Roan Short Tail (day 2124)

In the great time of y’or
When my Grandfather Thick Neck
Roamed these wild lands
His deer were thousands strong
And each Autumn they’d collect
From all four corners of
His vast kingdom
He had roamed all Summer
And would gather near
The great Big River
To Winter in collective warmth
The power was in their numbers
It was impossible for predators
To attack such a strong group
And in the darkest days of Winter
They had fellow deer
To remind each other
Of the bountiful Summer days
Coming soon again.

Mule-Deer watercolour painting by Ned Tobin

Ode to a Lonely Pine (day 1769)

Like my grandfather that came to rest
Rocking slowly in his old pine chair,
You watch the vista with an open air
Shaking loose your frazzled hair.

For in the cold months
You stand tall and proud,
And in the dark days
Your silhouette is my lighthouse home,
And in crisp mornings
Your tips refresh me
Like my eyelids breaking free.

But before I walk up to shake your hand
I wait for you to permit me through,
For your roots stretch long beneath the floor
And touch my home, forever more.

a lonely pine covered in snow

Grandfather’s Shop (day 1557)

A sentence was all I wrote
On a dusty pad of paper
Laying on the old workbench
Inside my late grandfather’s shop.
I knew he was still around there,
He spoke to me in hanging machine parts
Scattered about full walls.
Then I whispered goodnight
And turned down the lights
Making sure the heavy door
Was shut the way he’d shown me how.

General Beefy the Lionheart of the Red-Yellow Jackets (day 674)

You see my sons, my father, and his fathers before all bore the mark of the clan. It sits upon the backs of our ears like the proud lot we are. Our roar is most feared in the seven kingdoms around, and the ones beyond that do fear us as well.

I heard the legend when I was quite young, just about your age now that I think about it. I had three brothers, and two sisters at that time. I had lost my eldest brother the summer before as he tried to break free from the clan and get his own pack, but he lost that battle as much as it hurt my father to do.

This is what I shall tell you today, the legend of how we, Clan of the Red-Yellow Jackets came to be.

My seventh great grandfather before me, so all your ninth, named Sir Wilfred Carding Henry of the Red-Yellow Jackets came to this land on a great ship sailing for the land of the Yellow Jackets. They were a proud bunch, the Yellow Jackets were, but never did like us Red-Yellow lot, even though we had fought with them in the six great battles before that.

The ship was wrecked, upon the land we now call our own, in a storm that still has those who have heard tales of it shiver with the thought. This land of big suns and tall grass, this land of high peaks and never snow, this land of wild animals and big elephants and long necked giraffes and leopards and cheetahs and.. well, you get my point.

You see, when the land guardians of the lighthouse parole found my seventh great grandfather Sir Wilfred Carding Henry of the Red-Yellow Jackets washed up on that shore, the only other survivor of the nighty-nine members on board that great ship was Lady Freckle Heaven, Sir Wilfred Carding Henry’s third cousin, twice removed. The two of them, the only survivors, their red-yellow jackets all damp and cold from the seven days and seven nights spent floating in the darkest sea you could ever imagine, the two of them knew that the future of their people rested solely with them.

The two of them bore what was to become the starting of one of the greatest dynasties ever seen since the seven brothers and seven sisters of the Lord of the Jackets, a dynasty that was started in a time long before Sir Wilfred Carding Henry of the Red-Yellow Jackets was born that lasted for two houndred and seventy six years, and long before your ninth great grandfather and grandmother before embarked on a journey that would change their lives and the future of this land forever.

This is how all of you little Red-Yellow Jackets are here today, this is how you have come to be, and this is why today you will all remember for the rest of your lives, as you repeat this story to your own grandchildren when the time comes for them to receive the mark of the Red-Yellow Jackets, a mark that has been carried down for nine generations, three houndred and fifty one years and counting. Now tell me children, who will be bravest of all and get the first mark upon their ear?

aLion

General Beefy can be purchased here.