Book Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

This book seemed to follow me, a spirit in the corner of my vision waiting to be noticed. I saw it at stores, in facebook groups, suggested in ads, so finally for some reason after reading a negative review of the book is when I decided to pick it up.

Bone Witch follows Tea in a high fantasy world with heavy Asian influences. Tea has just learned she has the powers of a Dark asha and can raise the dead and her whole life has changed as she trains to be an asha far from home with her familiar- the corpse of her dead brother and the help of a variety of characters.

The book switches points of view I suppose you could say. There are small glimpses between chapters. These glimpses follow a Bard who has come to a cast out asha, who is the present Tea. The rest of the chapters are Tea telling her story. It reads very much as a movie. Not in the sense of it making a good movie but the reader is lead along in a similar way to which an audience is lead in movies by a narrator telling the past. Without even realizing it you are invested in Tea’s story following her events of an asha in training and wondering how she came to be the person in the glimpses.

I can see why for some people this book would not be a good pick, it is unlike anything in YA in terms of writing style. The plot is slower than most YA and the romance and adventure not as center of attention. However, once its got you, its got you and I cannot wait to read the next book when it comes out!

 

Rin Chupeco is also the author of The Girl From the Well series which I most definitely plan on reading as soon as possible!

LIS 518: Why Should You Go To My Site

Ever seen the fun and colorful world of anime and manga but not known where to start or what’s available? Let alone who even puts out the anime in the US? Well I have created a web page that tells you just enough to get you started. On https://sites.google.com/email.arizona.edu/viz/supporting-document?authuser=2 I have built a site using Google which gives a brief overview of one of America’s anime studios, Viz Media. On the site you can see a  brief list of it’s most successful shows and a comprehensive list of the rest. There are also key terms and a brief explanation of the nature of the website. If this seems like your godsend I hope you enjoy!

Online, Offline, and What’s On the Line: A Blog Post for Library School

As a millennial I grew up with many warning labels about the internet and the mysteries and depths of it. Some of the statutes drilled into me were as follows: The internet is forever; Don’t post anything private; and never believe everything you read or see online. Such warnings came to be as it became more and more obvious that anything could get put on the internet and be claimed as “real”. In our lectures and class discussions we have discussed how to find verifiable information online as well as how to ascertain such verifiability. We’ve all heard of fake news, Photoshop, click bait articles, etc. This all threatens the accuracy of what can be found online. The same is true of people. In the world of online dating we are all familiar with the phrase cat-fished.

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If anything can be “true” online so can anything about YOU. The biggest identity crisis of the generation is who are you? Which you is the real you- Online or off? And you’d be surprised how complicated that question can be. In the NY Times article Who Are You Online? Considering Issues of Web Identity various difficulties and issues with reconciling our online selves with our IRL selves are brought up. The issue being: how to verify your identity.

 

Discussion Questions:

How is the verifiability of people a problem in the accuracy of information online?

Is it possible not to “edit” ourselves online?

 

And for a little fun Online by Brad Paisley

A Jill of all Hobbies

I love to create. In case that hasn’t come across yet. And I don’t enjoy creating through only one platform. I love to write and do so often. A lot of my job is writing though you wouldn’t think it initially. I write emails all the time of course, but I’ve also written blurbs for brochures, announcements, press releases, library blogs, you name it. I write for myself in diaries. I’ve been journaling or attempting to as long as I can remember. My most solid time of keeping a diary was from fall of 2007-Spring of 2012. This chronicled most if not all of my middle and high school years. In my senior of high school I also wrote a fan fiction diary, which I’m not even sure if that makes sense. But if you don’t know fanfiction is where people go with their own stories for characters and lands that already exist in shows, movies, books, etc. and share these stories with other fans. I’ve written three of my own (two permanently on hiatus unfortunately) but this was different. This fanfiction was personal and not to be read but instead it was a post apocalyptic Superman story with a self-insert character that helped me get through the worst of my anxiety and depression. And for that reason that sad little fanfiction will never be deleted. I also write fiction and as I’ve expressed before if I can kick my ass into big enough gear someday I’ll pursue publishing what I’ve written.

