The Sentient Seed

Josefina has been Historical Girl of the Year since November and so far she has not had any adventures. The only attention I’ve given her is to give her her own room. She is such a sweet patient doll and never complained when I told her her Mexican Siesta which had been planned for March would now have to wait until July. She asked me so politely if she might go on an adventure in between those months. I was trying to come up with an adventure for her when Lindsey came up with what she called one of her most brilliant ideas ever! Why not combine the Historical Girl of the Year with the regular Girl of the Year and celebrate them together in the future with Dr. Who! Yeah, my eyebrows shot way up when I heard that too.

“Which GOTY?” I asked her.

“Luciana Vega, of course! Josefina looks just like her and I have a space mission all planned out for her!”

“Luciana Vega? I’ve never read any of her books, I’d feel highly unqualified if I have to write about one of my dolls becoming a doll I don’t even know.”

“Well, she’ll just be our Luciana Vega! Our special one without purple hair! She’s special already that way!” and coming from Lindsey, who already thought she was the most special doll in all the world, that was quite a compliment.

Lindsey grabbed Josefina and told her everything she had planned, “You are now Luciana Vega, astronaut Girl of the Year and I need you to go on a mission. Way back in 1969, a man traveled to an undiscovered planet called Paradisios. He gave voice recordings and some journal entries every night of what he did and saw there, but then one day, they stopped, and he was never seen again. A search party was sent out but all they found was his spaceship. The voice recordings were all destroyed, but his assistant pilot saved a few written pages from a journal that had been left on the spaceship. This is all we have.”

Lindsey handed her two sheaves of heavy brightly colored paper. Josefina skimmed through them quickly.

 Lindsey continued, “There are very very few doll astronauts in the world, but you, as Luciana are one of them and I need you to go on this mission, decode this message and hopefully be able to find more information on R.H.M than the humans did. Dolls are smaller and often much better at finding things than humans are.”

“How far is this planet? How am I going to get there?” Josefina asked.

“The planet is ‘one lightyear’ away from earth. R. H. M. used a Rotor to get there in a day.”

“They had those back then?”

“He was the first one to discover it. You could do that too, but I just thought it would be faster if you used the Tardis.”

“But that’s not what real astronauts use!” Josefina protested, “If I’m going to be Luciana Vega, I want to go in a real spaceship.”

“And waste an entire day traveling?” Linsdey tried to persuade her even more, “Besides, lots of astronauts have traveled in the Tardis.”

“‘Real astronauts, huff!” Josefina snorted, “An archaeologist astronaut and people like Bill and Amy who wore space suits even though they weren’t real astronauts.”

“All right!” Linsdey relented, “If you really want to travel by space through space then you can take the spaceship. Come on, let’s go.”

Lindsey led her to the spaceship platform. She read the sign above.

 ‘Wow,’ she thought, ‘Once I go through that door, I’m going to become Luciana Vega, first woman on a brand new planet. You sure don’t get to do that everyday.’

She took a deep momentous breath and started forward.

“WAIT!” Lindsey cried, waving the R. H. M. papers, “Don’t forget these!”

 Lindsey had put them into a special Journey to Paradisios folder. Josefina took them, gave Lindsey a hug and walked through the doors into the space station. Luciana Vega entered a large brightly colored room full of plants. Hovering over all these plants was her space ship.

“Hi, you’re Luciana Vega?” asked a pale faced NASA mannequin, “We’re all set then. You stand on top of the aridatha and you’ll get sucked into the Rotor.”

“What’s with all these plants?” Luci asked.

The mannequin looked at her quizzically, “You mean you don’t know? R. H. M. discovered that these plants power Paradisios. So we took samples that were brought back and made a new energy source that powers the Rotor. It’s a lot more reliable especially as to where you’re going. The paradigms will see you as a friend because of it too.”


“Don’t you know anything? They’re the little aliens that populate the planet.”

Luciana decided not to ask anymore questions. ‘I hope the information I need is in this folder Lindsey gave me,’ she thought.

She walked up to the spaceship, signaled her arms up and was immediately sucked up from the ground.

‘Wow! This is so cool!’ she thought as she watched the red interior tunnel disappear into the white walls of the control room.

She could see the power wheel just beside her start to turn.

“T minus T in 10, 9, 8, 7….3, 2, 1 – Liftoff!”

A great roaring filled Luciana’s ears. She could feel every part of the spaceship vibrate with the momentum and speed of the liftoff.

Luciana watched the stars sail past her as she flew through space. She sat in front of the window for almost 3 hours and then took out the papers Lindsey had given her and read them more carefully.

Paradisios sounded like a Latin word for Paradise except she knew the actual Latin word for paradise was paradisum. But this Paradisios planet certainly didn’t sound much like paradise. Hissing vines? Shiny chrome flowers with teeth? And razor sharp grass?

At least the alien paradigms seemed okay. Reading all this, she wasn’t surprised R. H. M disappeared. A myriad of things could’ve gone wrong on a brand new planet.

Luci studied the journal sheet R.H had written about the code, glancing up every few minutes as the planet she was reading about came closer. She wondered if that was the reason of his disappearance. Perhaps he had figured out the message and the aliens had gotten angry and killed him.

She buckled herself in and braced her feet in anticipation of entering the atmosphere and landing. She was amazed to feel nothing. She never even felt the ship land at all. She chuckled to herself, thinking she would still be sitting in the cockpit had it not been for the green button signaling a successful landing. She spread the news to the NASA people on earth and grabbed a jar full of green leaves. She had read if she ate these leaves she would be able to breathe freely, without a suit. R.H had not known about the leaves. She was going to be the first one to test them out. She put 3 in her mouth. Fruity. Like eating a fruit cocktail. She walked to the door and opened it a crack. She could breathe.

She stepped out into the most lush green forest she had ever seen.

 So much variety and so many colors! Some plants and flowers she was familiar with.

 Others were so different they didn’t even look like plants. She looked all around, trying to find the paradigms. The mannequin had told her they would be friendly, but they were no where to be seen.

She tried to keep an eye out for hissing vines and toothy flowers as she began to walk through the underbrush. She heard it before she saw it, “wibawibawiba!”

 She looked up and saw a short little alien with 3 eyes and a flower-y head.

 “Hey! You must be a paradigm!” She fumbled for her papers, “Can you help me? I’m trying to find -”

But the paradigm had disappeared.

‘I thought they were supposed to be friendly,’ she huffed.

Something soft landed on her nose. She looked up.

 Green plant-seedlings were falling from the sky. ‘Is this rain?’ she wondered.

 She watched them fall down to the ground. They seemed to embed themselves into the earth, then after a couple minutes the plants burst in to life. Some of them even lit up for real!

‘Wow, this must be some energy source for them! Way better than our rain!’

She came closer to one of the trees and realized it was indeed, pure energy that had lit the tree up.

She had been looking at the tree so much she didn’t notice what was standing under it until it made a noise, “moowimmie wimmie wimmie.”

