Category Archives: Welcome

Spirit Horse Song

Lyrics by Jeff “Reddog” Kirkendall & Dennis “Doc” McCracken

Photo by Dennis Gilbert
Photo by Dennis Gilbert

Vocals by Doc McCracken
Guitar by Bubba Hudson
Recorded by Behind-the-Tack-Shed-Studios, Nashville, TN 2/2/96

Dear Readers & Listeners,
I wrote the foundation of this song when I had been through enough hard times in life to appreciate the fact that facing the truth is not only the-right-thing-to-do, it can also be the most mysterious and exciting.

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The song shares the notion that facing the truth and doing the right thing have an intuitive rhythm. When practiced and done well, you don’t have to think. You sense the mood, act, and experience the quiet joy of the truth setting you free.
This song came in a dream. Bubba captures this quality with his truly fine guitar work. The magic of Doc’s vocals brings the message home.

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To listen, click the black bar “Download File” below.  Then click the download.

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Replies and sharing are greatly appreciated.
Many blessings to you and your relatives,
Jeffery Kirkendall

FIRST VERSE
Come with me; let’s take a ride
On an Arapaho pony called Dreamer
Wrap tight your legs; let loose the reins
Open up your eyes to your Redeemer
Yes, listen to the call of your Redeemer
VERSE TWO
Come with me, on a starlit night
Ride to the edge of all you know
Sacred canyons, whispering winds
Mysteries you’ve yet to know
There are powers you have yet to know
VERSE THREE
Come with me, and I will show you
The light your spirit longs to show
You’ll cry out with passion, and you’ll weep with joy
To find out who you are, you must surrender
Yes, to know who you are . . . surrender
VERSE FOUR
Come with me; take a leap of faith
On this war pony called Dreamer
If you ride with me, I’ll set you free
I’m what your soul’s been yearning for
Yes, I am Truth, your Redeemer
On a pony called Dreamer
The truth is your Redeemer
The truth of Dreamer

 

Voice in the Wilderness

I have prayed with people from wildly diverse faiths, races, and socio-economic groups. I April 2014 023have prayed with people in the midst of some of the most cruel circumstances a family might experience in life. Someone was sexually tortured or terrorized.

Prayer helped. It helped them and helped me.

I have counseled sexually terrorized people for thirty-four years. I have studied the subject, written about it, spoken about it, and even sung songs about it. I continue to create a body of work that will help those who suffer for such sins of others after I have passed on. I continue to pray my way through the challenges.

To stay sane, I walk somewhere in nature every week. It is truly good medicine for me.

The longer I walk, the more distant becomes civilization. As I walk through miles of rolling grassland wilderness, I become more humanly isolated. I can see things coming for a thousand yards in every direction. There is no one to surprise me. I am free and safe. There is only the wind in the grass and nearby meadowlarks calling for my attention.

As I walk, my prayers and movement become a ceremonial ritual. I call it The Spirit Trail. I express my gratitudes, my fears, my pains, and my passions. I ask for guidance in knowing how I might use my unusual knowledge and experiences to do the greatest good for the greatest number.

And so it was recently.

After some time of intense walking-communication, a quiet pleasure came over me. It was accompanied by a growing faith that I would know what to do when it was time to do it.

I came back to grounding when I realized I had a sticker inside my boot. With a smile of peaceful satisfaction, I sat down on the earth to loosen my boot. As I did, I admired the mountains forty miles to the north. As I tied off my boot, I gazed at the snow-capped sacred peaks a hundred miles to the north-east. I then stood and turned my head to the distant mountains in the east. More magnificence.

After a significant pause, I turned around to see the mountains to the south.

I was not alone!

image by pinterest.com
image by pinterest.com

A herd of pronghorn antelope,

ears up, alert and listening,

all looked at me,

me looking at them

for the longest time in the universe.

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I just love it when that happens!

