Tag: sample writing

Idea on NaNoWriMo

I remember it like it was yesterday. We had been out in the yard, tending to the garden. The sun was just about to set as we packed up the tools into a basket, I got to carry the watering can. That was my responsibility. My other hand was wrapped in hers.

Her hands were covered in dirt, but it was warm and comforting. The simple act of holding onto even a small piece of her always gave me the greatest of comforts. Her sweet and kind smile had looked down at me, asking what I would want for dinner tonight. There were only a few vegetables that had been ready to pick, the others were just days away from being perfect. After they were ready, we would go to the market and try to sell some of them so that we might be able to buy more hens.

I had forgotten to latch the door tightly and most of the chickens had gotten loose. Dad had been able to track down some of them but he had said that a fox must have gotten the rest. Jesse was too little to know what I’d done but she had managed to cry with me as my parents explained what had happened. Momma hadn’t been too mad, but I had been upset anyways. She said that she knew that I hadn’t meant it and that she knew it would never happen again because she knew that I didn’t make mistakes twice.

As we were walking back to the house, the low thumping of hooves sounded across the ground. “Momma!” I gripped her hand tightly and tugged her to look towards the woods. There were too many. Way too many for it to be dad returning from Kopahagen. She whipped her head around to see where the sound was coming from.

Slowly but surely the group emerged from the woods. Big thunderous beasts snared down at me. I knew that they were horses but they were dirty and huge. Something terrifying about them. Momma bent down next to me and whispered, “Run into the field, and stay silent. Get down low and whatever happens, don’t listen.”

My small brain couldn’t focus, “What? No! I don’t want to leave!”

“Kya, go,” said mama as she pushed me towards the tall stalks of corn.

My little legs stumbled over the ground, I could hear the monsters coming, Why isn’t mama coming with me? When I reached the stalks, I didn’t stop. I did was mama told me and went in to the field, dropping down low, I crawled between the stalks.

And then I waited. I waited what seemed to be forever, I didn’t turn back when the shouting started. No matter how much I wanted to, mama had told me not to. And I was afraid. I hadn’t ever thought that they would come.

Just as my will was about to run out, mama’s voice screamed across the field, “Kya, run!”

I turned my head in her direction. I couldn’t see anything, I so desperately wanted to know what was happening. What to do? Momma said run. Run where? Could I get help? The only other adults nearby were the neighbors. But they were just a little old lady and her husband. There wasn’t supposed to have a lot of people around here. That was for the best, so that no one would see something. But here they were. The monsters. The hunters.

Suddenly, the smell of smoke filled the air; looking up, I searched for the source. It was from the field. They had lit the field on fire. Suddenly I wished that I knew how to use my power. But I could barely water the flowers, there was no way that I had the skill to put out the field. I had to run, but run where? To the monster? They at least had my mother, but she might be mad at me if I run back. I had to move though, the fire wouldn’t be far for long. There had been a dry spell the last couple of days. Papa had told us to expect rain in the next few days.

Where was papa? Why wasn’t he home yet? The sun was setting, it cast its eerie twilight glow over the air. Through the fields I could see the flames, licking at the ground. It was coming closer. I had to move. But where to?

Instinct kicked in and I moved away from the flames, but not too far, I walked along the rim of them, slowly working my way out as the flames followed me. I couldn’t just directly leave, they would see me. Then mama would be mad, she’d yell. I didn’t like it when she yelled. My small legs could only carrying me so quickly, but I knew that if I made it far enough, there would be a break. A small creek that my dad had made to flow through the fields so that even if there was a dry spell, he could keep it going. He’d refilled it this morning so the water was probably mostly gone but at the very least, it would have moisture there. Hopefully that would slow the flames. Give me enough time to find a spot to hide, and for papa to come.

But they were there. Before I could stand up, they were one me. They grabbed at my hair and held me by it. Pain shot through my scalp as I tried to run, they only laughed; one of them said, “Got you,” with a sneer in his hideous smile.

I yelled, I pulled, I tried to fight. One of them grabbed me by my waist and carried me to where my mother and I had been standing before.

