Broken Together

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

I took this photo a long while back, right after buying my first nice camera. Every time I see it, I think of the song “Blackbird” by The Beatles. It’s funny how certain images can always spark the same memories. For me, it’s the same tune: “Blackbird singing in the dead of night / Take these broken wings and learn to fly.

If there’s one thing the last year has taught me, it’s that we’re all broken, in some way–but that, most of the time, we do our best to hide it. Most of the time, others don’t see the breaks. The pain. The hurt. We’re told to put on a brave face, and we do.

We’re good at faking it until we make it.

But walking on a broken leg–flying on a broken wing–often just makes it worse.

It’s okay to be broken. And it’s okay to say you’re broken.

Above all, it’s okay to ask for help.

Because we’re all broken. And we’re all still learning to fly.

It’s not easy. And that’s okay. Things that matter rarely are. But if we all lean on each other and learn together… then maybe, one day, we’ll be able to soar together, too.

And So Are the Bees

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

In Ohio, springtime means a constant exchange between gloomy weather and perfect, sunny days. So I thought I’d share a picture that is quintessentially spring: A bee pollinating fresh buds.

It’s a reminder in these troubling times that all things pass–nature reminds us of that every day: Good and bad will all eventually be nothing but memory, making way for yet more good and bad, which will then turn into even more memories… and on and on. Bare trees bloom, grow fruit, and then turn dormant again.

But so much of it begins with the bee: With the pollinator, spreading and sharing and gifting the ecosystem with vibrancy. I wonder how much like bees we are: How what we choose to share affects the world around us.

After all, stingers or not, bees are a kindness. They give more than they take, an all-important cog in the machine of life.

I hope to be a kindness. To be like a bee. To be a part of what makes a person smile at the beginning of a bright and beautiful day–and to only sting when absolutely necessary.

Spring is on the way. So are the flowers. And so, thankfully, are the bees.

Wanderlust: What Happens In….

I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or just the usual blah-ness of March, but I’m getting anxious for travel. So I thought I’d share some travel memories with these kind of mini-reviews of vacation spots.

That’s right… VEGAS!

I am far from an expert on it–we only stayed for one night–but I can say this: If you’re at all curious, give it a visit. We stayed pretty much to the strip and didn’t wander out too far, but the lights and grandeur were impressive, the excitement contagious.

And, even if you’re not much into gambling (like me), there’s still plenty to do. (I think I played on the machines for all of 10 minutes, won maybe $30, and then called it quits. But hey, I can at least say I won in Vegas!)

We spent a lot more time (and had a lot more fun), on the lower floor of the casino we visited. One word: Arcade. And then afterwards, the upper floor. One more word: Buffet.

In short, we might not have filled our Vegas vacation in the usual way, but we still had a good time. And it’s strangely comforting that, even in Sin City, a little bit of innocent fun can be found.

Wanderlust: Meet Me in the Mountains

I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or just the usual blah-ness of March, but I’m getting anxious for travel. So I thought I’d share some travel memories with these kind of mini-reviews of vacation spots.

One of my family’s go-to vacation spots is Gatlinburg, TN. I’ve been there… probably enough that it would balance out to about once per every year of my life. (For every year that we skipped, there’s a year when we went twice.) Looking back over these pictures has me longing for the mountains. It might be a “tourist trap,” yes… but at least it’s a beautiful one steeped in nature.

And honestly, I’ve never bought into the negativity that comes with the idea of a “tourist trap.” So I’m a tourist. Why is that so bad? I’m on vacation! If something has been put there to profit off of me, but it’s still a lot of fun… then why not do it? (You never have to ask me twice to play mini golf.) I’m not going to be rude– there’s a difference, I think, between a tourist and an obnoxious tourist. But we all spent most of our time in our “real lives” worrying about what others are thinking and trying to better ourselves and so on and so forth… so why not, when you’re on vacation, give in to a little bit of “fun just ‘cuz?”

