Earless

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Hello, I am one of the earless.
Of course, I have ears!
Rather large ones too, but you see
it’s not about having, it’s about doing
and doing relentlessly.

Confused? Let me explain.

To start.
To be earless means you must be strong
and willing to be told that you’re wrong.
It means when you’re turned down or told no,
you try again and again til you’ve made it so.
It means you choose not to hear the won’t, don’t or can’ts.
It means you hope others will also take this stance.
It means you’ll keep doing what you love because it’s what you do.
It means you play make believe and sometimes dress up too.
It means you’re probably weird.
But, you know, weird is cool.
It means you’ll likely never grow up
because if growing up means staying the same,
then that’s not for you.
It means you know there’s another way.
It means you want to grow higher and higher every day.
And, to do that you have to keep trying,
keep doing, keep seeking, keep moving.
It means there’s no giving up even when the payoff is far.
It means you can do it, no matter who you are.

Because, if you can be earless,
Then, one day, you can also be fearless.
And, if you can be fearless,
you can be free.

Will you join me?

Armadillos In The Sky

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Starry light you shine so bright.
Who do I thank for your glow tonight?
Is it the sky or perhaps the moon?
No?
It’s an armadillo crew.

An armadillo crew with a very tall ladder.
When a light goes out, they climb up to see what’s the matter.
From way down below on the surface
we never see them fulfilling this purpose.
But, they scuttle and they shuffle. 
They pidder padder to and fro
moving their ladders from light to light
making the stars twinkle so bright.

Why, you ask,
does an armadillo crew care
about the lights in the sky
and the brightness they share?

Well, some time, not so long ago, 
there lived a very lonely armadillo.
His name was Gerald. Gerald was very shy.
He lived in a small park in a small house on a hillside.
Gerald was alone and that made him sad.
He wanted a pal or even two wouldn’t be bad.
But, he was afraid to leave his small place
to look for a new fun friendly face. 

So, he stayed there and got grumpy and cold, 
never trying anything new, never doing anything bold.
Then, one night in his park a star fell from the sky.
To Gerald’s surprise, it landed close to his hillside.

“Hello, I'm Sam. I’m a star. What’s your name?”
“Gerald,” The armadillo said, “Look how far you came?!”
Gerald stared with wonder at the trail Sam had left in the sky.
“Oh, I’ve gone farther than that,” Sam said, “I like to fly.
But, now I’ve crashed. Could you help me get back?”
“Oh. No.” Gerald said, “I can’t. That’s a fact.”
“Please. Please put me back in the sky.
I know you can do it. Just try.”
“Even if I would, and I’m not saying I will,
how do I get up there? I can’t just stand on a window sill.”
“A ladder. You need a ladder,” said Sam, 
“One really tall ladder and I’ll be off again.”

Gerald thought for a moment, then a few more.
Then finally, “Ok, I’ll try, but it’s a long shot you know.”
The star got excited as Gerald began gathering wood
from all around his park, everywhere he could.
Every stick, log and fallen tree but there wasn’t enough
to make the ladder reach up where Sam needed to be. 

“It’s too short,” cried Sam, “Is there anyone you could call?”
Gerald shook his head not knowing what to do at all.
“There’s another park over there,” Sam said with a smile.
Could you see if anyone there would mind adding to the pile?"
This park was new and Gerald felt scared. 
He wanted to help but to go somewhere else, did he dare? 

There was no other way and Gerald couldn’t finish the ladder without more wood. 
So, he went. It worked! Soon, armadillos all around heard how tall his ladder stood.
They wanted to lend a hand too. A crew building day and night
made the ladder high enough to put the other stars in sight. 

Gerald climbed up first and his new friends followed behind
climbing rung after rung way up into the sky.
But when they got to the top,
they were in for a shock.
Sam couldn’t fly. 
The crash had put out all of his lights.
“The bulbs make me shine, the shine makes me go," 
Sam said, “Mine are out. So, now, I just don’t know?"

Gerald grinned, which was also something new,
“Don’t worry Sam, I know what to do.”
He climbed all the way down, went to the store,
bought some light bulbs and his new crew went to work.

They carried Sam up the ladder once more.
Sam shot into the sky. Oh, how he soared!
“Thank you! Thank you! You’ve saved me! You Have!"
Gerald and his crew felt pretty good about that.

“Glad to help Sam. You helped me too. 
I found friends and finally tried something new."
Sam beamed and said, “I have an idea! If you like,
you could come back to visit and help us stars stay bright?"

That sounded fun. Gerald really liked coming to space
and his friends liked building ladders down at his place.
So, they kept on building, replacing bulbs and making friends,
exploring the sky while they lit it up end-to-end.
All thanks to Gerald for facing his fear and being kind,
for caring about how much one star wanted to fly.
 

The Land of Missing Socks

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I once lost a sock.
A sock that rocked.
A yellow and green striped pair.
One day Lefty just wasn't there.

The dryer was empty. The clothes had been shook.
The laundry was folded. I didn't know where else to look.
So, I set Righty aside and hoped for the best.
Maybe, someday Lefty would return to be with the rest.

Winter came and spring and summer days.
Then in the fall, Lefty appeared – Hip Hip Hooray!
Picking him up, I noticed his toe was worn thin
as though Lefty had danced on it every day, over and over again.

“I did! I’ve been dancing this whole time,” said Lefty The Sock.
What a surprise! He could talk!
“In The Land of Missing Socks, the socks dance & never get tired or sore.”
He bounced out of my hand shaking his heel across the floor,
“There, each song makes you happy, every new note makes you hum.
The harmony makes you move together as one.”
He headed for the door, “I like being your sock,  
but I can’t help it. I’ve got the need to rock.
I crave that long open floor with socks of all different threads.
A river of color bright and bare bobbing their heads.
It’s a simple trick to get there and to come back,
but I’m afraid you’re much too big to fit through the trap.”

Then, Lefty bowed at the ankle, slid down the stairs
and jumped into the dryer. I yelled, “Wait! Don’t you dare!”

Lefty giggled, “It’s time to say goodbye.
It was nice to see you one last time.
I just have one more thing to do
before I go back to the tunes.”
Lefty shouted, “Righty! Come on! Let’s go!
Sometimes a sock needs to be a pair, you know?"

I turned my head and saw Righty jump in.
By the time I got to the dryer he’d already hit Spin.
I never saw Lefty or Righty after that day,
but their story spread from sock to sock wherever they lay.

First one pair split, then a dozen more.
Until there were no socks left in my drawer.
It makes me smile to think of them dancing together.
I just wish sandals were made for cold weather.
 


Text and Illustration copyright © 2017 Jenn Duggan. 

Talking With Balloons

Have you ever asked a balloon where it would fly if you let go of the string and said goodbye? 

It might fly into the air as high as it could go to find a place where chips live in castles made of cheese. Where everyone spends their days swinging from milk chocolate trees. 

Is it possible it dreams of a world in black and white? Because there its colors would show so bright. 

How about a planet where it could talk to kites – kites and balloons have a lot in common, given that they both know what it’s like to have fallen. 

The balloon may ask not to fly. Instead, could it dive? Dive into the deep blue to tell a fish “How do you do.”

Perhaps the balloon doesn’t want to go anywhere at all. What if it loves the company it’s got? So, it will stay in this very spot.

I wish I could ask. I wish I could know. 
Just where this balloon would choose to go. 

Does anyone speak balloon? I do not. 
Oh well, looks like it popped. 

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Text and Illustration copyright © 2017 Jenn Duggan.