Welcome to a new adventure! Let’s not waste any time. Let’s jump right in =)
The room’s temperature sits well above comfortable, like every student is sweating their anxiety into the air. The usual chatter is
nonexistent. Do this one task well and the rest of your magicks class will be a breeze because all the other tasks build off of this one.
Sand falls through the hourglass, its tiny grains counting away until your time’s up. Students lean over their individual tables around you working on their own projects but yours sits like a lonely lump of clay, unformed and far from finished.
The project is, in fact, gray and red clay, but as the instructor demonstrated, if you form it just right, you can animate it into a pet for a single day. It’s not supposed to be a difficult task. It is, after all, the first building block of the class. The clay doesn’t even have to be perfectly shaped to look exactly like the animal you want.
But you want something different, something unique, compared to everyone else’s. Around you, cats and dogs are starting to move, slowly taking on the fluidity of the actual animals they’re made to portray.
You want an owl. A beautiful horned owl like the one that sits outside in the big cottonwood at night ‘who-whoing’ to the world and scaring up mice to catch.
When you attempted the owl’s shape, though, it fell back into its lumpy form and refused to hold the body of the bird.
You try again and the clay melts around your hands like hot mud.
Animas clay can be stubborn, the instructor warned when he gave the assignment. You have to be very clear in your mind what shape it’s to hold if you want it to retain the animal’s form.
You’ve seen the horned owl, but only through the window at night. The shadows and tree limbs of the cottonwood it calls home obscured much of its actual shape.
The sand finishes falling into the bottom globe of the glass.
“Time’s up,” the instructor calls and you raise your hands into the air just like all the other students to show you’ve stopped working.
The instructor ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ over a small cat and praises a boy to your right for his mouse. Then he stops by your table and stares at the formless lump of clay on the surface. Without a word, he moves on but you know, you’ve just failed the assignment, and possibly the rest of the class if you can’t figure this out.
The class finishes and you move to shuffle out with the other students, all of which get to keep their Aminas pets for the day.
You hold your lump of clay in your hand, planning to take it with you.
“Stay a moment,” the instructor catches your eye.
You step out of the flow of students and wait. When the room’s empty, the instructor folds his large hands on his desk and stares at you with a long gaze. His blue eyes seem to be searching for something but he doesn’t apparently find it, because he shakes his head a moment later and sighs through his thick beard.
“What were you trying to make?” he asks.
“An owl,” you admit.
“Not a cow or a horse?”
You simply frown, why would you want such a large pet for a day?
“Just making sure,” he says after a moment of you frowning at him. “Since you live on that farm, I wanted to make sure you didn’t go for an animal that was too large for the clay.”
“I listened in class,” you protest. “I know that’s too much for the clay you gave me.” Plus, you’re surrounded by cows and horses. It’s not like you need another one.
“Bring me an owl tomorrow morning,” he says, nodding at the clay in your hand, “and you’ll get full credit.”
Excitement builds in your chest. “Thank you, sir,” you say and take off out of the classroom.
You doubt you can get a good look at the full-grown owl from the cottonwood but she has a nest in the tree with several babies inside. From your bedroom window, you can see their tiny heads bobbing around when the momma comes home.
Maybe you can climb the tree to get a good look. But if the momma catches you, she’s sure to attack and she’s a large bird.
Or maybe you can wait for bedtime and climb out onto the roof. With the binoculars, you might be able to see the babies from the top of the house.
A. Climb the Tree?
B. Use the Binoculars?
Let me know in the comments which option you like to explore. Whichever option gets the most votes will be the one to post next Thursday.
Until then, blessings and have a wonderful week,