“Oh! You must be another paradigm!” Luci cried out loud. The paradigm just blinked at her.

“Wait!” she said to it, even though it hadn’t moved at all. Luciana took out the coded message from R. H. M.

“Do you know what this is?” she asked.

The paradigm’s eyes widened. He looked at Luciana, burst into a bunch of gibberish and started waddling off. He paused, waiting for Luci to follow.  She went with him right away.

Most of the planet seemed to be covered in tropical plants. But occasionally, she would have to traverse something much more external like these strange mounds that seemed to have bubbled up from the ground.

The paradigm forced her to climb over them. If she tried to go around them, the paradigm would block her path.

The bubbles had plenty of footholds for easy rock climbing, but it was still arduous work because they were so steep.

Up and down she climbed. The bubble domes became more frequent and a strange buzzing sounded in the air. She was starting to feel discouraged, wishing so much she knew how to speak the paradigm’s language.

‘Haha, this looks like a broccoli bubble,’ she thought as she climbed. On her way down she almost fell face first into a strange orb with prickles poking out.

 The strange buzzing was coming from it.

“Hey! Look at this!” Josefina said to the paradigm.

The paradigm’s eyes went even wider than before. He gave a shriek and ran away just as a fanged flower pushed it’s silvery head at her and opened it’s jaws.

“Eieee!” Luciana screamed.

“Whyyyyy piiiiiick baaaaabyyyy,” The flower seethed at her.

“Baby?! You speak Eng-! That’s your baby!?!” Luciana backed away from the prickly ball she had been about to pick up.

The flower growled at her.

“I’m so sorry! I’ve been trying to find out what this code means. I think it might help me find a human who’s been lost for a long time here. Do you think you could help?”

The flower did not say a word to her. It stood still and silent. It didn’t even wave in the breeze. Luci waited for three minutes, wondering if something might happen. She was certain that chrome flower had spoken to her in English. Certain that so called ‘baby’ was a seedling of it.  She sighed and turned around to search for the paradigm again, when a flash caught her eye.

 What used to be the chrome flower had suddenly turned into a huge mirrored doorway!

‘Wow! How did that happen?’ she wondered to herself.

She turned back around the touched the doorway, wondering how it was supposed to open but it melted at the touch of her hands. She walked through.

 Everything almost looked the same. She caught a glimpse of a paradigm and called out. The echo of her voice frightened not just the paradigm, but she herself too. She caught sight of two other paradigms but didn’t call out to them, and they didn’t come to her either.

 The ground was still covered with tropical plants, but instead of domed bubbles that popped out of the earth, tall hoodoos stuck out like spires.

She didn’t have a guide this time, but she’d noticed the paradigm who had guided her had followed the bubble dome rock formations, so she decided to follow the hoodoos. And since they were a whole lot higher than the domed rocks, she never had any trouble spotting them.

At least, that was except for one that she almost walked into.

 “Whoa!” It was the tallest spire of them all. But it wasn’t a hoodoo. It was a tower and it glowed. It glowed and pulsed like a heart. She almost thought she could feel it beating.

 She walked closer and found writing on the wall.

 “This is it!” she gasped, “This is the code R. H. M. wrote down! He must have been here and seen this.”

She looked at it harder. There were strange shapes….letters? that floated on top of the hieroglyphics and then disappeared. Were those things the answer to the code? She put her hand along the glass, trying to catch one of them. The glass almost burned her hand. A hissing noise issued from the tower. She looked up and saw the top part was starting to melt.

 “Help!” She couldn’t help crying as she turned around and scrambled away. She didn’t think she’d have any chance of surviving if the whole tower melted all the way. She kept running, looking back over her shoulder occasionally to see how much danger she was in. She didn’t get very far when she heard a great fiery roar!

The tower had transformed itself into a giant cauldron spewing up what looked like liquid fire.

The sky turned red. Everything turned red.


She looked all around and then finally saw where the voice was coming from. It was a robot, an old robot, tucked in a corner. It looked broken down. Half it’s wires were spewing out of it, and she could see the inside wires of it’s body through wound holes that had bubbled up in it’s body.

“But I can’t now! The hieroglyphics tower melted before I even decoded one letter from the message! Everything is lost! I failed,” Luci admitted, “I don’t even know why I’m here. I should be trying to find my way back home.”


“Well, what should I do?”


“A lost seed? How do you know all this?”


“You spent more than your life….wait! You can’t possibly be, R.H.M.?? How did you become a robot?”


“You gave up your human life? And now you’re giving up your robot life?” Luci suddenly felt a much stronger urge to help this human turned robot, after everything he sacrificed, “Where is the Seed Mound?”


 Lucianna slid under the robot where most of the wires were spilling out.


 It didn’t take too long for Luci to find a wire so skinny it was more like a strand of thread than a wire. She gave it a tug. R.H.M was silent.

“Did I find the wrong one? Is there one even smaller?” she asked.

Then suddenly a BANG issued from the depths of the robot’s tank and all the wires began to pulse.

They started poking holes out of the steel tank body and wrapped around themselves like roots. Luci gasped because that was exactly what the wires had become! Living roots, forming a tree!

 But the tree still carried the vestages of its former life. A part of the root system looked like a human leg, encased in a robot’s steel body. Some of the branches of the tree were holding a shell shaped bowl. The branches tilted, and tipped the shell bowl down.

Three fanged flowers fell out of the bowl. Luci gasped again and hid herself among the red and orange flowers. She watched as the large flower rolled and chased the two smaller ones, it opened it’s jaws and ate them up.

‘It eats its own kind?’ she wondered, ‘like Lanie’s praying mantis’s.’

She had been watching the fanged flowers so closely, she hadn’t noticed that the robot tree had changed again.

 It had totally changed. It was a red tangled mess of wires, just as she had seen in the robot but these were much bigger and they moved and coiled about each other, forming knots tied so tightly they looked like little balls on string. More and more knots were formed until she couldn’t see any of the wires anymore. They were all knotted balls now. All stacked up as the –

“Seed Mound!” Luci said out loud, “I found the seed mound!”

She started climbing the seed mound, but as soon as she got up a little ways, the seeds rolled underneath her, and she ended up sliding down. It was actually quite fun because they were soft and squishy.

But she knew she was on a mission. She had to find the Sentient Seed. Except so many of them looked sentient. Many of them had eyes that watched her when she moved. She rolled around with them until she noticed one that had rolled away from the others. It rolled into the red and orange flowers.

 ‘I bet it’s that one!’ she thought. She crashed through the wildflowers, searching for it.

 ‘There it is!’ It had placed itself on a pedestal.

 ‘It looks like a brain!’ she thought. The brain started to expand.

It hovered in the air on it’s pedestal and as it got larger, it soared higher and higher. It no longer even looked like a brain anymore. It looked like a small planet. ‘It looks like Mars,’ she thought. Luci could feel the force of the expansion pressing down on her.

She found she couldn’t even look at it anymore. It was too bright, it was like a sun and almost as big too. A ray of it burst out and hit her in the face. The ray picked her up and hurled her through outer space.

