Post by Adeline Ma on Feb 14, 2020 17:16:35 GMT -6
What are you doing here, traveler?
This page is best viewed on desktop.
The mountain’s old tangle of oaks hugs Sarupa Mill close. The mill itself, water wheel and all, lolls by the creek, smelling of watery wood and minerals. A sultry warmth seeps through its wood planks and brick walls, if the remains of them can be called that. Beetles, shiny and buzzing, flicker like emerald-green and obsidian jewels. A thrasher peeping through the branches dives into the air and condemns one to its fate. Sunshine drapes itself in wispy ribbons through the trees and dapples their knotted trunks below; white vinyl fences weave through the hills. Younger trees (orange, pepper, and oak) shade the path that leads to the new barn. There the landscaping is manicured and the walls are white stucco, glowing white in the sunlight. The dressage queens board their horses in that barn and they seldom mingle with the other barn’s boarders; it’s like a posh country club of its own. Hooves click on terracotta tiles, butterflies float along, and idle chatter echoes from somewhere down the barn aisle. Across the arena, the older barn yawns. It is not dingy or cheap; this barn guarantees the luxury of friends and genuine laughter. It harbors forgotten secrets in its weathered wooden walls and the rustling leaves whisper stories of Sarupa’s history.
Last Edit: Apr 1, 2020 23:39:10 GMT -6 by Adeline Ma
Students savored the July sunshine at the height of summer. Summer meant waking up at 2 PM with a destroyed sleep schedule, wasting time to mindless scrolling, lying around in boredom, stifling air, popsicles and fans to combat that, the inescapable buzz and hum of beetles, never changing out of pajamas, and the evening cricket choirs.
That was not summer for the students at Sarupa.
Early July took Adeline, Irene, Lene, Nora, and Wren to Monterey Bay, a five hours’ drive from the hilly suburb where Sarupa Mill nestled. Lene, being the only adult, was their designated chauffeur/driver/mother for the weekend. The boredom-laden teens tried to entertain themselves on the road by eating all the snacks they’d bought from Daiso that morning. They spared not a single Pocky. A tangy, headache-inducing sugar scent floated from fruit candy wrappers and filled the car the whole way.
In the passenger seat, Irene leaned on her window and absorbed herself in her earbuds. The fuzzy strip of gray and green outside buzzed by like an endless film reel and dizzied her. Collected on the floor where her feet rested, the crinkle of empty snack wrappers pierced the hum of freeway whenever she shifted in her seat. An exhausted Adeline napped much of the way, and found herself quietly embarrassed when she woke up with a seatbelt imprint on her cheek where she leaned on it. In the back, Wren and Nora sat together, spilling "the tea" and chattering among themselves.
The Leo in Adeline insisted her mare would compete in show hunting, despite—
“Every hunter judge in the world will be offended.” “The judges will DQ her for looking like pink lemonade." "She won’t fit in with all the bays and chestnuts."
Remarks about the mare’s strawberry roan overo coat echoed wherever she set hoof. Her overo, a wrapping of peeled paint, obscured a roan turtleneck and the rose-gold glaze that hid beneath it. Curious, glittering eyes and lanky Thoroughbred legs that tangled in themselves were the cherry on top. Heart-stealing aside (or were those lovestruck gazes offended glares?), the pair struggled in the ring. Adeline saw past that, though. She’d shore herself up for her pride’s sake, the way Leos do, and promise to place “next time.”
Milkshake, the mare, belonged in a Barbie movie. She radiated sweetness and sparkles, and in some outlandish fantasy she saved the world with the power of love. In this life, though, she was still at sea.
Adeline’s indifference to losing and Milkshake’s nonexistent rosette collection proved that they were at shoring up’s end. If not for sentimentality’s sake, Adeline needed a final hunter show to dispel whatever glimmer of hope she still saw in Milkshake’s hunting career.
Palm shadows zig-zagged through the other horses’ coats and turned them into zebras. God knows what it turned Milkshake. The judges were verily offended.
