The Point of the Highland Thistle

“The Point of The Highland Thistle”

At the Vernal Equinox, the Scottish Highlands have always yielded before their Dark and Mercurial Sky, who once again is forced to endure Lady Spring’s conspicuous and gaudy arrival.

As She approached, the curmudgeonly Sky, turned and peered into the distance, greeting her only with silence.

Lady Spring, irritated by the tepid reception and the Sky’s obvious lack of deference, gazed disapprovingly upon the Highlands and its dull and dreary pallor.

“The only signs of life are these prickly Scottish thistles that rise from the snow,” she said, while she tugged at her robe which had become entangled in it’s thorny stalk and was refusing to yield. Frustrated, she removed the robe and tugged as hard as she could, pulling the whole plant from the soil, whose sudden release caused her to fall backward onto the ground; her robe now completely covered in thorns. “I’ll banish them too!” she shrieked as she stood up, angrily casting the robe aside.

With great pomp and flair, she twirled her hands in the air and ordered the darkened clouds and unruly winds to cease their wintry assault, casting them out into the open seas. She then summoned the Sun who failed to reply. She jumped in the air, loudly repeating her demand and this time the Sun responded and began moving sunlight towards the land. Cold, she reached for her thistle-covered robe, mumbling about ridding the Highlands of this prickly nuisance.

The Sky, who was watching in awe at the folly of her performance, found himself unable to resist and mocked Lady Spring, “Once again you appear in the Highlands, uninvited, and wave your arms about, looking ridiculous. You arrogantly presume that you rule this realm and in furtherance of your silliness, you insist on repainting the Highland’s serene and wintry landscape with your whimsical palette of color.”

Lady Spring replied, “And once again, you, dear Sky, ridicule me and stand in my way. The Seasons have grown weary of quarreling with you and wish an end to your child-like petulance. You seem to forget that you are only a simple vessel that contains the desire of each Season, so remember your place and do step aside.”

The Sun, noticing that the clouds had fled, finally arrived, and at the direction of Lady Spring shone upon the Highland’s frozen landscape awakening the frost-covered grasses and seeds, who were most eager to rise from the soil and bring forth their brilliance of color.

The Sky, now vexed, summoned back the darkened clouds and unruly winds, who gladly yielded to his call and furiously spread vast blankets of snow and ice; spitefully covering the landscape and Lady Spring with the most colorless shades of gray and white.

The Clouds; roguish and detesting Celestial order, barred the Sun’s radiance by stubbornly cleaving to one another. The Sun was then forced to shine upon the soil elsewhere; thus, denying the Highlands their warm and rejuvenating light and further frustrating Lady Springs’ most ardent attempts at painting the countryside in colors so vibrant and bright.

The Highland Sky, whose patience had long since waned, furiously spoke to Lady Spring. “A vessel indeed!” he snarled, “Remember this day, for like the Great Highland Thistle, I will never give yield to you or any other!”

Lady Spring, fearing further wrath from the tempestuous Sky, wisely fled the Highlands and sought refuge within the vast expanse of the Heavens. The Seasons of Summer, Fall and Winter were watching and quickly agreed that they would have nothing further to do with the harsh Scottish Highlands, leaving its fate in the hands of its maddened Sky.

The Sky was pleased that all was well and right again. For the Highland realm tolerates only the heartiest of souls and will mercilessly drive away all who are less worthy.

The Sky then motioned for the clouds and the winds to abate, graciously allowing the Sun’s rays to return and shine upon the land, melting the snow and bringing pleasant weather and tall green grasses to the Scottish Highlands.

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The Diary of Francis Kelley

The Diary of Francis Kelley

It was after midnight when I was sent to one of the city’s many parks. The main building was a favorite target for vandals and a neighbor had seen someone moving in the shadows. I parked nearby and approached quietly. The large, square concrete structure was dark inside, the outside dimly lit from a nearby street lamp.

I listened for the sound of movement; nothing. Suddenly, to my right, someone jumped from the roof and landed about 8 feet in front of me. He appeared to be about 18 and was staring at me; terrified. In the time that it took him to leave the roof and hit the ground, I had drawn my Glock .40 caliber pistol and had it aimed directly at him, center mass; my finger firmly on the trigger. Oddly, I remember my breathing, it was calm and measured. Time had stopped for us and I was experiencing tunnel vision like never before; complete focus.

As the seconds passed, the tunnel vision began fading, moving outward. I started hearing the surrounding sounds of life again; crickets and a humming noise emanating from a street lamp. Then the sounds of nearby traffic returned.

I asked him his name and lowered my pistol. He apologized for being up on the roof and said he had no idea that I was even there. I believed him. I thanked him for being calm and staying still and he thanked me for not killing him. I walked back to my cruiser and he walked home. I sat in my car, amazed and thankful that this didn’t end in disaster.

To this day, I have no idea why I didn’t pull the trigger.

The Diary of Francis Kelley