Tell your story

Steve at Msich Chronicles has passed me, as well as the incomparable Tom and Naturally Calamity Jane, the baton in the Tell the Story challenge. It’s quite simple, look at a picture and tell its story. I welcome this challenge, it may be just what I need to get going again. I hope you enjoy it, and I also hope you check out Steve, Tom and Jane’s Blogs. They really are exceptional bloggers and people.

It’s almost Spring in New Hampshire.

I survived my second winter

This is my home.
See that matted down spot under the tree? That’s my bed. For so long it was covered in snow and ice. I still laid there, it was the only comfort, the only normal I would have during the cold months. As it got colder, the matted leaves were replaced by snow and ice. So. Much. Snow. The dense woods were thick and shielded me a bit from the harsh winds and falling snow but it was so cold, so very cold.
My bed was lucky, for me at least.
My sister, not so much.
See all of the fallen branches? The heavy snow and high winds brought them down. She was nesting down under another tree close by and the wind blew so hard it toppled her tree. As it crashed down she got scared and frantically darted off. She was so spooked she ran into the road and was hit by one of those fast metal things with glowing eyes on its front.
The human in the metal thing stood over her as she died. He cried. I cried too, from a distance, safely in the brush and far enough away that I could run if the human came for me. I wanted to trust him because he didn’t have the long thing in his hands that shoots thunder. But I couldn’t be too careful. One of them killed my Daddy a few months ago.

Mommy was sad but strong and I trusted her to get us through the cold months. She taught us the safety of routine. Each day Mommy, me and my two remaining sisters faithfully followed our path. We walked through the same trails, leaped over the growing snowbanks, carefully walked through the clearings of the human dwellings. Mommy knew we were scared but we followed her, she was all we had.

Once in a while, we would encounter the nice human with the checkered coat. He always smiled at us. We wanted to trust him, but that whole thunderstick thing prevented it. Mommy said he looked worried about us. She said he sometimes had food in his open hand, kneeling down and gesturing for us to come closer. I wanted the food but Mommy said no. She told me she was tempted once or twice to get a little closer but couldn’t take the chance of us getting hurt. We were resigned to watch him from far away, our eyes intent, our ears up, watching for when he took a step towards us. We always bolted when he did that. I think he’s a good human, but Mommy has lost enough already.

Many humans want to feed us. They worry, they wonder how we get through the winter. We manage to eat enough to survive. See that spot on the tree that is missing bark? This is one of the things we eat, and tree bark is plentiful. Berries taste better but it works for now. It has to.
Still, I’m looking forward to the berries.
Soon, the leaves in my special little spot will dry up. Soon, I will feel the warm sun on my coat. Soon, the pond will melt and I will be able to drink the cold water. Soon, Mommy will search for a new Daddy for us.
She deserves it. We do too.

I love my special little clearing in the woods. I love my bed. I love my Mommy. I love watching humans…from a distance of course. I love feeling safe.

For now.

When the leaves start falling on my bed, in my clearing, it will be time to brace myself again for the short days, the cold nights and the Thundersticks booming in the near distance.

Until then, I will enjoy the reprieve of Springtime in New Hampshire.

I nominate BPD Bella,  JT Twissel and Dan Antion @ No Facilities to tell a story about this image.

Have fun

the longer it is, the harder it gets

Now that I’ve drawn you in with a sexually provocative and misleading title, here we go.

I’ve heard it said that Blogging is like riding a bike. You never forget how and it’s easy to get right back in the saddle. I don’t agree. I think it’s more like working out. When you are really into fitness you feel strong, vibrant and you crave more of that feeling. But once you stop, or take a break, the longer you are out of it the harder it is to go back. You know that you have lost strength. You know that it will take more effort to get back, if ever, to where you were. It is going to hurt. You fear you will never get that high again.

This is where I am now with my blog.

18 months ago I started this blog. I had no readership at first but I poured my heart and soul into it and I told my story. The readers eventually followed and I began to feel a “writer’s high” in which I was getting gratification through feedback and stimulating dialogue, I even had a follower write a blog post citing mine as the “best blog she had ever read”. I was thrilled and honored by that.

Now, I fear that most of my stories have been told. The ones that I do tell do not seem to get much readership. Most of my loyal, regular readers are gone. They have either stopped blogging or just stopped reading me. Being fond of feedback and comments, I mostly get some “likes” with no real indication that my post was actually read.

Then there is my health. I have been on dialysis for 5 months and overall it has been a positive experience. I do feel better in some ways. But the fatigue, the washout and other unpleasant side effects such as insomnia are taking a toll. I am up all night many nights a week and forced to sleep late, which I hate. And when I am awake I just don’t have the energy or mental clarity to be creative. I limp through most days.

The longer I am away from it, the harder it is to get back into it. Like exercise.

But here I am, pondering a change in format. Reviewing insights. Evaluating my tags and categories. Trying to find answers to explain why my blog isn’t giving off the spark, to my readers and to myself, that it used to.

And here is what I came up with. I still have a story to tell. If not for you, then for me. Read it, don’t read it, I can’t control that.

I do it for me and hope that someone enjoys the ride with me.