take your horse over to the trough so he can get some as well. You look parched and famished.”

Jonathan walked up and handed Mikaela a clay cup filled with some form of liquid. “It’s beer, dear. Better to drink out here than the water.”

Mikaela thanked Jonathan and took a sip. She choked down the liquid as she was not a fan of beer, but it was better than nothing. Mikaela forced a smile.

The lady of the home piped up, “Jon, why did you bring her beer.” She turned to Mikaela. “I’m Martha. Would you let me brew you some tea? Boiling the water will make it better to drink.”

Mikaela smiled, “Tea would be perfect.” She looked around. This was a time before refrigeration, so iced tea would be off the table, but hot tea would do.

Martha laced her arm in Mikaela’s and showed her to the house. “Does your horse need to be tied up?”

Mikaela shook her head no. “He’s a good horse. I think we’ll be fine.” Mikaela looked forward to a few moments off Pepper’s back, and she was sure Pepper would enjoy a few minutes as well.

Once inside, Martha set a pot of water to boil over the fire and set out some mugs. She added tea leaves to the boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes.

Jonathan escorted Mikaela to a small table with a few chairs and asked her to have a seat.

“Thank you for being so welcoming. The road is long and I am not quite sure where Pepper is taking me,” Mikaela shared.

Jonathan lifted his eyebrow toward Martha, then turned back to Mikaela. “Pepper, you say. Is that your horse’s name? How did you come up with it?”

Martha walked over to prepare the tea and came back with the mugs. “Would you like some sugar dear?”

Mikaela smiled. “Yes, please.” she refocused back on Jonathan. “Actually, Pepper found me. He was by a lake miles from here. I didn’t name him; that’s the name on his reigns. He’s been my guide on our journey.”

Jonathan chuckled. “Now, that’s a story! I’ve never heard of such a thing. A horse as a guide.”

“Drink up, dear,” Martha motioned to the cup of tea. “Enjoy it while it’s hot.”

Mikaela lifted the cup to her lips. The tea was fragrant and sweet. “This is delish….” Mikaela collapsed mid-sentence, falling to the floor.


Acushla Bound – Part Three

Vacation, Day 3 – Enjoy a re-post of a story I wrote while I enjoy a well-deserved vacation!

Mikaela wondered if, when she fell asleep in her dream, would she have another dream or return home to reality. She curled up under the sheets of the small bed in the inn and drifted off.

As Mikaela slept, she saw visions of an ethereal setting, and she found herself standing behind a bare backed man sawing wood. His shoulder and arm muscles rippled in the light which streamed down through the trees. He set down his saw and wiped his brow.

Mikaela found herself holding a tall cold glass of lemonade. “Would you like a sip?” She asked.

He straightened his back and slowly turned around. He smiled a crooked grin and his eyes sparkled in the light. His strong hand reached out. “Sounds delicious!”

Delicious was an understatement, Mikaela thought to herself. But, everyone looks perfect in dreamland. She looked down and admired herself…she hadn’t looked this good since she was twenty.

She stretched out her hand to him. His fingers lightly brushed hers, sending little tremors of excitement through her. Sparks of attraction flashed between them as their eyes met once more.

She could stare at those eyes all day. He looked into hers, as if he were reading her soul, then lifted the glass to his lips. Those lips have probably kissed a thousand lasses before. All she wanted was just one.

As he lowered the glass down, he saw the wanting in her eyes. His lips curled at the corners as he spoke. “Thank you.”

He handed the glass back to her, brushed her cheek lightly, then turned to go back to work.

Mikaela suddenly woke, still in the inn. Her dreams teased her. Not even a kiss? She looked around and realized daylight had started streaming through the window. Time to get up anyhow, she thought to herself.

She donned her worn dress and headed out. Harold stopped her just before she made it out of the door of the inn.

“Ms. Mikaela, won’t you have at least a biscuit before you head out for the day?” He inquired. “I have just brewed some tea, have a moment with me will you?”

