Tag Archives: nature

TWS: Family Time

Colorful bouquet

I had a lovely day yesterday. I drove up to LA to visit my daughter, SIL, and grand baby. It was my first “official” visit to their new condo, so I brought flowers (pictured) and a few other goodies. My daughter made lunch ~ she’s such a good cook ~ and we all hung out for the afternoon. I stayed longer than I planned to because it was hard to tear myself away from the baby. She’s walking all over the place now and babbling all the words. It’s just adorable!

Driving home was tiring… over an hour in yucky late afternoon traffic. I planned to do some work and catch up on blog stuffs last night, but my eyes wanted to close. I put on Crazy People starring Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah, which was mildly funny, and zoned out with that instead.

I know that memories of yesterday with my family will keep me smiling all week!

Written for Trent’s Weekly Smile.

~*~

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Questions from Carol Anne

Autumn leaves

My lovely friend Carol Anne has given me some questions. They’re associated with her Liebster Award. Congrats on your award, Carol Anne, and thanks for thinking of me! 💖

My 11 questions to you my nominees are:

1. Can you swim?

I know the basics, but I’m not a strong swimmer, and frankly I prefer to stay on land and gaze out at the beautiful waves.

2. Pepsi or coke?

Coke, please.

3. Snail mail or email?

Email is less wasteful.

4. Do you enjoy traveling?

No. Shocking, I realize. Everyone loves to travel, right? Well, I do enjoy experiencing new sights, attractions, nature, etc., but the expense and inconvenience make it a net negative for me. Travel is very costly unless you go by car, split the cost of gas, have people to put you up at your destination, yada. Or go camping, lol. Then there are all the migraine triggers for me that happen from noise, light, discomfort, etc. Also, there is my ongoing back/neck pain. Not to mention I don’t like leaving my kitty for more than a couple nights because I miss him too much! 🐱❤️

5. Snow or rain?

I’m from the East and honestly I miss the idea of snow but not the reality of it. Snow is beautiful and fun, if you don’t have to be anywhere and can bundle up and take a lovely walk. Rain can be romantic if you’re snuggled indoors with your sweetie, or a kitty and a good book, but again not if you have to drive in it. Since I’m in California, land of perpetual drought, I welcome any and all precipitation! Of course, we always get the “wrong” kind, in the “wrong” place, so they tell us the drought goes on…

6. What is one of your favourite quotes?

Life is short; eat dessert first. 🧁

7. Are you a glass half full or glass half empty sorta person?

Depends on the day.

8. What is your favourite flower?

Sunflower. Or tulips!🌷

9. If you could give your younger self some advice what would you say?

Go to Northwestern (in high school)! Stop dating insane men (in the 1980s). Buy tech stocks (in the 1990s)! Sell the tech stocks (before the crash). STOP DATING INSANE MEN. 🙄

10. If you had one superpower what would it be?

Repelling insane men.

11. Favourite book?

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Tied for second place: Where I’m Calling From (short stories by Raymond Carver) and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (short stories by Haruki Murakami).

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

The Daily Grind [socs]

Coffee grinder and cup

I don’t mind

The daily grind,

The sameness of days

Blending one into another.

I don’t scheme

For a change of scene,

An adrenaline rush,

The crisp crackle of change.

I’m at peace

With dawn in the east,

The rhythm of hours

Until dusk purples the sky.

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

An Honored Guest [fiction 541]

[This is a multi-part story. If you’d like to read it in order, follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth]

Girl looking out to sea

Everything was grey: the sky, the rocks, the sea. Liana’s mood was similar, though she told herself to be grateful she was alive. She’d survived a series of frightening incidents, but she was so terribly lonely. Her family and friends were gone, swallowed up in the hungry flames of the volcano. Tears trickled down her face as she prayed for their souls. Her home island would likely be a pile of rubble now. Liana had been spared though, along with the baby she carried. Ken’s baby.

The pirate warrior who’d rescued her had brought her before his Queen. That same day, another group of their pirate brothers had captured a ship laden with silks, coins, and jewels. The Queen had declared that Liana was also a gift.

“She is a daughter of the Storm God!” the Queen shouted to her people. “She has brought us good fortune and will remain our honored guest all her days!”