She was hurling through the galaxy, surrounded by the ray of light that acted like a space ship. In the shortest amount of time, Lucianna Vega found herself sitting back home on her own planet in front of the Paradisios Exploration sign.

‘I think I just traveled by the speed of light!’ she thought excitedly.

“Lindsey! I’m home!”

Lindsey ran toward her, “Did you find R.H.M? Did you decode the message?”

“Paradisios was dying. The Sentient Seed that keeps the planet thriving was lost. R.H.M sacrificed his life trying to find it. He found the seed. He became the seed, and now he is the shining force of life for the whole planet! He’s the sun!”

“Huh!” Lindsey said pensively, “That’s very similar to another Man I know who did a very similar thing for our planet.”

Ephesians 2:4-5: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved . . .

-the end

Behind the Scenes: This was another Macy’s Flower Show story. I really thought Last Year’s was better but this was still really fun. My mom went with me this time and we had such a good time! We even got a free plate of cookies in the Walnut room!

‘Til next time!


Posted in Doll's travel stories, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Cave of the Mounds

Hello everyone! Miranda here at last! I’ve been quiet for a long time but yesterday I got to go on a really cool adventure! Last year, Jacky, Katelynne and Camille went hiking and discovered some caves. They told me all about it and I got so interested in it myself, I’ve been busy researching and learning about caves! I think I want to be a geologist when I grow up.

So, when Heather mentioned she might go caving this weekend I jumped at the chance! To see a real cave in real life! Oh boy! We went to Cave of the Mounds in Wisconsin.

 In 1939, a group of men tried to drill into the ground to harvest limestone. They had no idea they had just discovered a state and national treasure! They had 3 days to decide what they were going to do about it and thankfully they decided they wanted the world to see this.

 As you can see, some parts of this cave are man-made. What you’re looking up at, is the floor of the gift shop! The gift shop is right on top of the cave.

 We had barely even gone down 70 feet when we started seeing wonders already.

 Caves are formed by fissures in the limestone which are caused by rainwater that dissolves it. When the water recedes it leaves openings in the rock where the water still drips in through the cracks, forming stalagmites and stalactites. We saw a lot of those in our cave.

 This is a stalagmite, a column of calcium salt that has been deposited by dripping rain water. You can see the fissure where the water has been dripping right up above. There was a whole line of stalagmites running right under the fissure line.

Can you see the sinkholes in this wall of the cave? Sinkholes are tiny little holes formed by by water. Just like the big cave we’re in, these are like little doll size ones!

We saw some amazing stalagmites! And to think they’re still growing now! Depending on how much drip-page a stalagmite gets in a year, there are some where it takes 100 years to grow 1 inch!

 The limestone that I’m touching is a different color. That’s because it’s dead. Cave walls are really fragile. We weren’t allowed to touch any part of the cave except for that one rock. The whole formation could be disturbed so easily.

 I thought this looked like a rock of fish eggs!

 Parts of the cave were narrow where we traveled, and others were huge reverberating chambers! Our tour guide told us in December you can go Cave Caroling and sing carols at every stop in the cave!

 These are stalactites. They are like little icicles that form on the ceiling.

 I noticed there were more color variants on the stalactites than the stalagmites.

Often, stalactites and Stalagmites will form on top and underneath each other and connect in the middle to form a column.

We saw whole columns and columns that had been broken off.

 I’m underneath a whole stalactite city!

 This was the narrowest part of the cave.

 The water in these caves are some of the earth’s purest and clean water. We did see some microbes, tiny little blinded white bugs that sit on the top of the water and eat bacteria. The water was the clearest I’ve ever seen it.

 Chandeliers of stalactites!

 These lights weren’t here originally of course! Our tour guide turned the lights out for a long time so we could experience what it was really like in the cave. It was total pitch blackness. I couldn’t even see my finger on my nose!

Next time I go caving I’m going to remember to bring wintergreen life savers! They make lightening in your teeth!

 This was the farthest end of the cave, too narrow for us to go in, but really cool to see.

If you ever get a chance to go caving, go!

See you soon!

Miranda Alvarez

Posted in Doll's travel stories | 4 Comments

Farm Forest Friends

Hello! Here is another episode in the fairy frolic series:

Camille fluttered her eyes half open…she was looking at a beautiful picture on the wall of a tree bathed in light, that picture was very familiar and very special because it meant she was in her very favorite place in all the world! She opened her eyes all the way and gasped to find herself lying down next to Katelynne. She was inside the Patch house on the edge of the fairy forest. Her Patulous house of open and extended hearts and magic! It was impossible to stop the smile spreading on her face. She rolled over to look at Katelynne. Her heart leaped to find her awake too.

“Katelynne! We’re here!”

Katelynne giggled, “I know! We spent the whole night here ya know!”

They had arrived in the early evening.

“I know. I just didn’t think it was real,” Camille looked out the window. It looked cloudy and cold, the threat of rain heavy in the air, “What are we going to do today?”

“Looks like it might be an inside day for now at least. You want to head to the kitchen and see what the dolls might be cooking up?”

“The other dolls are up already?” Camille sat up and saw three empty sleeping bags in varying degrees of messy-ness. She scrambled out of her own gray fleece sleeping bag and raced down to the kitchen with Katelynne close behind her.

She found Annaleis and Sophie already cutting and peeling the vegetables.

“What are you making?” Camille asked.

“Ginger carrot soup!” Sophie answered.

“Look! This is the ginger root we’re going to peel and put in!”

“And you eat it?” Camille asked.

“You can. We’ll see how strong the soup is once it’s cooked.”

“Ooh, what’s that smell? Nothing’s even cooking yet but I can smell the most delicious spices already!”

“It’s me!” Keisha said, “Look at all the spices we’re putting in! Turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, and a whole bunch more!

We roast them so the flavors can accentuate even more!” Keisha loved to experiment with big words. It was she who came up with Patulous to name the house.

“Accentuate?” Annaleis asked.

“Yes, I wanted to use obtrude, but that means to stand out in an intrusive way, so I picked accentuate instead.”

“But don’t forget the most important ingredient of all!” Katelynne said, grabbing an orange stick out of the bag in her lap and waving it around.

“Carrots!” Camille cried, “Carrots for carrot soup!”

“And olive oil too!” Julia added.

They all got busy mixing, roasting, chopping, peeling, measuring, and dumping while giggling, gasping, shouting and talking the whole time! Katelynne kept them on task and focused on what they had to do. Camille’s job was to read the recipe.

“It’s time to cook now!” Camille said.

“Wait! We didn’t chop the zucchini!We can use the special chopper for that! Come here, Camille!”

 Katelynne led her to a blending machine and dumped some chunks of zucchini it it.

“Now, press down!”

Camille hovered over the cover, “What’s going to happen?”

“It’ll chop! Just press it.”


 She gasped and stopped in surprise, “Oo!” She looked up at Katelynne and giggled.