Mikaela looked over Harold. He was such a sweet man; she couldn’t say no to him. So she slid into one of the two chairs he had set up for tea and sipped his brew. “This is lovely tea, Harold. Thank you.”

Harold chuckled, “Don’t thank me, thank the missus! She made breakfast this morning; she’s still back in the kitchen you know.”

Mikaela heard nothing from the back of the inn, but continued to smile and make small talk with Harold. As her tea faded and the biscuits disappeared, she realized how much time had passed.

“Thank you for a lovely breakfast and conversation this morning, Harold. I must get over to Mrs. Taylor’s though.” Mikaela stood up.

Harold shuffled out of his chair and with a quick nod, bid Mikaela thank you and farewell.

Mikaela admired the sky this mid-morning. Somewhere was sunny and the clouds floated across the sky.

Mikaela made her way into the Clothier and greeted Mrs. Taylor.

“Good morning, Ms. Mikaela,” she greeted back. “I have your items ready. I hope they are to your liking.”

Mikaela unfolded the garments and checked them out. Two sets of riding pants with blousen shirts. “These are perfect!”

Mrs. Taylor smiled with pleasure. “Oh, I almost forgot.” She stumbled into the back of her shop and brought out a pair of soft leather boots. “Would these fit you?”

Mikaela’s eyes lit up. The leather was supple and boots would be so much more suited for a journey. “How much, Mrs. Taylor?”

Mrs. Taylor blushed a little. “For you, just a single silver coin, if you have?”

Mikaela was startled, only one coin? She looked in her purse, and pulled out one. “Will this do?” She wasn’t sure of their monetary system, but everything was copper, silver, or gold in her bag.

“Oh yes my dear. That will be perfect. Here, you need a satchel to carry your goods.” Mrs. Taylor handed her a roll which she could attach to Pepper’s saddle.

Mikaela was touched by Mrs. Taylor’s kindness. “Can I give you a hug?”

Mrs. Taylor’s face lit up. “Of course my dear! Such a good soul!”

Mikaela gave her a hug then bid her farewell. “Thank you for everything!”

Mikaela headed to the stables and checked in on Pepper. Pepper reared at the door and was ready to head out. “Whoa, Pepper! We can head out in a minute. Let me put my affairs in order.”

Pepper calmed for a minute, then neighed at her naggingly. Mikaela opened the stall door and led Pepper to the inn’s hitching post then patted him on the face. “I’ll be right back.”

She went back to the inn, changed into her new clothes, and closed up her affairs with Harold, then she and Pepper headed back out on their journey.


Acushla Bound – Part Two

Vacation, Day 2 – Enjoy a re-post of a story I wrote while I enjoy a well-deserved vacation!

Pepper continued along the forest covered trail with Mikaela on his back. His gallop slowed as he entered a meadow.

Mikaela looked around. Wildflowers she’d never seen surrounded her. The colors were mesmerizing and they seemed to wave in unison as the stems swayed in the breeze. Mikaela rested her head against Pepper’s neck, his mane tickling her nose.

Slowly, Pepper came to a stop. Mikaela unmounted the mighty horse, stretched and looked around. “Is this where we’re supposed to be, Pepper?”

Pepper looked at her for a moment, then stooped down. He had stopped at a creek and took a sip of water. When he raised his head back up, he motioned toward his back.

“Okay, Pepper, I guess it’s time to move on,” Mikaela sighed as she mounted up. “It’s pretty here though.”

Pepper neighed briefly and then continued on the trail, across a small footbridge over the water and toward an orchard in the distance. His pace picked up as he neared the orchard. Mikaela held on as he bounded toward the trees. “Whoa, Pepper, whoa!” She feared he might throw her. Finally, he stopped and picked an apple off with his shiny big teeth.

Mikaela chuckled, “Sounds like a good idea. She reached for an apple of her own. Pepper backed away from the tree, blocking her reach. “What, you can have one, but I can’t?”

Pepper pranced a few times and then walked over to another tree. This one had beautiful pinkish-red apples. This time, Mikaela was able to pick one and took a bite. It was the most delicious apple she had ever tasted. She knew she had to have more, but how to hold them?

