Although I knew that my old plates and bowls needed replacing, I hadn’t yet gotten around to doing it, mainly because of having fond memories of family dinners. The plates were getting a bit worn around the edges, but they still seemed to be usable.

Then I got a ceramic splinter in a finger on Monday while I was unloading the dishwasher. I thought it all came out right away, but something was still in there causing irritation the next day. When I asked my husband to look for it, he couldn’t find anything either. It seems like he got the speck out, though, because the finger is looking better now.

I’ll definitely be going to the mall to shop for new dinnerware—sooner rather than later.

Word-art that says, "Let it go. Something beautiful wants to grow in its place."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

All parts of this story are consolidated on one page here.

Ina stepped on another jagged fallen branch, tearing what little remained of her stockings farther into shreds.

She had lost her shoes in the lake rescuing Mabel, and she hadn’t even realized it until she started carrying the child home. Although Mabel’s family lived very close by, Ina was starting to feel as if she had been walking forever on scratched and bruised feet. No, it had been only a few minutes, she told herself sternly, and she could manage a few more.

Staggering under the young girl’s weight, Ina flinched when a green snake passed in front of her. She couldn’t see it clearly in the long grass. Most snakes are harmless, Ina told herself as she took another step, repeating the words as if they were a calming mantra in her morning meditations. Still, she was glad when the snake slithered out of sight into a tall stand of cattails.

(Photo credit: Jason Dean)

The storm had blown through quickly, and the humid air of early June felt heavy and warm. Wild roses, thick with blooms, gave the meadow a pleasant fragrance that Ina would have appreciated much more if she hadn’t been so focused on avoiding their thorns. The hem of her sodden dress kept getting caught; she’d torn it in several places already. Just one more step now, she told herself, trudging along with her head down. And another step.

When she looked farther ahead for a moment, the little cabin where Mabel’s family lived was much closer. Perhaps Nellie, looking to see where her daughter had gotten to, would notice Ina struggling under the child’s weight and come running to help. Then she would understand Ina wasn’t evil after all, and whatever grudges she might have held would be set aside.

Having distracted herself with a fantasy in which the villagers all shed their prejudices and lived forever in neighborly peace with the witches of the Wild Forest, Ina didn’t even notice when Nellie stepped out of the cabin. It wasn’t until the woman came rushing toward her, with something held high overhead, that Ina snapped back to reality.

“What are you doing with my daughter, you horrible witch!”

Ina blinked, not quite believing what she saw. Yes, that really was a rolling pin that Nellie was brandishing. It was still white with flour from the apricot scones Mabel had mentioned.

Dropping to her knees, Ina very carefully set the little girl down in the grass. Then she backed away a few steps, taking just as much care to maintain a calm and unthreatening appearance. Once, in the forest, she had come too close to a wolf den and had been delighted to see the tiny cubs at play, until she’d realized her peril a moment later and stepped cautiously away. She’d learned not to frighten wild creatures or to get between them and their young; and sometimes people, she thought, weren’t all that much different.

Several chilly, windy days this week left me feeling impatient for warm spring afternoons in the sun. Tomorrow’s forecast does indeed call for warmer temperatures, but rain will be moving in, not surprisingly. Rather than complain about it, though, I may just go out for a jog anyway and enjoy being outdoors, whatever it happens to do.

Word-art that says, "The best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

This is the tenth story in a series. Click here to read all parts from the beginning.

Dragons wheeled and dove in a clear sky, their mouths open as if screaming in anger, but producing neither sound nor flame. Following the flight of the nearest, I turned my head to the left, and something crinkled under my ear. I was just lucid enough to notice it wasn’t a pillow as the dream faded. The thick fur that had been put over me wasn’t exactly a blanket, either.

I sat up, finding myself still on the bearskin (or whatever kind of animal it was) rug in the cabin where I had fallen asleep. Embers still flickered in the grate, but there wasn’t much heat or light, either from the banked fire or from the sun coming through dirty windows. On second glance, the windows were not only quite dirty, but looked as if the streaked and yellowed glass might be hundreds of years old.