Of course writing is not all I have fallen in love with. Though not very good at it I do love the serenity that comes with drawing and painting. And I use those meager skills to help in other hobbies- for example costuming (cosplay) and makeup. Cosplay is a hobby that requires a constant learning of trade skills and I love it for that reason. I’ve learned to sew, to re-imagine garments and miscellaneous knick knacks to create characters I love. recently in the past year I’ve gotten into makeup- a hobby that gives me a huge range of daily creative outlets.

I also recently learned how to loom knit and want to add that onto the list of things-that-keep-my-hands-busy-and-my-mind-sane. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately depends on how full you take your glass this leads the little librarian in me to want to read all I can and learn all I can about my new hobbies, old hobbies, beloved hobbies. This then leads me to check out zillions of books on such topics. I want to not only enjoy the things I do but be good  at them too. It’s a competitiveness that I have inherited from both sides of my family. We don’t just do things we excel at them. And its fun to put in the work to excel at them. So here I am currently buried in books from the library on writing blogs (wink wink) designing clothes, editing patterns, makeup artistry, as well as contributing to the other hobby I love ever so much- reading by having more for fun reading books out than I can get read before I must relinquish them. Ah this is the life though isn’t it?

A-N-X-I-E-T-Y: Spoken word Written Down

Anxiety is a mental illness. A psychological dis.order. Anxiety is a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. By definition.

I am not anxiety.

I am the inability to sit still. I am the inability to think only one sole thought one by one. I am the inability to hold my ground in a fight with her because if I lose her I’ll drown.

I am not anxiety.

I am tears I can’t hold back at my desk while I hope no one notices. I am a scream in my chest that echoes in the noisy silence of my head. I am the bite of nails in my skin to make the pain something physical.

I am not anxiety.

I am the clingy girlfriend who cannot help it because her thoughts will tear her apart otherwise. I am the IBS diagnostic because even my guts reject my thoughts and they don’t know how to fight it. I am a shaking that pulls my ability to breathe from my chest. I am a racing heart working overtime to keep it all together.

I am not anxiety.

I am physical. I am real. I am living WITH anxiety.

And that is so much worse.

I’m Not a Work-a-Holic, I’m a Millenial…

I’ve puzzled over just what I’ve wanted to say in this post for a little while now. I’ve played with witty lines and click bait titles but when it comes down to it this is how living as a twenty some year old in my life situation goes. 

What’s my life situation you ask? Not too bad and not too unique. I’ve just graduated from college with my major in a liberal arts field, I live in a city with a huge job market and an even larger population and the highest living expenses in the US. I don’t work full time, at least not in one place. When added to together I’m working on average 33 hours a week. I’m also going to school online for an advanced degree to get the job I actually want. I live in an apartment with a roommate and a cat and have no savings as everything goes to rent, bills, gas, and food. I apply to new jobs constantly and dream of the day I see a book of my own on bookshelves in stores and libraries. I write on my old laptop. I eat junk food because I can afford it and it’s quick. My biggest addiction is that I’m a basic white bitch constantly in Starbucks for my fix.

Now ask almost any young adult on the street the bare basics of their life and they’ll tell you a variation of this same life. Maybe trade in the apartment for still living at home and the multiple jobs to one job that you work burning yourself at both ends to be good at. 

The reason I bring this all up culminates in how I make my living currently. I work ten hours a week on contract getting work experience toward the career I want in libraries. And the I nanny for three families. Yup- a stranger’s car seat lives in my car. I take two rowdy girls to school in the morning two or three times a week. I pick up, tutor, and occupy the time of a six year old three evenings a week plus occasional date nights. I am a mothers helper to stay at home mom who works from a home office in a townhouse in the ghetto because she’s a part of the millennial generation too and they can’t afford anywhere else. Now I love children and I love nannying- not cut out for customer service! Introvert alert! But kids and I get each other on a whimsical level. 