She looked down at the gown. It had multiple layers of light fabric in the skirt. She pulled up the outer layers and ripped a large swath from the bottom layer. She formed it into a bag of sorts and picked several apples, then fastened them to the saddle.

Pepper pulled another apple and enjoyed it while Mikaela took a breath from the journey. It was a beautiful land about her. In the distance, some trees had not bore fruit yet, and apple blossoms covered the trees. Pepper slowly walked through this area of the orchard, letting Mikaela enjoy its beauty.

The sun was starting to sink low in the distance when they came to the edge of the orchard. Mikaela spied a small village off in the distance. “Pepper, is that where we are going?”

Pepper neighed loudly, and took off in a full gallop toward town. Mikaela looked forward to having some human company to speak with as well as a break from riding in a dress on Pepper’s back. Pepper brought Mikaela to the door of a local inn, stopped, and shook his head toward the door.

As Mikaela swung her leg over to dismount, she heard the jingle of coins. She found a small purse of money tucked securely under a flap on Pepper’s saddle. Mikaela hitched Pepper’s lead to the hitching posted, and pet her new friend’s face. “I’ll be back out. Hopefully they have a stable for you too my friend.” Pepper whinnied with delight.

Mikaela felt a little disheveled as she entered the inn. A kind looking old man sat behind the counter. “Well, hello there ma’am. How can I help you?”

Mikaela fiddled with her dress a little more and tried to straighten her hair as she approached the man as his desk. “Do you have a room and a stable for my horse?”

“You’re not from around here, are you ma’am? I’m Harold. Nice to meet you. I’ll be happy to set you up for a night or two in one of our rooms.”

Mikaela smiled. “Thank you, and no, I’m not from around here. Where is here?”

Harold chuckled to himself. “Oh, you’re Somewhere between There and Nowhere.”

Mikaela tilted her head sideways. “So, what’s the name of this place?” His original answer confused her.

“You’re Somewhere!” Harold exclaimed and held his hands up and wide as if he were grabbing as much air as he could.

Mikaela nodded, and thought what a strange answer. “Um, ok. Is there a place I can get my horse some feed and stabled during my stay in Somewhere?”

Harold’s eyes glistened when she said Somewhere. Almost like it was a magical word. “Oh definitely.” He pointed to the other side of the dusty road. “The stables are over there. No charge for a pretty lady like yourself.” He finished up the register and had Mikaela sign it, then turned over the key. “Your room is right at the top of the stairs on the left.”

Mikaela nodded thank you and started to head toward the door. “Um, Harold, is there a place where I might get some different clothes?”

“Sure thing, Ms. Mikaela. The Town Clothier is down the street. Mrs. Taylor will fix you up right proper.”

“Thanks, Harold.” With that, Mikaela walked back out to Pepper and smiled. She unlashed the lead and walked Pepper over to the stables. She gave Pepper a nice brushing and a couple more apples before heading over to Mrs. Taylor to address her dress.

Mikaela walked into the Town Clothier. The door rattled as she pulled it and stuck a bit on the frame. A rudimentary bell chimed.

A sweet little voice came from behind a stack of cloth. “Give me a minute. I’ll be right there.” The shuffle of feet could be heard against the wood planked floor.

Mikaela looked around the shop as Mrs. Taylor finished working on her task.

“Okay, here I am!” Mrs. Taylor hollered as she rounded the stacks. She paused, and her eyes grew big. “You’re a woman!”

Mikaela chuckled to herself. Even at just over five foot five, she towered over Mrs. Taylor. “Hi. I, um, need a change of clothes.” Her beautiful dress now looked haggard and worn. She wasn’t sure if it could be salvaged after she tore out the swatch to carry the apples.

“Oh, sweetie, yes, you do. Are you looking to lure a man or something more practical?” Her eyes glistened like Harold’s, it must be something about Somewhere.

Mikaela giggled. Lure a man. That struck her funny. “Just something practical. My horse has decided to take me on a journey and, well, I need something more appropriate.”

