Re-loo, Re-loo

Guys. I KNOW it has been approximately 800 years since I’ve posted anything here, but I am going to ignore that fact and instead of telling you what I’ve been doing lately, I present one of my Projects With Bug. This particular one occurred last week when the weather decided to not be kill-yourself freezing and was only face-numbingly cold. It was the first day of spring, actually! First we went to a little place called Coe Lake and walked all the way around it through wind and woods. Bug, who has more knowledge of the place than I, set out for the most interesting trees for posing in.


Then it was on to deeper parts of the woods, along the way noting  a seagull skull, which prompted Bug to ask why the likelihood of finding dead things goes up whenever I’m around…  My theory is that there are just a lot of dead things in the woods, and if you are always peering intensely at the ground– as I do, in my search for feathers, antlers, cool sticks et cetera– you are going to see some.(Except, despite my recent, obsessive best efforts, I haven’t been able to find a single shed antler… *claws the walls* WILL OUTSIDE PLEASE BE CLEMENT I NEED TO LOOK MORE)

Anyway, we found a bunch of cool fallen trees and climbed on them.




Then we ventured onward into town, and around to the criscross bridges hidden behind some of the buildings.


On our way out of there, Bug found another interesting tree, but had some trouble climbing into it…


She eventually succeeded.

Also, we both became simultaneously taken with the brick wall across the street. Bug understands me, man.


The last bit of our tour involved the stone steps where we avoided the stares of college kids and chilled out under the pines.



On our way back, we plotted out some hopes for future, hopefully warm-weather adventures… Islands of ruins and broken glass and geodes, days around the lake, and of course, ever more time spent tromping through field and forest. I. Cannot. Wait.


And that one word pretty much sums up my past couple of weeks. But first (well, second? I have no idea what I’m saying), it reminds me of riding in the car with Eliza…

We are at a stop light, Eliza in the driver’s seat and me riding “gunshot” (as Bug called it). I stare out the window (as I tend to do), and just as we pull away I say, “Woah.”
Eliza: “What, the car behind us?”
Me: “…Nope.”
Eliza: “The dark sky?”
Me: “Nuh-uh.”
Eliza: “What, then?”
Me: “There was just… a super attractive guy at the red light.”
Eliza: *side-gawks at me*
Me: “What?! I didn’t mean to say ‘woah’, it just came out. And I mean… It was true though.”
Eliza: “Well, what did he look like?” (still gawking at me the way you would gawk at, say, a goat wearing spectacles and reading the paper)
Me: “He just had, you know, the face. And the hair.”
Eliza: “Wow, Pen, very descriptive.” And we both laughed.

On another car ride down a two-lane road, a truck passed us by too close and Eliza grumbled, “Road hog!”
As I shook my fist, laughing and imitating her, she said, “I’ve never said that before! It just came out!”

Speaking of driving, I have renewed my efforts in trying to drive officially. I used to have this fear that once I had my license, I would be forced to drive to this distant suburb at night, which would be really creepy. But then, for some reason, I kind of had a driving epiphany the other night that night driving is actually fun and the creep factor is all in my head and also, I am capable.

And also also, I want a car. (“I could be the walrus. And I’d still have to bum rides off of people.” –Yes, I have that whole little monologue memorized. Because I basically want to be Ferris Bueller… whenever I’m not wanting to be Jane Eyre, Sherlock Holmes, Captain America, or some other  awesome character.) (Also, why are all my favorite characters guys? Are there just not that many cool girl characters, or have I not seen the right movies?) (I mean, even the Black Widow… She’s awesome, but I never can imagine myself as her, you know? It’s almost like she’s too cool. Agent Carter is a little closer, but even then, she’s so… shooty.) (I am not shooty. I am shield-y. If that makes any sense.)

Anyway, yeah. Cars. Driving. Vroom. I kinda lost my train of thought.