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A Spiritual Goose

I stepped out on the front porch this morning and heard a wonderful sound. A flock of Flying GooseCanada geese, flying in formation, called out as they passed over my humble Northern-Arizona long-house. I smiled of course. I am always touched and uplifted by wildlife. Somehow they give me hope that the beauty of mother nature will endure beyond mankind’s greed and violence.

I was reminded of an experience five, six years ago about this time of year when I was worried about finances and any number of things. I was driving my vintage Chevy short-bed pickup out the dirt road from Apache Wells to the highway on my way to work. Another Canada flock, maybe some of the recent flock’s relatives, were flying unusually low in the same direction I was driving.

As I took a bend in the washed out rocky road, our paths became much closer and parallel. For that relatively smooth stretch of road we kept pace with each other. I had my window down and leaned my head out to feel wind in my face like a blissful hound dog.  To me, it seemed their honking was just for my benefit. I looked the leader in the eye, and I am sure they were urging me to fly on faithfully into the future.

I also remember a goose encounter in the middle of one of my high school football games. We were under the lights on a near-freezing Friday night and getting ready on defense for our opponent’s next play. That was when my dear friend and team captain for that game, Jim The Hangman, called for the team’s attention. As ten of us all turned in unison and looked, we saw Hangman’s arm in the air and his finger pointed to the sky. The moment freeze-framed for me. The steam from our hard breathing poured through our face masks as we all looked to the night sky on cue. Perhaps the crowd thought we were praying.

The honking was distinct, and our entire team smiled as we recognized what it was. Then us tough guys all laughed at realizing what we were simultaneously sharing in the middle of that game. For that precious moment, we were all country boys tickled by mother nature and our own teenage comaraderie.

Good goose memories.

So today, in spite of all national economic indicators, in spite of all the horrendous world-wide challenges, I have just a bit more optimism and wonder for the days ahead, and I would like to pass some of that along to others.

Let us marvel in a wildlife moment together.Canada goose close up

Here is a little spiritual goose for you.

Honk, honk, honk, honk, . . honk!.
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Respectfully,

Jeffery Kirkendall

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Click here to view some more magical wildlife moments.

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Co-Authoring Adventures

Hello. My name is Jeff. I am a recovering writer. I can’t help myself. I just have to write

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

things that I want to remember. Mostly I want to remember the stories. I want to remember what I learned, the people I met, the unusual experiences, and how it all unfolded.

I am regularly amazed and grateful for my life adventures.   I am rich with memories.

Talking about my late wife Carol at the Peregrine Book Company was fantastic. It was like bearing witness, or describing a rare and beautiful phenomenon in nature, or giving a toast to her in front of my peers.

Let me back up.

I belong to the Professional Writers of Prescott. It is an organization and a monthly meeting of local authors, writers, poets, readers, all getting together to share our crafts, learn from each other, and hopefully inspiring one another to keep writing and sending out our messages in a bottle.

Five of us were at the Peregrine Book Company in Prescott Arizona to tell about our Co-authoring Adventures.

Carole Bolinski, who brought us co-authors together, told the audience of her experiences sharing with her brother. Their book of poetry is titled Pearls Beneath The Rind. Bill Lynam told of him and his brother bicycling and mopedding across Europe a decade after World War II. They also “footloosed” their way through South America and back across the United States. His book is Footloose Pilgrims. Connie Johnson engagingly told the story of her and her sister’s collaboration on their book Farm Kids, A 1950’s Wisconsin Memior

Herbert Windolf recalled his precious long-distance relationship with a German woman, whose poetry he translated into English. Herb, an accomplished poet himself, dazzled us all by reading a poem in German and then the same poem in English. His book is The Year Mirrored in Poems.

It was marvelous experience collaborating with these writers, these kindred spirits, holy scribes, keepers of ancient traditions. I had a nice laugh with the audience when I finished my presentation by explaining that I was going to convince my colleagues Carole, Connie, Herb, and Bill to join forces, rent a van, and go on a national book tour of our own.

I know it doesn’t sound that funny the way I describe it now, but it really was cute and everyone in the audience laughed.  As a storyteller and teacher and entertainer long ago, it felt great to be back.