Gatlinburg certainly has plenty of that–restaurants and attractions and more fudge shops than anyone can count. But the nice thing about Gatlinburg is that there’s much, much more than what’s advertised in all the pamphlets. You can go for a hike. You can visit historical sites. You can stop by local artisans’ shops. There’s something very “grounding” about being in the middle of Appalachia, even as you’re walking down a busy street with a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum on one side and a flashing, cacophonous arcade on the other.

So be a tourist. But maybe check out the other stuff, too. Chances are you’ll find there’s a lot more to discover… and a lot more fun to be had.

Wanderlust: Living in a Book

I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or just the usual blah-ness of March, but I’m getting anxious for travel. So I thought I’d share some travel memories with these kind of mini-reviews of vacation spots.

I don’t know what else I can say about Universal Studio’s Wizarding World that hasn’t already been said. If you grew up with Harry Potter, you will feel like you’ve leapt right into the books. When I was going through different vacation pictures for this “Wanderlust” series, though, I couldn’t resist including them. I mean… there’s a fire-breathing dragon! Where else can you see a fire-breathing dragon?!?

But this post got me wondering…. What other books would be fun to walk through? To experience beyond the pages and imagination, but with real-life sight, and taste, and smell? My first thoughts went to other series…. The Hunger Games? A Series of Unfortunate Events? Percy Jackson?

But then I started wondering about other books. Being a nerd at heart, I wondered what it would be like to walk the streets of Gotham or Metropolis. Or Marvel’s New York.

I’m sure some theme park somewhere has done that… and if they haven’t… please feel free to take my idea! I want to walk down the street and see Spider-Man swinging above me! Or wander through the Bat Cave and take my picture beside the T-Rex! (For those non-comic nerds, yes, Batman has a T-Rex. And yes, it is awesome.)

And then I started to think outside of fandoms. I’m not much of Jane Austen reader, but I have friends who would love to stroll through her books. Or maybe to wander through the streets of Shakespeare’s time. Ooh… or visit Dracula’s castle! Or Dr. Frankenstein’s lab!

The point I’m making is this: Why isn’t there a literary theme park? (I mean, obviously money and copyrights, but besides that boring stuff….) Could you imagine a place where you could visit so many different genres and live through your favorite stories, both old and new?

I don’t think I’d ever leave.

And I know quite a few bookworms who would agree.

In short, to quote the meme: Take my money!

So let’s say such a theme park could exist. What “lands” would you want to be included? What sort of rides or attractions would you line up to experience?

Tell me in the comments! Let’s make Literature Land together!

Wanderlust: A Mystery on the Ohio River

I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or just the usual blah-ness of March, but I’m getting anxious for travel. So I thought I’d share some travel memories with these kind of mini-reviews of vacation spots.

I thought I’d start off with a nice little day trip my family and I took a few years ago. On the Ohio River is a charming small town called Point Pleasant. Located just inside West Virginia, it has some nice river scenery, several eye-catching historical murals… and a paranormal mystery to capture and haunt the imagination.

If you don’t know about Mothman, here’s the Cliff Notes story: He’s a mysterious, massive bat-like creature with glowing red eyes. All sorts of myths and conspiracies have arisen around this cryptid creature.

The museum itself is a small hole-in-the-wall type of place, but it has plenty of information and a lot of local urban legend charm. It’s a nice way to spend an hour, but Point Pleasant also has some nice antique stores and a nice little walk bordered on one side by murals and the other side by the Ohio River.

Nearby are some other Mothman-related sites. We didn’t visit those (or stay in the allegedly haunted hotel), but for the extra-adventurous, those can turn the day-trip into an over-nighter.

We opted to start heading home, and instead ended the trip by visiting the very first Bob Evans in Rio Grande. The restaurant is a staple here in the Midwest. And visiting the original farm and restaurant yielded a really yummy meal. Generous portions…. and seriously the best sandwich I’d ever had at a Bob Evans.