Fruit platter

Female servants helped Liana, weakened from her ordeal at sea, to bathe and dress. She was given scented oils and fine clothes. Trays of delectable foods were set before her, along with cups of juice and wine. Her room overlooked the sea and faced west, so the rising sun did not disturb her slumber.

Surprisingly, she was allowed to do as she wished. She slept as much as she liked, ate whichever foods she fancied, and had all her needs attended to. It felt strange not having any work to occupy her days, and she began to explore, taking long walks alone and learning about the new plants she encountered by bringing back a sample to show Sura, her maid.

There was no way off the island of course, and even if Liana could manage to steal a canoe, where would she go? Still, as she gazed out at this grey morning, she knew this place would never feel like home. Home was love and smiling faces and coconut bread made with berries that didn’t grow here. She placed a hand on her belly, starting to swell now, and felt heartbroken for the baby who would only know this harsh place as home.

“Liana!” Sura called to her from the end of the beach. “A ship has returned. They have prisoners!”

Liana didn’t want to see prisoners, but Sura was motioning to her. “Hurry! The Queen wants everyone to thank the gods.”

Sighing, Liana accompanied Sura to the royal garden where five men were bound to poles. Some were too badly injured to stand. Liana shuddered and looked away as one caught her gaze. The doctor should be helping them, not standing to the side drinking wine. A surge of disgust rose up in her and she ran around the corner to retch in private.

She felt Sura patting her back. “Here, have some ginger juice. It will help.”

Liana sipped the juice as Sura patted her neck with a cool cloth. “Thank you.”

“The Queen will be so pleased,” Sura said. “You are giving her yet another gift.”

“What am I giving?” Liana straightened and gazed at Sura who was smiling confidently as a glass wing butterfly landed on a lily.

Sura pointed to Liana’s belly. “Your baby. The grandson of the Storm God!”

Glass wing butterfly

[to be continued]

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ43: Genes or Jeans?

Fandango provocatively asks…

“What do you believe, when it comes to people’s traits and personalities? Are they primarily formed and shaped by nature or by nurture, as defined above? What about your personality? Nature or nurture? Please elaborate.”

I encourage peeps to visit Fandango’s post to get the full flavor of his question. Plus, he’s just fun to read! 😻

My opinion is that everything is genetic, meaning nature, but that nurture has some influence over what may be expressed or suppressed. For example, regarding my purrsonality… my parents never said they were “loners,” but neither of them had tons of friends, and both enjoyed spending a lot of time alone. My dad spent a zillion hours reading by himself, and my mom always had some solo craft project going on. I am the same. Sure, I could have learned to be this way by observing them…

But let’s take my daughters, raised by me, observing how I operate. One is similar to me and the other is quite different ~ what you would term a “people person.” She’s friendly, gregarious, outgoing, warm, and open to new people. Doesn’t really seem to enjoy spending a lot of time alone. Huh.

I say this stuff is hard-wired.

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon

Autumn Is Upon Us

Autumn leaves

I used to always say my favorite season was autumn. I love the fresh start to a school year, the Jewish holidays, cooler temps, Halloween, fall colors, cute boots, yummy pumpkin everything, early dusk accompanied by splashy sunsets, etc.

But then for a brief while I began liking summer better. Long warm days. More fun. Sundresses and sandals. Music outdoors.

Sunshine flowers butterflies

I’m fickle however and have gone back to fall. Throwing boring old summer under the bus. Tired of the relentless brightness. Ready for darkness; it’s good for writing. Wanna wear my corduroy jeans and big cozy sweaters. Wanna drink mugs of steaming tea and munch sugar cookies. Cuddle up in a blanket and read about sexy heroes…

In a comfortable chair reading a book

FFS, I meant to shovel the prompt words into this babble. It was really the only point of starting a post. 🙄 Oh, I have sun, yayyy. Stuck in bus. Hard to concentrate because I stayed up late watching Breaking Bad. And I will do it again tonight ~ this is my second viewing of the series, and I’ve forgotten a bunch in the past 10 years. What a kickass show it is.

I have gotten into the habit of bingeing when I love a show and why not? Makes it more fun imo. Anyway, I’m super stoked for the BB movie, which is what motivated me to begin the series again.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

The Shark’s Tooth [fiction 728]

[This is a multi-part story. If you’d like to read it in order, follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues

Captured]

Shark

Liana watched in horror as Ando and his boat were swallowed by the ocean. Ray pointed to a fin in the distance. “Lunch.”