Mrs. Taylor looked her over and started taking measurements. “Okay, sweetie. Can you come back in the morning? I’ll have two changes for you then. In the mean time,” Mrs. Taylor turned to her side and picked up a folded gown, “you’ll be more comfortable sleeping in this tonight. It’s yours, no charge.”

Mikaela nodded thank you as Mrs. Taylor handed her the gown.

Her old hands gently touched the top off Mikaela’s. “I get a good vibe from you. Your acushla awaits.”

Mikaela had never heard that word before, but she was tired and longed for bed. She decided to save her questions for the morning and to head back to the inn. She waved to Mrs. Taylor and bid her a good evening.

Mikaela wandered back to the inn and climbed up the stairs. Her room was sparse, but a small fireplace warmed the room and a lantern cast light on the walls with enough for her to see. She shimmied out of her dress and unfolded the gown. Sweet stitch work in the pattern of scrolls and roses lined the V-neck of the gown. Mikaela slipped it on and headed toward bed.


Acushla Bound

Vacation, Day 1 – Enjoy a re-post of a story I wrote while I enjoy a well-deserved vacation!

Mikaela finally found an afternoon of no obligations, no commitments. She packed a small lunch and headed outside to sit by the lake.

She spread out a blanket and found a comfortable place to lean against the massive oak they saved from splitting following Hurricane Irma. The strapping still held it together, but the tree had healed nicely.

The breeze floated across the lake, carrying with it the warmth of the sun. Her skin glistened in the heat, but she was still comfortable. Her brown hair, desperate for a trim, curled up against her neck.

She purposely left her phone inside to escape interruption, but she brought a journal and pen, should any creativity come to visit.

She listened to the songs of the chickadees and cardinals as they flirted above her between the branches. Over the lake, herons and egrets swiftly flew by, looking for their lunch. Relaxation finally found her.

Slowly, she slipped into slumber, laying on her blanket. Her limbs and her eyes became heavy, but she didn’t struggle or fight it. It was nice to let things go for once. In the distance, the shell chimes clinked, lulling her further into a deep sleep.

In the distance she heard the galloping of hooves. She startled herself awake. As she opened her eyes, she realized she must be dreaming. Nothing around her was familiar.

The tree she slept under was now a willow tree, glistening in the sun. Her branches swayed in the winds, and almost iridescent leaves sparkled.

The familiar birds were gone, but new ones filled their place. Blue birds chirped and danced around her blanket. One even landed on her shoulder and sang a beautiful song.

Mikaela thought to herself, this is a pretty nice dream.

The high grass between her and the lake had transformed to a field of wild flowers, vibrant and rich with life. Butterflies, dragonflies, bees and more moved among the flowers, happily floating on the air.

One dragonfly floated towards Mikaela. This one was different from the others. As he neared, she realized it was a damsel fly instead…one set of wings instead of two. He floated and landed on her nose.

She looked cross eyed at him. She didn’t want to scare him, but then, she sneezed. He swiftly moved away, and once her fit was over, he floated nearby instead. He drifted away and then back several times.

Mikaela finally figured out he wanted her to follow him. She stood up. It was then she realized she wasn’t in her shirt and shorts anymore. She was now in a gown, similar to those of the Renaissance or one an elf would wear in LOTR, but it was lightweight and floated loosely over all her figure flaws.

She stepped onto the grass and found small stepping stones forming a path ahead. The damsel fly continued to beckon her to follow around the field. The path followed the edge of the lake which reflected as a turquoise and teal blue with a slight mist floating above.

As she continued rounding the edge of the lake, she discovered a wooded forest before her and heard the faint whinny of a horse. The damsel fly floated in mid-air before her, making her look around.

Mikaela noticed the air had a slight chill and rubbed her arms to warm them. She wondered where the warmth of the sun had gone. As she looked around, aside from knowing this wasn’t home, she didn’t know what she should see.

The damsel fly floated backward, allowing her to step forward, and then she tripped across a strap of leather.

“Ohhhh, this is what you wanted me to see?” She questioned as she picked herself and the horses bit and reign from the ground. She looked at the name engraved on the strapping… Pepper.