Pretty pink lemonade skies whipped the ever-pinker Milkshake into a tomato smoothie (ketchup?). The judges wanted to DQ her for it.
Milkshake absolutely did not fit in with the bays and chestnuts.
Shores don’t end with footprint-pocked sand, freckled with sea glass and seashells. They end with an awkward strawberry roan overo Thoroughbred mare named Milkshake.
Last Edit: Mar 18, 2020 2:06:18 GMT -6 by Adeline Ma
It’s why they opted out of spending their afternoon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium with Adeline and Irene. From there, McAbee Beach was only a five minutes’ walk. That strip of sand and stone, a rocky paradise of its own, yawned through tourists’ chatter in the shadows of Cannery Row’s restaurants and shops above. But Wren and Nora did not spend their afternoon at McAbee Beach, either. The teens elected to visit Lovers Point Beach for adventure’s sake, embarking on a trip five times as long and in the opposite direction of Cannery Row. Salt imbued the air, just subtly enough to revive memories of other beaches and salted airs. Sand crabs and sandcastles bloomed in Wren and Nora’s minds, which sparkled in the rose gold blush of nostalgia.
A jetty divided the beach in half. The northmost half sat free from the towels and umbrellas that dotted the other half of the beach, which breathed children’s laughter and sand castles. In the midsummer stillness, the air smelled of warm salt and dusty sand. The sea was an azure mirror that glittered beyond the shore and swallowed the sky. Wren and Nora could feel a bit of brine on their tongues and in the back of their throats as they breathed, and the ocean from which it came murmured as its waves kissed the sand and retreated. The rhythm of life and laughter slowed to match the tumble of the sea, but that never stopped the seagulls from their shenanigans.
No blanket, no lunch (thus no seagull shenanigans); Wren and Nora sat on the bare sand. The regret of unpreparedness sank into them with every grain of sand that clung to their sunscreened legs but they drowned it out. They lamented over band camp and trivial things and chattered in the sun’s warmth. Their eyes glittered with mirth as the ocean did in the high afternoon sun.
Waves washed the sand and the rest of the afternoon away as the tide rolled in closer, threatening the girls’ toes. Sunburn tinged their shoulders pink, seaspray salted their lips, laughter filled their bellies. Clouds’ long shadows stretched on their sandy canvas below as the sky turned to copper, like the inside of a seashell, and the sun was a ripe lemon over the horizon. Seagulls still squeaked in the sky. Adeline and Irene finished their escapades at the aquarium and too journeyed to Lovers Point, but the beach belonged to Wren and Nora.
Post by Adeline Ma on Mar 19, 2020 16:08:37 GMT -6
Originally posted December 8th, 2019.
ST. CLAIRE CITY CLASSIC
Hosted by Ariadne Waters.
QST Honeybee & Ingrid Villanueva
Autumns in Southern California don’t exist.
At most, the trees humble themselves to yellow their leaves. The honeybees still buzz about all the same, traveling from flower to flower under the sun’s brilliant wrath. Even if SoCal is lucky enough to get rain, the hillsides along the freeway stay brown (gold if you want to glorify it) like they do all summer. Purple mountains that background your average SoCal landscape remain capless, waiting for snow. Romanticizing autumn in California becomes easy, normal. You can sip your PSL in 60-degree “sweater weather” like regular autumn-observers do, but it’s fake. That must be why Californians are so obsessed with it.
Ingrid’s one of those average Southern Californians. Can’t tell the difference between 40- and 50-degree weather but knows they’re both just cold. Now she’s on an order of business, picking up a mare in Ontario. Ontario, Canada; not Ontario, California.
Gilded in the fiery palette of the season, Canadian maples sparkle to Ingrid’s summer-weary eyes, and did a chill bite her cheeks just now? Ingrid is so enchanted by the autumn she almost forgets her mare. Honeybee is her name. Reminiscent of home. Ingrid and Bee are lucky: there’s a show five hours away, and competing in it delays the return home by two days. They go to embrace the autumn a little longer.