tales of a traveller

Schooled

Overheard at the Pilot Travel Center near Holland MI off I196.

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I’m seated in the Arby’ s area of the truck stop. Stylishly dressed, maybe 40ish mom with a 9-10 year old son sits down nearby so she can drink her coffee and check her phone. Kid is not in school because of a doctor’s appointment. He looks grumpy. I, as always unintentionally, hear this (paraphrased as closely as I can)

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Mom- “Oh honey, grampa wants to know what kind of phone you want for Christmas. I know you said you didn’t want an iPhone, but you didn’t say what brand you want instead.”

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Kid- (small groan)- “I didn’t say I didn’t want an iPhone. I said I don’t want a phone period. I don’t want a stupid phone.”

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Mom- “But honey all your friends have phones. You have to have a phone! How will you talk to them?”

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Kid- “Easy. Like this. ‘Hi! How ya doing?”

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Mom- “Dear, what did I tell you about sarcasm? Honestly! I mean, don’t you want to have what your friends have?”

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Kid- “My friends have bugs in their brains. I don’t want THAT.”

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Mom- “They have what? Bugs in their brains? Honey that’s not a good thing to say. Why would you say that?”

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Kid- “Because that’s how they act. They can’t sit still, they won’t shut up. Always interrupting. I have to hide when I want to read a book or Jacob and Hawksley (?) drive me crazy. Like I’m reading here shut up already but no!”

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Mom- “Well you need to have a phone. I need to be able to get a hold of you.”

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Kid- “Mom, when I’m not at school the only time you’re not with me is when I’m in the bathroom. You and dad and like ALL the adults grew up without cell phones. I don’t want a phone!”

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Mom- “I’m not with you all the time! Do I go to your friends houses with you and sit around with you?”

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Kid- “ So if you need to get a hold of me, call my friends. They all have phones.”

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Mom- “Look honey, I know you like your ‘alone time’ but you don’t want people thinking you’re anti-social.(another groan from kid).Just give me a good reason, just one, why you’re against having a phone.”

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Kid- (exasperated theatrical sigh) “Mom! Last time we had this conversation you said the same thing! And I did what you told me! I printed up all my reasons with links to multiple articles supporting my position! I put it right on your desk! You didn’t read it!”

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Mom- “I didn’t see it on my desk. And I’ve been very busy with work. You know that.”

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Kid- “ Mom, kids in Bangladesh.. ”

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Mom- “I know I know. They don’t have phones. Not everybody’s parents..”

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Kid- “Mom, do you know how they recycle consumer electronics?”

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Mom- “I’ve seen the drop boxes.”

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Kid- (does a pretty decent incredulous look)- “They’re bought in bulk. By the shipping container. And sent to places like India and Bangladesh, where pollution laws aren’t as strict or enforced. Where kids my age break them up with hammers to get at the gold and copper and other heavy metals. Then they melt the plastic over open fires to get at the rest.Those kids, kids like me, not only do they not go to school, they spend all day breathing toxic fumes and getting exposed to dangerous elements.”

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Mom- “What does this have to do with us buying you a new phone?”

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Kid- ( mouth falls open) “Uhm, there’s only just so much resources in the world mom. And like ALL the people in the world NOW can’t even live like WE do, not because they’re poor, but because their aren’t enough resources. These stupid phones don’t even last a year! How? Why?”

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Mom- “Honey, technology advances. At a remarkable rate.”

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Kid- “So why can’t technology make a phone that’s upgradeable and lasts ten years?”

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Mom- “ Well I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a reason.”

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Kid- “Yeah. Greed.”

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Mom- “Honey, I know it’s trendy to play at being a socialist, but your grandfather IS getting you a phone.”

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Kid- “Fine. I’ll just give it to the battered women’s shelter.”

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Mom-“What? Why on earth would you do that? What would be the point?

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Kid- “That’s on your desk too. Yellow folder.”

