gfcmuse volume 1 gfcmuse volume one, spring 2016 Credits FACULTY EDITORS Leigh Ann Ruggiero, MFA Mandy Wright, MA, MEd READERS Rachael Gray Hawk Rita Judge Beth Price Morrison Heather Palermo Michael Shell Maria Sylvester SPECIAL THANKS Leanne Frost GFCMuse is in its inaugural year as a journal of arts on the Great Falls College Montana State University campus. GFC MSU is a two-year college with associate degrees in the arts and sciences. Each issue of GFCMuse is meant to showcase the talent of our students, fac- ulty, and staff. All submissions, including a bio in the third-person, should be sent as an attachment to gfclitjournal@gmail.com. GFCMuse is published with 3D Issue and can be found here: http://www.gfcmsu.edu/webs/gfcmuse/index.html. The journal can also be printed on de- mand. Research has been cited in MLA Style. Cover art: Calliope, Muse of Epic Poetry. Charles Meynier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Saint-Andrew’s Queen font by Jellyka Nerevan 2016 © GFCMuse 5 Editor’s Note Here it is, volume one, with a little help from every corner of campus: from the Weaver Library; from Lifelong Learning; from the Academic Success Center; from faculty members. We started this journal so that students on campus would have an outlet for their creative pursuits. The worry was that our campus already had plenty of similar outlets: Science Fridays, Phi Theta Kappa, stu- dent-run cinema clubs, the GFC MSU College Community Choir. But none of those outlets is quite like this one. We are a journal publishing anything to which we can affix the descriptor “art,” and expect that in years to come we will establish ourselves as a fun and intel- lectually diverse hub not just of the campus but of the community at large. At Great Falls College many students, faculty, and staff are looking for more than a new beginning or change in scenery. They seek a mental flexibility that they’ve been missing elsewhere. May they find it here. -Leigh Ann Finding time for creative pursuits in our busy day-to-day lives is a challenge. The opportunity to work on this journal was a creative outlet for me and it has been incredibly fun and rewarding to see all of the submissions we received. The Great Falls College campus is full of people with hidden (and not so hid- den) talents, and this journal offers a small insight into what our students, faculty, and staff are capable of. Leigh Ann deserves a big “thank you” for making this first volume move from an idea that has been kicked around by different people for a few years into something real. Her perseverance and leadership made this journal happen. We look forward to continuing this publication in the years to come. We hope you’ll join us in showcas- ing the art created on the GFC MSU campus. - Mandy 6 Contents (4) Credits (7) Rachael Gray Hawk, “Not Your Average Fairy-Tale Ending,” poem (8) Breana Hylla, “Wanderlust,” photograph (9) Sarah Boston, “Marilyn,” graphite (10) Chelsea Hart, “Leaves,” short fiction (11) Kara Smith, “Disaster’s Path,” photograph (12) Luke Volkomener, “Applying Epictetus’s Philosophies,” essay (14) Breana Hylla, “Someone to Look up to,” photograph (15) Kristen Cox, “Ponderings,” poem (16) Sarah Boston, “Sitting Bull,” graphite (17) Tressa Mancini, “Burning Aurora,” short fiction (22) Tori Gandia, Untitled, graphite (23) John Kay, “The sound,” poem (24) Tori Gandia, Untitled, photograph (25) Rachael Gray Hawk, “Kindness of Survival,” fiction excerpt (29) Luke Volkomener, Untitled, oil on stretched canvas (30) Austin Hammatt, “Another Exodus,” essay (34) John Kay, “a down town,” poem (35) Sarah Boston, “Chief Joseph,” graphite (36) Jeanine Schoessler, “Beautiful Storm,” poem (37) Kara Smith, “Rainy Day,” photograph (38) Anonymous, “Hope Whispers,” poem (39) Luke Volkomener, “The Problem with the Next Small Step for Man,” essay (43) Merci Lee, “Myself?,” poem (44) Kara Smith, “Truck in the Country,” photograph (45) John Kay, “shake me upside down,” poem (46) Breana Hylla, “Silent in the Trees (1 and 2),” photographs (48) Maria Sylvester, “The Heebie-Jeebies,” essay (50) Contributor Notes 7 Not Your Average Fairy-Tale Ending Rachael Gray Hawk I have to keep telling myself that everything changes. That I can’t keep running the same track expecting something different each time. It’s like you said. Don’t you want to adventure? I think that is the tragedy of life. We have all this time. But do we? How much of our time is devoted to things we hate doing? How many people are truly happy to arrive on time for work? I read this excerpt from a man who knew a thing about writing. And it occurred to me that I was one of the clichéd writers He was referring to. I was stuck in a rut. My actions were predictable. My outcomes were mundane. I never changed. In the big mess we call life, moving away from my broken home, I felt I changed. But I didn’t really. I am the same narcissistic Asshole that left home. I wasn’t any different. Sure I drank more Cultured beverages and had more expensive food and dined In beautiful places. Of course I knew that was my Environment. I knew that had changed. When my grandmother died, I asked her if she would Ask the big man why I was so afraid of change. Why I was so afraid of being all alone. I suppose she could have laughed In my face. Why would she do such an intimate Favor for me when I hadn’t even been there When she spoke her last words? How could I see Heaven when my feet were So plainly planted in Hell? And here I am. Babbling about an excerpt from a man who Encourages writers to fight the war on cliché, to make their work Different, to capture human life in a story. My story is a joke, is it not? There is no protagonist. Certainly no hero. Maybe I was never meant to be more than a dreamer. Though my words were published and I was happy about them, I truly was. I was published young. But reading my poems again They’re almost too childish. How did these win awards? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was never good enough. Not to myself. I always wanted to be the rebel. To be the outcast And to be the person who adventured. 8 But I am the pen. Mundane and boring. I am as the day. I never change. I am not unexpected. I am me. I am disappointed in myself for never trying harder. I’m full of air. Full of half-hearted attempts. I fall short every time. Perhaps I realize that I can’t fly Even though my whole life I boasted about the wings I made for myself. Talked about my accomplishments And shoved them in people’s faces. Who was I to be different? The main character often Doesn’t realize that they are the hero until something In their life changes. Something monumentally huge. And yet nothing in my life has been so grand. Nothing has delved that deep into my being. Mere things have touched the surface. I have to keep telling myself that everything changes. And that one day I may change too. And I better, for the fate of my story depends on it. Wanderlust Breana Hylla 9 Marilyn Sarah Boston 10 Leaves Chelsea Hart The world was falling asleep. Leaves had burned red and orange for weeks, but now they littered the asphalt around my feet, unimportant and forgotten by the very trees who’d given such careful effort to growing them not so long ago. They crunched and ran in the wind, a nuisance to be removed by rakes and leaf blowers now. The grass was somewhere between green and brown. The world was almost still pretty. But given another couple weeks, the grass would be dead, the trees would be naked sticks jutting up from the cold ground, and the leaves would be dusted over with snow. Not pretty at all. Given a little time, things would get green again. A never-ending cycle oldened long before anything gave a thought about using legs to get around. Right here, right now, that cycle was locking down for the winter. It was just about the time the city usually decided to drain the pond at the local duck park, but they had- n’t gotten to it yet. The water was dark and cold. Barges of leaves unlucky enough to miss dry ground were help- lessly tossed around. Gusts of sharp wind rippled the water’s surface. Sitting in the middle of this water was a lone, brown duck. It looked sad. Like it knew it had missed the migratory boat, and now it was just her and the shouldn’t-be pond. She belonged here. The palette of the scenery was varying shades of brown, and she was close to the color of dirt. Fitting. The duck would drift north for a little while, flick a webbed foot and float east for a bit. Then south and west. Headed everywhere but going nowhere. The water would split out behind her, showing where she’d been. It didn’t seem to help her though. She kept turning in the same places, swimming the same circle, as if the decision to pick one direction was too big. She was just a little duck. Probably no more than three pounds of tiny bones and soft feathers. A head the size of a golf ball left little room for thoughts. And decision required thoughts. Usually lots of them. So the duck didn’t decide. She dipped her bill into cold gray water and shook the gathering beads off her back and just floated. The wind spoke. Leaves scattered. The duck changed direction. A squirrel scratched his way up an old oak, panicked over the doom he would suffer should he not collect enough food for the cold months. It was re- assuring to see all this life going on, taking no notice of the mighty problems of mankind. The duck’s problems were mighty enough for her. The squirrel had plenty to worry about. The leaves didn’t have time to worry. The sky was dark now because the sun had left this side of the world for tomorrow somewhere else. Headlights would go by every now and then. Some of the newer cars had lights bright enough to reach the park. The duck was still in the pond, but the squirrel was gone. Maybe it had found another tree to scale. The browns of the day had become purple and gray and black. Tiny points of light dotted the blackness above the horizon. After a while, one of the cars driving by swooped into the lot and a man folded himself out of the front seat. He took his time walking to the utility shed and disappeared inside. A moment later a noise cut through the quiet and pumps began their long work of draining the pond. When the man started his car and the headlights once again lit up the pond, the duck was gone. 11 Disaster’s Path Kara Smith 12 Applying Epictetus’s Philosophies Luke Volkomener Life in a combat unit, simply put, is one crisis after another. You are constantly putting out fires while others are being started. Some of these problems are trivial administrative discrepancies while others may cost lives. My way of coping with these continuous stresses was to boast “one crisis at a time” or “we will cross that bridge when we come it.” Most of the time this strategy works, but war often complicates and, as Epictetus glar- ingly points out, sometimes one crisis at a time just isn’t enough. Considering how Epictetus spent his youth as a slave, it’s not surprising that he would develop the phi- losophy that “all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control . . . Individuals howev- er, are responsible for their own actions.” On a visit to my therapist’s office, I discussed some of Epictetus’s phi- losophies and how they may apply to what happened to my unit during my third combat deployment. Epictetus believes we suffer because we try to control what is not controllable and/or we neglect to control what is within our ability to control. I was leading my platoon up a street in Baghdad, Iraq, clearing the road of Improvised Ex- plosive Devices (IEDs) as an elderly man stepped out with blood completely covering his clothes. He desperately pleaded for help as he explained that a group of militia set his house on fire and shot his family as they fled the building. His family was executed because he would not pick a side, fight for the Americans or fight for the insur- gents. In most situations the next course of action would be natural, but with two contradicting orders, one from our battalion and the other a general order given to every soldier in Iraq, we were stuck in a bit of a moral dilemma, something Epictetus would have an opinion on. The decision we faced was to continue our mission up the street, call in an infantry unit to take care of it, and attempt to engage them from one or two streets back until they arrived. Option two was to enter into the housing area, off mission and against a direct order from the battalion, and force an engagement with these insurgents. Though I intently wanted to chase down those insur- gents, I chose to stay on mission and follow the battalion’s order. I believed my choice was for the greater good, but the infantry unit that was in charge of that area refused to send in anyone, and more buildings were set on fire while the shooting continued to echo in the increasing distance. Applying Epictetus’s reasoning, you could say that the “fate” for that neighborhood was for those insur- gents to go down that street killing those civilians. The reason those people suffered was because they did not take control of a situation that they themselves could have controlled. At the same time, many in our platoon still suffered because we felt like we didn’t take control of what we could have controlled. After that day, that street dramatically worsened with IEDs and complex ambushes. My squad alone earned more than half the company’s purple hearts on that single street. The battalion’s answer to the growing threat was to abandon this route and the people on it. Eight months later I was able to go back down that street again as the battalion reopened the route for clearance. I was expecting to see the same blown-out windows, destroyed buildings and sidewalks, and an al- most nonexistent population. Instead I saw dozens of people on the streets cleaning up the trash, repairing shop windows, laying in new red brick sidewalks, and painting murals on the grey concrete barriers we had construct- ed to isolate the insurgency. The people of that street had woken up and decided to take control. Every street had armed guards who would watch the neighborhood 24 hours a day. When it was once typical to find or be blown up by one, two, or three IEDs followed by a complex ambush with RPGs and small arms fire, now you would go down the street and nothing would happen. Epictetus might say that it was predetermined for that street to endure that traumatic event in order for them to change their present course and find happiness. He may also say that any action we could have taken would not have changed the course of what was to happen, but would have just caused more prolonged suffering. 