Home

Photo Credit: outsidevan.com

I’ve lived in the same place my whole life, but I’ve never realized how beautiful it is until recently.

Maybe I just didn’t notice it before or I wasn’t old enough to appreciate it, but lately I catch myself staring up at the mountains.

It has been raining a lot lately. On my drive home, I noticed that the north-facing slopes are so much greener than the south-facing ones.

But Dad says this isn’t supposed to happen. South and west-facing slopes are usually the greenest, at least where we are, because of sunlight and rainwater, he explained. The south-facing Topa Topas are just dry because of their rocky terrain.

I’m not sure why even still I think of the fire when I’m admiring the mountains. Maybe it made me appreciate them more.

The trees still seem like skeletons to me. They are black and withered and don’t really fit in with the bright grass that’s growing in. They used to be so much greener. But at least they are still standing. I’m thankful for that.

There isn’t really much to do in this sleepy town, especially after having been here for sixteen years. But despite that, I can’t think of a better place to have grown up.

Advertisements

I picked a rose today

I picked a rose today.

It was beautiful and perfect, so I tore it off its stem.

I ended its life to improve mine.

I liked seeing it in my hands,

it’s symmetry and beautiful color.

I picked it; it was mine now.

I carried it around with me,

I started thinking.

What if I was this rose?

Minding my own business,

fulfilling the fate mother nature gave to me.

Happy, growing, thriving, sitting on my stem,

then along came a girl.

She broke my neck.

She tore me from my home.

What did I ever do to her?

I think the Earth got mad at me.

Its leaves started to wilt and turn brown at the edges.

The bugs living inside started to crawl on my hand,

almost like a plead for help.

“Why did you take our home, leave us destined to die?”

I think the Earth got mad at me,

I think I deserved it.

After carrying it around for a while, I set it on a tree and left it.

I picked a rose today,

it was beautiful and perfect, so I tore it off its stem.

I could have just left it,

let it be.

Let the bugs live in its center.

Let the Earth run its course: the rose would continue to grow,

it would later begin to wilt,

it would eventually die.

It was destined to die eventually, but not the way it did.

If I had left it, it would have died with the other roses.

It would have raised numerous families of bugs.

It would have fallen to the ground decomposed and continued the cycle it was destined to do.

Instead, I picked it.

It will now die on a tree

away from the other roses.

It will die far sooner than it should,

start to wither away from being separated from its stem.

And why does it come to this fate? Because I was selfish.

I could have left it,

enjoyed it’s beauty from afar.

But no,

I was selfish.

I wanted it for my own.

It could have been enjoyed by many more people,

but instead it lays withered and rotting on a tree, slowly dying.

I picked a rose today,

I ended a rose today.

 

Photo Credit: jacksonandperkins.com

 

One Year

One year ago I remember clearly.

I had my guitar on my shoulder, leaving the warm dorms to trek across the chilly campus to my weekly music lesson, but the air was different than usual.

Everyone was huddled outside, talking as they saw smoke in the distance and hues of red burning in the sky that felt so distant at that moment.

“Are you really going to your lesson right now? There’s a fire,” my friend asked me.

Of course I would go to my lesson. It was my favorite part of Monday nights. Plus, the fire was nowhere near us, nothing would happen, and nothing would change.

Oh, how I was wrong.

Everything changed.

Photo Credit: pbs.org

Yet, so many things stayed the same.

One year later, I’m getting ready to go to my Monday night guitar lesson.

I have a new guitar, but it means so much more now. I appreciate it more now.

I’m still in a dorm room, wondering what I’ll be getting for secret snowflake tomorrow.

But I’m in a new dorm room, with a new roommate, on a new part of campus.

I don’t have the same clothes I had a year ago. The same photos, yearbooks, or blankets.

But, I have the photos I’ve taken since then.

My stuffed animal and All Time Low pillow I saved from the fire.

I still have the memories of the fire.

The ones that haunt me.

The ones that bring me to tears thinking about what I lost, what my friends lost, and what the whole school lost.

But, the memories remind me of how I became a stronger person since.

How my friends became stronger.

How the school became stronger.

How the county’s stronger.

More united.

More appreciated.

I still remember the day I returned from Christmas break and stepped on to campus and moved into the new dorms.

Being welcomed by overwhelming support, welcome back goodie bags, and hugs from my friends.

Seeing my horse for the first time since the fire and knowing he was safe and healthy. That all the other horses were safe.

The fire was so destructive, so horrible, but so many things came out of it that I’m more thankful now for than ever.

It’s been one year and I’m still sensitive to the scent of smoke and fire, to the sound of news about other California fires on the TV.

But, one year later, the mountains are a little greener.

My home is still stronger than ever.

And that’s the most beautiful thing of all.

A Collection of Quotes

From motivateamazebegreat.com

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Gandhi

“He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears.” — Michel De Montaigne

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” — Albert Einstein

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” — Confucius

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” — Mary Engelbreit

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” — George Bernhard Shaw

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” — Viktor Frankl

“If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap. If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a life time — help someone else.” — Chinese proverb

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” — Helen Keller

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” — Stephen Covey

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.” — Sigmund Freud”

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” — Joshua J. Marine”

“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” — Henry van Dyke

“I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.” — Corazon Aquino”

 

I am not Sad

I assumed things I shouldn’t have.