So then what’s the problem you ask? If I like it so much? It’s not steady. I’m not a teacher or working at the YMCA. My schedule is at the whim of a family, three families. So when I get a text from the mother I help out that yay I get the next week off, my heart sinks. Not because I don’t love sleeping in on a Tuesday morning but because that’s 80 or so bucks my bank account will never see. And that fluctuation of income is harsh on financial planning. So I take the housesitting gig from one family as they leave the country because I can’t afford for them not to pay me something for two weeks even though my commute for my other jobs just doubled, as did my gas, and I have to ask my roommate to take care of my cat or try introducing it to the dog…again. My days can start at five am and end at 10pm. And I work in masters level assignments so that I can get a job that hopefully will afford me a mortgage someday. So no I’m not a work-a-holic. I don’t enjoy less sleep and more coffee fueled days. I don’t thrive on it, I literally live on it. I’m not a work-a-holic. I’m a millennial.

To NaNo or Not to NaNo- That is the Question

Like any young unaccomplished, unpublished, but aspiring writer I love NaNoWriMo. Now if you don’t know NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. During this time aspiring and tried and tried authors sit down to write 50,000 words in one month that’s 1,667 words a day. Now I’ve known about this challenging movement for years and last year was the first year I successfully won. I wrote 50,000 words of a novel, Burning Alexandria. A year later and I haven’t finished the novel. In fact I’ve lost a lot of steam with it. It really unnerves me because what I want most in the entire world is to be a writer and one that people love and buy all the new editions and all of that. But how can I do that if I never finish it. 

So here’s what I’m asking and I’ve literally decided this as I’m writing his post for NaNo I’m going to write again, something new BUT I’m also going to look for a beta reader/editor to read Burning Alexandria and my notes for the rest of this novel. So I guess I’m asking if anyone wants to jump into this with me.

Burning Alexandria is a historical paranormal book. A young college student named Dahlia discovers she’s the reincarnation of the first witch who was brutally murdered as well as the first witch to die in Salem. To end the bloody cycle she must find the Grimoire, learn to be a witch from her past lives, and destroy the reincarnation of her murderer in this life. 

If this interests you please let me know!!!!

And if NaNoWriMo interests you go to this link.

Winter Solstice 2015: Happy Yuletide!

This is winter solstice, the longest night of the year. Darkness reigns triumphant, yet gives away and changes into light. All is cold, and I await the coming of dawn. As the sun rises, the triple goddess once more gives birth to the divine child. In silence and wonder I stand before the sacred cauldron of rebirth, knowing that one day I too must pass through the cauldron and be reborn. For this I now give honor to the triple goddess.”

Found this little piece for the solstice online. Having grown up Christian and then converted to Paganism finding the parallels are so interesting. While in Burning Alexandria, I don’t much allude to the majority religion Christianity, it is interesting to note in my own life.

Burning Alexandria is a work in progress, soon to be published independently by the author. It is a historical Supernatural young adult work of fiction. Follow me here to hear all the latest!

 

Happy Yuletide! (and Merry Christmas!)

 

A.P. Runke

Spikey Spots a Beastie: A Christmas Story

By A.P. Runke

Spikey considers himself rather lucky in life for an ornamental hedgehog. Maybe it wasn’t always that way but life tends to twist and turn things around. Spikey was glad for it. It wasn’t too long ago on a November morning that he had his first turn of fate. Spikey first knew life in a factory; a loud but rather cheerful machine built him alongside many other ornamental hedgehogs. And at least Spikey assumed the machine that made him was cheerful, for although he never spoke to Spikey or the other hedgehogs he did always quietly whistle as he worked. From this factory Spikey was packed into a box and was shipped off. At the end of this time where Spikey knew only the inside of a very dark box the little hedgehog made of burlap, sticks, and twine was put on a shelf to be sold to the masses of mothers and daughters and mantle piece lovers who came by.

Shoppers came and went and various curios for homes were picked up. Turkeys and squirrels were picked up as was a rather impudent ceramic rooster Spikey happily saw leave one evening. However it seemed before Spikey knew it, he was the only one and the times were changing. Tall pine trees were being erected and boxes of baubles, and snow covered flowers unloaded. Spikey was removed from his shelf. No longer would he view the cuddly pajama section or smell the perfumes on women with gnarly stones adorning their fingers. Spikey was put on a new shelf. Here were decorations Spikey hadn’t known, a cat black as they come and more orange leaves than he had ever seen. A small red tag was attached to Spikey, ‘clearance final sale’. A tall spindly witch patted Spikey on the back in condolence. Spikey refused to give up hope, he was adorable gosh dang it! And someone would see that. Christmas cheer continued to surround Spikey and the others hidden away in the clearance shelves. Spikey gathered dust on his button nose and at night he’d let loose all the sneezes he had kept in check while customers had shopped the day away.