Naturally, the shark would be attracted to the area as the blood leaking from Ando’s wound spread through the water. At least he was already dead, or so Liana hoped. Ray had flung that knife accurately.

“Monster,” she whispered as the murderer leered at her, the white bones painted on his shaved skull gleaming in the sun.

“No one can save you now,” he said. “The commander won’t know what happened out here.”

Drastic action was called for, but Liana hesitated in throwing herself overboard as she’d planned. There were more sharks circling where Ando had gone down. Some were headed this way. It was one thing to imagine death by shark, but quite another to confront the reality.

Ray lunged across the boat at her as she prayed for guidance, and she instinctively put up her hands. But she couldn’t fight him off; he was like a wall of rock. She grabbed onto his ear, pulled hard, and something came off in her hand. He cursed and jumped back.

Liana scrambled around him to the other side of the boat, hoping to find another knife. Ray stalked after her, holding out his hands to show her his bloody fingers. “You will pay,” he snarled.

Desperate, she picked up a small wooden box and threw it at him. He laughed and caught it with one hand, but something bumped the boat and he lost his balance, slipping over to the side. The boat rocked again, much more violently, and Liana held on tightly while Ray kept sliding further and ended up overboard.

“Help me!” he yelled at her. “Throw me the rope. You’ll never survive out here by yourself.”

Liana looked over and saw a rope coiled around an anchor. She didn’t want to be responsible for the pirate’s death, but she knew he had intended to kill her after he used her. As she thought about what to do, a great shark surfaced, flaunting its power. A few seconds later Ray screamed. Then a swirl of red bubbled around him and he was beyond help.

Shrieking, Liana locked gazes with Ray while his dulled and blanked out. The shark’s maw opened again, like the pit of Hell, and Ray was gone. A small circle of red decorated the calm azure sea, belying the horror show beneath, and then it too faded as the boat drifted west.

The afternoon darkened to night, and Liana sat frozen, unable to make a sound or attempt to steer the boat. She resigned herself to a death at sea: her punishment for abandoning her loved ones to the volcano. She accepted this lonely cold ending, nature’s justice, and hoped she would be reunited with her family in Paradise.

But morning came and she still floated along intact while the sky turned apricot. Her skin was shivering and dry, flecked with salt. Her eyes burned from lack of sleep. Her mind was numb with terror. The boat bumped up upon a sand bar. Liana sat there unmoving.

When the sun was past midday, another boat appeared. It was the commander, his face still painted with red and black claws. “What happened here?” he barked. “Where are my men? Get out!”

Liana sluggishly obeyed him, her limbs shaking from lack of sustenance. She gazed down at the sand at her feet.

“What’s in your hand?” he said.

Liana realized her fist had been closed all this time. Slowly, she opened her cramped fingers.

“Ray’s shark tooth,” he said. He crossed his arms and glared at her. “You killed him. He would not have abandoned his boat. Ando is dead too, I presume? Perhaps not a gift from the gods, but instead a sea witch!”

She didn’t have the energy to explain, so she simply nodded. Black dots appeared in her vision and oh there was her bed on the sand now–how did it get here? No matter. It was soft and warm, and Liana collapsed to sleep.

When she awoke, she lay on a cool marble floor. Voices. Smells. Food smells. She was terribly hungry. And so very very thirsty. The thirst compelled her to sit up and see if there was water nearby.

“Bring her,” said a female voice.

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Captured [fiction 798]

[This is a multi-part story. If you’d like to read it in order, follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues]

Rainbow

As the painted warriors surrounded her, their faces and bodies marked with fierce death symbols, Liana knew terror for the first time in her twenty years. She wished she had perished in the volcano’s flames with the rest of her people; it would surely have been preferable to this horror. She had escaped nature’s wrath only to jeopardize the life of the baby she supposedly carried at the hands of strangers.

The largest warrior approached her, black and red claws painted in slashes across his forehead and cheeks. His eyes glittered in the glare of the sun.

“This is warrior’s ground. Women are not allowed on Scorpion Rock,” he announced in a slightly unfamiliar language, but Liana understood him.

“It was an error,” she said. “I humbly beg your forgiveness. I was lost and then the storm came.”

“First, a murmuration,” he said.

“Then a lightning storm mid-morning,” said another.

“Comes a rainbow,” a third joined in.