I spoke of my experiences co-authoring the book  Without Consent: How to Overcome Childhood Sexual Abuse with my late wife Carol Jarvis-Kirkendall.  I explained how our writing together was a big part of my decision to marry her. We were great together saving families. easing suffering, and sometimes helping send bad guys to prison. She had my back, and I had hers, and sometimes when people are really good together, one plus one can equal three. Our work has been a healing influence in thousands of lives.

I read my popular story Marriage Decision Vision. (Click here).  I explained that I made a promise to Carol early in our relationship that when she left this world, I would be holding her in my arms. She would know that she was safe and loved and had lived a good life. I told my listeners that I kept my word and that was just how Carol passed.

I thanked everyone there for coming. I thanked Susan Lang for the pleasure of speaking at the Peregrine Book Company. I explained that if anyone in the audience would like to know more about the child on the cover of Without Consent, they needed to read my Indians & Aliens – and unexpected short stories.

I further explained that if they bought both my books that day, I would ride home with them, do a dramatic reading, and stay for dinner.

They laughed. I laughed.

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Met a lot of nice people.

So thank you writers,

and thank you readers.

It was a great day.

 

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Co-authoring Adventures

ANNOUNCINGAuthor photos and more 016

2 pm / Saturday,

January 31st, 2015

Jeffery Kirkendall will speak

at the Peregrine Book Company

In Prescott, Arizona

 

Five writers present their adventures collaborating with a spouse, friend or sibling.  Hear the struggles, conflicts and laughter that each writer experience on the journey to complete a book.  One has to do with developing a transatlantic friendship.  Another is a coming of age experience.

The other authors share about soul-mates finding one another and sibling harmony.  These story tellers reveal how in co-authorship their stories and poetry exceeded what one could have accomplished alone

TO LEARN MORE CLICK HERE.

 

I Grew a Garden

In memory of Carol Jarvis-Kirkendall       April 28, 1937  –  November 20, 2013

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I grew a garden this past year.

It was a first of a lifetime.

Never done this before. Never grew flowers. Never grew anything edible. Never understood how Carol could get so enthralled working her hands in damp earth. Never had that desire myself. Never expected I would.

Didn’t need it. Was doin’ fine without it. I mean “What’s in a flower?” You can buy it all at the grocery store or find a farmer. There’s no profit in a garden.

But she taught me to be open to new experiences.

So in honor of Carol Ann, the woman who inspired so many memorable firsts in my life. . .

and with some help in getting started,

I grew and tended my garden.

It was earth hand-tilled by Carol in the weeks before she passed. She used to sit out there on a cushion using her little hand-spade, digging up weeds and tossing them aside, picking stones and placing them where she thought they ought to be.

She took off her gloves to knead the earth with her fingers. She had hands-full of love for all of life. She tended her gardens with a quiet feminine reverence. She said her gardens loved her back.

Gardens can love you back? I know you men are thinking I am over the edge, but hear me out.

I tended my garden as Carol would have. It was not long before I began to have moments of insight. Like little pieces of a spiritual puzzle, the vision became more clear over the passing year.

I called it a memorial garden. When I tended it, I talked to Carol as she sat in her rocker watching and listening to me. She used to ask me to tell her a story. So I told stories and told her how much I miss her.  I told her how grateful I was that I learned so much from loving her for twenty-eight years.

Well here’s the the thing that really surprised me. I mean knocked my socks off

All this stuff bloomed!October 2014 003

Carol’s Memorial Garden grew sunflowers and snow peas right off the bat.   Ate a lot of peas.  Zinnias took over one side and seemed to just go on forever blooming. Then some weird green thing grew five feet tall, and overnight, burst out with a flower like I have never seen before, and then popped out with eight more, all of them bobbing in the breezes, happy as clams at high-tide. Call them Cosmos.  Turns out both flowers are related to the daisy.