“Well what did you expect it would do, silly? It’s a chopper! Press it down some more. We need small pieces.”

 Camille pressed it down and watched as the vegetable disintegrated into tiny slivered chunks.

“It’s neat that you can see it happen!”

“Yes! And it does it in seconds! All right, let’s put it all in the pot and cook it!”

The pot was loaded and heavy with all the vegetables so the dolls took turns stirring it until it started getting too hot. Then Annaleis, who was the tallest took over and did all the stirring work herself. She had the longest arms,  so she could stand as far away from the pot as possible so she wouldn’t melt.

Keisha stood ready to give her an even longer handled spoon.

Meanwhile, the other dolls were getting serving bowls out and setting the table.

“Look at this,” Katelynne said softly, “This is a very special tea set.”

“It is?” Camille asked, “I’ve never seen it before.”

“Yes, It’s Deni Lynne’s! She used it for her dolls when she was a girl!”

Camille gasped and brushed one of the plates lovingly with her fingertips. Katelynne handed her a cup to put out. She held it carefully.

“And she’s letting us use it? We’re going to eat with them?”

“Yes, silly! That’s what they’re for!”

 “But it’s so special.”

“And so is eating ginger carrot soup! We don’t get to do that everyday!”

“We’ve never gotten to do that any day!” Camille laughed.

“It’s ready!” Annaleis proclaimed, “It’s blended all together and now it’s ready to eat!”

 Annaleis brought a huge bowl of soup and a serving spoon to the table.

“Wow!!” everyone exclaimed.

“It matches the tea set! This is so cool!” Sophie admired.

But Annaleis was frowning, “I wonder if we did something wrong. It’s called ginger carrot soup but it’s not the color of carrots nor the color of ginger. It’s the color of wet sand.”

I think it’s the color of ginger,” Sophie said, “it’s close to the color of the ginger root I was peeling.”

“But ginger is red; everyone says Felicity has ginger hair because it’s red,” Annaleis countered.

“Yeah, but the ginger root isn’t red. It’s brown-y tan. More like the soup.”

“Well, let’s just taste it and see!” Keisha said.

Katelynne ladeled the soup out in their cups and after they prayed, they sipped a sample taste.

“Ewrgh!” Annaleis scrunched up her face, “What is this stuff? I’m sure we did do something wrong! It doesn’t taste like carrots at all! Oh dear, this is terrible! We made a huge batch of it so we could share some with Deni! And she’s going to hate it!”

“It does have a rather unexpectedly shocking taste but it’s a good taste!” Sophie agreed, “I really like it.”

“Of course it’s unexpected! Didn’t you see all those spices we put in it?” Keisha said, “Exotic spices! And that’s exactly how it tastes! This is my most favorite soup ever!!!”

“No! No!” Annaleis was so upset, “How can you say that? Or are you just saying that to be nice?  I know what it tastes like! It tastes like sand!”

“How the heck do you even know what sand tastes like?” Katelynne asked, “You’ve never even been to a beach!”

“You’re just saying that cause that’s what it looks like!” Julia told her.

“No! But I can imagine what sand tastes like! Every grain of sand has it’s own flavor but if you put them all together and eat it, you get a crazy mosh glosh of flavors that all taste….conglomerated,” she used another of Keisha’s words.

Keisha burst out laughing. Camille, (who loved the soup so much she hadn’t been saying anything because she couldn’t stop eating it) put her spoon down and sat back in her chair, looking at Annaleis with wide eyes.

“But that’s so neat! I never even thought about that!” she said, “Every grain of sand! Every grain of sand adding it’s own little personality and flavor to a sea of soup!”

“And every grain of sand is unique,” Katelynne said, “Just like people.”

“Yes!” Camille thought about all the people who had come before her. So many years of so many people all the way through the Old Testament to Adam and Eve and every single one of them was different. Just like the grains of sand, just like the snowflakes and the stars. The detail and distinctiveness of them, all throughout the soup of the earth.

“I’d like to go someplace sandy,” Annaleis said, “I want to go to a beach! Maybe I’ll actually taste sand!”

All the other dolls groaned.

“It’s sort of cold to go swimming…” Katelynne muttered.

“Look! It stopped raining! Let’s go to the fairy forest!” Camille said.

“That’s not a beach,” Katelynne said with a slight smile.

“I know, but I bet it has sand in it somewhere! Remember the creek we saw in the deep part of the woods?” Camille asked.

“I’ve always wanted to go in the fairy forest,” Sophie said, “We never got to last time!”

So the dolls washed the dishes, packed up and headed out to the backyard.

 They were so happy to be outside in the sunshine, kicking the raindrops off the leaves. Keisha suddenly stopped at the edge of the forest and all the other dolls stopped with her, suddenly feeling a bit shy to go in. They could feel the magic of the forest. It was a good magic but it was not a tame magic. There was a wildness about it that made their skin prickle.

“There aren’t wild animals in this forest, are there?” Keisha asked.

 “I’ve never seen any,” Katelynne said, “We know spiders and lightening bugs and fairies live here.”

 “Don’t be afraid!” Camille cried.

“But you and Katelynne have been the only dolls to have ever gone in the fairy forest.”

“Why should that make a difference?! The fairy forest has room for everyone! I’ve been dying for you guys to come see it! Come on! Come on! Maybe we’ll even see a real fairy!!”

The thought of seeing a real fairy led all of them to tramp through the leaves after Camille who was so happy and excited she couldn’t contain herself and started skipping and then running, making a big rustling noise.

 She noticed the magic fairy trees from the firelight fairy forest were no longer where she and Katelynne had seen them this past summer. There wasn’t even a trace of them, like they had taken up their roots and moved somewhere else. She realized with a start that was indeed very likely what they had done too!

 In almost no time at all, the dolls came up to the moat which would lead to the moss path and deep into the heart of the forest.

 Camille began to hike confidently across the long board until she realized no one else was following her. “What’s the matter?”

 “Do we really have to go across that? It’s so high and narrow! I might fall if I take another step!” Annaleis said.

 Camille remembered the first time she had come to this very spot and had felt the same fear that Annaleis felt. She remembered again how Katelynne had helped her.

 “Just take sideways steps! Like this!” Camille demonstrated, “Katelynne told me to do this when I was really scared my first time. She said, ‘Don’t look up, and don’t look down, just plant your feet right on the ground!'”

Katelynne winked and gave Camille a special smile, then they all started across the moat with Camille continuing to lead the way.

Everything happened so fast, just as Camille got to the end of the bridge-board, she turned slightly to see if any of the others needed help. Seeing they were all fine, she took another step that was supposed to have led her to dry land, but her foot stepped on air and she fell to the ground on her back. Except it wasn’t the ground of the fairy forest, because this ground felt soft and wet, it was –

 “Sand!” Camille gasped to herself as she suddenly realized her back was all wet! She had fallen in the edge of the lake! She gasped again to find all the other dolls, sitting on the sand at the edge of the lake, staring at her.

 “You’re here!” she cried, “How did we get here? How come you aren’t all wet?”