When I became uncomfortably aware of bodily needs, that didn’t come as a surprise after last night’s rodent stew dinner. The cabin evidently had no plumbing, and I didn’t see anything that might be intended as a chamber pot. Presumably Ira, being a Sasquatch or caveman or whatever, didn’t mind going outdoors in any weather when nature called.

With a sigh, I reached for my shoes and started putting them on. Ira, who was sitting at the table sewing some kind of white fur garment with a bone needle, gave me an inquiring look.

“I was just looking for a toilet,” I muttered, feeling rather foolish.

After that uncreative sentence came out of my mouth, I realized that I hadn’t been speaking in English. The words rumbled in my throat like Ira’s mysterious chanting yesterday.

Putting aside his sewing, Ira obligingly opened the door, gesturing toward a line of tall conifers just past the snowy clearing. He replied calmly in the same language. “The necessary is over there, behind those trees.”

Photo of trees in winter.

Taking that to mean an outhouse, I stepped onto the porch, shivering a little in the wintery chill. It wasn’t nearly as cold as last night, though. The wind had died down, and the snow was already starting to melt in the midmorning sun. Slush splattered over my shoes.

Had I really slept that long, or were the nights here shorter than on Earth? A warbling melody interrupted my thoughts, and I saw what might have been a flutter of wings behind the nearest tree. No birds were in sight, however, when I found the narrow path into the woods.

Unfortunately, there was nothing as civilized as an outhouse. There was only a shallow trench, half filled in. A heap of dry leaves, some loose dirt, and a rusty shovel provided the bare minimum for sanitation. Not having any better alternatives, I did my business and shoveled some dirt over it. With a little luck, the makeshift T.P. wouldn’t turn out to be the local equivalent of poison ivy.

Turning back toward the cabin, I considered what I was going to say to Ira, now that he had contrived for me to speak his language. If Ira had anything to do with the sorcery that had literally snatched me out of my world, then it was high time he started explaining himself.

Today felt a bit hectic. A required meeting turned up on my work calendar for this afternoon, conflicting with an appointment I then had to call and change, and I had to go out and get groceries before thunderstorms blew in. After my rowing machine exercise late in the afternoon, I still had more work to do. And, after work and dinner, when I sat down to write this post, my computer was crawling super slow.

It’s okay, though. The storms have blown through, the computer is functional (knock on wood), and nothing more needs to be done today, so I’m just sitting here peacefully.

Word-art that says, "One of the best lessons you can learn in life is to master how to remain calm." -Catherine Pulsifer

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

In today’s world, most people are not sailors, and metaphors about anchors tend to be negative. Anchors are things that weigh us down, burden us, and keep us stuck in bad circumstances. We don’t think much about the practical use of anchors to keep boats safe in the harbor. So, when I saw the image below, I thought it was a good reminder that hope anchors us to the future.

Image of an anchor with the word "Hope."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

When I last did my favorite “four directions” meditation, in which I visualize myself turning to each of the directions and asking it what advice it might have for me, the message I got was, essentially, that the world is full of beautiful things and I should embrace them.

I filed that advice away in the back of my mind, telling myself to look around and appreciate beauty whenever I thought about it. Meanwhile, our daughter asked if she could store a few things at our house because she is moving. We told her there was probably enough space, but she should tell us what she wanted to bring. We didn’t hear anything more from her for the next few days.

While we were on the way home from a Super Bowl party, she texted us and said she had brought her things to our house. We were glad to find she had put everything neatly away in her bedroom, except for a large comfortable armchair in a corner of the family room, which never had been furnished with anything except a rocking chair in another corner, as shown here in 2016.

My living room with open wooden blinds on a hazy day.

I always enjoyed the view from the large windows and didn’t want to put anything in the way. Because the corner on the other end of the windows has only a short half-wall separating the family room from the kitchen, there didn’t seem to be enough space to do much.

After so many years, I had gotten used to the minimalist look, but the armchair felt right as soon as I saw it. After putting a flowery blanket over the top to brighten it up, I browsed through end tables on the Kohl’s website and soon found one that matched the chair nicely.

Photo of chair with end table.

The room feels so much more cheerful now, and I smile every time I walk past the newly decorated corner. It’s like an object lesson in appreciating a world full of beautiful things. While I expect our daughter will want the chair back eventually, I hope she takes her time!