The Power of Place




There’s that one place that calls. 

The place that calls is a simple place, far far to the north, in Canada. Many of my roots are embedded in the great north, all of my dad's side of the family are from this frozzing wilderness. My place is not just a place, but a time as well. To make this place perfect, both the place, the time, what is there, and who’s there has to be absolutely perfect. 

First, I have to be in my grandparents house in Canada, in the living room, on my favorite couch, with a wool blanket on me.

Second, It has to be Christmas Eve, at any time after 8:00pm but before 10:00pm. 

Third, there has to be a crackling fire in the fireplace, a snowstorm brewing outside, all of my grandmother's Christmas decorations up, the stalkings hanging above the fireplace waiting for Saint Nick, and warm hot chocolate in my hands. 

Fourth, My parents, grandparents, two uncles, two aunts, five cousins, and one dog all in the same room, laughing, talking, and Ozzie the dog sleeping right next to me. My cousins and I are playing a game of monopoly, and Christmas music playing in the background. All of these things half to be absolutely perfect to make this my place.

I remember this experience in this place many times. In fact, almost every year. Sometimes it is different, like what game we are playing or the music, but it is always about the same. Then the next morning at 6 in the morning there is a fresh 2 feet of snow. I am the first one up, ready to see what Santa left under the tree. I go into my parents room and shake them awake, but they say it is too early and to go back to sleep. Instead of going to my room I creep downstairs, making sure not to wake anyone. I see the tree, with countless presents under it. But wait, I will have to wait for the rest of my family, a huge problem, because my cousins are older teens that will sleep in until noon!

There I will sit, in a chair near the tree, watching and waiting to open my presents. Eventually one by one my relieves awoke, and finally after what feels like a year, the last of my family is awake. Presents are opened stories are told and songs are sung.

This is my place……….

Poet X letter

Dear Mertens,

Life for me is ok, plugging along and getting through each day. But, still could be better. How is life treating you? How is school? What are you interested in? Have you been reading any interesting books?

Currently I am reading a very interesting book called The Poet X. It is a book of many poems which are very deep and powerful. The author is Elizabeth Acevedo, and she has created a character named Xiomara. The author writes with her thoughts and does not hold back on anything. The story is based on Xiomara, who is much like the author, in a suburb of New York City, and she has many difficulties in her life, school, home, and almost everything. This book is very deep and also has some life lessons and advice. 

 My experience reading this book so far is that it is sometimes overwhelming, and sometimes sad, and sometimes just too much.

But when you're in the right frame of mind it can be really moving and inspiring. But other times it is harder to read. I would say that this is a very good book though. 

One poem that I read in the book that I thought was good was, 

Haiku, though it is short it is very powerful and also mysterious. It only has 12 words. The thing that puzzles me is the last line which is “whispering to C:” what does that mean? 

Well, I hope all is well and that you might be able to read The Poet X. If you have any book recommendations I would love to hear them. 

I look forward to your reply.



The Power of Friendship


A Good Friend Is Like A Four Leaf Clover, Hard To Get And Lucky To Have. -Irish Proverb

Friends come and go, but there is always one that is forever. I have this, what they call a “BFF” (best friend forever). He is far away, in my old hometown, Miami, FL. We met in 1st grade, he was the new kid, nowhere to go. I saw this, and I am like this. So we quickly became friends. We are very much alike, we enjoy the same things, think the same way, and have the same philosophies.

    But one day, my family had to move. To the north, where we had our summer house in Massachusetts. But we still stayed in contact. We saw him and his family once or twice a year. But one very awesome day, my mom got a text, it was his mom, saying that they bought a house in Rhode Island, as a summer place. Though we still only saw them a few times a year. This all changed during the pandemic of COVID-19, where we play games over the phone. We truly bonded. The pandemic hit me hard mentally, I was not able to see anyone except for my parents and many cats, the worry of what would happen, and everything was remote and over zoom. Seeing my friend every week even if it was over the phone was a light in the dark.

    This past summer he came up to Rhode Island. We saw each other every single week. But at summer’s end it was hard. Very hard. After an entire summer running barefoot through the forests and streams, exploring the coastal hills and valleys, and swimming to the cold waters of Narragansett bay, it would be hard to let that go. We would both have to wait until next summer.

    Before the pandemic, I thought that I needed no one, just myself. But I now realize how important it is to have connections with people, especially a best friend. Though we will half wait, one day my best friend and I will explore the coastal wilderness again — together.

The Power of Family

Other Thing Way Change You, But You Start And End With Family. - Anthony Brandt 

Family is not perfect, happiness comes with many bumps, some are short, and some last. But at very, very select times, family can be perfect. For I have experienced this before, in Switzerland.

The beautiful city of Zurich, Switzerland. Though I have been there before, I am always amazed by its perfection. The spotless streets, the crystal clean rivers, and the amazingly nice people, something that makes my family happy. 

My small family unit and I climbed aboard the train, and started our long journey to the high mountains, the European Alps. After what felt like forever, the train rounded the bend, and boom! Right in front of us, the Alps. Like huge giant gods, they tower above the lowland lakes and small villages. But this is not the end of our journey, 2 more hours on the train going through the tight valleys to reach our final destination, and probably my favorite place in the world, the small chain of villages called Scoul. 

I stood shaking on the cold metal platform, the mountain's cold wind chilling me to the bone. In front of us, a waving hand that belonged to our good friend from Germany. 

We drove down the centuries old cobblestone streets and eventually got to the house, a beautiful clay and wood chalet from the 16th century. The rest of our friends ran out to greet us, we were shown inside the house and it was amazing. A large oak living room, ancient kitchen, a hidden reading room, my room even had a secret trap door that went downstairs. This was awesome, and this is where we were going to be for the next week. 

It all started the next morning…….. The beginning of the best week of my life. 

I opened the old trap door, and crawled down the steep creaky stairs. I paused, something smelt good, I opened the door to the kitchen and boom! I was hit with the sweet smell of chocolate and fresh baked bread. On the kitchen table layed a true feast, fresh bread from the local bakery, milk that was milked from the cow just an hour prior, melted chocolate fondue, and cheese from the farm just down the road. There my parents sat happier than I’ve ever seen them before. 

That week we had a very similar  routine, got up, had a feast of a breakfast, went skiing, I played games with the other kids, had the most delicious of  dinners, and went to bed. 

But there was something missing……. 

Even with this most awesome schedule, there was no, “ John, wash the dishes,” or “John clean your room” or “John do your homework.” Nothing, not a word of that from my parents, they just enjoyed the experience with me. But my perfect family moment, it happened on the mountain, just to the north of the town way above the treeline. We were at the mountain lodge, (which was more like a cabin.) Sitting out on the porch in old wooden chairs with sheep and deer skins under us, looking ahead at mountains, not a care in the world, just the mountains and each other. 

Some may be a simple moment in a extravagant place, but for me and my family this is our moment.