My struggles ceased when I saw my mother. Blood was gushing from her head. There was a wound near her temple, her lip was split and one eye was so swollen it was forced shut. The most jarring thing was that she was on the ground, rolled over in a ball. And she wasn’t moving.

I tried to force my power out of me so check on her, to see if I could feel the blood still moving in her. It was a trick papa had showed me when I was younger than I was now. For when I was scared at night and wanted to feel close to him and mama. It was hard to do under the best of times, I didn’t know what it was doing but I put all my focus into feeling it. The men, the horse, they all came to me. I tried to focus them out, even when they dropped me to the ground, I didn’t stop. Not until I felt it. The tiny movement. She was still breathing.

My chest sagged. Momma was still okay. Now what was going to happen? I was laying on the ground, they’d tied my arms behind my back and shoved my head into a sack. They were arguing.  Rough noises sounded, someone lifted me up and tossed me onto a horse. The warm heat sunk into my skin as the fur pricked my skin. My ribs were going to bruise from that. It seemed that they weren’t interested in being gentle. But at the very least, they hadn’t killed me or momma yet. Maybe they didn’t know about momma though.

Even though fear struck me at the thought of being taken away, I wanted to get these men way from momma. So that she could go for help, or at least hold off until Papa got back. He shouldn’t be too long. But there were too many people for him to take care of. What if they were going to wait for him to return? They wouldn’t, papa would be able to take most of them. They wouldn’t risk that, would they?

Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about that for long. Someone climbed up on the horse, his gruff voice warned me not to try anything or ese he’d drag me. A whimper escaped from me. Instinctively, I curled my body into the horse, trying to hold on. It was almost impossible since my hands were tied. The jagged rhythm continued to toss me into the air until a big gruff hand laid on my back. The weight held me against the horse.

My stomach rolled at him having touched me. I had to swallow back bile as we continued. They seemed to be in a hurry, going as fast as they had come. There were some real monsters in woods that surrounded my house but none approached the group. They were too big and the aura they gave off was too intense. Monsters immediately recognized them as superior and disappeared.

We rode until my head was pounding and I felt weak. It must have been for a few hours at the very least. When they finally came to a stop, first the man dropped off the horse and then he hoisted me off before tossing me into something hard and squishy. I immediately recognized the wooden smell and feel of a carriage and the squeak that came from my side sounded like another child. My mind raced with how many others there could be. Or would be.

Career Choice? (IHS)

I remember when I was little: my family, best friend, and myself were on vacation. We went out to get ice cream, there was a huge line that seemed to take forever. The wait dragged on, us kids took turns going to the bathroom while my mom waited off to the side for us to return, really she just wanted to sit. My father got the pleasure of standing in line. That was about the time that it happened. A woman had just gotten off from her shift and had attempted to cross the street. It was a busy road and there were no safe places to cross over to where the majority of the parked cars were resting. She’d almost made it to the other side of the street when she was hit.

Everyone froze. I can still remember the sound of her body getting smacking against the car before thumping to the ground. The sound of the breaks screeching and the absolute moment of silence that followed. No one for a moment. And then all at once people were moving. The ones that were trained to. And my mom was one of them. She’d tried to hand off her bag to my father but he was still frozen. My sister ended up breaking out of the freeze, she took the bag from my mom. In the next second, my mom was across the street. The traffic had stopped with everyone else, that allowed the surge of people to cross over without fear. The crowd of families that had come for ice cream and dinner looked on in solemn silence.

If I had thought that the line had been a wait, this was ten times that. The fear that was coursing through me and the confusion, from our position we couldn’t see much of anything but the sudden crowd around the woman. At the time, I hadn’t even been aware that it was a woman. We’d found that out afterwards when my mom had finally come back.

In the end, it had probably only been fifteen minutes before the ambulance had arrived. But that wait had been torture. All the time, I couldn’t look away. And I didn’t want to. I had wanted to help but my young ten-year-old mind hadn’t known how. And still doesn’t all these years later. Honestly, I don’t remember much about that night. In the end, we finally got the ice cream but it was tasteless and the fun had been sucked out of the night. Permanently. My dad tried to revive the night, my mom was coming down off of a rush, and us kids were shaken. It took us a while to move forward again after that.