The damsel fly continued forward, leading her past the first few trees in the forest. There stood a beautiful Appaloosa in the thicket. He was already saddled, but no bit nor lead on him. He pranced to the side on hearing Mikaela’s footsteps.

As she neared, he bowed at her. She stretched out her hand, touching him on the star of his forehead. He neighed softly.

“Pepper?” She spoke gently to the magnificent creature. He shook his head up and down. The damsel fly landed on Pepper’s ear. Pepper twitched his ear, and the damsel fly took off, not to be seen again.

Mikaela recalled back to her youth. She had only ridden a horse once, but loved them immensely. She held out the bit to Pepper, “Shall we?”

Pepper pranced for a moment and opened his mouth. He was ready to get underway; although Mikaela had no idea where they would be going. She fastened the bit, checked the saddle, then climbed atop Pepper.

“Lead the way Pepper. Lead the way.”

With that, Pepper took off into the forest, headed towards the mountains in the distance.


Aisle Four

Like a slowly moving body inching closer,

Knowing when it arrives, devastation follows,

But knowing nothing will stop it’s movement.

I see it coming, this great collision,

And I fight it, I try to educate, but they refuse.

Knowing it all, they don’t listen, so I stop.

I have to step back and prepare to clean up

The mess, the chaos, the troubles they cause.

Clean up on aisle four!


Muggy Intentions

The air clung like a sweat soaked tee to her skin.

It was pre-dawn, but she couldn’t tell for the heat.

The sun’s rays didn’t escape over night,

No cool breeze, only stillness mugged her.

Yet she pushed into the twilight, seeing the full moon behind the haze.

As the sun lit up the distant sky, the birds began their morning songs.

Still, she felt weighed down, as though she were walking through a swamp.

Soon, the plodding would be over though.

She picked up her steps as she rounded for home,

Where the cooling relief of AC waited.


Savor the Nectar(ine)

Stirring away in a cluttered kitchen,

Metal bowls clanging away,

measuring spoons doing the same.

Chopping up the nectarines into cubes,

Sneaking in a couple of bites.

Pacing to the pantry, the fridge, and back,

Each trip either putting away something,

Or pulling out another ingredient.

Combining and mixing until just right,

Barely kneading the concoction into a ball.

Chilling and slicing, then laying them out.

The oven greets them with a warm hug;

Soon the house smells like a bakery,

And the timer buzzes with anticipation.

Making the glaze is a final step, and

A quick little drizzle, then they’re complete!

Fresh made vanilla glazed nectarine scones.

poetry, writing

Monkey Kiss

Tickle my tongue, just a sweet little taste,

Rich, creamy, dark chocolate as dark as night,

Swirled with banana sweet cream paste,

Chocolate chips sprinkled through just right,

and a ribbon of peanut butter for my waist.

Monkey Kiss, I can’t wait for my very first bite!


Train of Thought

Tonight I keep trying to write, but I lack focus.

I start, I write a sentences or a phrase,

Then it no longer makes any sense.

Confusion clouds my tired mind,

Yet I did very little all day.

Exhaustion takes over and I wonder,

Is it time to sleep again?

Perhaps a good night’s sleep will restore this weary mind.

Sleep well.


Stormy Love

Thunder pealed across the sky, rattling windows and startling those who dare sleep on such a stormy night.

She walked to the window and gently pulled back the shade. Blue and purple lightning danced across the blackened sky. As the flashes illuminated the dark, growing storm clouds blew up.

The winds picked up, slamming overhanging branches on the roof. A chill ran up the spine as a bolt struck the opposite edge of the lakeshore.

She rubbed her arms to comfort herself. Storms rarely bothered her, but this one was different. Goosebumps made her shiver once more.

Then, she felt his presence behind her. Warmth radiated from his body. He stepped closer and enveloped her in a hug. She suddenly felt safe in his arms.

He whispered softly in her ear, “Come back to bed.” Then he kissed the crook of her neck. He lowered his arms and took her hand, leading her back to their bed.