13 Epictetus taught his students that good and bad exist only in our moral character, will, choice, or inten- tion and never in an external thing. We did not intend on leaving those people to suffer on that street, but we did so by only engaging and killing a couple of insurgents from one or two blocks back while we continued our mission. In the neighborhood’s eyes, does that make us evil? As we drove down that street eight months later, I watched as they rebuilt their section of the city and glared at us with what felt like hatred and disappointment. Epictetus’s words, “Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions,” thicken my shame towards my decision. I feel that Epictetus, like many other philosophers, organized and clarified pieces of a puzzle that have bothered me for years. He offers an explanation for why things happen, from over 1,000 years ago. Epictetus’s hope that we “fully understanding that we should not be affected by the external objects of our lives, because they are exclusively not up to us” tells me that I am not ready for his state of mind. The external objects—the blood-soaked old man, the black smoke from the buildings, and the gunshots echoing through the city as we exchanged small-arms fire—lead me to feel otherwise. I believe what makes the difference between a wise and an ignorant person is knowing when to act or, in this case, when to follow orders. The following quote is what people say is the essence of Epictetus's philosophy: “We are disturbed not by events, but by the views which we take of them.” The one thing I’m sure of is that the event did not upset me, but how I viewed my actions in that situation keeps me up at night. How many new insurgents for future generations did we create on that day when they were being slaughtered and the Americans turned their backs on them? Sometimes the idea of one crisis at a time just isn’t enough; after all, at the end of the day we are all responsible for our own actions. 14 Someone to Look up to Breana Hylla 15 Ponderings Kristen Cox When floundering in the hidden seas A wandering soul drifts past unseeing eyes And brittle madness reads the lines Of flimsy scripts long forgotten When chaos breeds in electric fumes And warriors walk into their tombs There to wait, not to fight Quietly slipping into the night . . . Falling tears from age-old fears Will come to haunt us once again. When blackness breathes in every heart And welcomed, there, the cold and dark When light is gone from every eye Yet joy is proclaimed unto the sky To be heard in every ear That this is better than prior years When thought is cast aside for hate And reasoning has barred the gate . . . Falling tears from age-old fears Will come to haunt us once again. When the mind again turns to the past But remembers well the time to come; Considering threads of causality And that fate or will is theirs to play When learning comes as logic ought With experience and reason at its side When for our freedom each breath is fought And by its light all acts considered To find the limits and limitless delight Of endless reaches of human might Our self-willed walls falling out of sight— Then falling tears from age-old fears May dry away, once again. 16 Sitting Bull Sarah Boston 17 Burning Aurora Tressa Mancini Buffalo drove dear Aurora towards a most terrible cliff. Her horse stumbled and she fell to the unyielding earth! The flaxen-haired beauty reclaimed her horse and caused her mount to lie. She fired her father’s Winches- ter. The herd turned “Miss Blaise, what a pastime,” her escort, a Stetson-wearing preacher, interrupted. Viola's breath spewed out. Icicles clung to pine branches and glinted in the sunlight. Her smile matched the weather. “Montana is beautiful land. I feel inspired.” Though the world condemned her “habit,” Viola wrote on. She would start again. After all, she was in the land of her novels—the perfect setting for her resurrection. The reverend's Bible lay open between them. She read, "In the beginning . . .” Indeed, she was on the right path. The wagon’s front wheel hit a snow clump. Her inkwell, nested between her knees, tipped and dumped its contents on her navy traveling suit. The canyon echoed her cry. ~*~ Viola set up in Guntler's Ridge’s White Springs Hotel: a two-story, homely pile of lumber. She recoiled from the parlor wall. At home, her rose wallpaper brought her rooms to full bloom. White Springs lacked basic plaster. She couldn’t overlook the center attraction: the last saloon in Guntler's, framed by the front window. Viola dabbed her eyes. She was forsaken in a rugged land, and she was forced inside by winter and poor, un- washed miners. She crumpled her hankie and rammed it back up her sleeve. Viola swept back a blonde curl while never taking her eyes from the glass. The land’s one redeeming feature rose behind the ramshackle buildings. The God-carved mountains overshadowed the scrap of town be- low. A galloping, midnight-black horse intruded on Viola’s view. The woman rider’s jet hair streamed out from her loosened braid. Behind her, a man’s shout echoed in the street. He rode on a red beast—his mount’s hooves trampled the tracks of the woman’s horse. A gasp escaped Viola. The man, the pursuing rider, revealed a handgun. He fired. The blast reached Viola’s ears and rang in her head. Chaser and chased rounded the aban- doned dry goods store. Viola yanked her shawl off its peg. Mrs. Widener, the hotel’s matron, bustled around her parlor downstairs. "Where's the shotgun? Miss Blaise! Don't go!" Viola plunged into a snowbank. Brief embarrassment painted her cheeks, for she had once been a lady. But no matter—the now riderless black horse flashed by at the end of the alley. Viola ignored the icy moisture filling her shoes and sprinted to the back of the hotel. She halted at Mrs. Widener's stable. With a mitten-clad hand she covered her mouth. Bold, dark eyes met Viola’s blue-eyed gaze head-on. The woman resembled the romantic paintings of natives Viola’s mother favored. Indeed, the woman appeared to be a genuine Indian. Viola whipped out her teal lace fan, flashing it between herself and the stranger. The woman shone with sweat. She trembled in a burgundy dress covered in tan roses. Her lack of shoes was sorely apparent—strips of cloth bound her feet. A quick move of her hand brought to light a derringer, a derringer pointed at Viola. Viola’s leaden feet anchored her to the spot; her tongue moved before her mind. “I don’t want to hurt you.” Viola lifted her hands. Fear. She would need to add it to Aurora's character if she got the chance. The reverend's mule brayed. Both women’s gazes turned to the creature. After a moment of hesitation, Viola retreated faster than the pickpockets in her native Manhattan. No steps followed her. ~*~ The door's hinges shrieked with Viola’s entrance. Her damp petticoats clung to her legs and chilled her body. She hugged herself and took a few steps inside the parlor. Only once she halted. There was the woman rider’s pursu- er. His lofty form eclipsed Mrs. Widener's. Dirty yellow hair dangled down from under his beaten derby hat. "The woman I’m after is dangerous—she did the devil's work in Ignatius." The man’s crucifix jingled as he turned around. 18 "How odd then—the bullets came from your gun,” the reverend said as he descended the stairs. Clad in his dated, yet well-tailored gentleman's jacket, the reverend made a handsome figure. His calm, controlled pres- ence soothed Viola’s galloping heart. Mrs. Widener sank into her rocking chair. She traced the patterns on her mouse-brown calico. "I'm too old for this." The man claimed her hand. Gold coins slid into the widow's palm. "I'll find a vacant room." He trudged up the stairs and passed by the reverend without so much as a nod. Viola towered over the widow. "Are you letting a stranger tramp through our rooms?" "Really Miss Blaise, lower your voice! I have talked with him. He is a priest—and a man willing to pay his keep. I must make my living like any other soul.” She eyed the ornate tatted lace covering Viola’s bodice. "Not that you would understand." The widow rose. A cold draft followed her departure from the front parlor. "Miss Blaise, you're soaked," the reverend said. ~*~ Rumors of the vanished Indian woman circulated the table. Mrs. Widener plunked down a bowl full of cabbage. Viola abandoned her utensils and twisted her hands together. The hotel’s masculine presence sharp- ened her isolation. And now, the blond stranger added an edge to that presence. Her thoughts danced an ever- quickening reel. Was the woman in the stable still or long gone? Would she have actually pulled the trigger? Je- sus walked straight out of her mother’s Bible and into her head. He had approached an unknown woman, a sin- ful stranger, at the Samaritan well. Perhaps, like Christ, she could touch the foreign and find commonality. From appearances, the gulf between her age and the stranger was narrow. Viola's chair scraped across the floor, caus- ing Mrs. Widener and the reverend to look up. She pasted on a smile and shook her head before excusing her- self. Viola snatched her notebook before slipping out. ~*~ Cabbage raced down the woman's throat. Viola stood in awe. The hotel's crude cuisine barely made it into her own, cultured stomach. Finally, the stranger nailed Viola with a stare. "Where is he?” Her words bore no hint of a Native's accent. "In the hotel." Viola nodded over her shoulder. The woman dug into a crevice in the wall, pulling herself up. She showcased her bony, frail hand. "Don’t go yet," Viola said. "You're unafraid?" Her dark eyes reflected in the lantern light. Viola’s winter skirt hid her shaking knees. "Why should I be?" The woman dug in her pocket—Viola tensed—but she brought out paper and tobacco powder. With practiced hands, she rolled a cigarette. The woman retrieved a match from a little case stashed up her sleeve. Viola called upon her hankie. “Please stop.” The Indian removed her cigarette, snuffing it out with her fingers. She tracked Viola's every move. "Why would you help me?" Viola opened her notebook. “I’m a writer. All I ask is that you tell me your stories. I promise, you'll re- main my secret." The woman tossed back her ruined hair. A slight laugh escaped her. "A foolhardy one, aren't you?" Questions waltzed on Viola's tongue, but she restrained herself. “You’ll freeze outside—you can hide in my room. I’m a lady—no one will search there.” “A lady sneaking through the night?” Viola spread her fan, shielding her face. "I'm a stranger here. No one cares much about my reputation." For the first time the woman made eye contact with her. "What's your name?" Viola asked. "Selone." "What's the English meaning?" Silence stretched thin. Finally, the woman answered. "Nothing. It's only a missionary's imagining." A cloak of trouble surrounded Selone. But what could Viola say? She pulled her bonnet ribbons tighter. In her own life, all of the lace and silk in the world had failed to shape her into the high class ideal. And now, here she was, alone. Ice wind invaded the stable. 