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I tell you what, if that kid doesn’t sit in front of a mirror practicing that eye roll, he’s naturally scary good at it. Then again, considering his interactions with his mom, he gets lotsa practice.

A traveler stops to rest in a small village at the edge of a forest. All through the night, he hears rustling outside the inn, and the sound of mysterious creatures creeping among the trees.

The next morning, he asks the innkeeper about what he heard. The other man nods sagely. “Ah yes, the wood is dark and mysterious. The village has many stories, but to find the truth, you’ll have to ask the trees themselves.”

So the curious traveler packs some bread from the inn with his belongings and starts off into the forest. The ground slopes down, down, and the underbrush thins out but the canopy gets denser. The darkness is soothing like deep water. Here, there is no rustling–just a heavy silence.

The traveler spends the first night nestled in the roots of an enormous oak tree, and when he awakes, an acorn has sprouted into a robust sapling where it fell on his coat. His second night he spends in a ring of mushrooms that weave his dreams with light and song. His third night he crawls into a hollow log that smells sweet with decay and smoky with the memory of a long-ago fire.

The forest is strange and unnatural, but it does not seem threatening. The traveler speaks to the trees every day as he walks but they do not answer. Still, he knows that they listen. His path is laden with sweet fruit and herbs, for he runs out of bread quicker than he would like.

Finally, on his fourth day of walking, the traveler comes to a stump in the center of a large clearing. The earth around the stump is obscured by layer upon layer of dry, dead leaves, and the boughs overhead form a continuous ceiling. A hatchet sits embedded in the stump. As he approaches, the traveler sees the letters of a hundred languages engraved in winding script around the handle of the hatchet.

“What is this place?” the traveler asks, half to himself.

A soft voice emanates from the hatchet. “You seek the secrets of the wood, and here they lie. Ask what you will.”

So the traveler asks his questions. The hatchet weaves a story of enchantment and legacy, of the people who once lived among the trees and the people who now live alongside them, of the slow, even breathing of the forest and everything within it.

At the end of the hatchet’s tale, the traveler speaks up once more. “I was told that the trees themselves would tell me their story. Who are you, and why are you the one who holds these secrets?”

The hatchet chirps a little laugh. “As for why, that is too long a story for even me to tell. But who am I? I am the lore axe, and I speak for the trees.”

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(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIB8_rdvWjs)

RELEASE DATE for Tales of Alethrion Season One will be March 30th! Check out the trailer here! High Fives!

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First Webisode of Tales of Alethrion is out!

Mikkel Mainz will do a YouTube LIVE Q&A in half an hour, Watch the webisode and come and join the LIVE event! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsRwnOJ2A7Q 

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10

Time for some Scotland photos! It was seriously difficult paring my photos down and picking just a handful to post (I took 1100 photos just in Scotland!), and I’m still going to have to break them up into two posts!

It was cold and wet pretty much the entire time we were there but we still got to do so many amazing things! Edinburgh is an incredibly gorgeous city; every street looks like something out of a fairy tale, particularly the idyllic Dean’s Village (last photo). It might sound strange, but coming from Texas, I was blown away by just how GREEN Scotland is. And there’s flowers everywhere. Lots of thistles particularly, including some the size of my friend’s head- no joke (second photo). We walked the Royal Mile, visited Holyrood Palace (the ruined abbey there is beautiful), Edinburgh Castle, The World’s End pub, Elephant House Cafe where JK Rowling wrote most of Harry Potter, and of course had to make a pitstop at the print shop, or its exterior at least. 

Next post: the Highlands!

The Tale of The Three Sisters

…who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight.

Though the sisters shared a name, they did not share a heart.

The eldest sister had a dark heart. 

She relished in cruelty and pain, in the power it gave her.

The second sister had a rebellious heart. 

She believed in love, hoping it would grant her the freedom she was desperate for.

The third and youngest sister had a wise heart.

She was strong, but reserved, and knew when to be silent.

There were once three sisters who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight.

To be continued…