Category Archives: Story

By Any Other Name

The Showy Lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium reginae) is a rare flower. It is a type of orchid found in Northern North America. It is a beautiful flower and has vanished from many places. I saw one earlier this summer on the Eastern Trail and was educated on it by the specialists I was walking with. He told me even though he wished he could move the flower to a safer area away from the threat of trail walkers, it was impossible. To transplant this flower from it’s original location would almost surely mean death. It is very difficult to grow this plant naturally and they have become even more rare as the time goes on. So there it sat on the side of the trail. Waiting. Surviving another day.

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It was a cold and icy night in Portland, Maine. There were very few cars on the road with even fewer people. Those venturing out were bundled up, shuffling along quickly from warmth to warmth.

A young man and young woman were not rushing on this night. In fact, they took their time talking about all matter of terrestrial and extraterrestrial. From suns to stars to fungi to cars, they chatted as they walked along. Both seemed oblivious to the cold snapping at their faces.

They were walking down the street when the girl felt a chill. This chill was not from an elemental force, but from a connection much more intimate. From out of the shadows came a shape lumbering down the street towards the pair. Although it looked like a man, it was in fact the monster from her childhood. This creature had the wind at its back and seemed to gain power from wicked winds snapping at the tree branches above.

But the boy did not notice.

Instead he talked about a very common plant which grew tall behind a historic house they were passing. The boy looked to the right as the creature passed on the left. The monster looked straight at her unmasked face, but did not seem to recognize her.

The monster under the bed had forgotten her.

The girl stood between the two forces and once her monster had vanished, it was as if it had never happened. She asked the boy if he had seen the man, but the sidewalk was empty by the time they turned around.

They walked back chatting about genetically engineered foods and robots while still never feeling the cold. She told the boy about the monster when they reached warmth and as he reached for his tea asked if she was alright.

A few months ago she was not alright. Back then, it was only the help of her friends and furry companion which gave the girl strength to be herself. Now though, she had grown. She had remembered who she was and the power she had.

“I’m fine,” said the girl before heading for home on the icy sidewalks. Taking care with each step, she made her trek along the ghostly streets with only the sound of forthcoming snowplows to keep her company.

She entered her home, knowing her monster was only a few city blocks away and turned on the over. She began to cook dinner and then sat down at her computer. She thought of her friend and wondered if it was all just a dream, a figment on this winter night.

But men are real and monsters are real.

However, this did not trouble the girl. Instead, she went along her night as if it was all just a bad dream. It’s as if she was once again a little girl running to the safety of her parent’s bed only to be tucked back into her own bed. Looking up on those nights, her father would brush her hair back and say “Shhh, Brigid. Go back to bed. It was all just a dream and monsters aren’t real. They can’t hurt you.”

But monsters are real and father knew best.

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Peace Lillies are a species of Spathiphyllum. They need very little light to survive and grow many different places. They can grow in swamps or with very little water. When blossomed, they are beautiful plants. Given the drastic types of conditions this plant can grown in, it’s easy to say it’s a Survivor.

My first plant: Henrietta the Peace Lily