19 Sunlight set the snowy ground ablaze. Selone's black mare contrasted the land, making her easy to spot on the town’s edge. Now she struggled in Viola's grip. "Come on! Just go to the stable!" Another shape blackened Viola's side vision. Selone’s pursuer accosted her, ripping the reins from her and capturing her shoulders. "My mare! Where was she? Did you see the woman?" "Let go!" Viola wrestled away. “Where is she?" He lunged for Viola again, but he missed. Viola dashed down the hotel's alley, bursting out onto the main street. Hair pins dangled against her neck. No footsteps followed her, but she ran until under the hotel's roof. What is all this? she wondered. Viola clutched her head. Fresh pain claimed her temples and blurred her eyesight. ~*~ Two tea cups sat empty on the desk. Selone perched on Viola's bed. Her needle flashed over her pocket loom, binding her beads into patterns of bluebell flowers. She had invented the odd contraption herself. She claimed it helped ease the tension of long days and tense nights. Aurora’s story desperately needed more excitement, but Viola's tongue refused to form any questions. Somehow, asking a stranger about her "adventures beyond the law" was not an easy deed—even for an out- spoken woman. But Viola risked her security for a stranger. Didn’t she deserve to know? In the end, her nerves faltered. Viola sighed. She searched her desk drawers for her inkwell only to see a strange shine near the back of the bottommost drawer. The derringer's pearl handle gleamed. Viola leaped up; her skirts flared to scandal- ous levels. "W-Why is this here?" she whispered. Selone's presence crawled up her back. "I owe you so take it—it’s what I have." "I-I've never held a gun before." "Relax." Selone took the gun and aimed it at her heart. Before Viola's flushing face, she squeezed the trigger. "No bullets." ~*~ That night Selone wedged herself underneath Viola's mattress. Her white-knuckled grip threatened to snap her loom. Viola extinguished all candles. "I saw her! Running—from the privy!" "A ghost your mind conjured." The reverend's sleep-bogged voice penetrated the door. "Oh, I'm too old for this!" Mrs. Widener jiggled her lantern up and down. Light seeped under the door crack, moving back and forth. Soon, the three moved on. Viola yanked the quilts away. "Why is he so determined? Tell me, now." Her guest rolled out and brushed off her night dress, a garment from Viola's wardrobe. She fiddled with the buttons, her gaze darted everywhere but skipped over Viola's face. “You won’t believe me.” “I write the outlandish—and I saved your life. Try me.” The other woman sat cross-legged on the bed, drawing in her legs close to her body. "He claims he saved me somewhere along the Marias River. He, an impoverished saint—" She rolled her eyes heavenward. “— took in a dead heathen's child." Selone twisted the beads in her weaving. "Then why would he hurt you?" "I grew up and he set his eyes on me. People talked. Now he thinks God will forgive him if he gets rid of temptation. But I won't die—not at his hands.” The cold and dark of Viola’s room formed a perfect union. Together they pressed against her. Viola drew her shawl all the way to her neck. "Such an idea is insanity." "Not to a self-made God-man.” A string snapped. Selone’s beads exploded everywhere. Silently, she re- trieved each seed-sized renegade. Viola kneeled next to her, reaching for the bed-bound runaways. The air sat heavy between them, like piled up railroad ties. Viola watched a star inch across her window. "And you?" Selone asked. “’You,’ what?" "A fancy white woman alone on the frontier." She crunched her fingers against the pine boards. "I ran." "From what?" "A disapproving father." Viola cradled her hand. 20 “He wanted a daughter suited to a good marriage. But I wanted to travel: Europe, India, even Egypt.” “Isn’t Egypt an old country in the Bible?” Selone said. “Egypt still exists. It's on the other side of the sea from India.” Her newly-formed smile waned. “I could- n’t go so I wrote about those who could. But when Father discovered my novels, there was no stopping the tempest. I had to leave.” She smiled again, weakly. Viola reached for her fan. "He was always a strict, overbear- ing man. And my will too strong for his tastes. I left the day he struck me." Each looked to the other. Words passed away. ~*~ Days slid into weeks. Selone reached down. "Come." The beast dwarfed her several times over. Giant muscles rippled. Viola stepped back. Father always had considered riding unladylike. But Selone clasped her hand and pulled her up. The few civilized people in Gun- tler's Peak would have considered her mad. Next time, she would withhold her complaints of insomnia. With a gentle kick, Selone urged the mare forward. Early melting exposed the mountain trails. They continued at full- speed. "In summer, the highland lakes reflect the full sky. It’s beautiful!" Selone called over the wind. “It’s not summer!” Viola wrapped her arms around Selone's waist. Dusk’s chill clawed at her nose and eyes. The horse's every move bruised her seat. How did I get myself into this? “We’re seeing something better.” Of course Selone, a seasoned rider, would be oblivious! They wound their way deeper into the mountains. Viola squeezed her eyes shut and prayed for the pain in her ears to sub- side. At last, Selone tugged on the rains. Viola crashed into Selone as the horse halted. The ground groaned un- der the horse’s hooves. Viola opened her eyes. Ice plains spread around them. She buried her face in Selone’s back. “What are you doing?!” Selone never answered. A full moon lit the lake valley. Stars beheld themselves in the lake’s ice. A per- fect mirror of heaven served as this mountain’s crown. If only Viola could paint and preserve this scene forever. ~*~ "I've been in one place too long.” The firelight struck Selone’s hair, bringing out a fierce, raven-black shine. “I've never fit in the white world—this town is no exception.” She reached for her tin cup. Viola poured her freshly-brewed coffee. Ascending steam burned her finger, which she promptly cooled in her mouth. “I’ve never known the people I came from,” Selone continued. “Somewhere across the border, they live.” Her gaze turned to the North Star. Viola’s cracker crumbled in her fist. “You'll never make it. Even I know Canada is frozen over.” Selone stood. She devoted her gaze to the star a few moments longer. “I’m going home. And I think you should, too.” ~*~ Viola plucked the last of her silver from her travelling suit’s seam. The what-ifs of tomorrow gnawed at her, claiming her every thought. She threw aside the outfit, and instead settled at her desk. But the page, once her close friend, betrayed her. No words came to chase away the blank emptiness. She removed the fresh page and turned to what she had previously written. Viola squinted at her scrawl. Aurora's name littered the page. Honestly, what was she writing? Did it matter? She slammed her pen down. It rolled off her pages and over the desk’s edge. “What is my pen? Another escape.” “Maybe you should take a break,” Selone said. “I’m not a fighter. Not like you. You gave up the life you knew to live another day. Now you run after what you want—a real place to belong. I, I just fled with nothing in mind. ” She fed a page to the candles. Flames devoured the paper; heat touched her skin. Then water poured down from above, soaking her and the desk. Selone held Viola's washing pitcher. "Are you losing your mind?" “I think I finally know. I don’t want to hide in manufactured adventures. I don’t want to wonder aimless- ly, my only friends those I create. I'll take hold of my life—like you do yours. I want to stop hiding in the un-real.” Selone merely shook her head, her eyes wider than a frightened deer's. 21 Before dawn, Selone slipped out of Guntler’s Ridge. Her pursuer must have sensed the absence of his prey. For on the day of her departure he wandered all over town like a coyote. In the afternoon, he leaned against the hotel, a lit cigar in hand. He must not have cared for the taste, for he growled and smashed it under- foot. Viola tightened her bonnet ribbons and hastened inside. Paper-wrapped packages dominated the dining table. Mrs. Widener spun on her toes; a chicken swung from each hand. “Truly Reverend, you are a blessing! How long has it been since our last hardy supper?” The widow yanked over a stool and set to plucking her chickens. Viola gave her back a little grin. “Miss Blaise,” the reverend called. Viola joined him by the fire. He reached into his coat and pulled out a dainty parcel. “For you.” Her name, written in familiar, elegant scrip, beckoned her. Viola’s eyes blurred as she embraced the packet. “Thank you!” His facial creases softened. “You have your mother’s smile.” “You’ve always been there for me, from the time I was a child. So thank you—for everything!” She hugged him. The reverend awkwardly patted her back. After flashing one last smile, she flew up the stairs. No longer did she care if anyone saw her ankles. Once upstairs, Viola tore through the packaging. A letter and a gold-stuffed pouch tumbled out. “Dearest,” her mother penned, “I pray you are well and have not suffered too greatly in your current circum- stances. This letter contains your means home—may it reach you intact.” Viola’s smile flattened. “Your father prevails. I hope and pray you will return with a changed and obedient heart.” She crumpled the letter, only to smooth it out again. Her lamp burned late into the night as she studied each word. ~*~ The beaming widow served her golden-brown chicken. “The priest is absent,” the reverend said. The widow wagged her finger. “It’s his own fault. Reverend, please say grace.” Wintery air blasted their hot meal. “My mare—gone!” Selone’s pursuer came to supper in a snow- burdened trench coat. Instead of seating himself, he paced laps between the fireplace and gawking diners at the table. On his third round he halted before the hotel’s proudest feature: its large picture windows. He aimed his Colt Peacemaker across the street—and fired. A dark-haired woman, clad in scarlet, screamed, and ran inside the saloon. Viola’s fork clanked against the floor. “My glass!” cried Mrs. Widener. Snowfall blew in, coating the room in white powder. Boarders rose to restrain the blond stranger, but the man pushed through, outside to the street. He was gone just as swiftly as he had appeared. Viola snagged the preacher’s sleeve, dragging him to the parlor. “Now is not the ti–” “Just listen. I’ve traveled so far, I’ve been so unsure. Yet now I know exactly what I want to do. A friend out there needs me. You and father never got along. But since the beginning, you have been kind to me. Indulge me one more kindness. Let me buy your mule.” She shoved her mother’s gold his way. He groaned from a deep place within. “Keep your gold. Just go home to your mother—alive.” ~*~ She descended wrapped in shawls and robes. Below, the newly-arrived saloon owner raised his fists. Men shielded Mrs. Widener or squabbled over how to best board the window. Viola bowed her head and se- cured her scarf. Her single valise accompanied her to the reverend's mule. She strapped down the widow's shot- gun. Hopefully extra gold with her bill would sooth all wrath. The snow storm showed mercy, lifting its veil from the land. The woman possessed no weapons. The man packed a devious heart and loaded revolver. Viola ached to return home. But Selone needed her first. Reckless, irrational, ungraceful—all the flaws attributed to her throughout her life appeared true. But today, she would add a virtue: bravery, fighting bravery. Mother, please wait for me. The mountains summoned Viola. Guntler’s Ridge faded behind her. 22 Untitled Tori Gandia 23 The sound John Kay in my community there is a legend that no one knows the origin of a sound that permeates the air in all direction they say it is the sound of the great waterfalls while others say it emanates from the big medicine river I know it is the sound of water bursting forth through a portal of time thousands of years old echoing through the rocks and natural crystalline formations the sound is high-pitched rings in the morning and a solid ohm in the afternoon thundering booms at sunset then snaps, pops, and crackles at twilight at night the hollowness of bells turning whispers and chirps at dawn all in this place bountiful with the sound of water it still runs in the times of greatest silence and even though a great city is there now between the roar of traffic, beneath the hustle of footsteps and behind the confusion caused by the magical moment when there is the kindest pause you can still hear the ghostly singer and she sings of water, water telling everywhere 24 Untitled Tori Gandia 25 Kindness of Survival Rachael Gray Hawk “So what brings you in today, Julip?” She smiled at the man’s greeting. She’d met him a few times before but each time she’d forgotten to ask his name. Lately, he hadn’t had his cabin open for people to trade with him. Things were getting a little harder to find and people were getting more hostile. As she approached his cabin earlier, she saw a large wooden fence built up around his entire cabin. She noticed that the door had been reinforced with thick logs that could slide down to bar the door in case of attack. All of the windows were boarded up. She highly doubted anyone could get through. But she’d heard stories of people with guns attacking seemingly harmless groups strictly to take their supplies and food. Better to be prepared than suffer the consequences on her trip. “Just getting some goods. I’m going west. Nothing but sand here.” The man nodded, looked out a small gap between the window boards, took her list of sundries and got busy sorting through various boxes and drawers in his kitchen. She gave the man a handful of baubles and trinkets, small items such as fuses and batteries that were worth money in the Arid. In return he gave her a potato sack of her supplies. He