Sticks

I saw the word ‘imaginary’ scrolling through the Daily Prompts looking for inspiration.  I’ve not written much recently and I’ve noticed that my fingers haven’t met keys in some time.  I’ve realized that I’m not always going to talk about my problems on here.  I’ll keep it light and jovial when I feel the need to crack a smile or two.  SO IMAGINARY it is.

When I saw this word a memory came to life in me.  I envisioned a time when I was quite young, perhaps eleven or twelve.  I used to be obsessed with sticks I’d find out in the woods.  What boy wasn’t?  I would pretend they were futuristic laser blasters and while alone in the forest on my parents’ property I would pretend I’d be running head first into battle – plunging myself into a great war where the odds were always against me.

Cartoons have always been a big part of my life.  I can say that I probably watch more cartoons than I do live action shows.  I’m a 35 year old kid and not ashamed of it.  Among some of my favorite cartoon shows was X-MEN.  You know, the original from 90’s.  It was on every weekday after school at 3 or 3:30 PM.  I loved that show.   After watching an episode I’d promptly head outside.  Mostly because I had to.  My mother would say to my siblings and I, “Your father doesn’t want to see you sitting on your dead assess.”  Colorful, but as an adult now, especially with the increase of media, I get it.  So, again, I’d head for the treeline.

Once outside my imagination would ignite.  At times I’d find a good sized stick.  More like a branch.  One that was slightly taller than I, preferably with no bark.  If I had to make alterations it was no bother.  All part of my master plan.  This was my staff.  A staff of great power and majesty.  I could summon anything with it.  I could devastate anything with it.  I was almighty with this staff.  I’d rapidly blink my eyes to create special lighting effects for explosions I’d cause with my staff.  My mouth would attempt to conjure the sounds in sync.  I’d venture deeper into the woods.

Sometimes I’d test my strength.  Often I’d just grab a stick off the ground and swing it like a baseball bat squarely at the side of large solid tree.  My goal was to snap the stick in half and, if I did so, feel good about it.  I’d jeer and brag like I was taunting an opponent or a crowd.  Maybe even flex a little if no one was watching. Occasionally one of my sticks would outsmart me. The result of me whacking said deceiving branch against a tree would result in a rattling vibration that would travel through my hands and arms causing some funny discomfort.  That’s usually when I’d stop proving my might and just accept being second best.  Resorting to pushing over dead trees would prove a better (and safer) altenative.

I grew up on 26 acres of land seated in the Swan Creek Region of Swanton, Ohio.  My parents’ property is made up of mostly thick forest that my dad mowed a good long trail around with his Kubota.  I have good memories of growing up and part of that was being able to spend time in the trees.  One day the imagination faded and my trips into the woods became less and less.  Fighting battles and ruling the world gradually turned into sneaking out to smoke with friends.  Funny how things change.

 via Daily Prompt: Imaginary

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The Road I Want Less Travelled

I’ve not had a home in Vermont since last October.  I intentionally gave up a room that I was renting in Hyde Park because I knew that my life was about to enter a major transition.  I was getting married that October.  My wife is a Quebec native.  We’ve been together for five years now.

The plan was simple: I give up my home, move my stuff to Canada, file for immigration, and keep my job in Vermont.  No problem.

I drive back and forth between Quebec and Vermont every week.  Its two hundred miles one way.  It’s almost three and half hours to get from point A to point B.  I work for an organization called Laraway Youth and Family Services as a community support and residential staff.  I work during the day with youth and then I do two overnight shifts at one of our residential homes.  It’s a pretty sweet gig.  Laraway has been good to me.  I get up early on Monday mornings in order to be on time to my meetings.  The drive is long, but its become second nature anymore.

Today, five months later, I feel like a drifter.  A vagabond of sorts. I’m in my car so much.  I drive back to Quebec on Wednesday evenings after work and I usually arrive at “home” around 7 or 8 PM.  From there I’m off Thursday through Sunday.  It sounds great, right?  During those three days I’m in Vermont I get my forty hours.  I’m lucky to have four days off.  I usually need it.

You may ask why I put “home” in quotation marks.  HOME for me is Quebec (although, I’m originally from Ohio).  I love it there.  My wife is there.  But, on the other hand, I don’t feel fully settled in yet.  I’m always in between.

When I’m in Vermont I’m dependent on a busy schedule.  When I’m not working I’m looking for places to go and things to do.  These days I spend my downtime at McDonald’s drinking coffee and tinkering around on my laptop.  I go to parks and take walks.  I’ll visit some friends and play cards.  There’s a local cafe I enjoy going to by the border that gives free refills on hot tea Newport Natural Cafe and sells delicious baked goods.

My permanent residency application is all filled out.  We’re just waiting on a few things to come in the mail that need to be added to the application package.  Once mailed it’s the waiting part that’s the hardest.  Processing time is generally close to one year.  It’s possible that I won’t be a permanent resident until next summer.  Border agents have told me that once the immigration forms are mailed I can quit my job and stay in Canada while I wait for my visa.  But I don’t know.

Someday I’ll be settled in Quebec and actual feel like I’m part of it.  Despite having a wife, my possessions, some friends and family, there are days where I still feel like a visitor because I know I’ll just have to pack up and leave again like I always do.  I try my best to keep those thoughts out, but it can be difficult to do so.  It’s not all bad though.  I like Vermont, I really do.  It has a lot to offer and the scenery is gorgeous.  Yet, it’s just hard to feel a sense belonging at times which can really do some damage to one’s mental health.

This is only temporary.  I know that.  Despite the hardships, the driving, the challenges, the drifter status, whatever, I’m committed to the bigger picture.  LOVE keeps me in the driver’s seat.

via Daily Prompt: Temporary