Then on one December morning that all changed. Two women sidled down the aisle, glancing at the clearance shelves. In their basket were tree ornaments and glittered snowflake placemats. Spikey’s heart deflated just so. But then with surprise in his eyes, Spikey found himself picked up off the shelf. The women babbled and thought and Spikey held his breath tight. And when they placed him in their basket he held back a squeak of joy with all of his might. A home! A home would be his! A mantle awaited him and with this job he couldn’t wait to begin. From the basket to the bag in the car to the kitchen of a brand new home Spikey went. The lady who had bought him set him on her counter and pulled out a ribbon with a plaid pattern. Spikey could have danced with joy when the lady gave him a new little touch, a plaid ribbon scarf just for him. He wasn’t just a new mantle piece anymore. Now he was Spikey the CHRISTMAS hedgehog.

Spikey was then placed in his spot. It was atop a column of drawers by a picture frame and Santa Claus ceramic candleholder. From his perch he could see the whole front room of the house. A long couch stood against the wall, two bookcases and a large television. The windows high up in the wall let in sun on the plush carpet. And directly there just inside the front door was the tree. A Christmas tree with lights and ornaments treasured and held dear. It was a handsome tree that glittered when lit and filled the rom with a luscious Christmas scent.

Over the hours Spikey learned the ways of the house, there was a woman and man and their all grown up children. But along with these people who he so sought to please were three little doggies always at their knees. The three dogs all seemed happy and cordial enough animals to Spikey. Though he doubted he’d let the young yellow one anywhere near him, slobber and all. However it was the smallest dog that ended up playing the biggest role in Spikey’s new life.

The whole story begins early one morning not a week into Spikey living in his new home. The sun wasn’t up yet but his house was. And the tree glittered in the early morning deep still with sleep. Spikey was admiring the tree when the smallest dog meandered in unaccompanied. Her tail was tucked close and her nose was held high. She walked slowly and carefully trying to look ever so sly. When the dog saw she wasn’t seen (for she could not perceive Spikey’s gleaming eyes) she ran to the tree with a nose for the ornaments hung not so high.

The little doggie started to wreak terror, pulling penguins, and snowflakes, and heirlooms down from the tree! Spikey held back his breath; this dog was tearing apart the tree and Christmas right with it. As his mind tumbled and his jaw did drop the only thought he could think was that this…why this little Beastie, for a beastie she was, just had to be stopped! Spikey shook off his astonished dismay and quickly turned his burlap head every which way. He must stop the beastie! These people gave him a home, a ribbon, and a job. He was a mantle piece hedgehog with a Christmas tree to guard!

Even though Spikey’s heart was courageous and his will determined he was stuck in his spot for it was a very, very long way to the ground. As Spikey scratched his head, knowing he must move quickly a bit of time was bought him, something had distracted the wee beastie. Another animal did call this house his home. He was small and fluffy and dark as obsidian stone. He was a cat. The only real live one Spikey had ever seen and just like the dear hedgehog this cat loved the bright Christmas tree. This kitty would take its long naps beneath the pine needles, stretched out enjoying its glory. It never tried to climb it, leap from it, or bat at the baubles. Spikey rather liked this cat and was thankful just now for his arrival.

When the beastie saw this body of fluffy black fur its attention was torn from the tree and its ornaments to try and get the kitty to play with it. Spikey recognized this was his chance. But how! How was he to get down? Carefully Spikey peered down the column of drawers and to his mind came an idea quite inspired. For every drawer instead of knob had a small iron wrung for the humans to pull on. ‘Aha!’ Thought Spikey ‘I’ll climb down with those, it’s just like a ladder though it will swing and sway. I have to do’ he says, ‘it’s the only way!’.

So with a gulp and squeaky small prayer Spikey heaves his feet out and over to start his descent. His spikes quake as he nervously climbs down and down; each wrung a welcome find. He was two wrungs away when his attention was grabbed by a hiss. The cat had become fed up with the beastie and wanted to escape it! Hurry he must hurry there were only three wrungs to go. He scrabbled to climb down and landed on the tile floor with a thump. Now was his time, to fight off the beastie and save Christmas for his new home! With a deep breath to stable his resolve Spikey stood facing the beastie. He spread out his feet and stretched his spikes before turning down his nose hoping his aim was just right.