even threw in some extra sup- plies. He wished her good luck on her travels. Julip had been alone since the beginning; she was used to it. But ever since the rain came back, there were more groups of people out and about scavenging for food and supplies. Game animals were hard to find. They seemed to be out in the early hours and at dusk. Nearing the small makeshift shelter Julip called, “Hey!” She had taken in what she thought was a dog. It had been emaciated and caked in mud, probably to relieve itself from fleas and gnawing flies. He must have come to the base of the mountains in search of food. He had only been a pup when she stumbled upon him. She couldn’t abandon him there. It wasn’t until after she bathed him and shared what little vittles she had, he looked more and more like a timber wolf. Timber’s ears perked up when he heard her approaching. His bright yellow eyes caught her movement. He jumped up and down but never moved from his lookout position in front of their improvised lean-to. “What are you up to, huh?” she said, scratching his ears and face. His bushy tail wagged back and forth like a great feather duster. The wolf’s keen nose found the bag of dried meat she’d traded for. “Bet you’re hungry, huh?” In anticipation Timber sat and patiently waited to be given his share. “We’ve got to get a move on, Tim. Let’s make for the mountains. It’ll be much cooler. Bet we’ll actually find game.” In response, Timber nodded and licked Julip’s face as she looked at the horizon where mountain peaks jutted above a canopy of clouds. She had heard about better hunting in the mountain passes. “It looks so far, but we’ve got to try.” A week into their journey, Julip and Timber started to see more greenery and more bodies of water. However, travelling through the depleted flats of Utah, they both were thin and exhausted. Eating the occasion- al weasel or rabbit didn’t fill their bellies. Julip couldn’t remember the last time they felt full. They continued on until sunset, finally coming across thick grasses and trees. They were nearing the part of the mountains that she had heard were plentiful and safe. Suddenly the hackles on Tim’s neck rose. He started to growl, low and threatening. Julip cautiously took her bow and readied an arrow. Aiming down her sights she shouted, “Hello?” She could hear footsteps, breaking twigs and crunching leaves. Tim’s growls started to turn fierce; his fangs were dripping with saliva. As they approached a thicket, Julip could smell smoke. Someone was camped nearby. She was suddenly aware how chilly it was getting. Tim quieted down but his fur stood on end. Through the brush, Julip could see a small cabin, most likely only one room. There was chopped firewood and a hand-dug well. Someone had been here a while. The smell of cooking meat filled the air. Timber whined and Julip licked her cracked lips. 26 A dog came into view, coming from the other side of the structure. Tim began to growl. “Stop it!” she hissed. Timber fell silent but the dog was aware of their presence. It immediately began to bark. A cold shiver of panic crept up Julip’s back. If there was a hostile person in there, she wouldn’t have any strength to fight them. Hell, there could be more than one person in there and that’s what scared her the most. Unexpectedly, the cabin door opened and an older man stepped out. He wore a thick flannel jacket and well-worn jeans. As he went down the stairs, there was something off about the way he moved. He turned all the way around to look in the direction the dog was barking. “Who’s there, boy?” he called, using his hand to shield his eyes from the setting sun. Julip hesitated. The man’s dog was five feet from them and the man followed it with a shotgun in hand. Her heart thudded against her ribs. She was breathing in a hushed manner. She tried to lean back and use the tree she was sitting against as a blind but the man looked up and met her eyes. He was blind in one eye. “Don’t mean no harm, do ya?” the man said, calmly but firmly. Julip shook her head. “No sir. I-I . . .” He came up to meet her. “You’re hungry,” the man said matter-of-factly. Julip nodded. He looked at Timber who was guarding her. A look of almost admiration lit his remaining eye. “Wolf?” Julip petted Tim’s head. His tail gave an anxious flutter. “Yeah.” her heart was still racing but it was beginning to slow down. “Well c’mon in. Duke and I are cookin’ pheasant.” Upon entering the man’s cabin, Julip’s eyes darted around the room. There was another door off to the left side of the room. She set her bag and bow by the door within sight just in case she needed to make a break for it. Timber sat quietly next to Julip who sat on a makeshift couch. The man was tending the woodstove, feeding it small logs. “Don’t get a lot of folk up here,” he began, finally sitting down on an old recliner across from Julip. “Been hard to find food,” Julip spoke up. Duke, the man’s large German shepherd, stretched out on the floor by the woodstove. This eased the anxiety out of her shoulders. “That’s why Duke and I moved up here this spring. Snow run-off fed the river a mile from here. Was dig- ging a trench and came across ground water!” His expression brought a smile to Julip’s mouth. “So your well is full?” She wasn’t sure if the water table changed with the intense heat. “Yep. Been able to use it to grow some food. You know the man who runs a trading post out of his cab- in? Don’t know if he still does . . .” Julip nodded. “He still does.” “Bought up his seeds, about 20 pounds of 40 different fruits and vegetables. Traded him a generator.” Julip couldn’t believe she’d never thought to grow her own food, but then, the Arid wasn’t very accom- modating. She barely found water as it was. The familiar sound of crackling food erupted from the woodstove’s range. “Almost forgot,” he said, getting to his feet and taking the pheasant off the heat. Duke gave a lazy groan as the man scooted past him to grab blue enamel plates. Julip watched as he carefully cut the pheasant in two. He offered her the plate; she hesitated but then took it. It smelled delicious. Her stomach howled and so did Tim’s. “I have nothing to trade you,” Julip started, but the man waved her off. “Nonsense. You are our guest.” Julip smiled and started to take apart the pheasant, savoring the crunch of the skin and the succulence of the meat. Tim lifted a paw and rested it on Julip’s arm. He was eyeing her bones. “I’ve got some scraps if he wants some. Ole Duke ate his fill. He’s welcome to them.” The man pointed at the dish of bones and scrap meat next to the woodstove. Tim’s eyes followed. He looked back at Julip for ap- proval, giving a low whine. “Go ‘head then,” she said. Tim sprang up, startling Duke, and started cracking bones and swallowing loudly. “My name’s Jeb by the way.” 27 Julip swallowed a mouthful of food and said, “I’m Julip.” The man smiled. “Like a mint julep?” Julip shook her head. “No, Mom liked the name of the town I was born in.” “Where’s your family now?” Jeb asked, giving his bones to Tim who scarfed them down. “Lost them before the Arid. There was a big sand storm in the Utah, I lost my only picture of them. I looked and looked but nothing. Been trying to avoid the bigger settlements. Dangerous.” He nodded and rubbed his eyes. “I hear ya. Man wanted my generator, fact, a bunch did but I wanted those seeds. The man attacked me. That’s how I lost my eye.” Jeb pulled a tea kettle off the stove. “Coffee?” Coffee? How long has it been? Julip eagerly shook her head. “Thank you.” She took a drink, “So why’d you help us?” She thought it all had to be a ruse, it was too good to be true. “Well kiddo, I miss my own family. Had a boy your age. Lost him last year to infection. Moved out here,” he gently sighed, “to be safe. But it’s lonely. Duke don’t do much though he’s good company. Haven’t seen an- other person in six months. You didn’t look so good. You or him,” he said, motioning to Tim who was now in a food coma next to Duke. “I appreciate the coffee and the meal, really. We’ve been travelling for a week. It’s much greener this way. Much cooler. We’re headed to the mountains to the west. Bear Pass.” Jeb nodded. “Been up that way. Really steep. Good huntin’ though.” Julip grinned. “I miss hunting. In Utah and the corner of Idaho, there were jackrabbits but they were stringy and tough. Missed good food.” “Yup. It’s good eats up here. Much more rain. Brings people though.” The furrow on his brow deepened. “Not everyone is bad, Jeb. Look at you. Fed a complete stranger and her wolf. I’ve bumped into some people who’d rather eat me than him.” Jeb gave her an expression of mild shock. He took a drink of coffee. Some of the grounds caught in his teeth. For a while Julip and Jeb sat in silence, enjoying their coffee and the warmth the woodstove gave out. Both Duke and Timber used the yard. Jeb showed Julip his well and told her a story about when he was younger and fell in a well. “See? That’s why I dug stairs into my well. Just in case. Best to be prepared.” “Looks like it was hard work.” Julip surveyed the dark depths of the well. “It was. Didn’t have fingernails for months!” After the sun was devoured by the horizon, Julip and Tim took a walk around Jeb’s cabin. Julip was excit- ed to have had a full meal. She was so grateful for Jeb’s warmth and kindness that she felt she needed to pro- tect him. From what, she didn’t know. She remembered that Jeb had said more people were coming into the mountains to get away from the heat. Julip thought about the day things started to fall apart. The radio had been on all night and she had wok- en up to the sound of a public service announcement blaring in her ears. The man on the radio was repeating for everyone to stay indoors and if they had fire blankets to place them over the windows. He repeated to stay in- doors and that communications might be down after the first solar burst. Lately, there had been a lot of long- range radio interference from the sun’s solar flares. It had been getting worse, and Julip instantly knew that this was what the man was talking about. Suddenly she heard him say something about a geomagnetic storm hitting North and South America. Microwaves opened holes in the ozone. This concerned everyone but was the main reason to stay indoors despite the urge to flee from danger. Julip had been staying with her distant cousin, one she never grew up with, only knew by name. He had gone to work and hadn’t come back yet. Hopefully, he was okay and nothing serious had happened to him. Her phone hadn’t been working and neither was the Wi-Fi, so there was no way to get a hold of him. The man was warning people about a coming solar proton event caused by the geomagnetic storms. He warned of blackouts and ionization in the ionosphere which would affect the electric grids, leaving them without power for an extended period of time. Julip scavenged some flashlights, batteries, candles and supplies so she could wait it out in the basement until her cousin came home. 28 However, Daniel never did show. Not even when the power went out. Julip wasn’t too worried. She thought of it all like a giant thunderstorm. Soon everything would be okay and the power and the lights would come back on and her cousin would be home with takeout. A week later, fires had sprung up all over the state. Large holes in the ozone prevented fire crews from putting the fires out. The state was wrecked and there was no help coming. None of the harmful UV rays were blocked. Anyone who had tried to go outside risked the potential for being severely burned by solar radiation. Julip had used the last of her batteries to hear the radio transmission warning of another solar event. This time earth wouldn’t be spared the brunt of it like it had in recent years. This time the amount of radiation hitting earth would be equivalent to the amount of radiation constantly hitting Mars, their barren, scorched neighbor- ing planet. “You okay?” Jeb said, pulling Julip out of her thoughts. She nodded and tried to smile, but the horrific memory of the Earth falling to destruction hit Julip hard. It’d been two years, and she still didn’t have anywhere to go. She had only half-thought-through plans and foolish dreams. Things were just coming together. It had started to rain again, plants were starting to grow in certain places. Large cities had been hit the hardest, ran- sacked and burned into ash and soot. Those cities were wastelands. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just thinking.” Jeb nodded. “Been doin’ a lot of that lately. Thinkin’ of the Arid.” Julip looked at him, wondered where he had been when it all came crashing down. “You were here when it happened?” “Lived in Utah. Small town, Paddock. Watched my neighbor get microwaved to death in his car. First time I ever saw what the solar flares did. My family and I got the hell out of there quick and in a hurry.” “You guys moved out here?” Julip followed Jeb inside. “No, I found this place after I lost them—him.” Julip eyed Jeb; she remembered him talking about losing his son the year before to an infection. He never mentioned if he had a wife. “Your wife and son?” He swallowed hard at Julip’s gentle prying. She saw discomfort and pain spread across his face. “I didn’t mean to pry. I just . . . was curious. I’m sorry,” Julip quickly offered. Jeb looked up at her, his remaining eye welling with tears. “Haven’t said her name in months. Remember that river to the south that I was telling you about? That it flooded?” Julip nodded. “We got caught in it and Hannah lost her grip. She got pulled into the undertow and . . .” His voice was damp with tears, his throat making him hard to understand. “Jeb, you don’t have to. I understand. I’m so sorry for your loss.” Julip rested a hand on Jeb’s arm. Tears splashed over his sooty face, leaving clean lines in their wake. He shuddered and wiped his tears away. “This Arid, this brutality of nature, has taken everything I had, Julip. Everyone I loved, I watched them die. We came up here to get away from marauders. To hole up, to wait it out. David died and I lost it. I was in a bad place. Didn’t get up from that couch for weeks. I brought myself to hunt for the first time, and I found corn and potatoes growing in my garden, Julip. Corn. Potatoes. Growing.” A look of profoundness fell over Jeb’s rough, unshaven features. “This was my epiphany. My saving grace. My purpose. To live as I was intended to. Hannah and David would have wanted me to go on. And I feel them here with me at night, I can still remember Hannah’s perfume, David’s laugh. Those are the moments, Julip, that save me every day.” Julip swallowed down tears of empathy. She knew too well what it was like to lose everything in a matter of months. She knew the loss he felt. She remembered her parents’ voices. She remembered her mom’s smell and Dad’s aftershave. Jeb was right. Those were the moments that held her together. They were the rea- son she could wake up and continue on every day. As evening bled into night, Jeb brought out a shaggy afghan for Julip to cover up with. It smelled of a mixture of lotion and . . . blueberries? Something that smelled very good. Jeb noticed Julip smelling the blanket. “Like it? I make my own goat’s-milk soap. That one there is citrus and wild berries.” “Goat’s milk? I didn’t see any goats,” Julip said, suddenly interested. 29 “Well, I couldn’t give you the whole tour in the dark now could I?” He smiled, warm and comforting. Julip smiled in response. “Goodnight Jeb.” Jeb smiled again, handing Julip a wound-up shirt to use as a pillow. “G’night Julip.” Untitled Luke Volkomener 30 Another Exodus Austin Hammatt The Mormon Pioneer Trail was quite the trail. It was approximately three-fifths the length of the famous Oregon Trail, used for more than twenty years, and travelled by approximately 60,000 people. According to re- tired historian Mel Bashore, it was an amazing success, at least regarding the relatively low death rate (Naumu). Most of those to use the trail at that time were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, com- monly known as Mormons. This mass exodus of Mormon pioneers was an incredible event that took place be- tween the years of 1846 and 1868. In addition to this movement of pioneers, these years included movement on the Oregon Trail, the Mexican-American War, the Battle of the Alamo, and the American Civil War. The Mor- mon pioneers were compelled westward out of their lands in the Eastern United States by persecution. Their movement westward was largely a great success with the exception of a few terrible occurrences, and the years following their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley were marked with great growth and success. Why would so many people leave their home and travel 1,300 miles over rough country? There have been many similar journeys in history, for various reasons. Some such journeys have been for gold, as in the Cal- ifornia Gold Rush. Others have been due to war, as in the Trail of Tears. Still others have been due to the desire for land or things similar, as in the Oregon Trail or the many trails forged by early settlers of the United States of America. Some have even been for religious reasons, such as the exodus of Israel from Egypt. With the Mormon pioneers, it was largely a combination of the reasons of persecution and religion. The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints went through very challenging persecu- tion in the years previous to their movement along the Mormon Pioneer Trail. One of the first gatherings of the Mormons was in Kirtland, Ohio, in the late 1830s. They obtained a degree of success here, including the building of a temple. However, this was not to last, for persecution caused many to leave. As the book Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expresses, even the Prophet Joseph Smith’s life was greatly threatened (Our Heritage 36). Much of this persecution came from previous members of the Church or from the local people. As the violence increased, the members left the area. At this time, the Saints in Jackson County, Missouri, were also having difficulties with those around them. Eventually, they were forced to leave due to much injustice and violence, including the destruction of their homes. These Saints later established themselves at Far West, Missouri (Our Heritage 36-47). The Saints were soon on the move again, after events such as the horrific Haun’s Mill Massacre in Fair- view Township and the imprisonment of the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders. One of their next destinations was Nauvoo, Illinois. Things went well for them in Nauvoo for a time, but as was common for the Saints, that time would come to an end (Our Heritage). Events such as the burning of homes, the violence of the mobs, and the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum would add to the ending of these good times. As Stan E. Sorenson points it in his World History, the Saints decided that they would leave Nauvoo and asked the mobs if they could have a little time to prepare to leave the area. The mobs agreed to this and the Saints started vigorous preparations to leave. Nauvoo was a decent-sized town of approximately 20,000 people, and moving that many people would require some time. The mobs soon started their attacks yet again, and the Saints were forced to move from the area sooner than they had hoped. In addition to this unexpected turn of events, they would end up leaving in February, a horrible time to start traveling with an inexperienced group of travelers. These Saints would cross the Missouri River and congregate on the other side (Sorenson 984-986). The time on the other side of the river would allow the Saints to prepare for the rest of their journey. Sorenson con- tinues to share that the first group of evacuees included over 12,000 people, 3,000 wagons, and 30,000-head of various animals. 31 Looking at Nauvoo near this time, the new Prophet and President of the Church, Brigham Young, declared, Our homes, gardens, orchards, farms, streets, bridges, mills, public halls, magnificent temple and other public improvements, we leave as a monument to our patriotism, industry, economy, uprightness of purpose and integrity of heart, and as a living testimony of the falsehood and wickedness of those who charge us with idleness, dishonesty and disloyalty to the Constitution of our country. (qtd. in Sorenson 987) The night that they crossed the river, there were a number of deaths. In addition to the deaths, incredibly, there were nine births (Sorenson 986-987). The Saints would next meet at Sugar Creek, seven miles west of the Missouri. Sorenson explains that Brigham Young played an important part here, including providing great assistance in organizing the Saints into groups. At Sugar Creek, many things happened, including the distribution of clothing, food, and other items. The responsibilities of well digging and road and bridge building were delegated (Sorenson 987). Sugar Creek was a good stop for the Saints, but not a permanent one. Soon the Saints were on their way westward, ending up at Winter Quarters. Sorenson explains that Brigham Young led the first trek west when the weather finally let a group leave. The relatively short treks that followed were conducted in a brilliant manner. Those who were first on this new journey were more than simp- ly the first ones on the trail. Their duties included planting crops for the travelers who were to follow them and building bridges, roads, campsites, and rafts for river crossings. The treks that followed were not easily complet- ed, especially by inexperienced travelers. In addition to this, there were approximately 15,000 people who end- ed up moving along this path. It is no wonder that the event took months to complete. However, amid so much success and triumph, there was sadness, illness, and death. This trail was not easy for many to follow (Sorenson 987-988). This journey would serve a purpose other than simply getting the Saints to their destination. Our Her- itage shares that the 310-mile trek from Nauvoo to their eventual destination at Winter Quarters helped train the Saints in how to be successful in their journey to the Rocky Mountains. This upcoming destination was around 1,000 miles from Winter Quarters, but they were able to complete the travel in less time than it took to travel from Nauvoo to Winter Quarters (Our Heritage 71). The time that the Saints spent at Winter Quarters was difficult to endure. Our Heritage shares that Win- ter Quarters, along the Missouri River in western Iowa, was the largest settlement. It was here that around 3,500 of the group settled down temporarily. There were other camps nearby, such as Kanesville, which had approximately 2,500 inhabitants. In Winter Quarters and the surrounding area, the Saints experienced difficul- ties, both in summer and in winter. During the summer, malarial fever took its toll; while in the winter, cholera, scurvy, and other trying health issues wreaked havoc. The numbers of those who died reached hundreds (Our Heritage 71-72). Life was hard, but the Saints managed to survive and move onto other hardships. Soon after the Saints had settled at Winter Quarters, other undesirable news reached the camp. Sorenson explains that the United States Government requested 1,000 men for the Mexican War. This number exceeded that which individual states had to provide and could cause serious problems for the Saints later on in their journeys to the Rocky Mountains. Fortunately, a friend of the Saints, Captain Allen, arrived with the news that the number had been reduced to 500 men. The Church agreed and set about the task of collecting enough numbers to meet the requirement. Brigham Young himself would take on much, if not most, of the responsibil- ity of finding these men, and the number was met about twenty days later due in part to the encouragement from the men’s wives and mothers (Sorenson 989). As Our Heritage explains, these men, known as the Mormon Battalion, would later depart with over 600 men, women, and children. These Saints would travel over more trail than many of the Mormon Pioneers, journeying approximately 2,030 miles to California. After these men were discharged, some would work in California for a time. Some were even at Sutter’s Mill when the discovery of gold occurred there in 1848 (Our Heritage 73). The Saints had hit yet another hardship in the request that they send men to fight in the Mexican War. However, the Saints met this challenge well and responded by send- ing over 500 men to war as their country had asked. 