The large warrior held up his hands to the sun. “And then the goddess appears.”

They all stared at her.

Liana stayed silent.

“How did you get that canoe?” the first one asked her.

“I don’t know,” she lied, since she didn’t know if the truth would help her or make things worse. “I seem to have no memory before today. I awoke floating in a boat in the sea and it drifted here.”

“She knew to tie it out of sight,” one muttered, his shaved head painted with white bones. The leader gestured, and the men huddled together and spoke low among themselves. Liana couldn’t make out their words. She knew her outcome rested upon this conversation however.

The sun beat upon her as she waited for them to finish deciding her fate. Sweat trickled from her head down her neck and between her breasts. She felt conscious of the thin fabric of her light dress, the one she’d been wearing for three days now, ever since the morning she’d brought the coconut bread to Benji, the blind oracle, and he’d urged her to leave their home island. She remembered the beautiful waterfall on her lost island, where she liked to bathe. That was where she and Ken had first…

The warriors separated and resumed their aggressive stance, surrounding her, spears stabbed into the sand between their thick legs. From their impassive faces, Liana could not tell what they had decided to do with her.

“We will take you to our Queen,” the large one said. “She will decide if you are a goddess or an imposter. If the gods have sent you to bring us luck, you will be kept safe and treasured. If not…”

Skeleton Head laughed and licked his lips. His eyes were bright with an unholy hunger that gave Liana shivers in the sunshine as his dark gaze traveled up and down her body.

“Ray,” the warrior in charge said to him, “you will take the girl back in your boat. Ando will go beside you in her canoe.”

“Yes, Commander.”

Liana tried not to show fear as Ray moved eagerly toward her. Of course, now that her luck had turned all bad, she would have to travel with him. She’d rather try her fate with the sharks. As he roughly grasped her arm, she decided she would dive off his boat at the first opportunity.

The commander spoke again. “She will not be harmed. In any way.”

Ray nodded as he pulled Liana along. His fingers dug painfully into the flesh of her upper arm, despite the warning. They arrived back at the beach, and he pointed to his boat. Wordlessly, she got in, seeing no other choice at the moment. Ando appeared with the tiny canoe Benji had given her.

As the men rowed out, Liana watched the warrior island grow smaller with the tide. Unlike her home island that had flamed out dramatically when she had left it, this one merely faded from view. She glanced over at Ando, but he didn’t look at her. In contrast, Ray leered at her nonstop, which was making her feel sick. Liana was not accustomed to either hostility or lechery and didn’t know how to cope with such vile behavior.

Nausea roiled up from her belly as his gaze stayed on her until Liana was forced to lean over the side of the boat and retch. When finished, she drank from the flask of water at her side as Ray smirked, his grin menacing in that tangle of painted bones.

“Goddesses don’t get seasick,” he said. He picked up a knife, and in one smooth movement, stood and flung it in the middle of Ando’s back. The other man softly slumped to the side, unbalancing the canoe, which tipped over and disappeared.

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Liana’s Journey Continues [fiction 510]

Rock formation on sand

[Due to the wonderful positive response to The Murmuration, I’ve decided to continue Liana’s story. Please read the linked post first, if you haven’t already. Thank you.]

Liana had an innate sense of direction, but when she’d paddled away from home, torn with grief over the fate of her loved ones as the volcano consumed the island’s only town, she had lost sense of time and space. If the night had been clear, she could have realigned her canoe with the stars, but a thick covering of clouds had blacked out any light. Helpless, she let the waves carry her where they would until dawn broke on the curve of the Eastern sky.

In the early light, she realized she was far from the destination island Benji had told her was safe. That was a sister island, one they had traded with for oil and cloth. It was now two days away and the clouds were still heavy, barely allowing the sun to peek through. Liana was afraid to turn around and double back through a storm.

There was a tiny island coming up. She had no knowledge what it was like or if the people would be friendly. Benji had told her she was carrying a baby, Ken’s baby, but how could he know that? He was an old blind man who babbled silliness… except he had been right about the volcano. What if he was right about the baby too? A cannon of thunder rolled through the air as if it were Benji warning her again from wherever he was now.

Liana felt duty bound to be extra careful, since she and the possible baby were the last survivors of her island people. She quietly drifted to the tiny new island and tied her canoe in a thicket of trees. As she began to cautiously explore the seemingly deserted island, the threatened storm broke through and poured down in sheets as lightning spiked the skies.