For in a flash Spikey did charge a little ball rolling onward. His aim was true for from inside his huddle he heard a small yelp. The beastie was hit! Spikey unfurled himself to look and see what he had wrought. And he saw the little beastie shake out its head for Spikey had come straightforward and rolled over the beastie’s long ear. The beastie though was not deterred, it opened its mouth to give Spikey a bite but when its tongue touched his spikes however, it reeled back with fright.

Off it went! It’s whines following behind, Spikey had saved the tree and perhaps his tale, he thought, would even be told for generations to come on Christmas Day! Spikey took his win as graciously as any burlap and twig hedgehog can. He smiled and nodded at the tree, whose light was no longer as bright. For daylight was coming, chasing away the night. With that realization Spikey ran back over to the column of drawers. He nodded his thank to the once again lounging black cat and quick as he could scrambled back up the iron wrungs and at his spot he sat. Soon in came the woman and she gasped seeing the havoc the beastie had wrought. She scolded the small doggie and cleaned up what Spikey hadn’t been able to salvage. Still Spikey sat comfortably knowing the majority was safe.

Once all was cleaned up and the room was once again quite merry Spikey felt ready for congratulatory snooze. The people were waking and the beastie was gone. Spikey watched lazily as one of the other dogs meanders in and looks all about him to see if he’s seen. A shiver works it’s way up Spikey’s spine in dread. The dog sniffs the green needles of the newly saved tree and as Spikey’s eyes widen with horror the dog turns from the tree and lifts his hind leg.

The End

Sedona Teh Forest Nymph: An Original Fairy Tale

By A. P. Runke

The wicker chair creaked as I leant back straightening my legs out onto the house’s big wrap around porch. My left hand automatically goes to the collar of my shirt and pulls out my old leather necklace, attached to it is a small cork bottle with some sand and a small leaf inside. As my hands feel its familiar smooth surface I tune into my surroundings. My wife is humming in the kitchen and I can hear her merry tune through the screen door.

Running around playing fetch with old Rufus, my dear bloodhound, are my two grandsons, Robbie and Clay. Robbie is seven and Clay is five still toddling behind his older, faster brother, and my mangy old hound dog.

As the sun starts to set, Rufus comes and lies panting at my feet. The two boys come and sit, their brunette locks bouncing like mine used to at their age. I pull Clay up onto my lap and he plays with my old leather trinket.

“Grandpa,” says Robbie siting patiently by Rufus, “tell us the story of how you got your necklace.” I smile. I’ve told this story since their mother was in diapers. She too was enamored by the tale and the leaf that never withered I kept around my neck.

“Alright. When I was a young man, before I’d met your Grammy I got a job clearing a new hiking trail just up the canyon from Sedona. The trail would wind through the woods, and criss cross Oak Creek. The goal was to bring in more adventurous tourists into our town. Now do you boys know how to make a hiking trail?” Both boys shook their heads no.

“Well, first you’ve got to map out exactly where you want the trail to go. Then you bushwhack your way through leaving markers behind for lumberjacks to follow and clear away trees. Two other fellas and I were paid to mark out the trail ahead of the construction workers and lumberjacks. We were handed maps, a compass, and told to mark trees and other brush to be moved out. We each were assigned a section of forest along the creek and went off.

“It was early April and still cool outside, I wore a flannel shirt rolled to my elbows and work gloves, along with my work pants and hiking boots. On my back I carried orange chalk to mark up any tree to be removed. My bit of forest was way back in the canyon, the very end of the trail. I marched on a head of the two other young men’s sections and started to mark trees where the map said for me to begin.”

“And then you met the nymph!” cried Clay. I smiled and ruffled the boy’s hair.

“Not just yet, I didn’t notice the forest nymphs until a few weeks later.”

“How did you see them?”