Now I completely can’t remember what I was going to tell you about? The Dublin Irish Festival, aka a sunny haze of green and food and music and hanging out with Bug? Maybe. Or was I going to talk about how I am finally filming a video thing and maybe sometime eventually when I have got enough shots of bedraggled, sun-spangled flowers it will be done? Or how a tree was cut down in my neighborhood and now there is a big blank spot on my horizon and it weirds me out and makes me panic that one day the distant oak tree that I look at through my eastern window will be cut down too and then I will lose my mind because all the other trees around here have those round, suburban palmate leaves of blandness?

I don’t remember. Clearly, I am in one of those moods where I just want to go on and on about everything in the whole entire world ever.

But I shall not. Because I shall go to work on finishing my book. (“To finish my book,” the DHFs always say in a Bilbo voice.) And also just plain go to work.


Turning over a new leaf

Today, I jumped in a giant leaf pile. It was one of the highlights of my life so far. I mean that.

You see, I was at the DHFs’, where there are lots of big trees in the big backyard. Poor Bill made them rake the other day, and so they raked all the leaves into a ginormous pile in the middle of the yard, and left it there. Then we went outside this afternoon and decided to jump into the pile. But once I was in, I would not get out (except to make another running start of course). Bug and I were totally enthralled. I mean, I have not had the nice childhood experience of leaf-diving. This pile was soo deep and wide, we buried each other in it. We threw leaves in the air and into each other’s faces. We had leaves all over us and tangled in our hair (I still haven’t gotten them all out, actually…).

It was glorious, quite simply. Glorious.

Yours till the pin oaks,

I just saw a cool spider. random. as is this post.

So, I feel like posting, and I would post about GS camp and how hilarious Val is etcetera, but I don’t really feel up to it right now. Meh. I will say a few short things about it, though, namely that Val and I made a very funny rendition of “Oh My My My” that my mother may put up on Youtube, and also me, Val, April and Mandy did some kind of dance to this song about California and Val was the rapper dude and her breakdance was just… priceless.
Also, we were all having one of those late-night conversations where everything is really sincere and honest and philosophical, and they had some good thoughts…. Mandy said, “I don’t want to be called hot or cute. I want beautiful.” So then we talked about why beautiful has so much more meaning behind it, and how the others are really just one thing– hot is just describing your looks or your body, cute is just describing some kind of mannerism or maybe the way you do your hair. But beautiful encompasses your whole person, the way you look and act and talk and walk, your personality and just really your core being. Beautiful is just a lot more of a loaded word, one that actually means something when you’re called it.

Well, that seemed all profound at the time, but now that I write it out it seems like something they would put in a cheesy girl-power book. Blehhhh.

In other news, my tomatoes are finally turning red, now like five a day turn and my grandma picks them for me. I am about to get the last of my onions. My humongous sunflowers (they are too big to be called huge, so I had to use humongous… Ginormous would work too) have heads as big as mine which are too heavy for the stalks, so now they lean over and I feel a little sad about that, but oh well. I want to collect the seeds, or dry the heads and hang them up. That sounded creepy, about hanging up heads, but in my mind I’m thinking “oooooo pretty flower for my bedroom”, not Adderhead Fencing Co. (That was a reference only I would get… sigh. I hate that no one understands what I’m talking about. It makes me feel so alone… *overdramatic angst face*)

While on the subject of references only I would get, I have trimmed off the shoots that our tree was growing around its base. Dad thinks it is dying because it was not planted correctly/deep enough, and every time he says that I say, “it keeps ‘smoldering at the roots/and sending up new shoots'”. But anyway I cut the shoots and am hoping to weave a basket out of them, since they are quite flexible. Tomorrow I will get started on that. Also I am wondering if I can make ink from these beautiful berries currently ripening on “the mystery weed” beside our porch. My wonderful mother allowed me to let the weed grow and mature so that I could study it, and I have concluded that it is pokeweed, a plant that is mostly poisonous but certain parts can be eaten a certain way. The berries are numerous and ripen to this rich, dark purple/indigo, but when you squeeze the juice out, the juice is this luminous purple that stains your hands and I think would be some awesome ink, and really cool dye for clothes. Yeah, I pretty much feel like living like a prairie girl… In fact, Erin said this weekend: “I think out of all of us, Pen would survive the longest in Amish Country”. I would but eventually I’d miss some stuff, like showers and computers and musical instruments. I would love making things though, as you can tell.

