aequoris // chapter 1

aequoris

I have been working on this story for a few weeks now, considering how to write it and how the story should flow. I would love your thoughts on this first chapter.


Chapter 1

“She loved the sea…
She liked the sharp salty smell of the air, and the vastness of the horizons bounded only by a vault of azure sky above.
It made her feel small, but free as well.”

– George R. R. Martin

 

She had no memories of a time in her life where she had not spent the morning hours by the sea, her toes buried in the damp sand, the salt spray from the waves covering her face. It was just proper for her to make her way down the hill from her great grandmother’s home to the wooden walk that sloped over the dunes and lead down to the water’s edge – as proper as tea in the afternoon and a bite of sweets before bed. Even as a young child, no one had stopped her from going to the beach, so long as she was accompanied and remained vigilant about the ocean’s rules.

“Never turn your back to the waves without a proper goodbye,” her mother would say, staring out at the churning sea. “The sea takes that as a great sign of disrespect, and it will crash over you and take you down into its depths without another thought. She is old, older than all of history, and she demands that that one form of respect be honoured.

“Should you ever find that you have dishonoured her, an offering must be made before she takes matters into her own hands – the best offerings are pieces of art, any art, that are filled with your thoughts and emotions and come from your hands. Paintings, jewellery, drawings, pottery – anything from your hands is worth more than one thousand words to the sea. Take the offering to the calmest spot on the beach and gently ease it into the water. She will take it.” Her mother had created many offerings for the ocean, whether she had wronged her or not.

“The sea holds firm to our souls, Cora, and she will call to us when she needs us home. No matter where you are, return to the sea as quickly as possible if you feel her tugging on your soul. You will know the feeling. It is gut-wrenching, it is this terrifying need to step into the waters, to feel the sand beneath your feet. Come home when you are called, Cora.”

She had left her family’s small island, one summer during her junior year of high school, and had gone to visit an old friend in the mountains. She had never been away from the island for very long, partially because her mother had not been able to keep herself away due to an illness that she had had from birth – however, Cora had made the decision that she would travel the world, spend as much time away from the island as possible so as to not become like her mother. During that summer, Cora had the most terrible dreams – dreams of tsunamis and hurricanes and animals washing ashore. There were no landlines where she was, and cell phone service was spotty at best; when she finally arrived home, the news reached her before she set foot on the pier. Her great-grandmother, her best friend in all the world, had passed away. When she opened the door to the home where she had been the youngest of four generations of women, her mother greeted her with stormy eyes.

“Why did you not answer the call?” her mother asked. Cora had no answer, and so the silence stretched between them across years. Her mother firmly believed that had Cora come home, the matriarch of their small clan would have lived many more years. Even as she sat on the beach, her toes buried in the sand as they had been years before, the silence had not been broken.

“Our lives, our existence, is contingent upon our relationship with the sea.” Cora had always thought her mother meant that they relied heavily on the fishermen that lived on the island and supplied the few families, including her own, with food. She had never considered that, perhaps, there was more to that simple sentiment than she thought.

Cora was no longer welcome on the island, though the other families that resided there would not have denied her access to her ancestral home. Her mother, however, refused to see her – and so, because she had chosen to leave the silence and the anger and the resentment behind, Cora found herself living in a small seaside town surrounded by waves on one side and forested mountains on the other.

As atonement for refusing to answer the call to return home, she spent much of her free time creating art that she would send out to sea on makeshift rafts lit by lanterns in the dead of night. It was cathartic to watch as the light from the lantern bobbed and dipped perilously on the waves only to be swallowed up and taken down into the depths of the sea, taking the art she had poured her soul into with it.


☽ ✰ ☾

victoria

2018 bullet journal setup

For years, I have considered creating a bullet journal – for organisation, for creative expression, for quotes and lyrics and pretty much any little bit of ephemera that I might find inspiring – but, I hadn’t made that final leap until just recently. I started out with a simple graph paper notebook, mostly because I had it on hand and was unsure how interested I would be in the overall concept of the bullet journal. Well, I fell in love.

I left the notebook behind and purchased a simple soft bound MiquelRius journal through Barnes and Noble (link) – it is 300 sheets/600 pages, regular grid paper, and is just magical. It doesn’t have any bells and whistles (no ribbons, no pocket – but I changed the latter concern with some scrapbooking paper I had laying around).

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I haven’t been very creative recently – whether with words, paint, or light – so stepping into this world of bullet journals has sparked something within me. It was exactly what I needed.

For now, I will leave you with some detailed photos of what I have created in my journal thusfar. <3

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☽ ✰ ☾

victoria

decisions…

Many things have been happening, both within my head and heart and within our home. I made the choice to have a solid place that is my own, for my writing and my art. I will still have Desert Starlight, and we will still be doing our Waldorf Inspired homeschooling – and I will continue to host the forest and the sea, but this blog is my personal space where there is no need to document lessons or to focus on growth and personal development or exploration. This is a place to share my writing, my art, my passion.

Perhaps this choice comes from years of blogging dysphoria, a feeling of never knowing if what I am working on, what I am blogging about, is worth it and always trying to find my niche. Who knows? Perhaps it is because I am finally working on getting myself organised and I feel like my personal life and my professional life should be separate – and, regardless of how I feel at any given moment, writing and art are my professions.