In short, Point Pleasant, WV (with maybe a detour to Rio Grande) will give you a relaxing trip with just enough supernatural mystery to keep you wondering about all those things that go bump in the night.

Tired of Winter: When Land Meets the Sea

Around this time every year, I start to reach my fill of winter. The cold is no longer cozy; the snow is no longer magical. So I thought this month, I’d live a bit vicariously and share photos that represent what I’m eagerly awaiting with warmer temperatures.

I love hiking. (I’m not always very good at it and I need lots of breaks, but I still love it.) My favorite part? Finding the unexpected. Whether it’s a dazzling spot of sun reflecting off a stream, or a strangely colorful mushroom, I love those moments when you have stop trudging through the leaves and climbing over roots, and take out your phone and snap a picture. Last year, my husband and I came across an area that felt as though some of the ocean had been dropped into the middle of Ohio. First, we wandered past a wall of rock that curved like waves above us. I felt like I needed a surfboard. And then, when we turned a corner, we found what we could only call Whale Rock. Thar she blows!

Tired of Winter: Walking in Forgotten Footsteps

Around this time every year, I start to reach my fill of winter. The cold is no longer cozy; the snow is no longer magical. So I thought this month, I’d live a bit vicariously and share photos that represent what I’m eagerly awaiting with warmer temperatures.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

I love to travel, but with the pandemic…..

Well, I keep telling myself it won’t last forever–and it won’t–but I’ve also used this extra time to look back over fond memories. And the wintry weather has me especially thinking back on our last trip to Florida. One place we visited was an old fort, not far from Saint Augustine, called Fort Matanzas. We explored the structure, even climbing up a narrow ladder to the top.

But one of my favorite moments wasn’t from above, but from this one window: I couldn’t help but wonder how many people before me had looked through it as well, how many people–separated from me by a million different things–had witnessed this exact same perspective. How had it changed? How had it stayed the same? What did I have in common with those people? What were our differences?

It was possible, I supposed, that I could have nothing in common with so many of the other vacationers who had stood in that same place–a part from the fact that we were all enjoying the Florida sun and a bit of history. But it was just as possible that I could have everything in common with them.

And what of the soldiers who had once been stationed here? Of kids who came across the fort while exploring? I could just as easily share similarities with them, or be their polar opposite.

And still, others who would come later and walk that path, look out that same window, could be completely different or shockingly similar me. Perhaps someone else who dreams of being a writer would also stand there. Perhaps a fellow librarian or comic nerd.

Most likely, people such as those will stand there in the future, and already have before.

And even if the others who gaze from that window are nothing like me at all, at least we’ll have one thing in common: For the briefest of instants, we both looked out the same window at the same view.

Tired of Winter: Ready for Nature to Paint Again

Around this time every year, I start to reach my fill of winter. The cold is no longer cozy; the snow is no longer magical. So I thought this month, I’d live a bit vicariously and share photos that represent what I’m eagerly awaiting with warmer temperatures.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

While snow can bring its own special, soft majesty to any landscape, it doesn’t compare to the myriad of colors that come when Nature picks up her paintbrush again and gives us springtime blooms. As beautiful as they may be, they also always remind us that happier, more colorful times will come after the dreary gray days. And nowadays, we need those reminders more than ever.

Tired of Winter: Dreaming of Wide Open Spaces

Around this time every year, I start to reach my fill of winter. The cold is no longer cozy; the snow is no longer magical. So I thought this month, I’d live a bit vicariously and share photos that represent what I’m eagerly awaiting with warmer temperatures.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

A few years ago, we went on a trip to South Dakota. Above is a relatively common sight at Custer State Park: a traffic jam caused by wandering buffalo. Most of the time, I try to come up with something introspective or thoughtful when I post a picture. But honestly… I think this picture is just too cool to be weighed down by any sort of abstract thinking. It speaks for itself: A bit of nature forcing us to slow down and appreciate the moment.