“Cause you fell in the lake!” Sophie said, “We got here same as you!”

“Yeah, we never even got to show you guys the fairy forest at all!” Katelynne looked around, “This is definitely not our fairy forest. I don’t know where we are. I’ve never been here before.”

“Well, we’re where I wished to be!” Annaleis said, “I get to see sand for the first time!”

Everyone laughed. They were reminded of exclamations from people of the south who would say, ‘I get to see snow for the first time!’

“And not only do you get to see it, you get to sit on it too!” said Camille.

Annaleis continued, “And not only do I get to see it and sit on it, but I’m going to eat it too!”

Camille burst out laughing, reached down to the ground, picked up a glob of sand and held it out to the dolls, “Sand samples anyone?”

Annaleis took a handful of sand from Camille and put a pinch in her mouth, “OLGHTH!! This is the nastiest, yuckiest stuff I’ve ever had in my life!”

She immediately started to spit every grain of sand that had gotten wedged in between her teeth.

But Camille wasn’t done. She was giggling even more, “Come on guys! Let’s have some Sandy Soup!”

“NO!!” Annaleis cried, still trying to spit in between her words, “I like our sandy soup at home MUCH better!”

“See! Ginger carrot soup isn’t so bad!” Katelynne said, laughing, “Hey look over there! You see that through the trees? I think that’s a sign! A sign that might tell us where we are!”

 The dolls scrambled to their feet and followed Katelynne to a clearing in the woods where there was indeed a sign:

 “Sandy Bottom Nature Park,” Katelynne read.

Keisha doubled over with laughter. The dolls turned around and stared at her.

“What’s so funny?” Sophie asked.

 “It’s US!” Keisha tried to get her words out through her laughter, “It’s you!! Look at ya’ll!”

“What?” Annaleis asked again.

“We’ve all got sandy bottoms, guys! You all have sandy bottoms! Didn’t we all come here sitting on the sand?”

Annaleis immediately tried to discreetly brush the backside of her skirt off with her hands, but Keisha saw her and burst into even more laughter.

Camille was giggling too, “Sandy bottoms! I wonder why our fairy forest brought us here.”

“I guess we’ll find out,” Katelynne said, “But since we’re in a park, I’m sure there are trails to hike! Who wants to join me!”

Everyone set out with Katelynne. They simply chose the first trail they found and started walking.

They found themselves walking on a beautiful isthmus. It was warm and wonderful with the sunlight playing tag with the shadows of the trees.

Sophie pointed, “Whoa! Look! Hey! AAAH!”

The dolls saw what Sophie was pointing at not a moment too soon! A goose came hissing up to Sophie, flapping her wings and spitting at her. Katelynne saw why, “Get back! Get back! There’s a nest! She’s guarding her nest!”

“Oh my gosh! I thought she was trying to murder me!” Sophie cried, out of breath.

“But how are we going to get passed her?” Annaleis asked. The dolls stood there, flummoxed.

“I think, the best idea is for us to go two by two along the very edge of the other side of the trail from where the nest is. I think she must have gotten really scared to find a whole group of us surprising her like that, but this way, she won’t feel so threatened and will hopefully stay on her nest.”

“I hope so!” Annaleis gulped, “I can just run by myself!”

“Okay, Keisha and Sophie, you go first, Annaleis will be next and Camille and I will go last.”

Keisha and Sophie darted from tree to tree trying to hide from the hissing goose as much as they could. The goose hissed at them, but didn’t come off of her nest.

Annaleis went next, but just as she got to the middle, she saw a second goose coming at her from the water.

‘Her husband! Oh no!!’ She leaped off a root and sprinted passed the nest just as the male goose got to the shore.

Katelynne and Camille had seen all this unfold. Camille turned to Katelynne, “What are we going to do now? There’s two of them! We’ll never get through!”

“There must be some way,” Katelynne said. Camille spotted a stone at the edge of the lake, “Look at that funny stone! It almost looks like it has a head!”

“It does have a head! It’s a turtle!”

“Oh my goodness! It’s just sitting there!”

“Yeah, I’m surprised it’s not…..wait a minute. Can you see up close? Look at the markings on its back.”

“Orange stripes! It has orange stripes!” Camille said.

“I believe it’s a talking turtle.”

“A talking turtle!!”

“Yes! Just what we need too!” Katelynne walked towards the turtle and introduced herself, “Hello, I’m Katelynne and this is Camille. We are afraid we might get attacked by the geese if we try and pass them. Could you help us?”

The turtle waved his head around toward the dolls, “You would like to ride on my shell?” he asked.

“Would that be all right with you?” Katelynne confirmed with him.

“I shall take you one by one,” he said.

Katelynne went first, her legs held straight up in the air so her shoes wouldn’t get wet. The turtle swam on the surface of the water and made a wide berth to where the geese were.

Katleynne looked down at the water. It was so clean and clear, she could see right to the bottom.

“The water is so beautiful! It must be lovely to live and swim here!”

“Indeed it is! But beware of the sand.”


“It is unpredictable.”

“It is? That’s funny because we’ve all sat on that sandy beach down the trail over there, and my friend even ate some!”

“Was it touching the water?” the turtle asked.

“I don’t think so…” Katelynne tried to remember if Camille had tried to give dry or wet sand to Annaleis with her sandy soup concoction.

“Here you are…” the turtle came up to land again and Katelynne lowered her stiff legs and got off.

“I’ll wait here for Camille,” she said.

Camille had been pacing the shore and watching the water for the turtle. She started bouncing on her toes when she saw him swimming back towards her.

“Are you ready for me?” she asked.

“Yes,” he answered much more solemnly. He looked at her closely but didn’t say anything more. She climbed onto his back and they set off. It was so wonderful to be out on the water. Camille looked into the water to see how deep it was. She gasped because the water was crystal clear and it was amazing to behold. It looked like a little lake from the surface but looking deep into the water, she saw it was so vast. There were parts under the surface of the water that were so deep, they looked like holes or tunnels that led to another place. She could even see little things, people? moving in them but they were far far away. Separating them, and much closer to her were ribbons of sand that seemed to float and sway in the water. But this sand seemed different from any other sand she’d seen. It was a lustrous glossy sand that was radiant rather than sparkly, perhaps because it was in the water.

“There are entire worlds down there!” she gasped to the turtle, “it looks like this lake goes on forever! Have you been down there?”

The turtle looked glum, “You can see the worlds because your tongue has tasted the sand. And now your tongue will want me. I give up my body to the tarsal and tibia in hopes that I may run swiftly in the afterlife.”

Camille was so confused, she scrunched up her face and shook her head so hard her hair flapped against her cheeks, “I don’t want you! And what are tarsals and tibias? I’m sorry I ate some sand. I made some sandy soup samples for Annaleis to try and I thought I’d taste it too just to see what it was like. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to.”

“You have made sandy soup, and now you will make turtle soup and I shall die and become the tarsal and tibia of your bony body, where I can run fast at last. That is how it goes.”