“I was very nearly done marking trees and large rocks near the end of the trail. I took a break to eat the lunch I had packed myself. The spot I picked was quiet, beautiful. A small pond with lilies and the brightest green algae floated at the top. It was there I dropped a corner of my sandwich into the pond. I watched the bread bob in the water, creating a small clear hole in the algae. All of a sudden I saw what I could have sworn was a small hand, the same bright green as the algae, with webbing between the three fingers snatch the bit of bread. I blinked in amazement. My mother used to talk of seeing garden nymphs among the hyacinths in our back garden. For a moment I wondered if I had seen a forest nymph. Just as I was about to shake the notion form my mind, the biggest lily pad on the pond jumped up, and just beneath it I could make out milky frog-like eyes. The piece of bread then suddenly, all soggy and waterlogged, that piece of bread smacked me right between the eyes. With an exclamation of surprise I wiped it off. When I looked back at the pond, all was still. I couldn’t dismiss what I saw however, for I did still have the soggy crumbs of proof slipping down my nose.

“The day after that was my day off, the forest would be quiet and isolated. I packed a lunch again and made my way past the apple trees just starting to bloom and an abandoned old house still standing at the beginning of the trail. I passed the half-built bridge going to the few planks set over the creek that the workers had been using to cross. The beginning of the trail was starting to come together, a path being worn by men’s boots, and a few felled trees on either side.

“Just as the trail started to become bushwhacking area a pebble pegged me on the back of my head. I turned but didn’t see anything. The leaves on the trees rustled, it gave me no pause until, as sweat dripped down my neck, I realized there hadn’t been a breeze. I stood looking into the speckled canopy hands on my hips, a grin on my face. Reminded of my earlier encounter I decided to call out.

‘You can come out!’ I called, ‘I won’t hurt you!’ The leaves rustled but the nymphs didn’t show themselves. I furrowed my brows in concentration before getting an idea. Peering down at the ground I picked up a small round rock and tested the weight in my hand before winding back and tossing it into the trees.

‘Catch!’ I yelled.

“With the sound of that of a huge gust of wind through the trees small lithe bodies with skin the color of tree bark, dreads of leaves as hair, black bird eyes, and clawed hands and feet scurried past me, deeper into the canyon. These nymphs at full height came to my waist, but they ran by jumping from trunk to trunk, branch to branch and disappeared up the hillside into fuller foliage.”

“You did it Grandpa! You scared them!” exclaimed Robbie, but I shook my head.

“No, as it turned out, it wasn’t me the nymphs of the trees were running from, well I wasn’t mostly why they ran. Tiptoeing along the new trail came another kind of nymph. Her skin reflected the color of the canyon walls, her hair was fern leaves, her eyes the hazel of a deep swimming hole and they watched me and I couldn’t help but think, they judged my soul. On her left ring finger sat a Daddy Long Legs Spider. She only came up to my knee. As she neared the entire forest drew quiet as if holding its breath and I knew she wasn’t at all like the nymphs in the trees or the nymph at the lily pond on my stretch of trail.

‘Hello.’ I offered, my voice very soft. She tilted her head.

‘Acknowledgement of your presence vocally noted.’ She replied.

“My eyes must have widened, I saw her face copy my expression.

‘You can speak?”

‘I have knowledge of the sounds made by your kind used to communicate.’

‘So yes?’ Her face scrunched in thought.

‘Yes.’ I sit smack in the middle of the trail.

‘My name is John.’

‘What is a name? Why do your ki…people use them.’

‘Names are how we label ourselves for identification.’

‘Then what is my name?’

‘Well you’re a nymph.’ I shrugged.

‘Yes, and your are a human, but your name is John.’ I scratched my head she seemed fascinated.

‘Hmm, well my people have named this area and land including the human town nearby as Sedona…’

‘Sedona! My name is Sedona.’ She declares, a proud look on her face. I smirked, and sat on my haunches to be more on her height level.

‘Is it now, why did you choose that?’ I couldn’t help thinking she would’ve made a very nice Wilma.

‘Well because you said the name of where we are, right here is Sedona,’ at my blank look she continues, albeit a bit incredulously, ‘and I am here.’

‘Yes you are, so am I, but my name is still John.’ I replied. She blinks tilting her head.

‘You are at this place yes, but John I am this place.’ And just like that I understood, the nymphs weren’t mystical inhabitants of the forests or the garden of my childhood, there were actually it, mystical beings with their lives intensely intertwined with the life of the world they live in.

