A Dragon Slayer

His skin was gold. The beast’s skin was gold! Like the wealth it slumbered in, the precious metal that filled its dark home – the dragon was GOLD!

“Foolish, little man,” rumbled the dragon. It was tremendous. A legion of swordsmen, two legions, three, would have failed to have vanquished this beast. Heat laced his breath, spawned by the fire of his heart, heat that burned my bones each time it spoke, not my skin, but my bones. “Like thousands of others that have disturbed my sleep and sanctuary through ages upon ages past, you have come for a bit of my treasure.”

“No, mighty being,” I answered, holding my shield before me, masking me from the growing heat spilling through the dragon’s fangs. “I’ve come not for treasure, though your wealth is immeasurable.”

“Humans – liars all. Dishonest specks of insignificance” The dragon’s voiced was laced with disgust. “Tell me then, warrior, brave heart, why do you come here this day and look upon me, your death?”

“I seek an answer to a question.” My armor was beginning to heat. My skin was beginning to burn.”

“Ah,” smiled the dragon, if a dragon could smile. He seemed to. And his voice now bore a mocking tone. “Wisdom – you’ve come for a wisdom. You’d do better to ask for gold, for at least your feeble body could carry some of that. Humans are unable to hold on to any wisdom they acquire; yet ask your question. I will answer it. Then, I will kill you.”

I lay down my sword and shield. I had no doubt the dragon would soon kill me and neither my sword nor my shield would protect me from death.

“Mighty beast of gold, are you…” I paused, suddenly afraid for I assumed I would assume be dead.” Are you happy?”

The dragon opened his mouth to answer, but paused. He considered my question. Perhaps he considered himself. He look puzzled, almost confused. He began to mumble.

“Am I happy? Can I… Does it matter that… happy?”

Slowly, the dragon sank back into the darkness he emerged from. With it, it took he took his promise to kill me.

That day, I returned home a dragon slayer.



The Shot Heard Around the World

On this day in 1775, the American Revolution began. “At about 5 a.m., 700 British troops, on a mission to capture Patriot leaders and seize a Patriot arsenal, march into Lexington to find 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker waiting for them on the town’s common green. British Major John Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun.

In the short piece I present here, I step into the mind of one of the
Patriots mentioned above and attempt to imagine how he perceived this day. How’d I do?

Journal Entry: Stuart Acey, April 19, 1775

There is little time to write. The cry is war. The cry is America. This morning America squared her soldiers, I squared my soldiers, against his majesty’s might. A soldier, a redcoat, let scream his musket. Its thunder rattled against the foundations of Heaven and – I have no doubt – ushered the favor of God to our cause. Blood was spilt today. Blood shall spill in our many tomorrows, but as Christ’s blood washed my soul clean of iniquity, so also will the blood of my brothers, so also will my blood, wash England from America’s shores, my shores.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Top

Today, WordPress unveiled this challenge: “In a post created specifically for this challenge, share a photo that means On Top!”

The photo below was taken while on a hike. I was, as was the tree, on top of a hill. That work?

photo by S. Thomas Summers


Several of my photos will be featured and are for sale at this event.

STARTS 4.12.14

The first Vernon Township Historical Society Photography Exhibit starts tomorrow at the Senior Citizens Center at 21 Church Street from 5 to 9 p.m. On Sunday, the exhibit is from 1-5 p.m. The photographs are all up. There are more than 110 beautiful scenes of Vernon, its people, landscape, architecture, and so on. Some of the photographs that were donated to the Society are also on sale in a silent auction. A highlight of the exhibit will be the performance of the Vernon Township High School Chamber Orchestra and their conductor, Jennifer Krott, on Sunday from 4-5 p.m. Nearly 40 wonderful photographs from students of the Vernon Township High School Photography Department, under the guidance of their teacher Terry Sabia, are on exhibit. Don’t miss this wonderful exhibit. Admission and refreshments are free.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

I haven’t posted a photo for some time, but this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge was a good one…for me at least.

The challenge reads in part, “In this week’s challenge, show us your take on a monument (broadly defined). It could be a fresh angle on a well-known tourist site, or a place nobody knows outside your community. It doesn’t even have to be an official monument. A legendary coffeehouse, a churchyard cemetery, the remains of a treehouse you’d built as a kid — anything can be monumental as long as it’s imbued with a shared sense of importance.”

Here are photos I recently took at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each are a monument linking the present to the past, reality to myth, and both the present and reality to legend.

Greek mythology tells of the satyr Marsyas, a central figure in two stories involving death: in one, he picked up the double flute (aulos) that had been abandoned by Athena and played it; in the other, he challenged Apollo to a contest of music. He lost and Apollo flayed (skinned) him for his arrogance. This is a photo of Marsyas, a sculpture depicting his flaying. Painful. I snapped the photo a few weeks ago at the Met and touched it up a bit. It needed a bit of drama.


photo by S. Thomas Summers

My second photo is a close up of a bronze sculptor by Randolph Rogers. The sculptor is titled The Last Indian. The first photo depicts the entire sculpture. The second photo, my photo, is a close up of the last indian, the indian on the horse.

The Last Indian sculpted by Randolph Rogers


Here ‘s my photo of Rogers’s sculptor.


photo by S. Thomas Summers


Bullets Never Miss

I keep several journals, hand written journals.  One is a collection of musings, bits of creative writings. Below (in bold print), I share what I wrote in that journal yesterday.

Imagine yourself in the old west. Dust is everywhere. The sun is bright and high. You step into a saloon, step to the bar, order a drink. You notice an old timer sitting alone at a table. He’s sipping whiskey. His back seems crooked. His whiskers are as course as barbed wire. He’s mumbling something – to no one. You listen.

Bullets never miss. Guns never miss. The ass who pulls the trigger, he’s the one who misses. Don’t want to be that ass? Then make sure you, your gun, and your bullet all agree. It’s as simple as that.

“Wisdom,” you say to yourself and finish your drink.