“No!!” Camille was starting to get upset, “I don’t want to make turtle soup! And I would never kill you! Especially after you saved our lives from the angry geese! How could I ever think of such a thing! Besides, I’m not made of bones! I’m made of vinyl.”

“You aren’t?”

“No, humans have bones, not me!”

“Well….” said the turtle, his face brightening considerably. He started swimming again and humming a very familiar tune.

“HEY!! I know that song!! That’s the Sandy Mush Song!!” Camille couldn’t believe it.

“Here we are,” said the turtle, parking her on the shore where Katelynne was standing.

“Katelynne! He knows the Sandy Mush Song!” Camille turned to the turtle, “How do you know that song?”

But the turtle had already turned away and had dived into the water.

“How do you think he knew it?”

“I don’t know, but come on! I found the other dolls. They’re just down here!”

Camille followed her down the path to where the other dolls were. When they were all together Camille told them what she had seen from the turtle’s back and what he had told her afterward.

“Turtle soup? I wonder why he thought you’d want to make turtle soup?” Sophie said.

“I don’t know but I never want to eat turtle soup ever!”

 The dolls continued walking, pointing interesting things out along the path until they got to a dead end.

 The rest of the path was flooded.

 “Oh no! What are we going to do now!” Annaleis moaned, “There’s no turtle to help us this time.”

 “Wait, let’s try to find a spot where we can see a lot of the water,” Camille said, “I have an idea.”

 “If I can just get close enough to the water to see deep in, and catch a glimpse of a world I bet we could all go in! We could all go in and see!” Camille started to stoop down and look into the water’s edge.

 “No! Camille! We can’t get wet! I can’t get wet!” Katelynne said, “And we have no idea how dangerous this might be! What kind of world might we be going to! I don’t think you should just plunge into any kind of water blindly like this – ”

 “Perhaps she’s not going blindly,” Annaleis interrupted, “I can see it too, and I think I know….Yes!! Yes! I can hear it! Can’t you?”

Katelynne had taken Camille’s hand to stop her, but now she could see, “Look! ‘The dusty berries on the bush, in the sweet mountain hills of Sandy Mush!’ It’s here! I can see it! I can hear it!!”

She grabbed Keisha’s hand who gasped, “I can hear the thrush! Come on Sophie!”

Keisha grabbed Sophie’s hand and they all plunged into the swirling sandy waters of Sandy Bottom and entered the mountain farm of Sandy Mush.

 The dolls all breathed a great, “Ooh!” for indeed the mountain hills of Sandy Mush gave off the sweet fragrance of spring. The sky was the most beautiful blue and the dolls could hear a thrush singing, “teedleee!”

 “Oh, this is sooo beautiful!” Sophie drank in the mountains and feasted her eyes on the spring trees and evergreen trees that polka dotted the still hibernating brown ones.

 The dolls walked up the very steep little road that wound it’s way up the mountain to Tenney’s house. Camille was far to excited to walk. She darted to and fro, running up the road, her heart beating wildly with the greatest of impatience and anticipation at the thought of seeing Tenney but then she’d dart right back to the dolls because she wanted to take in the beautiful landscape. ‘How wonderful this is, that Tenney gets to see this every day!’ she thought.

The dolls climbed up an even steeper section, rounded a bend, and at last came up to the house itself:

They all gasped.

 “Tenney’s house!!”

“She’s in there!!”

“Look at all the windows!”

“A screened porch!”

“Let’s run!!” Camille cried, “Let’s run! Let’s run! Let’s run!”

It was easy to say, but much harder to actually do because the road was so steep, they tried running, but gave up laughing. They let their hearts run faster than their bodies. They reached the porch and there was Tenney smiling the biggest smile they had ever seen.

“TENNEY!” they all cried. Katelynne threw her arms around her, feeling like she couldn’t hug her tight enough!

“Wow!” Sophie said, looking around the house, “I can’t believe you live here! This house is amazing!”

The house was so spacious and full of light and mountain views. It was also decorated with the greatest of care and most amazing detail, and not for the person living in it, but for the people who were visiting it.

Katelynne could see the daffodils that were Julia’s favorite flower.

 Pears had been put out for Annaleis, her favorite fruit.

“Did you know we were coming?” Annaleis asked after she’d said hello to Sombrita the goat and Posie, the lamb.

 “Sort of,” Tenney said, “Peggy whispered something about it, so I knew you’d be coming, I just didn’t know when.”

(Peggy was Tenney’s human)

“And then,” Tenney continued, “I picked up this book and a song popped in my head and every time I sing it, I think of you. You want to hear it?”

“Yes!!” all the dolls cried.

Oh the desert dreams of a river

That will run down to the sea

Like my heart longs for an ocean

To wash down over me.

Oh, won’t you take me from this valley

To that mountain high above?

I will pray, pray, pray

Until I see your smiling face.

I will pray, pray, pray

To the one I love.

Oh, the outcast dreams of acceptance,

Just to find pure love’s embrace

Like an orphan longs for his mother.

May you hold me in your grace.

Won’t you take me from this valley

To that mountain high above?

I will pray, pray, pray

Until I see your smiling face.

I will pray, pray, pray

To the one I love.

Oh, the caged bird dreams of a strong wind

That will flow ‘neath her wings.

Like a voice longs for a melody,

Oh, Jesus carry me.

Won’t you take me from this valley

To that mountain high above?

I will pray, pray, pray

Until I see your smiling face.

I will pray, pray, pray

To the one I love.

I will pray, pray, pray

Until I see your smiling face.

I will pray, pray, pray

To the one I love.

“And now, I get to see all your smiling faces at last!! It’s been a whole year!” Tenney said when she’d finished singing.

“Ohh, Tenney!” Sophie said giving her a hug, “You pray for us every time you sing that song?”

“Indeed I do!” Tenney balanced the guitar on her other knee, “Now, we can either sing some more, or I can give you a tour of the farm!”

“The farm! The farm!” Camille, Sophie and Annaleis all cried together.

“Let’s sing some more afterwards!” Keisha said.

But they actually ended up singing before, during and after the farm tour! As soon as the dolls got ready, they skipped out onto the road again, Katelynne started singing, “Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight! Come out tonight…”

“Aww! Look! He’s a cutie! What’s his name, Tenney?” Annaleis asked.

“Umm, well, I suppose you could call him Hamburger.”


“Well, that’s what’s going to happen to him in a few years.”

“So you call him that!?!”

“Yep, Hamburger and Cheesburger, and Steak. In fact, one of them, who actually had a name, got processed.”

“Got processed….you mean he DIED?” Camille asked, horrified with wide eyes.

“Well, yeah, I mean, that’s just what happens around here. It’s farm life. Things grow, things live, things die and God always provides. In fact, see number 24? That is our female cow. She got to go on a date to another farm.”

“She went on a date!?”

“Mhmm! Left for a couple months and came back pregnant!”

“She’s gonna have a baby!!” Katelynne cried, still giggling over the thought of the cow going off on a date.