‘Then I suppose it is only natural that your name be Sedona, either that or Oak Creek.’

‘I do not follow? Is Oak Creek the name of the river?’ I nod.

‘But I am not solely the river. I am the canyon walls, the tall hills, the plant life, all of it.’ I was astonished but once I thought on it I realized she could only be correct. Each of the other nymphs reflected parts of this land, the water, or the trees while Sedona was the entire canyon forest and river included. Suddenly Sedona’s head turned her focus further on the trail, she smiled a small smile, slightly creepy because of the absence of lips.

‘A tree nymph will be born today.’ She announces and her voice reverberated throughout the canyon, in answer a tree nymph popped down from an older, taller tree. We watched as the nymph climbed over to a small oak, only about as thick as my palm and as tall as my shoulder. Carefully the other nymph climbs the trunk and fiddles with something in the small canopy. She then climbs down, carrying what I assumed to be a baby tree nymph close to her torso. The tree nymph walked to Sedona, giving me as wide of a birth as she could and sending me warning glances with each step. I stay still and quiet, content to merely watch. The tree nymph hands Sedona the little nymph, curled into a ball, eyes closed. Sedona lifts the child looking into its small face, green as that of a new sprout. If this was the size of a baby oak tree nymph I could only wonder at the baby nymphs my mother must of encountered in her garden each year. I was startled out of my reverie by the sound of a low hum. I looked around for the source before I realized it was Sedona. Her song continued, coming from somewhere old and deep, and very much alive. When her song ended the young nymph stretch out it’s limbs and yawned, it’s eyes blinking open. Sedona looked into its eyes, it blinked before batting at her fern leaf hair. Sedona then returned the babe to the tree nymph who like a gorilla propped the young one on its’ back before disappearing up a tree not too far from the Baby nymph’s own birth tree.

‘Each nymph is a gift to my land. Though we lose more than we gain since your kind has come.’ I felt my ears turn red as I blushed with embarrassment.

‘I am sorry.’ She waves her three-fingered hand.

‘Such is the way of the world; new stronger animals come through surviving off our lives. It has happened before. Just don’t forget who it is that gives your kind life John.’ And boys I never have.” My grandsons nod.

“Did you ever see Sedona again Grandpa?” Robbie asks quietly having picked up on the solemnity of Sedona’s words to me. I nod.

“As work continued on the trail I continued to see the nymphs and speak with Sedona. I would watch her run down the side of the canyon, looking as if she were wind diving into the river. One day after the trail had opened to the public she gave me a leaf from her hair. I then went home and made this necklace.” I run my thumb over the small cork as I remember.

“It was soon after that, that I met your Grammy. I stopped going to the trail. It was only after we had married, and although we didn’t know it yet but your mother was in the womb that I returned to Sedona. But I never found her again. I guess a nymph as old as she is, and as powerful, literally the mother of that canyon had better things to do than sit around and wait for a young human named John.” My boys frowned.

“Ah cheer up you two! It isn’t all that bad.” They smile weakly at me, but just half an hour later they are running around the backyard laughing pretending to be tree nymphs.

It didn’t take long for me after that evening to get a call from my daughter telling me that my grandsons desperately wanted to go to Oak Creek to search for Sedona. The family was to go up that weekend and she wanted to know if I wanted to come along. I agreed. And that Saturday afternoon I found myself leaning heavily on my cane as I walked to the Forest Ranger’s mini trail stand to pay for parking while my daughter and son-in-law round up the boys.

The young lady working the stand was tall, with prominent freckles, and brunette hair pulled back into a low ponytail that peaked from under her uniform hat. I pulled out my wallet, worn and old like I am and pulled out the bills needed for a day pass to park at the trailhead. It was only when I handed her the money that I noticed. Tied on a leather string around the young girl’s neck was a small bottle, with a bit of a fern leaf inside. I smiled pulling out my own pendant. When the girl turned to me with my change she gasped, her eyes zeroing in on my matching trinket, her fingers rising to caress her own. I smile easily leaning against the wooden structure in which she works.

“Tell me, how is Sedona?” and with my boys yelling as they raced down the trail for Sedona to come out come out wherever she is, the brunette gave me a warm smile.