32 After the Mormon Battalion left, life continued back at Winter Quarters. Sorenson explains that Winter Quarters was moved to the other side of the river after the Mormon Battalion had left. Preparations were then made for that winter, including the building of a combined total of about 1,000 log cabins and dugouts in addi- tion to some tents that were not in the best condition. There were hardships at Winter Quarters over that win- ter, and there was a number of deaths, but spring did eventually come for the 15,000 camped in the area. Once Brigham Young decided that a group should move forward and blaze a trail for the following Saints. This group, comprised of 148 people and 72 wagons, left the settlement in early April of 1847 (Sorenson 990-991). Brigham Young led the expedition as they worked their way into their eventual destination, the Salt Lake Valley. The trek of the first company was not free of trials. There were many hardships, including Indians and illness. Sorenson shares that Indians played a part in the trials of this advanced group of saints. There were times when smoke could be seen due to the Indians burning the land, which burned the feed for the company’s ani- mals. There was at least one unfriendly meeting between the Saints and the Indians when a small group was out looking for stolen horses and was attacked by Indians. The Indians did not fully attack at first, but shots were eventually fired. None of those in the group of Saints were injured. Brigham Young realized the importance of making friends with the Indians. He would leave gifts and food for them, even though these supplies could have been well-used by the traveling party. These gifts would hopefully allow for somewhat friendly relations for the following companies of Saints (Sorenson 992). The Saints did not have too many hostile confrontations with the Native Americans, though they did have a fair amount of worry and trouble. The Saints journeyed at a time when travel out west was not as uncommon as it once had been. Other settlers also journeyed out west for diverse reasons, including fur-trapping and farming. The Saints not only had encounters with the local tribes, but also with other Americans. One such encounter, explains Sorenson, was with the well-known Jim Bridger. His party happened to be traveling in the opposite direction of Brigham Young’s group, but he did invite the Saints to spend some time at his trading post, Fort Bridger. He also spent some time talking to the Prophet Joseph Smith. When Bridger heard that the Saints’ destination was not Califor- nia or Oregon, but the Great Basin, he was not terribly optimistic. In fact, he stated, “Mr. Young, I would give a thousand dollars if I knew that an ear of corn could be ripened in these mountains. I have been here twenty years and have tried it in vain, over and over again” (qtd. in Sorenson 993). Others affiliated with Bridger shared that a frost occurred every month and that the Great Salt Lake area could not support life “except Indians, coy- otes, sagebrush and crickets!” (Sorenson 993). According to some, the Saints were crazy for going to the Great Basin, but they continued in their journey. The hardships that this company faced were not over yet. Sorenson explains that after the Saints’ brief stay at Fort Bridger and the subsequent departure, mountain fever took its toll on them. Saints who were healthier were told to form an advance party and travel ahead. Eventually, this group of scouts would arrive in the Great Salt Lake Valley, leaving a road of sorts for the others to follow (Sorenson 993-994). After seeing the place, Brigham Young’s words were, “It is enough. This is the right place” (qtd. in Our Heritage). Sorenson ex- presses that the area was not much desired. In fact, Horace Greeley, the well-known American publisher, would say that even if the Saints had paid the government a penny per acre, the Saints would have come up on the short end of the stick (Sorenson 994). The Saints would eventually make a haven of the place, but at the time, the area was a stricken spot of earth, at least regarding the geography and layout of the land. Notwithstanding the circumstance of the land, the Saints had finally found a sort of home. This place was where they would sur- vive and thrive for many generations to come. Other pioneers would soon follow. Our Heritage shares that about 62,000 Mormon Pioneers would fol- low this first group. Some of the members of the first company to leave with Brigham Young returned to Winter Quarters to help their families leave as well. By the time autumn rolled around in 1847, approximately 2,000 Saints were in the Salt Lake Valley. Crops were planted—between 5,000- and 6,000-acres’ worth—and work for preparation for a temple was initiated. This was when the miracle of the Seagulls occurred. Grasshoppers, in staggering numbers, would devour their fields. After a time of prayer and fasting, seagulls arrived and relieved 33 the Saints of much of their grasshopper problem (Our Heritage 81-82). Productivity increased after this. In fact, a traveler once noted, A more orderly, earnest, industrious and civil people, I have never been among than these, and it is in- credible how much they have done here in the wilderness in so short a time. In this city which contains about from four to five thousand inhabitants, I have not met in a citizen a single idler, or any person who looks like a loafer. Their prospects for crops are fair, and there is a spirit and energy in all that you see that cannot be equaled in any city of any size that I have ever been in. (Our Heritage 83) Others would arrive and assist in this great work, and after a short time, handcart companies were made to help lower the cost. Ten such handcart companies journeyed to Utah during the years between 1856 and 1860. Most of these companies were successful, but two were not, the Willie and Martin companies. Caught in winter weather, the Saints in these companies suffered greatly and lost much. However, many who experienced this difficult trial held a positive attitude afterwards (Our Heritage 77-78). Many of the Saints experienced hardship on their journey to Utah, but the travel was worth it and it shaped many a great person. At their destination of Utah, the Saints thrived under the direction of Brigham Young. Our Heritage ex- plains that the Saints would soon explore the surrounding area, where good resources were found. Land specu- lation was discouraged and wise stewardship encouraged. The Perpetual Emigrating Fund was created in 1849 to assist the poor who came the area. Missionaries were also called and sent out to places around the world, including Italy and Scandinavia (Our Heritage 83-84). The Saints were finally able to do as they desired, free from much of the persecution that they had previously endured. They used this freedom wisely and became an orga- nized, productive, and happy people. The Mormon Pioneer Trail served a very important purpose for the Saints. It helped them to come to their home in Utah safely and effectively. In fact, Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, stated, “They were the most systematic, organized, disciplined, and successful pioneers in our history. Where Oregon emi- grants and argonauts bound for the gold fields lost practically all their social cohesion enroute, the Mormons moved like the Host of Israel they thought themselves. Far from loosening their social organization, the trail per- fected it” (qtd. in Fleek). The Saints definitely did well on their journey to Utah. As Our Heritage explains, even a separate party of Saints, who went around South Africa by sea, fared well. Their death rate, in spite of a 17,000- mile journey complete with storms, bad food and water, and about six months at sea, was about five percent. Amid such difficulty, two babies, Atlantic and Pacific, were born (Our Heritage). The Saints were not the only ones to use the Mormon Pioneer Trail. Sherman Fleek explains that the Trail was used by other travelers, such as those of the Pony Express. It was also the site of historic events, such as the First Sioux War (Fleek). The Trail was even named a National Historic Trail. The Mormon Pioneer Trail was a big step for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one that is full of stories of awe and inspiration. There was much sacrifice and pain for the Saints in traveling such a distance, but the rewards were magnificent. This trail was not only important for the Saints, but also for the colonization of the western United States. The Mormon pioneers and their trail affected the course of history and continue to do so today. Works Cited Fleek, Sherman. "The Mormon Trail Played An Integral Role In The Westward." Wild West 10.1 (1997): 20. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. Naumu, Sierra. “Death in the Trek: A Study of Mormon Pioneer Mortality.” BYU News. Brigham Young Universi- ty, 14 July 2014. Web. 10 November 2015. Our Heritage: A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996. Print. Sorenson, Stan E. World History, From a Latter-Day Saint Perspective. 3.1. n.p. 1993. Print. 34 a down town John Kay a side-street bench no loitering printed red in the alley a bum is at rest half-empty bottle five long snipes in his pocket old woman shuffles pushes wire rolling basket day-old bread crumbled for bird feed she pauses to eat hard-boiled egg wayward-lost foil birthday balloon skips along a landing strip what's it for celebrations unattended its red ribbon ragged and bright colors now faded businessman drops coin in parking meter's slot checks his watch, its hot and discarded gum adheres to overpriced shoes, an agglutination a pothole so big a seagull swims in it so far away crashes the ocean but here a lost hubcap lies dirty and bent left behind unspoken bad choices noon whistle blows echo is forming long lunch lines chicken nuggets and fries oven’s odor blasts pigeons from perches fly to the sun shed feathers left floating 35 Chief Joseph Sarah Boston 36 Beautiful Storm Jeanine Schoessler Wind, Swiftly turning through the night Rain, Falling carelessly in free flight A dragon twirls the tip of its tail at the sight of this land; A beautiful storm has come to take him home Sun, Shining brightly breaking through clouds Moon, Sleepily floating, above busy crowds The fairies shout their dreams to the sky In playful delight with dainty sighs; the heavens opened to sweep them home They fly, gold-rimmed wings opened wide and to their lands they will endlessly glide 37 Rainy Day Kara Smith 38 Hope Whispers Anonymous When life is uncertain and noise and strife abound, Hope whispers a gentle breeze. When darkness falls and the mists of fog surround, Hope whispers a flickering flame. When the heart is overwhelmed and the spirit ceases to yearn, Hope whispers a simple love. When all we have is lost and there is nowhere else to turn, Hope whispers, “I am here.” Hope whispers her song in the quiet of our soul To remind us of our Father’s love. Hope whispers. 39 The Problem with the Next Small Step for Man Luke Volkomener Figure 1 Apollo 11 Lunar Lander on the moon (NASA) In 1969 the Apollo 11 lunar module carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. What many people do not know is that NASA had no idea if they were capable of returning to Earth. The Watergate web- site contains a document that was written by William Safire, the famous journalist who wrote the infamous head- line “Men Walk on Moon,” which was to be read by President Nixon in the event of Apollo 11’s failure. In the event that the lunar module, such as in figure one, failed to separate, launch into lunar orbit, and link up with Michael Collins in the command module, communication was to be severed and the famed American astronauts left to die of starvation or suicide, 238,000 miles from the rest of mankind. Naturally this raises the question, is mankind reaching for too much, too fast? Shortly after the unfathoma- ble Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters, robotic exploration began taking leaps and bounds on behalf of mankind. Voyager continually pushes the edge of mankind’s reach into interstellar space while multiple rovers ex- plore the Martian surface. Now, mankind aims to join its mechanical rovers and set foot on Mars, yet we haven’t mastered the first step of achieving orbit. In November of 2014, Orbital Science catastrophically failed to resupply the International Space Station while Virgin Galactic’s orbiter disintegrated during a routine test flight. Despite these costly setbacks, the mission to Mars blindly charges forward. That December, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, tested the Orion space capsule, which is meant to take mankind to the surface of Mars. Yet many other critical problems have not been addressed. Before we can reach for the bigger things, we must first master the smaller things. Therefore, in order to confidently take the next small step for man, future funding should be focused toward mastering current manned spaceflight capabilities. Space exploration is a daunting and risky endeavor. As history has proven, space exploration can be ex- tremely hazardous to humans. Naturally, it is no surprise that robotic options are taking center stage in space ex- ploration. The space probes Voyager One and Two, space telescopes Kepler and Hubble, and the Mars rovers Spir- it, Opportunity, and Curiosity are all achieving feats that are not presently possible for mankind. Without Kepler, mankind might still think that our solar system’s planetary characteristics are unique throughout the universe. On the other hand, according to NASA, nearly 1,000 planets have been confirmed beyond our solar system (NASA AMES Research Center). Without Voyager, mankind would not have the scientific revelations of Jupiter, Saturn, and their moons. Additionally, there would be no attempt to answer the question of where exactly our solar sys- tem ends, as seen in figure two. Lastly, without the Martian rovers, mankind would have no geologic or atmos- pheric information about the surface of Mars. Mankind is effectively using robotic explorers to resolve questions that are currently unanswerable by direct human investigation. This utilization of robotic exploration clearly has its benefits to mankind without the added risk to human life. 40 In contrast, humans bring unique abilities, such as intuition, ingenuity, and real-time problem solving, that current robotic technology lacks. One example of the invaluable impact of human exploration was the near disaster of Apollo 13, caused when one of the primary oxygen tanks exploded while in route to the moon. Sub- sequent power failures, fire hazards, dehydration, carbon-dioxide poisoning, and electrical shorts further threat- ened the safety of the astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise, and John Swigert (NASA). Fortunately, the astronauts were able to quickly identify and mitigate arising problems, manually pilot the spacecraft, and safely return to the Earth. Additionally, the