“You want to help me collect the eggs from the chickens?”

“Yes!” all the dolls said.

Tenney chuckled, “The cows haven’t been very happy. They used to graze up on the hill next to the chicken coop, but we’re trying to let the grass grow there, so we put them down the hill and at first they all got real grumpy and would stand at the electric fence and glare! It was so funny! They did that for days!”

“Do they talk to each other?”

“Yeah, the head bull will moo for the others to follow him if he wants to move to another spot and when our cow came back from her date, she and Bullet (that was his name) kinda had a little spat over who was the leader.”

Annaleis’ eyes got big, “BULLET!? You called him Bullet? As a baby!!?”

“Yes,” Tenney said.

Annaleis was horrified, “You name him his death weapon when his life had only just begun?”

“Aww no!” Tenney answered, “We only named him that cause he was a twin and when he was born he came out second. Came out like a shot.”

“‘I am not throwing away my – Shot!'” Keisha started singing.

“But you threw him away anyway! He died!” Annaleis moaned.

“Annaleis, you will never be able to live on a farm,” Keisha said.

“I guess not,” she replied.

“Aww, but that’s so funny that they like the chickens!” Sophie smiled.

“Yep! Here they are!” Tenney opened the gate that led them to the coop.

“We can let them out into the yard to feed them.”

“Ooo! Can I feed them?” Sophie asked.

“Sure! And you can help collect the eggs too!” Tenney opened the gate and a stream of chickens came pouring out into their fenced in yard.

Sophie threw feed at them and then ran squealing a few feet away so she wouldn’t get trampled.

“They’re so big and feathery and fast!” she cried giggling. She threw some more feed and started running but her shoes slipped in the mud and she fell splat on her face, the breath knocked out of her.

“Mff!…..Ow! My head!” Sophie sat up as Annaleis ran to her side. She was full of mud, with mud streaks on her face.

“Are you okay?” Annaleis asked.

“I will be,” Sophie grumped as both dolls tried to brush the mud off well as they could.

“Aw, Soph, I”m sorry, we need to – OH NO!” Tenney cried as one of the chickens made a great leap and flew over the fence into the open yard, “We gotta catch her! Camille, Katelynne and Keisha, you help me round her up. Annaleis and Sophie, you can collect the eggs if you want.”

Sophie and Annaleis stood in front of the basket and watched the action with the wild chicken. They ran all the way around the chicken coup. Camille was hooting, hollering and laughing as she tried to run after the chicken. She and Katelynne would get so close to it and even touch it, but being city girls they were a little afraid to actually catch it. They were afraid of hurting the chicken and afraid of getting hurt themselves. Keisha was shouting to Katelynne and Camille which direction to go to try and corner it. But Camille wasn’t listening, “A chicken chase! A chicken chase!” She started laughing so hysterically she could barely even run.

But Katelynne was seeing this whole thing as a battle. ‘We need a shield,’ she thought. She grabbed a wooden board and held it in front of her, blocking the chicken from going any further. Keisha and Camille herded it towards the gate of the chicken coop and just when they got to it, Katelynne thrust her shield at it and it ran inside.

“Whew!” Tenney cried, “I need to clip their wings.”

“Oh no! Another one!” Annaleis cried. Whether it was the same one, or a different one, a chicken was roaming wild in the outside yard again. But this time Tenney was ready. She lunged and grabbed it with both hands. Immediately it fell limp like a doll.

“Is it dead?” Camille asked, wondering if it had died from the shock of being picked up.

“No, this is just how they act when anyone picks them up.” Tenney walked inside the coop and set her down. She came right back to life and started pecking at the dirt. “Yeah, I really need to get their wings clipped. Let’s see how many eggs Annaleis and Sophie have.”

“I think we got them all,” Sophie said.

“You did great! Maybe we can have quiche for breakfast tomorrow!”

And indeed, the next day early morning breakfast consisted of spinach quiche, strawberries and buttermilk pancakes.

“You all want to play some music together? We can practice for church on Sunday. Our bluegrass gospel band!” Tenney announced.

Keisha took out her guitar, Tenney grabbed her banjo and Sophie tuned her cello.

 They played Amazing Grace,

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

Then Keisha started playing Ashokan Farewell and everyone took a turn with the melody! Even Rembrandt the dog!

The next day, Katelynne and Camille got up early to go hiking in the Blue Ridge mountains. All the other dolls decided to stay home and help Tenney clip the chicken’s wings. 

“Katelynne! Katelynne! Are you ready? Are you ready?” Camille asked.

Katelynne started laughing, only two years ago Camille had asked her that exact same question on their first adventure hike when they had discovered the fairies.

“I think I am, are you?”

“I have my boots! I have my buggy backpack, and I have bug spray, and binoculars!!” Camille announced holding them up.

“Then off we go!”

After studying the map to be sure they were on the right trail they started to trudge up the mountain.

 “Look! We’re in a canopy of spindly trees!” Camille bounced all around the rocks that lined the trail like a little Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.

“I almost feel like I’m in Middle Earth,” Katelynne said.

They started humming, “The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began…”

 As they traveled, the trail got steeper and steeper. Camille still skipped over all the rocks with boundless energy, pausing to wait for Katelynne who huffed and puffed and wheezed as she walked.

“I have to take a break,” she said for the third time, “Why don’t you go ahead.”

“Why?” Camille asked, crestfallen and worried that Katelynne would want her to go ahead. She felt too shy to ask the next question on her mind – ‘you don’t want me around anymore?’ for fear the answer might be yes.

“Ooh, I just feel bad I’m slowing you down, and I’m out of breath, and look.

 Do you see that cloud? That cloud is moving fast and it’s going to descend on the valley so we won’t be able to see anything when we get to the top. You should go ahead so you have more of a chance of seeing something. You’ve never hiked up a mountain before. Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.”

But Camille wouldn’t have it at all, “NO!” She couldn’t say it forcefully enough,  “I love being with you! I hardly ever get to hike with you and I’d rather be with you than all the views and sunshine in the world!”

Katelynne rolled her eyes, “All right, little Nut! As long as you don’t mind me huffing and puffing!”

Camille gave a frustrated sigh. Mind?? Of course she didn’t mind!! Didn’t Katelynne have any idea how wonderful it was to be outside enjoying this so much with the best part being with her!!?! She tried to think of words to tell Katelynne how she felt, how much she loved her, but she couldn’t come up with the right ones.

“Look! Turn around!” Katelynne cried.

“Ooh! The misty mountains!” Camille cried. She wasn’t old enough to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy but she knew enough from the other dolls talking about it to remember certain things.

“That might be the best view we’re going to get. I can’t believe how fast these clouds are coming in.”

The sunshine they hiked in made everything sparkle, but all too quickly, the higher up they got, the more foggy, cool and damp it became. A compressed silence seemed to come from the cloud. Everything felt pressed in. Camille was so very glad to have Katelynne by her side.

 They had been walking up and up and up for hours. They couldn’t see the top in the fog. When they realized they were walking on flat ground which dipped down after a while, they realized they had been at the top.