Also I would like to learn how to make and shoot a slingshot. It is my one regret in life that I never did that as a child. (I know I’m still young but I’m not a child. And I’m not being pretentious when I say that. I read YA, I am a YA. End of debate.) And arrows. I want to make arrows. I know how to shoot them (thanks Dad), but I want to know how to make them. I am also thinking of going squirrell hunting with Dad this year… I think hunting is pretty important, so I want to try it out.

I guess I’m getting in a big learning mood because it’s nearing back-to-school… Wait. I liked that one commercial that says: “It’s not back to school. It’s forward to what’s next.” That’s how I prefer it, and the way it really is with my schooling. I always feel like I’m learning new stuff and not just reviewing lame crap. But I think that was a cell phone commercial so whatever. I do not want a cell phone. I will have to get one when I drive alone, though, so I am getting the most minimal one possible and not letting anyone call me on it since it’ll be for emergencies only. Also I am thinking of not owning a microwave when I’m older since microwave food often grosses me out. But we shall see.

I’m reading a new book called American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of the Perfect Tree about the chestnut blight. Veeery interesting. I suppose people other than me might find it boring but I am just absorbed by it. Chestnuts are my dad’s favorite trees and he’d told me about the blight before, so I was excited to find the book…  Then I must finish Lilith, too! great book (thanks, Eliza!).

I feel like I’m just going on and on. Also, I want tea.

Good night.

Yours till the dog-tooth violets bite,

PS: “It’s hard to leave the girl you love/ when your heart is full of hope/ But it’s harder still to find the towel/ when your eyes are full of soap.” I love my autograph book. It’s such an unexpected treasure.


First of all, I’d like to assure you that I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Just in case you were wondering. Secondly, I have a post about Easter waiting to be posted, which I promise I will do very, very soon. Once I get the pictures on it.

Okay. Now that that’s over…

I love trees. All plants are amazing to me, but trees are definitely special. There’s something different, something deep about them, perhaps because they live so long. At any rate, there is a book that I got for Easter called Lives of the Trees. It gives name origins, legends, descriptions, et cetera about 100 types of trees, including one called Welwitschia.

Now, the oak and the sycamore have always been special trees to me, especially the oak. But when I read about welwitschia, it touched me. It’s definitely up there with the oak now, in terms of my affinity for it. Of course, it grows in deserts in South Africa, so it’s unlikely I’ll ever see this amazing tree. But let me tell you a bit about it, and why I love it so much now.
Here’s what it looks like:

I know what you’re thinking. U-G-L-Y… And yeah, I’m not saying it’s a very pretty plant. (Though I will call it beautiful… beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, I guess.) In fact, it does not even look like a tree. This is because most of the trunk is growing underground. Only about two feet of it sticks up above the surface of the ground. It has only two leaves, which are thick and leathery, and never stop growing. It looks like more than two leaves, though, because over the years sand and wind shreds the leaves into smaller strips. This tree can live for up to a thousand years.
The Africaans word for it is Tweeblaarkanniedood, which means “two leaves that never die”.

I think that’s very compelling. Powerful. Beautiful, even, if you think of the life of this plant… Lone living thing in a vast, hot, barren world, enduring extreme temperatures and the abuse of sand and wind. Its leaves torn and shredded, yet it does not stop growing. It’s like this shy thing, buried underground, but at the same time it has the boldness to thrive despite harsh adversity.

We could learn a lot from welwitschia.