All through those bloomings, down on the ground a vine was growing and stunning me with ongoing hand-sized yellow/orange blossoms.  As it got cooler at the end of the season, I finally harvested two pumpkins for pies

I put a lot of love and reverence into the garden like Carol would have. It was a great experience.  I love the fact that I am still inspired by her influences.

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Of course, autumn had to show up. The food and flowers dried up brown, dead and gone. One year after my beloved’s passing. my garden’s beauty faded and is blowing away with the cold winds.

But check this out. I have placed seeds in envelopes for next year. I am preparing for spring.  She would be proud.  She’s probably chuckling right now.

And yeah, the garden loved me back.

Her Chair
Her Chair

No doubt about it.

Check out the sunflowers.

Weren’t they grand!

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Marriage-Decision-Vision

(excerpt from the forthcoming novel Grace and Dreamer by Jeffery Kirkendall)

Jack was considering asking Grace to marry him.

Photo by Winged Photography
Photo by Winged Photography

During this time of great contemplation, he was driving his truck to the cabin he and Grace were staying in for a couple of weeks of writing. On a little-traveled two-lane blacktop, among the springtime Ponderosa pines, he was startled by a large hawk flying dangerously close in front of him. He put the brakes on and watched as the bird soared up onto a nearby hill and landed at the top of a bare dead tree.

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Jack pulled off the road, and stopped. The hawk was beckoning to him. He deftly eased out of the truck, walked over and slipped through a fence, and then he strode towards the crest of the hill and the old tree and the great bird. As he came close to the bird’s perch, his winged brother tilted his head for a last look, nodded, and lifted off to the east.

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Jack stood still in the light breeze and scanned the valley below, much as the winged one had appeared to do. Then before him he noticed a distinct depression in the earth. It was long and narrow and strangely looked just the size for a human to lay in. Jack had read of an Indian that went on a vision quest, fasting for days while lying in just such a hole on top of a hill. So Jack laid down in the earth.

As he laid there and looked about, he thought the soft natural bed was deliberately located on the hill so that someone lying in it was positioned in an offertory fashion before the sky above and earth below.  So he closed his eyes and opened himself up to a prayer, asking God to guide him in his important life decision.

He was suddenly taken with the image and sense of an old man standing still before him, a man who appeared peaceful and carried a staff. He looked at Jack until Jack realized he had just asked in his prayer, “Should I marry Grace?”  The old man had come with lightning  response.

The old man made a slight gesture with his staff, and Jack had an amazing vision of many attractive and sensual women surrounding him in a public venue.  They showered him with attention and adulation for his many worldly accomplishments. Jack felt some of the  sensations of that vision as it lingered, and then instantly it was gone.

Before him again was the old man. Jack understood him to say. . .

or you can marry this woman and live a life of greatness.

The vision vanished.  The gentle sounds of the birds in the meadow returned.
Alone on the hill, lying in the grass and sunshine and a gentle breeze, Jack sat up and looked across the valley.

He knew . . .

It was true.

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Wild Man – Part 3 – Prayer Place

lightning 1

Even in the dark I could see it.  On previous wanderings I had crossed this game trail with multiple antelope tracks walking south.   On the nearby plateau I discovered their bedding area.  This was a good place to pray, and I knew from experience that unusual things could happen here.

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On my last dawn walk I was approaching this area.  I remember looking ahead into the rising sun.  I could see the silhouettes of a man, woman, and dog.  I could see they were coming my direction.

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As they got closer, the dog stopped, focused on me, then left behind her two-legged friends and came at a full run.  As I stopped and prepared for this greeting, the four-legged came into visual clarity.  To my profound surprise,  I recognized that she was a Bernese Mountain Dog and could have been a litter-mate to my last dog Gracie who died a year past.

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I was impossibly smiling at the “coincidence” of the moment and shared memories of my late best friend with these fellow travelers.  I said goodbye to Sadie, and they continued their trek towards civilization.

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It was on that same morning walk that I first prayed at the antelope trail.  On that day, sitting cross-legged on this now-nightly spot,  after lengthy time in silence, after staring into the rising sun with my eyes closed, I began to return to my physical surroundings.