astronauts as well as the NASA ground crews obtained crucial experience in allevi- ating potential spacecraft disasters. Humans bring a plethora of defining characteristics to a potential crisis, but the most important is the human ability to learn from our mistakes. Human and robotic exploration both have their advantages that captivate mankind’s desire to reach into space. Recently, robotic space probes and rovers are in the forefront of that exploration. Ideally, a synergis- tic utilization of both human and robotic technology would cultivate the greatest achievement with the least cost. Mr. Steven Oleson and his associates, who work for NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center, outline an out- standing proposal for just this concept. Oleson explores the possibilities of utilizing Human Exploration using Real-time Robotic Exploration, or HERRO. In this concept, Oleson eliminates the costly entry and Martian escape procedures required for a manned surface mission. Alternatively, humans would capture a recurring twelve- hour orbit around Mars and remotely operate robotic surface explorers. In their eight-hour work windows, or- biting pilots would conduct their surface missions with near real-time latency conditions (Oleson et-al. 3-4). Up- on completion of their missions and expenditure of their allotted time or resources, the astronauts would simply return to Earth. Oleson’s HERRO method keeps human ingenuity within the mission at a third of the cost of a manned surface mission to Mars. Exploring further into an aspect of the HERRO concept is Dan Lester, a research fellow in the Depart- ment of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. Lester puts current latency restrictions into perspective by outlining the real-time operating environment from Earth to the International Space Station in Low Earth Or- bit or LEO, the nearly two-and-a-half-second time delay from Earth to the moon, and the eight- to forty-minute time delay for commands being sent to the rovers on Mars (Lester 347). With these significant time delays be- tween command and execution, relaying human cognition through robotics over vast distances becomes unreal- istic. Additionally, Lester points out that human exploration is the ultimate end goal, but moving human cogni- tion is a solution that we are capable of fulfilling (Lester 349). Both Lester and Oleson are advocating solutions with existing technologies to catch human exploration up to current robotic exploration capabilities. As previously mentioned, Figure 2: Space Probes Voyager one and two's location as of 2012 (Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech) human exploration has its risks. The Challenger disaster and the Antares rocket failure highlighted our inability to reliably attain orbit. Addi- tionally, Virgin Galactic’s test flight mistake and the Shuttle Columbia’s destruction spotlighted the hazards of re-entry. Moreover are the problems humans have once we reach space. David Williams, a physician scientist and astronaut who has held a director position for NASA over the Space and Life Sciences Directorate at the John- son Space Center, outlines some of these problems. 41 While in space, Williams studied the effects of a microgravity environment on himself. Williams noted that bodily fluids pool in different parts of the body, most visibly in the rosy cheeks of the astronauts on the In- ternational Space Station. Astronauts must also acclimatize to motion sickness as their equilibrium is in conflict with what they visually recognize as up and down. A more serious side effect of microgravity is muscle atrophy, which occurs when muscles are not being used. In space and in LEO, the human body is not fighting gravity to maintain an upright posture and, therefore, muscles begin to atrophy (Williams). Finally, one of the most serious physiological problems astronauts face is bone demineralization. According to Williams, bone demineralization is the loss of calcium and bone mass which occurs immediately upon introduction into a microgravity environ- ment. Bone demineralization makes the astronaut more susceptible to skeletal complications such as fractures and osteoarthritis. The recovery process is fairly long, and the astronaut may never fully recover to their pre- flight status (Williams). Aside from technology restrictions, many physiological conditions must be addressed if prolonged space flight is to become a reality for mankind. Setting the technology problems and the effects of microgravity aside, Jeffery Chancellor describes one more fundamental problem with human exploration. Mr. Chancellor and his associates work for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and the Center for Space Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. In Chancellor’s article, he points out that mankind has not yet developed a sufficient way of shielding astronauts from the solar radiation of the sun’s frequent coronal mass ejections or from galactic cosmic radiation, also known as cosmic rays (Chancellor 491). On Earth, these highly charged and extremely fast-moving particles are safely diverted away by our magnetosphere and are seen as the Aurora Borealis and the Australis Borealis. Chancellor points out that without some way of shielding our astronauts beyond LEO, they will begin to show signs of radiation sickness and central nervous system and tissue degradation (Chancellor 493). Fortunately for robotic exploration, our current shielding technology is sufficient to protect the more sensitive computer func- tions. Quite simply, robotic exploration provides a cost-effective solution to the problems that dog mankind. If a manned mission to Mars and beyond is ever to become a reality, the fundamental problems of achieving orbit, re-entry, and the physiological problems of bone demineralization, muscle atrophy, and radiation poisoning must be addressed first and foremost. Robotics effectively mitigates the cost of failure, loss of life, and human restrictions while still completing rudimentary mission expectations. Conversely, James Vedda, a policy analyst at the Aerospace Corporation and the author of “Becoming Spacefarers: Rescuing America's Space Program,” argues that rather than the “we were here first” mentality of current space programs, nations should focus on making our current technologies better. Vedda argues that we should stop looking for the next unknown destination and focus on utilizing, testing, and improving our current assets. By “going slow” and developing a self-sustainable environment for humans, we can surpass the need for robotic dependence (Vedda 35-37). The ultimate goal is not to reach out and declare that we were here first, but to take the next step in extending the human race into space and significantly reducing the current resource limitations that are inherent to our planet. In conclusion, it is no surprise that in a finite world of land and resources with an infinitely growing pop- ulation that space is mankind’s next logical step. The looming question is whether we are reaching for too much too fast by recklessly charging forward with manned spaceflights or by sacrificing the benefits of human cogni- tion and ingenuity for posterity and scientific fulfillment. First, human exploration alone brings a unique ingenui- ty to the mission while suffering from the potentially devastating side effects of prolonged exposure to space. Secondly, robotic exploration by itself foregoes the physiological drawbacks of humans while enduring the effec- tive loss of human cognition due to latency restrictions. Moreover, both human and robotic exploration is plagued by our inability to reliably achieve orbit and re-enter the atmosphere. The most optimal solution for mankind is to slow down, refine its technologies, and synergistically utilize both human and robotic capabilities. The ultimate goal of space exploration is direct human exploration and eventual utilization. 42 At best, robotic exploration can only prelude mankind’s arrival, stem our curiosity, and provide essential scientific data. Ultimately, mankind must take the necessary steps to close the gap between robotic and human exploration. Therefore, in order to make the next small step for man, future funding should be focused on mas- tering current manned spaceflight capabilities. Works Cited "Apollo 11: 'A Stark Beauty All Its Own.’" NASA. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 19 September 2013. Web. 23 November 2014. “Apollo 13." NASA. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 19 September 2013. Web. 24 November 2014. Chancellor, Jeffery C., Graham B. I. Scott, and Jeffrey P. Sutton. "Space Radiation: The Number One Risk to Astro- naut Health Beyond Low Earth Orbit." Life 4.3 (2014): 491-510. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. "Kepler." NASA AMES Research Center. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 20 November 2014. Web. 24 November 2014. Lester, Dan. "Achieving Human Presence In Space Exploration." Presence: Teleoperators & Virtual Environments 22.4 (2013): 345-349. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 November 2014. Oleson, Steven R, et al. NASA. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 20 March 2012. Web. 3 Novem- ber 2014. Vedda, James A. "Building the Next Space Age. (Cover Story)." Mechanical Engineering 136.1 (2014): 32-37. Aca- demic Search Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. "Voyager." NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, n.d. Web. 4 December 2014. Williams, David, et al. "Acclimation during Space Flight: Effects On Human Physiology." CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal 180.13 (2009): 1317-1323. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. 43 Myself? Merci Lee Self-inflicted Emotionally invested Of course becoming physically dependent Given my blood line, it truly was expected I should have never even messed with it Euphoric bliss quickly turned into psychological dependence The desire feels innate… Like the need for water The burning, bone-dry, almost breathless feeling when dehydration sets in so deep You develop cottonmouth that foams out the corners of your mouth, it begins to seep If you don’t have it, you feel like you’ll disintegrate. This path of restoration leads to severe depression I figured by now I would have learned a much-needed lesson. I got here by myself, Self-inflicted I gave it my all, Emotionally invested I accidently spread my seed, To her blood line I hope she will do better than me, And never mess with it. After all, The only thing guaranteed in life is Death & The only constant is Change 44 Truck in the Country Kara Smith 45 shake me upside down John Kay here I am and it feels all too late lock the door and throw away the key under the rug, all the dreams we had cloudy rainbows end, all gone my breath but a whisper with no changes in the air just heavenly memories deep in my heart so shake me upside down let them fall out and laugh with me all alone full moons and sunsets and going to sleep at the break of dawn oh so sentimental, but only ornamental I just want to feel it like it felt before to reach and touch the sky to see forever in the stars I just want to go away take my mid-life holiday cash in some karma to keep myself alive to keep on believing and spend a little time with me and leave this dream diary and the world to itself 46 Silent in the Trees (1) Breana Hylla 47 Silent in the Trees (2) Breana Hylla 48 The Heebie-Jeebies Maria Sylvester There has to be at least several reasons why so many people, including myself, decide to watch a scary movie or a TV show one dark night and subsequently become terrified and paranoid for weeks afterward. Those who choose to watch scary shows could easily make a wise choice and go to bed with nothing to look forward to but soft slumber and peaceful dreams. However I, and so many others, continuously decide against reason to press play and thereby spend a very stressful evening trying unsuccessfully to sleep with one eye open. Movies and TV shows affect audiences emotionally. A sad movie makes us feel down in the dumps and a comedy can make us laugh. Romantic movies thrill the heart and mysteries intrigue us with suspense, but scary movies have a singular effect on us all. They thrill audiences with terror, not unlike a roller coaster ride, lingering in the subconscious and supplying each dark night with dread and foreboding. A recent incident highlights this behavior. A month ago I decided to rent The Walking Dead and watched four back-to-back episodes right before bedtime. That night I had to sleep with a light on. I also lay awake for hours, flinching at every unexpected sound and when I finally fell to sleep I had really bad nightmares. Repeat- edly, I would wake in a cold sweat and look around my bedroom for zombies. "Go back to sleep, dummy." Part of my brain said, "Zombies don't exist outside of movies. Even if they weren't fictional, they wouldn't be in the house. They don't know how to open doors." But no amount of reasoning could help me sleep. Zombies haunted my nights, and I had to sleep with a nightlight for a week like a little kid. Each sunrise I felt like a fool and I made