Eventually though, we did. And now I can look back on that terrible night and use it as an inspiration for what I want to do. What I have wanted to be able to do since that night. I want to be able to help people, to be able to move steady in the chaos. That’s why I’m majoring in nursing, and that’s why I want to be able to work in the ER in a few years. There are other factors that have gone into my choices as well but this is by far one of the more influential reasons I have.

I could be anything that would help people. But nothing calls to me quite like being a nurse. There are other fields, like psychology that entertain and interest me greatly. In the end though, fields like that are subpar at best. Of the fields that we studied in class, the only one that even slightly aroused my interest as a career was a physician’s assistant (PA). I’ll admit that before class, I wasn’t even sure of what one of those were. But it turns out that they are extremely similar to nurses especially the education level of a nurse practitioner (NP). They need to work under a physician while a nurse at the higher of levels can work without the supervising doctor. While this would be an interesting switch, in the end PA’s are less recognized than NP’s.

In class, we discussed many different paths and did a lot of research on who we are as a person. When we did the personality tests, I was matched as an advocate. Someone who doesn’t care for the attention or the recognition for what they do but still are bound by morals to help. I related to that a lot more than I thought. Then later on we ran a simulation lab. A hands on experience taking blood pressure and trying out things that would be a common occurrence in a nurse’s day. That’s where I knew what I was doing was right for me. Nursing is where I want to be.

 

A Tree of Maine (Bio)

The Carya ovata is of the Plantae kingdom. Its family is the Juglandaceae which is where all walnut type trees are joined (Mill). This native tree is better known by its common name, the shagbark hickory.  It is a medium to large tree as records show it can reach to 40 meters tall and over a meter in diameter. The average is found to be only 20 meters high, and only 51 centimeters in diameter (Tirmenstein, 1991). It depends on where they grow. If they are found in a crowded forest, they must be slender to fit in. They also end up with fewer branches throughout the tree, with the leaves only appearing at the top where it can reach the sun. But if the tree was found out in the open, it would be much wider and have many more branches all throughout the tree.

The interior wood of the shagbark hickory is a hardwood that is described as white with a reddish interior. The bark of the tree’s bark is similar to rough strips of paper overlapping one another. The color of the bark is a standard grey/brown while the leaves are a smooth eye shape (George, 1988). The nuts that the trees produce are encased in a smooth hard shell that is at first green, but then turns into a pale brown.

As most trees, this tree lives for a long time. It takes almost 40 years for it to mature to the point of reproduction and another 20 years for the tree to enter into its prime. This tree will live on for hundreds of years to follow. The shagbark hickory is hardy but slow to mature. And can withstand varying climates and altitudes. Up in the north east, the trees are adjusted to living at a higher altitude than they are down in the south. When introduced to fire, the tree may not die. The part of the tree that is above ground will be burned but the roots are somewhat protected from the high heat. This allows the tree to continue to grow. But this also leaves the tree vulnerable to disease and rot. Fires also allow nutrients to reenter the soil which actually helps the shagbark hickory to grow and become more prolific. This tree can withstand heat as high as 46 degrees Celsius without occurring damage.

It is very resilient to soils as well. The tree has grown in areas even with high lead and zinc content. In the south, this tree has spurred in mined areas or in swamping fields. Even in areas with high concentrations of clay, the tree is prolific.

Not all animals enjoy the shagbark hickory, but many can eat it. Deer prefer other means of food but if food is scarce, they will turn to eat it. The nuts of the shagbark hickory are mainly eaten by birds and mammals. Mammals may include varying types of foxes, chipmunks, mice, rabbits, and black bears. And the types of birds found to feed on the nuts of the tree include crows, bluejays, woodpeckers, ducks and turkeys. These nuts are great for consumption for animals because they contain protein, carbohydrates, and fats for them (Tirmenstein, 1991). Bears are one of the few large mammals that can consume the nuts, but they work well for preparation of their hibernation.