I said my closure of gratitude and slowly opened my eyes.  I first focused on the swaying grasslands reaching to the mountains.  As I did, I was gently startled by something out of place.  Nearly a mile away, a silver dot moved erratically.

My slowly waking brain curiously watched and began to question itself.  What is that?  Looks like the bottom of a shiny metal can, but it seems to move with the wind.  Yes, it’s light on the wind.  Before the words came to me I was grabbing my hat, glasses were on my face.  I was sure I knew what it was, and I was going after it.

I walked quickly at an angle out in front of its path of travel.  I could then plainly see it was an aluminum foil party balloon.  (This is the point in the story when having read Indians & Aliens would help one appreciate the magnitude of this “coincidence.”)  I was miles from civilization in miles of open prairie, and I was chasing a party balloon, and I was having more fun than a kid kicking around barefoot in a sandy creek.

I was transformed in wonder.  I could see like a child.  Forgetting myself, I began to jog, and then I began to run like an antelope in an easy stride. (The “coincidence” is again connected to Indians & Aliens.)  I was gaining on my prize, lost sight of it, ran, ran, ran, and then caught a glimpse of it as I climbed the incline.  Then, in a breath, ready to reach and touch the balloon, the spirit winds shifted.  Coming up from behind me in a burst, the balloon was whipped away and carried three-hundred feet into the air.

I watched it go higher and farther away, flying north quickly, it was gone from my feeble vision and pitiful grasp.  I slowed to a trot, then a fast walk, and then I stood still and laughed with tears in my eyes.  I was sure that a Holy force and my late wife Carol were behind it all, that I was blessed, touched on the shoulder, and reminded of a great truth I would come to form into words.

I know I laughed with delight that it was somehow an answered prayer.

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On that place where I prayed that morning, I prepared to pray at night.

I eased myself down and sat cross-legged in a ring of Chino grass.  I placed a tobacco offering on the earth in front of me and I faced the wind.  Rain trying to turn to ice formed needles stabbing my face.  My hair blew loosely behind my shoulders.  Thunder and lightning exploded before me.

I sat at the foot of a dark earthly stage.

I began to speak in my prayerful manner.

“Thank you spirits of the grasslands for hearing my prayers, carrying them to the spirit winds, to the nation of clouds, and Creator.”

“You know me. I am a small man, a mere two-legged, a dreamer. I come to you again, to sit before you and learn to become a better man. Once again, I seek the greatest good for the greatest number. Guide me. Show me the way Great Spirit.”

The winds came in bursts and the rain sporadic. Rumbling thunder from beyond the mountains. Distant bolts of lightning back-lighting the mountainous clouds.

“Send me a message. What work am I to do?  Is this wild man part of it?”

My mind blank, I drifted in and out of the sensations of whipping winds and random rain.

Then I heard something nearly-foreign near my ear.

I sat perfectly still and listened.

Amidst the cacophony of wind all around me, a tiny and fragile sound was unmistakable.

“But it shouldn’t be here. Miles to water. Mile-high desert conditions.”

“Could it be a mosquito?”

My left hand took a swipe at it.

I sat still. It came back, trying to get into my ear.

It buzzed. I swiped. It came back. I swiped.

Forgetting my prayer, I focused on the mosquito. Then I stood up swiping. The storm began to quickly intensify. I swiped some more. The rain came harder. Bigger drops. More force.

I stopped my antics and hurriedly closed my prayer.  I turned towards the village and began to make my way back in the dark.  I confess I felt some element of fear that I had overstayed my time with the growing storm.

The wind was directly behind me and pushed me with each stride towards where I had started my walk. Large, heavy rain drops hit me in the back of the head like a giant hand drumming its fingers on my noggin out of boredom.

I was ashamed that I lost my prayerful time to something as insignificant as a mosquito.

