Category Archives: Sci-Fi

A Change of Heart


 “They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate countless worlds, and we fall back. Not again! Not this time. The line must be drawn here! This far, no farther! And I will make them pay for what they have done!” 

The quote is from Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Start Trek: First Contact. And me–in my head.

I’ve been stressing lately over the bullying of my friend Margaret, preparing for a battle that seemed winnable but not without casualties. On an internal level, I’ve been meditating, visualizing, and spreading the light for a peaceful resolution. On a rational level, I’ve been promoting a stance of “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” On a gut level, I let my past override all of my peaceful thoughts and reverted to living in fear. I’d been there, done that and I carry the scars of the bad guys’ wins. I guess that’s why it’s easy for me to shift into defensive mode, but I know that I can’t let my fear consume me. In the midst of my stress, change occurred.

I’ve found that subtle shifts can be surprising. Have you ever noticed that? You find yourself embroiled in some seemingly untenable situation, gird your loins for battle, lock and load your cache of snide and witty comebacks, and walk into the fray loaded for bear only to find Hello Kitty waiting to greet you.

It’s surprising. It’s shocking. It’s disconcerting to say the least after all of the tedious preparations and hard work. You’ve rehearsed exactly what you’re going to say (if he says this, I’ll say that; if she does this, I’ll do that); you are sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are about to meet Godzilla in the flesh and the battle will be to the death–or at the least  to total annihilation on an emotional level. “I will go down fighting!” becomes your mantra echoed by “I can do this!” You are psyched and ready to go to war for your rights and your dignity. Shields up! Set phasers to stun!

And then all of that flies right out the window when you’re greeted not by your mortal enemy but by a kitten with a smile and the shocking words, “Good morning! How can I help you ?”

Crap! Now what? I hadn’t prepared myself for this! Niceness is what I’d secretly hoped for, prayed for, wished for while doing my deep-breathing exercises to relieve the stress in my heart and gut. This is what I’ve wanted all along: civil communication. Margaret and I crossed the battle lines on Friday and were treated with respect and kindness. We came away with a renewed sense of peace and calm.

Apparently, there’s been a change of heart for those people who were determined to make Margaret’s life a living hell, for the people who have bullied and taunted and spread rumors about her for over a year. I don’t know how it happened or when or where or why. But like me, I suspect there are several other people involved in this debacle who are experiencing the same sense of relief I’m feeling. It’s very hard to live a happy life, to maintain thoughts of peace and joy while carrying a big stick. It’s exhausting, actually. Somewhere, someone has decided to lay down the stick, walk away from the battle, and try to live in peace.

The fight to end the bullying may be over for now and as hard as it’s been to deal with,  I’ve been reminded of a few valuable lessons:

  • Standing up for others is always the right thing to do.
  • Peaceful resolutions can happen–even when you least expect them.
  • Finding peace within me sometimes requires conquering old fears by allowing myself to feel the anger and move through and past it.
  • The desire to be “all in” regardless of my fears is sometimes enough to create a shift in me, in my heart and in my own beliefs.

I’m not sure how this works in others or if I’ll ever know what caused the shift, but there has obviously been a change of heart. At least for now. At least for today. My own heart has opened in gratitude for a battle unfought. I am thankful for this day.

I pray it lasts.



Grey sky with trees 01


Unnerving silence.

The house is quiet this morning. No whining dogs. No banging trashcans. No voices drifting over the back fence. It’s eerily quiet really, the kind of silence that would propel a sci-fi-minded writer into the realms of zombie apocalypse.

Tree branches are shifting in a soft breeze, but I can’t hear the wind. Even the birds are silent, huddled in their nests, resting, waiting. Normally, I can hear trucks on the highway, the squeal of brakes; the bell ringing first period from the school up the road. This morning, there is nothing but silence under a grey sky that stretches as far as the eye can see. No blue. No clouds. Just grey.

The world feels muffled, cut off from the normal creak of its axis. As I write, there are no cars whizzing by my window, no walkers, no joggers, no one.


Unnerving silence.

It’s time to begin again, to write a new story, to create a new life.  It’s time to fill the silence with song.

We’ll Be Right Back After This Message

Today is a travel day. My posts at Cave Dweller might be a little spotty for the next couple of weeks as I tour the Highlands with my family but I’ll do my best to keep in touch. Unsocial tendencies aside, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know many of my readers over the past few weeks and I’m looking forward to a long, continuing friendship with all of you–from my cave to yours.

Have fun while I’m gone. Read a good book (you might find one you’ll like to the left), get some rest, leave me a comment about what’s going on in your world. To quote one of my favorite movies, “I’ll be back!”

Next stop: Glasgow!

Anchored in Time

stonehenge 2

Today is June 21, 2013, the longest day of the year. I know the date; I know what year it is, but I’ve noticed lately that I have to stop and think about it as I save a file. It has long been my custom to identify my files by name/subject and date. This helps with draft updates and revisions and it also helps keep me anchored in time and space.

When the heck did I write that? I often ask myself when I run across a stray journal entry or errant dream fragment or short story. Oh, I remember now. September 18, 2003. That was about the time this or that happened. Lately, though, I’ve been hesitating before hitting 3, even catching myself typing a 0 or a 1 for no apparent reason. It makes me think where my head is, where my mind has cast itself back to, and what my higher self is trying to tell me.

Make it so.

Time is a funny thing, stretching and twisting and expanding at will, then warping back with a snap. My kids and I have a time warp theory that stems from common experience. We’ve all experienced moments when time seemed to stretch out before us, allowing us to cover miles of road or innumerable pages in the seeming blink of an eye. My first experience came in high school when my mother drove 45 miles in 15 minutes. No kidding. My mother who never exceeded the 55 mph speed limit. We left my uncle’s house at 4:00 in the afternoon and arrived at our exit–45 miles away–at 4:15. Now, unless that old Oldsmobile had hidden warp speed capability, the only explanation we could come up with was a time warp.

That strange sensation of time slowing down has a boomerang effect though, too. As it’s happened time and again throughout the years, I’ve come to realize that at some point, time catches up with itself–and usually while I’m brushing my teeth. When I was working at a real job, brushing my teeth was always the last thing I’d do before walking out the door. Dressed and ready to go, I can’t tell you how many times I looked at the clock as I headed to the bathroom and it would read 7:22 (or so–plenty of time), brushed my teeth (quickly), and then glanced once again at the time: 7:44. Holy crap! I hate to be late and I’d rush around the house settling dogs and locking doors. My son used to call me on his way to work and he could always tell. “Time warp?” he’d ask. “Yep. Playing catch up.” It happens.

Happy Summer Solstice!

So, on this longest of days I get the distinct feeling that time is, once again, playing catch up, allowing us to drink in the sunshine for just a little longer, holding the darkness at bay for just a few minutes more. Time can afford this stretching out of the moments at play. Winter will come soon enough and it all balances out in the end.