This tree not only provides food as a producer but is also a shelter for many birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. Birds will make nests on them while small mammals will make dens. And the animals return the favor of shelter by spreading the seeds of the shagbark hickory. Squirrels and chipmunks are found to be the two major animals that help the tree reproduce. When the tree reproduces, it often combines and ‘mates’ with varying types of hickory trees. Since different species of hickory are viable, this allows the reproduction to be more successful and enables the survival of the tree.  The shagbark hickory is an important part of the ecosystem. It plays a significant role and without it, many animals would be impacted.

 

Literature Cited

Carya Ovata [internet]. ITIS Integrated Taxonomic Information System [Internet]. Reston, VA. [updated 2015 Jan 5. cited 9-28-16] . Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=19242

George A. Petrides, Janet Wehr. 1988. A Field Guide to Eastern Trees. Boston, MA. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 100.

Rebertus, Alan J., Shifley Stephen R., Richards R. Hoyt, and Roovers Lynn M. 1997. Ice Storm Damage to an Old-growth Oak-hickory Forest in Missouri. The American Midland Naturalist. p. 48-61.

Robison, S. A., and B.C McCarthy. 1999. Growth Responses of Carya Ovata (Juglandaceae) Seedlings to experimental Sun Patches. American Midland Naturalist. p. 69-84. ProQuest.

Strole, T.A., Anderson, R.C. 1999. White-tailed deer browsing: species preferences and implications for central Illinois forests. NCASI Technical Bulletin. 2(781):520-521.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. [cited 10/9/16] Available from: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

 

Specie of Maine (Bio)

The Malacosoma americana is of the Animalia kingdom. It comes from the family Lasiocampidae. It is better known as the Eastern Tent Caterpillar. Not to be confused with the similar Forest Tent Caterpillar. This small insect is a marvel though. It starts out as one of hundred or so eggs in a small almost black bundle; when the eggs hatch, the small larvae or caterpillars climb up trees and start the process of making their home. The caterpillars typically prefer trees like the black cherry or an oak tree for their silk tent. The tents are as their shelter and can be made in various places. It also grows along with the caterpillars. As they mature, the tent becomes larger and larger.

When they are in their caterpillar state, they grow only to be about 5 centimeters long. The body is black with a white streak down the back. They also have blue specks and red or yellow lines outlining them. The tent caterpillar also has a ‘hairy’ appearance. When it becomes an adult or a moth, the wings are also fuzzy with a reddish-brown body with white streaks. And they reach a wingspan of 5 centimeters wide.

The stage between larvae and adult is known as the pupa stage. This is where they leave their tent shelter and climb down the tree to find a space for their cocoon. At this time, they are especially vulnerable. Many of them are killed off by various animals such as ducks, bluejays, turkeys, frogs, snakes, turtles, foxes, and bats. Fish are also known to eat them if they fall into the water. At this time of travel, they have no safety to retreat to and are often put out in the open. But if they survive into adulthood, that is when it begins to mate. The female can lay up to 300 eggs in the late summer. The eggs then need to survive the winter before they hatch in the spring.

These small insects are herbivores. They survive off of plants. The eastern tent caterpillar is found to typically consumer cherry, oak, and beech trees. This is also where they spend the majority of their early life. And where it is found to set up the tent.

The eastern tent caterpillar plays a role in the environment. It is an important food supply for many animals and if it were to disappear, then the carrying capacity for various species would be altered. As climate changes, some caterpillars are experiencing changes in their growth. Many hatchlings have been delayed or premature. When they emerge early, they are also at risk of starvation. As the normal period of birth in the spring is relatively early, they are born simultaneously with when new leaves are first emerging. That also puts their food in risk as it may damage the tree from further production if all the initial leaves are eaten. This is why if the smallest of changes happen to cause a reaction in their cycle, it may have a huge impact on the ecosystem.