“Hey! We’ve reached the top! This is it!”

“I can’t see a thing!” Camille stated the obvious.

“Yeah, I’m so sorry! And on your first mountain hike too!”

“That’s okay! I don’t mind one bit! This is SUPER fun anyway! I’m inside of a cloud on top of a mountain!”

They rested on a log at the top trying to decide which way to go down, the other side or the way they’d just come up.

“Look! A ledge!” Camille scrambled off the log and went to what seemed to be a lookout, except it looked out to nowhere.

“I bet this is the lookout rock!” Katelynne said, “It’s so hard to tell because everything is so white.”

“What would happen if I just jumped off into the whiteness. Do you think it would catch me?” Camille spoke her thoughts out loud. She was quite fascinated by the cloud.

“NO! Don’t do it! Don’t test it!”

“I won’t,” she assured her, “I was just thinking and imagining.”

“Well, I think we’d better get moving. I”m freezing and it’s starting to rain.”

Indeed an icy cold breeze whiffed at their hair bringing with it little drops of rain. The dolls were happy to get under the cover of the trees. The whole rest of the way down, it rained on and off but the dolls never truly got wet. The trees protected them.

But the trees could not protect them from the rocks. They had to scramble down great big boulders. Camille had had no problem climbing up, but going down was a different story. She was very afraid. She tried not to let it show but every time she slipped she was terrified she really would fall into the pit of white-ness and never be seen again, and she realized she didn’t quite want that to happen for real. 

Camille was much more cautious and careful, going a lot slower on the way down than when she’d come up. Katelynne zipped down the rocks like a mountain goat, finding the perfect crevice for her feet and climbing and doing it with the greatest agility. 

It was on the biggest and smoothest rock that Camille’s second fear came true; she got stuck. She had no clue where to put her feet, and it was  too steep to slide her bottom on, which was what she had been doing. 

“Oh no!” she tried not to wail at Katelynne but it came out as a weak whine anyway, “I don’t know what to do! I”m stuck!” 

She was relieved that Katelynne didn’t laugh, “Hmm,” Katelynne analyzed the rock, “If you can get one of your feet in that lower crevice you can swing your other leg over to get to that other rock.”

Camille found it difficult just to get her body over to the little crevice. She was terrified to lift herself up even in a crawling position for fear of gravity pulling her down and falling, so she slid like a serpent on her belly.

Katelynne tried to guide her, “Try not to go on your stomach Sweetie, it’s better if you can use your toes and your fingers. It’s actually safer. You’re much more stable when the force of your body weight pushes into the rock. Plus if you’re on your belly, you’re much more likely to use your knees and you do not want to use your knees.”

Camille chuckled to herself because just as Katelynne was saying that she had used her knees to try and get herself  up. Her knees met the most hard, solid and unfriendly rock. “Ouch,” she guessed her knees would be bruised tomorrow. 

At last she was able to get to the little crevice, full of moss, where she did exactly as Katelynne instructed and was freed from the smooth rock.

Camille hadn’t realized she had been holding her breath almost the whole time. She let it out in a whuff when she felt her feet hit solid ground. She found her legs shaking violently.

“I think I need to sit down for just a while. My heart is pounding so hard and my legs are shaking.”

“Sure Kiddo!” Katelynne smiled, “I guess we’ve switched places! Now it’s you who needs the breaks!”

Camille smiled weakly. But even after they’d started off again, Camille’s legs wouldn’t stop shaking. ‘What’s wrong with me?’ she wondered. It was bad enough she was still scrabbling over rocks and roots but now with shaky legs it was much worse. She walked even slower. No more dancing and bouncing for her. 

But at last they reached the end of the trail and the bottom of the mountain. 

“We did it!” Katelynne cried, “We’re such a good team! Me on the way up and you on the way down! Haha!”

“Yes!” Camille agreed. 

“I’m so sorry we didn’t get to see anything.”

“I don’t care!” Camille said, meaning it, “I’d do it all over again anyway! You taught me how to be a rock climber and I got to be inside a cloud!” 

They were walking down the road when Katelynne grasped Camille’s arm and whispered, “Ohh, look!”

“A tunnel!” Camille gasped. 

“This isn’t just a tunnel. It’s a tree tunnel. This tree is a living tree that has opened itself to the world of magic and created a tunnel, a portal between fairy worlds. I believe if we go through, we will go back home.”

“But I don’t want to go home yet! What about the others?” Camille tried not to whine again.

“No, you’re right, we need the others to go home, but I think just seeing this means our time here is coming to an end. We will leave tomorrow morning.”

Camille sighed but she knew Katelynne was right.

“We’ll get to see Tenney again. I’m sure of it!” Katelynne reassured her.

They walked back to the farm where Tenney had her guitar out again and jamming with the other dolls.

“How was your hike?” Tenney asked.

“It was fun!” Katelynne.

“It was amazing! It was wonderful! I got all the way to the top and we didn’t see anything!” Camille reported proudly.

“Yeah, the clouds rolled in and disrupted our view.”

“Well, you’ll just have to come back and hike again sometime!” Tenney said.

“Yes! Oh, Tenney, we have had the most delightfully refreshing time here, but we’re going to have to return home in the morning. What a most wonderful surprise it’s been!”

“Ooh, I wish you could stay longer and meet all the friends who come over and play with me! I’m so happy I live here!”

“Then we have to sing the Sandy Mush song!” Camille cried.

They all grabbed their instruments and sang at the top of their lungs.

In the morning, just after the sun had come up over the trees, the dolls walked to the tree tunnel and one by one slipped back home.

The end.

Behind the Scenes

Yes! This was also MY most recent adventure to VA and NC! Pretty much everything the dolls did, I did with the company of my most wonderful family! I really did make ginger carrot soup with my Aunt Deni! Here’s the recipe, it’s super yummy:

And not only did the dolls and I get to go to Sandy Bottom, but Deni and Grandma did too!

 She watched me as I set the dolls up on the sand and took pics which made it SOOO much more fun to do!!! I have the best grandma EVER!

And as you can probably tell, the dolls didn’t actually go on the mountain hike with my aunt and I, but everything that happened to them really happened to us too!

-us at the top of the mountain. Yeah, it was my very first ever mountain hike too, and I saw NOTHING! hahahaha!

This story would never have been made, it never would’ve even happened had it not been for the most special person living in Sandy Mush. She decorated her home, welcomed us with utmost hospitality into it, and it was SUCH a joy to see her again! Tenney’s human, my dear Peggy:


I don’t have pics of these, but as the dolls crossed the bridge into the deeper part of the fairy forest, Keisha decided the water looked enticing and performed a back flip into the water! Thankfully she cleaned up very well. And poor Sophie really did do a face plant in the chicken coop!



From This Valley – Civil Wars

Songwriters: Joy Elizabeth Williams / John Paul White / Phil Madeira

From This Valley lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management, The Loving Company

Sandy Mush

from Wildflowers by Jonathan Byrd

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