Flinging herself under a rock formation, Liana waited out the storm, hoping she’d tied her boat securely. Within a few minutes, the skies calmed and a subtle rainbow formed. She took that as a sign of good luck until she stepped out from the rock’s protection and realized what it was.

“Scorpion Rock!” Liana gasped. She’d ended up on one of the warrior training islands. This was where the pirate gangs came to train. She had to leave immed–

Except there were three warrior boats coming toward her now. The men had seen her and were pointing. One stopped rowing and dove into the water, swimming powerfully to the beach.

Liana turned and ran. Surely, she had time to dash across a few hundred yards of sand, untie her boat, and get lost in the maze of islands, maybe even make it to Fiji before her supplies ran out.

But as she approached the trees, three more warriors emerged. They formed a semi-circle around her. Liana glanced over her shoulder. The swimming warrior was 50 yards away, and his two companions a couple hundred yards behind him.

All she could do now was pray for a quick end. The volcano’s flames didn’t seem so terrible in comparison to this.

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

The Murmuration [fiction 680]

Sunset with murmuration

When the starlings blot out the sun, in a black thundercloud of ten thousand

The young folks smiled and danced on the beach. They were used to the blind man’s crazy talk. He was so old now that he had outlived his children, and none of them had had children. He was all alone, with his bowls of shells and beads.

That’s when we must leave! Leave the island quickly! Make preparations…

“You don’t think Benji actually knows anything, do you?” Liana asked her boyfriend as they cuddled on a blanket.

Ken laughed. “Nah. He’s been saying stuff for years. Said a great wave was gonna swallow us up back when my sister was born fifteen years ago. And here we all are.”

Liana relaxed and drank more wine. “Okay. I guess he’s just sad he has no family.”

“Yup. So, he tries to get attention through his nutty omens.” Ken kissed her. “Don’t think about that stuff anymore tonight.”

She didn’t. But the next morning she visited the old blind man at his hut. “Benji, I brought you some coconut bread. I’ll put it on your table.”

“Thank you. Come over so I can touch your face.” Benji sat on his customary mat, facing east, with his bowls in front of him.

Liana sat close enough so he could touch her. He lightly pressed his fingertips against her cheeks and eyelids. Then he nodded.

“I was thinking about what you said last night,” she told him. “There are a lot of birds in the sky this morning.”

Benji took a bead out of the bowl and licked it. Then he held it aloft. “It has begun. No one listened. Feel the earth.”

“I don’t feel…” Liana stopped talking. There was the slightest hum underneath her through the mat. “What is that?”

“Fire,” Benji said. “Would you like to leave? I have a boat. Or we can stay and join the gods.”

Liana stared at him. He sounded so calm. But at his age, maybe he no longer cared that much. “You were trying to save us all last night! You sounded different then!”

“I did what I could.” He shrugged. “Now, it’s just you, because you came here with your bread. You must choose, but quickly. The sky is darker, is it not?”

It was. The cloud of birds had doubled in size since Liana had left her house. “But my family! Ken… his sister…”

The ground shook and Benji stood up. Liana took the hand he offered and walked with him to the tiny boat he had tied behind his hut. He’d already stocked it with provisions. “You were waiting for someone to help you because you couldn’t go alone?”

Benji didn’t reply as Liana pushed the boat into the water. “Get in now,” she told him. “We’re all set to row out.”

“No,” he said. “The boat is for one. You will tell our story, Liana. You will tell it to the baby you carry. Now hurry away. There will soon be ten thousand birds.”

Liana looked up and saw the cloud had doubled again. She paddled away from the island, the only home she’d known. What if Benji was wrong? She would now seem like a crazy person running away in a canoe! And what baby? She stopped paddling and put a hand on her flat stomach. Sighing, she drank a little pineapple juice.

But as she drifted into deeper water, she saw the volcano erupt and her island home turn into an inferno, flames shooting into the sky hour after hour. And she knew that no one would survive. Benji had been right and nobody believed him. They’d all gone on dancing and drinking while he tried to save them.

As dusk fell, the fiery island turned into a red dot while Liana’s destination island grew closer. She didn’t know what sort of reception she’d find there, but she had no choice now. The black cloud had blotted out the sun and there was nowhere to go but forward on.

[to be continued]

~*~

Written for the Daily Echo

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.