One study of the eastern tent caterpillar shows that it helps to protect black cherry trees from use by the webworms. Which is another common tent building caterpillar. But it is determined to be a less advanced bug (Travis 2005). The eastern tent caterpillars are shown to be more social and communicate with fellow eastern tent caterpillars by the creation of the tent, synchronized search for food, as well as recruiting. These caterpillars are not on the same level as bees, but they do preform some complex interactions. At least, more so than the webworm. Without the eastern caterpillar, the webworm’s population may surge as new breeding grounds becoming available. They may be a small species, but in the end, they play a big role in the ecosystem.

 

Literature Cited

Abarca, M and Lill, J.T. 2015. Warming affects hatching time and early season survival of eastern tent caterpillars. Oecologia 179(3):901-912.

ITIS Integrated Taxonomic Information System [Internet]. Reston, VA. [updated 2015 Jan 5. cited 10-10-16] . Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=117543

Milne, Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Resh and Cardé. 2003. Encyclopedia of Insects. Boston (MA): Academic Press. p. 6632-639.

Travis HJ. 2005. The effect of eastern tent caterpillar (malacasoma americanum) infestation on fall webworm (hyphantria cunea) selection of black cherry (prunus serotina) as a host tree. The American Midland Naturalist. 153(2):270-5.

 

Picking Pieces

This is a collection of other pieces of writing from various classes that  I’ve done over the year.

I’ll admit now that when not in English, my writing takes a turn for the worse. My motivation to create a masterpiece, is significantly not even there. So judge gently on these guys. Especially the bio ones. Those guys were unfortunate at best. But oh well, too late now.

Just wanted to give out samples of other classes. Afterall, it was on the list to do.

This I Believe (IHS)

This was written in response to a book that was cover in the IHS class. A sample of writing for the world beyond English 122. In the end this essay was left as open ended as it could have been and the results were messy at best.

 

The Wax Belief

There is a lot that I believe in. So much so that asking for just one thing above all else is cruel. But if I had to choose just a single thing, I would have to say that I believe in crayons.

Maybe that’s crazy. But it’s what I believe in. When I was little, every new year of school, I would get a new pack of crayons. Not that I needed any more of them; by the time I was done with school, I had enough crayons to fill two boxes. I need two hands to count on the amount of times that I’ve bought packs bigger than 96. I never needed new crayons but I always got them. Because a new pack was special to me. There is nothing more satisfying than breaking open a new box and seeing each and every perfect individual crayon. They were pristine to me.

Plus, the crayons would evolve with me. When I was very young, they would be big and chunky, something harder for a toddler to crack. But the older I got, the more mature they became. They would be slimmer and more refined. My color choices expanded from red, yellow, and blue to all of the colors of the rainbow and then some.

The best thing about crayons is how much they remind me of people. Crayons have limitless potential; they can draw anything and everything. They are resilient; they don’t bleed together or even allow water to pass through them. Where you draw them, you can scrape it off but a mark will still remain. Like people, when they break, they still work. Maybe not as well as they once did, but they can still get the job done. And each crayon also feels the need to come in a coat of paper. Something that protects it from the outside world. The walls that people wear are a lot like a crayon’s paper coat.

Maybe the most startling resemblance between crayons and people is that they both have names. Each crayon has a name, something that identifies it as it is, just like a person has.

To me, a crayon is limitless potential. Just like people. When I was little, I didn’t think twice about continuously splurging on crayons. When you’re a kid, you don’t think much about anyone but yourself. But looking back now, I can see the value of the crayons and the people that I had. Crayons used to be just the instrument that I used to color in the world how I saw it; now they are a part of a much larger picture. Crayons connect me to my past and have also become a symbol for each person.

I believe in the simple things in life being given a meaning beyond what it was intended. Because that is one of the ways that I add value to the world as I know it. Crayons are just one example of that. But because of that, I believe in them. I’ve seen what crayons can do. They can change shape, they can break down, and they can also be remade. All it takes is a little belief in something, and suddenly all the options become visible. Crayons are extraordinary things because something so small and insignificant can be the reason a child stops crying. Or it can be the reason behind a kid’s confidence in a new school. Something so simple can become so meaningful for anyone. That is why I believe in the simple things in life because in the end, they hold so much power over us.