I thought it was a date.

But, I’m not sad it wasn’t.

I am just a little disappointed.

 

I thought about my outfit for days.

I planned everything out, down to the perfume I was going to wear.

But, I am not sad that I did that all for nothing.

I am just a little disappointed.

 

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

We were supposed to drive around and do stupid things in our cars.

Instead, we sat in your truck and watched the sunset, talking for hours.

I am not sad I spent that time with you.

I am just a little disappointed.

 

The way we talked was not how friends talk.

The things that were said were clearly more than friendly.

But, I am not sad it meant nothing.

I am just a little disappointed.

 

I blabbered about us hanging out and me having feelings for you.

Then I asked if it was a date and if you were into me and all I heard was you weren’t over your ex.

I am not sad.

I am just a little disappointed.

 

I know you need time and I understand that, but why did you let me believe that there was something between us?

I am sad that you flirted with me.

I am disappointed that she is still in your head, but I understand.

(I’m calling dibs when you’re ready)

A Red-Hot Reminder

There is another wildfire.

It started in Thousand Oaks, which is about an hour away from here, and it’s already taken 10,000 acres of land.

Photo Credit: cdn.cnn.com   (Thousand Oaks)

I try not to let it trigger me; I try to see it as one of the many catastrophes that have become a norm in our lives. But, I hear the wind blowing through our mobile dorms, that we’ve lived in since the Thomas Fire, and I can’t help but remember.

I remember it all. I remember the red cloud rising up behind the hills. I remember the dorm meeting we had, how they told us that the winds weren’t blowing our way, that we were safe. I remember having to evacuate in the middle of study hall, leaving nearly everything behind without even realizing that it all would be gone the next day. I remember finding out that our campus caught on fire. I remember not being able to leave the house without a smoke mask for days and it always looking like the sun was setting. I remember staring at that bright red sun, hoping for our clean blue skies to come back.

I don’t want to be dramatic. It could have been so much worse. But, being reminded of the fact that so much is gone and will forever remain gone and that, right now, there are people going through the exact same horrible thing, isn’t exactly pleasant.

Maybe I’m being oversensitive. Maybe I should be realistic and move on. Eventually, I will move on, but not quite yet. For now, I’ll be sitting on my bed, trying to tune out the wind pressing up against my window, staring at my packed bag in the corner.

Photo Credit: accuweather.brightspotcdn.com    (Thomas Fire)

Time Flies By

When I think about May 31st, 2019, I think about what I’m leaving behind when I walk across the amphitheater to get my high school diploma.

I’m leaving behind the campus I’ve called my home the past four years, the classes where I challenged myself and found my passions, and the teachers who helped me find those passions. I’m leaving behind my friends, who I won’t see at breakfast every morning or go on camping trips with anymore.

These last four years weren’t always easy. As much as I’ve loved them, they were some of the most challenging years of my life. But, one thing made life away from home just a little easier to manage and it wasn’t my teachers or friends.

It was my horse. A bay, appendix quarter horse named Time who I’ve been riding since my freshman year. My family always asks me what I’ll miss the most about OVS when I leave and the answer is always the same: Time.

When the Thomas Fire came on December 4th, 2017, I panicked as we were evacuating on the bus thinking my horse wasn’t going to make it out alive. I cried myself to sleep, despite the constant reassurances. Over the summer, I ended up crying again when I went three months without riding and, more specifically, without riding Time. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I have to say goodbye to him during the last week of school knowing that it’ll be the last goodbye. Knowing hat I won’t be getting back on once summer is over. Knowing that one day, towards the end of May, I will untack for the last time and possibly never get back on him. That, the following September, he’ll get a new rider and I’ll be at a university in a completely different city. I hope that rider loves that freaking horse as much as I do, though. Sometimes I wonder if that’s possible.

So many things happened the last four years with Time by my side. I went with him to my first horse show, on my first horse camping trip, my first dressage clinic, and my first injury, which he gave me after he threw me off at said horse show. Even though I got a fractured back, the story was still funny and memorable.

Photo Credit: ignant.com

I can imagine leaving OVS and going off to college, but I can’t imagine leaving Time. I can’t imagine my school day not consisting of me going to the barn at the end of the day and getting on him whether the lesson ends up going well or not. I wish I could take him with me to college, but it’s probably not possible.

Last Friday, my aunt and uncle came to watch me ride. “I don’t understand how some people just let go of their horses or sell them,” my aunt said. “They’re pets too.”

Time may have not be mine legally, but he is mine. At least, I like to say he is and, at least, many other people thought Time was mine before I told them he wasn’t. But, he is my horse. The horse I’ve ridden for all of high school and the animal I’ve developed a bond with.

I’m not ready to let Time go, but I’ll have to and I will. Even if it might be one of the most painful things I’ll ever have to do.