the resolution to not watch scary shows before bedtime. And each sunset, the "tiny-tot" nightlight was plugged in again. Several weeks later my fear dissipated and forgetting my previous mistake, I decided to finish The Walking Dead season, at night, again. And I was terrified, again. Despite my illogical and visceral fear responses, I have continued to watch scary mov- ies and then subsequently hate myself afterwards as I lie awake in the dark with night terrors. Even as a little kid I followed this odd pattern. As a child I wasn't that brave. In fact, looking back, I can assuredly classify myself as a wimp. For me, closets were sinister things at bedtime. The basement was always too dark and mysterious to brook further ex- ploration. Creepy pictures and illustrations of skeletons, bugs or sea creatures disturbed me enough to fling magazines across the living room or gingerly flip the pages by the edges in order to not touch the images. I was four-years old when I saw my first scary scene in a movie. My dad had told me to go to bed and not watch True Grit with him because I wasn't "old enough" to see it. I was somewhat insulted. I was definitely big enough to watch my Dad's show. Besides, what was so secret about this one, anyway? I decided to sneak out of my room and find out what was so forbidden. Upon crawling into the TV room and hiding behind a table, I saw some grown-ups talking, horseback riding and shooting. "Well this is boring," I thought to myself. I started to leave, but then an entirely different scene began. It was the scene in which the heroine falls down a pit, breaks her arm, gets stuck and after a prolonged period of horrifying suspense, is bitten by a rattlesnake. It was terrifying to watch. For an extended period of time, I had the distinct impression that a certain slithery, poisonous reptile was lying in wait in the house to bring about my untimely demise. No place was safe, despite the fact that it was the middle of winter and the typical rattlesnake most likely had better things to do than wake up from hibernation, crawl into town, then into one's house, wait under one's bed, or behind one's toilet, and bite one's little four-year-old ankles. Nothing hap- pened after a week or two and I gradually calmed down. My days were no longer spent listening for the telltale sound of a snake rattle and my acquired phobia of snakes gradually diminished into a healthy respect. 49 So why would I, a confirmed wimp, persist in watching something that was so scary? If the area under my bed was not threatening before, it was now. By my participation in the movie, I had essentially put a rattle- snake under my bed. Since I hated snakes so much already, why did I not leave the room instead of staying to watch? I seem to recall that the reason why I had actually gone through so much trouble to watch the show in the first place was that one of the heroes also happened to be a girl. My dad had rented action movies before, but they had guys for the most part and I was not interested in stupid boy stuff. With True Grit I was interested in the girl character as she rode out into the wilderness to seek justice for her murdered dad. When she fell into the pit I was definitely transfixed by the horror of the situation, but I was also genuinely concerned for her wel- fare and relieved to see her survive. Some horror movie fans enjoy "the feeling of being frightened when they watch a scary film" or "the scarier the movie the better" (Sparks 69). Yet unlike the typical thrill-seeking fan, I want to see if a compelling character can win in a struggle against adversity and survive against incomprehensi- ble odds. But an unwelcome side effect of watching such exciting adventures is taking them home with you. After my first terrifying cinematic experience, I should have stayed away from monster-related cinema. I could not help myself, however, and I developed new frights with each new experience. It did not matter what sort of monster or ghoul I would see on the TV screen; it was somehow going to end up in my house. The movie Poltergeist made me believe that my toys were evil, giant trees would bust through my bed- room window to eat me, and that evil spirits were lurking behind every door and curtain. I mused on these aver- sions while in bed at night, with my head under the covers. Whenever I dared look out from my blankets or when I had to go to the bathroom, a ghost would immediately take up residency in my closet. On watching Jurassic Park, I should have come to the logical conclusion that dinosaurs are extinct and that they wouldn’t wait in random closets to devour children who had to make a midnight bathroom run. But that primal part of my subconscious decreed otherwise. Logic stated that a Tyrannosaurus Rex could not possibly fit in my closet. Then I would hear a noise and I would believe that the T-Rex was lurking outside of my window, waiting for me to make a move. If I were to so much as blink, it was going to smash through the wall and grab me. The velociraptors that could open doors and run like the wind were most likely waiting to ambush me in the living room. Even if I made it past all of those freakish obstacles I would still have to face the poisonous dinosaur, also known as the dilophosaurus, lying in wait in the dark bathroom, ready to shake its rattles and pounce. This sense of paranoia stemmed from the typical car crash of emotions that any monster movie can pro- vide. If I had watched a sweet romantic comedy before bedtime, my dreams would have been populated with fluffy clouds, puppies, and gumdrops, and the closet would have been no more sinister than usual. But having been scared nearly out of my wits, my adrenaline was pumping out of control and every sense was on alert, scouting for danger. With my brain still wired for fight or flight, or rather, shriek and cringe, sleep became im- possible. A creak in the house became amplified like a gunshot, and the flickering of shadows outside of my win- dow would make my heart pound deafeningly. Sometimes I would stay alert all night long and heave a sigh of relief to see the sun lighting up the sky. Over the years a parade of creepy characters from monster movies took up the night shift in my house or backyard. Even when my family moved to a new house the cinema monsters found out the new address and obtained the appropriate house keys. As I got older and a bit more reasonable, I was better able to control my fears. The monsters visited less frequently and soon came by quite rarely. I took to not watching freaky shows at night in order to prevent nightmares and learned to laugh at the illogical thought of a mummy hiding in a laun- dry room or of a vampire lurking in a minivan in the parking lot at Walmart. Scary movies can be fun to watch and mostly constitute pretty silly viewing. But still, every single night, I make sure my closet door is shut. Work Cited Sparks, Glenn G. "Developing a Scale to Assess Cognitive Responses to Frightening Films." Journal of Broadcasting & Elec- tronic Media 30.1 (1986): 65-73. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. 50 Contributor Notes Sarah Boston is a local artist who specializes in realistic graphite portraits of people and animals. She is cur- rently attending GFC MSU and plans to transfer to Montana State University this fall to continue with a degree in Fine Arts. All three of her submissions are drawn using graphite pencils. Kristen Cox is a quirky graphic design student at Great Falls College. While her specialty is in the visual arts, Kristen enjoys trying her hand at most creative pursuits and has been writing poetry off and on since she was eight-years old. When not arting, writing, or studying, Kristen enjoys the challenge of a good game of Go, vari- ous other strategy games, sword fighting, and reading on the couch with her cats. She's always up for a good debate and is currently having a blast in the GFC MSU College Community Choir. You can find her art gallery at kalietha.deviantart.com. Rachael Gray Hawk is a Native American author who has been writing since she was in 5th grade. She was born in northeastern Montana. Most of her earlier writing is poetry. She has written over 500 poems and has been published three times. It wasn’t until she took a creative writing class that she realized she liked to create stories. Her favorite genre to write is fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy. She hopes to publish her short stories in the future. 22-year-old Tori Gandia is originally from Ireland. She moved to America four years ago to pursue a career as a racehorse jockey. Now she is working on becoming a pilot with a degree in Aviation, which she will obtain after transferring to Montana State University next semester. Austin Hammatt is a high school senior who is taking college classes at Great Falls College. He has been home- schooled throughout elementary, junior high, and high school (so far). He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He loves the outdoors—that includes mountain biking, hiking, skiing, and fling a quad-copter. He also loves racquetball and is active in music. Chelsea Hart is a full-time student at GFC MSU. She lives in Great Falls, Montana, with her husband and has also lived in New Mexico and Alaska. After obtaining her Associate of Arts, Chelsea plans to continue on at a four-year university and major in English. Breana Hylla has always been interested in music and photography. She’s been playing the violin for almost 8 years now, both in the pit for many musicals and in the Great Falls Symphony. Breana didn't find an interest in photography until her junior year of high school. Her senior year she joined yearbook in hopes of learning more about photography. With the help of Beth Britton and her friend Tom Gruner she became the photographer she is today. Breana hopes to learn even more about photography in the future. John Kay is a GFC MSU student currently seeking his Physical Therapy Assistant certification. He is a fifth- generation Montanan and lifelong resident of Great Falls. He enjoys a diverse background of occupations includ- ing: real estate, construction, insurance sales, sign painting, restaurant services, baking and being a farmhand. John has only been writing creatively for a few years and draws upon life experiences and past histories for his inspiration. His observations of the human condition produce stories and poems about love, hardships, sorrows, and the ability to triumph in even the most adverse conditions. Besides poetry, John enjoys writing short stories, taking factual historical baselines, and embellishing them to become fantasy and pure fiction. 51 Merci Lee was raised all around Montana, although she was born in Polson. She spent the majority of her ado- lescence in Kalispell, which she just moved from last year and is planning on moving back to in a couple more months. She struggled with addiction from a very young age—let's just say it runs in her blood, which is the un- derlying theme of her poem. She has come a long way in the past few years. She now has a two-and-a-half-year- old daughter who changed her life the second Merci found out she was going to give birth to the little precious soul. That little girl is the best thing that could have happened to her. She gives Merci the motivation to better herself day by day. And that's all it is, she takes it day by day, trying to re-learn who she thought she was. Trying to find her new self. Tressa Mancini grew up by and still lives near Bozeman. In between tackling algebra and working a busy service position, she likes to remember where she lives: Big Sky Country. More invigorating to her than the beauty of the land is the rich history that comes with it. Jeanine Schoessler is an online gamer, crafter, and music-lover. She has enjoyed crafting web experiences for higher education, businesses and non-profits since 2006 and created her business satinflame design in 2014. She loves spending time with her wonderful husband and her fluffy cat and dog. Her passions include trav- eling and sharing the Chinese language and culture with those around Bozeman. She is a recent graduate of the Leadership MSU program and currently works at OP/TECH USA while studying business at Great Falls College. Kara Smith is a graduate of CM Russell High School, where she studied photography under the guidance of The- resa Jacobs, developing a love of film and darkroom skills. She has provided photography services for non- profits, such as the Boy Scouts of America, as well as local sports teams including The Great Falls Americans jun- ior hockey team. While Kara has photographed commercially for web and print, she prefers to simply capture the beauty in the world around her. Her plans for the future include returning to her native Texas to complete her education. When Kara is not working toward her associate’s degree, she enjoys camping, kayaking, and play- ing with her dog, Chugs. Maria Sylvester is the author of “The Heebie-Jeebies.” Luke Volkomener is the author of the essays “Applying Epictetus’s Philosophies” and “The Problem with the Next Small Step for Man.” He completed his painting published here on November 8, 2015, over one-and-a-half hours. 52