Rays of Hope: Chapter 43

selective focus photography of gray pigeon Photo by Babek Gadirly on Pexels.com

My state is now at almost 36% of the population vaccinated with at least one dose! Once we get up to 50%, we enter Phase 5 of reopening. Loved-One, gets his second jab next Monday.

Here’s a link to the tool developed by professors at Georgia Tech. Maybe it will help in your decision-making.

I’m doing some technical writing for a pharmaceutical company. I wonder if I’ll get some time to paint the bathroom. My to-do list is growing.

Chapter 43

My progress on May His Tribe Increase is floundering. Eldie and his brothers are so upbeat, I’m having a hard time keeping up with them. But, I have been having fun helping two fellas write their memoir.

If you’re here for the first time, and you’re interested in starting at Chapter 1 of Rays of Hope, click here.

“Isn’t it sorta mean to infect your birds with mites?” Ray balances the Petri dish carefully as Taedan and she approaches the bird coops. The nymphs seem to locomote by vibration through the chick-pea soup, their translucent legs invisible without the aid of the macroscope.

“We’re actually doing them a favor.” Taedan cups Ray’s hands in his as they gingerly lower the Petri dish into the bedding below the roosts. “Mites are part of a birds natural flora. My birds will be healthier with them.”

He goes on to explain how the mites help free the birds of dead skin and debris that settles between the feathers. A cloud of bird nest dust fills Ray’s nostrils causing her to sneeze, as if accenting Taedan’s point.

“And maybe the itching stimulates preening,” says Marla. “What do you say about that Mr. Long-legs?”

Taedan exaggerates his bandy-legged gait and arches his arms out, sinking his head into his shoulders, making his best imitation of a spider. He smiles at the nickname Ray gave him; not quite ready to call him father, but close.

“Just like the mycelium in the soil, communicating and helping other plants and microscopic beings, the mites have their place in our world.” Trumble circles Marla’s waist from behind and nuzzles his nose in her neck.

“Ah, so you’re Marla’s mite,” laughs Ray.

“Well, he does do a lot for my well-being,” Marla rakes her fingers through Trumble’s hair.

“When can we go on another field trip?” Ray’s had enough of their twitter-pating. “I want to go back to where the beach was and get more samples.”

“We should let a few more birds free, “says Taedan. “After the mites have a chance to establish their new habitat.”

“I can’t wait that long.” Ray grinds her teeth and feels her legs stiffen under her. She remembers the words she knows her aunt will say before Marla opens her mouth.

“Breathe.” Marla takes a deep Ujjaya breath and exhales slowly. Ray follows suit, but with her eyes sqeezed so tight that her temples hurt.

“Relax.” Taedan places his hands on Ray’s shoulders. “Sink your shoulders into your pockets.”

“I don’t want to relax. I want to make things happen.”

“Impatience is what got us into trouble.” Taedan’s face melts into a scowl, his own shoulders slumping.

“Taedan’s right,” says Trumble. “Let Gaia do her work. We can only help her, not force her, not direct her.”

“Patience is a virtue.” Marla takes both of Ray’s hands in hers and pulls her to her heart. “I tell you what. Let’s read one of Taedan’s books together and when we’re done, it will be time to go on another excursion.”

“Okay, but I pick.” Ray intends to pick the thinnest book on the shelf, but when she gets to the bookshelf, the colors and textures the bindings make the decision more difficult than she anticipates. And the titles only exacerbate her dilemma.

Shall it be Watership Down, or Tom Sawyer or Lad a Dog or The Outsider? She opens each book to the middle and reads a page. She stacks them in order of interest and wonders why Taedan chose these books to transport from his home to his laboratory high in the sky. Books are heavy. At last she settles on Black Beauty. A story about a horse. Perhaps Marla will tell her more about how she and Alice, her mother, rode like the wind.

“A chapter a day.” Marla pulls Ray into her lap and begins to read.

“The first place that I can well remember was a large, pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it,”

From Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Marla reads on while Ray’s mind holds on tight to these few words, trying to imagine a meadow that isn’t brown and trees with leaves, not bare branches reaching to a grey sky.

“Start over.” Ray lays her head in Marla’s lap and looks up into her aunt’s face. “I want to hear the first part again.”

Marla turns the page back to the beginning and weaves a lock of Ray’s hair through her fingers. “No problem, Sunshine.”

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Good Gracious! Sunshine and promises sure lifted my spirits.

I hope you are enjoying Ray’s journey.

Until next Friday, when we’ll both learn more.


Reading is like food for the soul. u003cbru003eWriters like to eat biscuits, too.

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