So, here we are. I am hoping to get a schedule set up for blogging on all three of my blogs more regularly. I may do dumps on the homeschooling blog because that is primarily for documentation, but I hope to keep this one and the forest and the sea as regular as I can. Please, bear with me as I figure things out and get things in order.

arela and the symbols of wisdom

My dreams for Bran and Bryn have always started with the Alphabet… I have struggled with how to present the letters, what order, stories…. but here I am, offering this first chapter of The Symbols of Wisdom…


 

Once upon a time there lived a brother and sister, named Bran and Bryn, who lived in a cottage surrounded by a large forest. Down the hill from their home sat a quiet and cosy village, and beyond that was a great ocean. The elders of the village told stories of a Wise Woman that lived on an island across the sea, who protected a lantern that kept light in the world. They said it was her wisdom, which was gained from her many travels, that kept the lantern alight. They also said that one day, there would be a storm that covered the earth and would threaten the lantern. Bran and Bryn spent hours listening to the stories told by the elders, including their Nana.

So it was that one day, after listening to Nana tell a story, the siblings set out to the forest for their own adventure. They chose to take a different path than usual – instead of heading straight into the forest, the children took a side path that would lead them along the fence of Old Man Afal’s orchard. As they rounded a corner in the trail, they noticed that a tree had found it’s way off of the orchard and across the path. There, on a top branch, sat a beautiful owl. There were no leaves, or blossoms, or apples on the branches (which saddened the children, as they had hoped to find at least one to snack on as they walked), only the owl – she watched as the children walked by the tree, placing their hands on the trunk in respect.

Before they reached the final bend in the path that would take them into the forest, there was the soft sound of wings and air behind them. Bran turned first and saw that the owl had taken flight, but could not see it – when Bryn turned, and both children were facing the tree, a young woman wrapped in a red cloak (the deep colour of fresh apples) appeared from behind the trunk. She held out her arms in peace and greeting to the children. The children began walking toward her, slowly until they stood a few feet away. She leaned down and smiled at the children, her eyes as wide as an owls and feathers in her hair.

My name is Arela and I come from far away, across the ocean. My mother sent me to find something that she has lost. Have you seen anything strange in the forest recently?”

After a moment, Bran said, “There were those strange lights in the tree tops the other night. Nana said they must be a Star Sounds because it sang a beautiful song that put us to sleep. They were going over the forest to the Faraway Hills.”

Ah! That sounds exactly like what I am looking for!” The woman smiled and clapped her hands. “I must find these Stars and put them back in the Lantern. Would you two like to help me?”

Of course!” The children said in unison.

Arela led the children away from the bare apple tree and into the forest. Beyond the edge of the trees, the path split into three directions and she stopped, unsure of how to proceed. “Which way should we go?”

Bran took a moment and held up his hands over the paths. “To the right!” He said as he ran down the path. Arela and Bryn followed soon after until they all reached a meadow, and in the centre of all the smaller trees stood a large Yew. There, at the base of the tree, was a tiny flickering light.

Is that a Star Sound?” Bryn asked, pointing at the small light. Arela strained herself forward, trying to hear something from the meadow.

No, it is not a Star Sound, but it is the first piece of the puzzle of what my mother lost. Shall we greet it?” Arela stepped into the meadow and up to the Yew tree – she placed her hand on the trunk in reverence, her eyes closed, her ears against the tree. “Yes, you have a special tale to tell us. Please, speak.”

The flickering light grew and soon appeared as a small person, no larger than Arela’s forearm, and she had shimmering yellow wings and a yellow dress.

I am eternity
I am rebirth
I am protection
Learn from me the resilience of time,
For as I have lived thousands of years,
I know that there is more than this meadow
And this land.

The Faerie touched her hands to Arela’s face and shrunk back into herself, leaving only the flickering light. The yellow light flared once more before winking out of existence, leaving Arela and the children alone in the meadow.

I don’t understand…” Bran whispered, holding Bryn back from running to the tree. His little sister looked at him in confusion. “What was the tale? What did that little light have to do with what your mother has lost?”

She held within her a special Symbol of wisdom and power. Here, look in this book,” Arela removed a book from her cloak and opened it to the first page. There, drawn with care and attention to detail, was the letter Y. In her hand was a small branch shaped just like the letter in the book. “There are twenty-six Symbols, including the Star Sounds whose light powers this lantern. My mother made a mistake one evening – she trusted a traveller who robbed her of the symbols. In order to right that wrong, she sent me to collect each Symbol. The thief’s trail led me here, to this forest.” She handed Bran the branch letter,”Place this in your satchel for safekeeping.”

Why would someone steal the Symbols?” Bryn asked as he put away the branch. Arela shrugged her shoulders and looked skyward.

My mother has many theories, most of them bleak and dire. There has been a storm looming on the horizon for some time, and she believes that above all else, the Symbols were stolen to appease the storm and hopefully stop it from progressing. Unfortunately, it has not.”

We have not seen anything like what you describe,” Bran said, crossing his arms. “How do we know you are not the thief?”

The thief let the Star Sounds loose, he scattered the other Symbols across this land in an attempt to hinder my mother from righting the wrong. Were I the thief, I would have no reason to harness these Symbols again.” Arela’s explanation eased the children’s hesitation, and in silence they followed Arela from the meadow and continued down the path.