I walked briskly, and because my shoulders ached, I shrugged them up and down and around in circles. I swayed my hips back and forth to loosen them up, and I then concentrated on walking safely on the path. The longer I walked, the more exhilarating the journey. The wind at my back encouraged me. My body relaxed, and I felt lighter.

I smiled and chuckled out loud. Upon reaching the gate, I turned and leaned back against the fence line, both arms up on the top rail. I looked back to where I had just come from.

“Thank you! I am blessed this day!

Thank you! But what does mosquito teach me?

And what about this wild man?!”

There were answers.

I just did not know what they were . . .

yet.

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Wild Man – Part 2 – Spirit Trail

Spirit Trail.  I arrived at sunset, locked the truck, placed a small flashlight in Setting prairie  sunmy pocket, and hooked my water bottle on my braided leather belt. Across the grasslands Mingus mountain rose up to an imposing cumulus cloud bank.  Lightning crackled and broke the length of the range.

Folklore names the full moon of July the thunder moon, and thunder rolled from the far mountains to the meadow in which I stood.  In the nearly extinguished light, the land trembled.  I could see from the flatland where I stood to the first distant rise in the trail.  That was where it seemed the curtain of storm was drawn across the landscape.

The only lightning in the area was over the mountains miles away. I was drawn to this place on this night, the phase of the moon, and the threatening conditions. I passed through the gate and began my journey.

The lights of the village behind me, the rising full moon before me was totally eclipsed by the thunderheads. I wondered if the batteries would last for the return trip.

I walked as I had become accustomed to walking in the wild lands, by talking out loud to whoever listens in such places.

“What do I do next? I have a landslide list of stuff to do every day.  I have people I love who need help. I have strangers who need help.  How do I do it? Huh? I’m going crazy over here trying to take care of some people’s needs, people suffering for no good reason!  How do I do it?  I need some some direction!”

I calmed a bit as I walked.

“Could you send me a sign?  How about a spirit animal with a message of wisdom and great abundance?  Or a burning bush maybe?”

Having been face-to-face with unexpected  animals in the wild, I had momentary second thoughts, . . especially when recalling the creature from my dreams.  That is what brought me here.  The dream of the wild man crept around the periphery of my thoughts..

To shake off the fears and doubts I moved in to my usual hiking ritual, . . talking myself through the Serenity Prayer. Some times it requires verbal wrestling to get through it.

“Higher Power, God, Goddess, Creator, Great Spirit, Yahweh, whatever Your Name, you know who you are.  You know who I am.  I hope I have my bases covered.”

“Please grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change.”

Walk, walk, think, walk.

“I mean if it works out that you can help me with this, I would be grateful!”

Walk, walk.

“I tend to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and my shoulders hurt, and I need a rest.”

Walk, walk, think.

“Also, please grant me the courage to change the things I can change in the world. Yeah a double dose of courage for that. I have learned some things that can help victims of terrible crimes against humanity. Well you know.”

Walk, walk, think, walk.

“It is no surprise to you of course, I want to share what I have learned in a way that helps those innocents who suffer for the sins of others. , etc. etc. You get my drift.  You been there from the beginning!”

“You know sometimes I think nobody wants to hear what I have to say! Can you help with that? If so, I would greatly appreciate it.”

Walk, think, walk, think, walk.

“Also, please help me with the wisdom to know the difference between what I can and cannot change. I don’t want to hit my head against a wall or spin my wheels or waste anybody’s time, most importantly my own.  I am a grandfather! I’m getting old.  I should be retired and writing my memoirs.”

Walk, walk, walk.

In the darkness quietly, my voice became more relaxed and reverent.

“Hey, you’re an infinite being of infinite understanding. I’m counting on you havin’ an infinite sense of humor.”

Walk, walk.

“Sorry about the whining.”

Walk, walk, walk.

“You know my heart.”

Walk, walk, walk, walk.

The sun well-set and well-behind me.

Lightning crackled above the mountains ahead.

Thunder and moon hid

behind mountains

of darkly curious clouds.

I stopped thinking

walked silently

to

the storm.

 

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