Scumble, by Ingrid Law

Bricka bracka firecracker, sis boom bah! Ledger Kale! Ledger Kale! Rah! Rah! Rah!” Fe shouted her favorite Super-Rabbit cartoon cheer every time I finished a lap, hitting the reset button on Dad’s watch.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Fedora dashed home, shouting, “Mom! Mom! Wait till you see what Ledge can do! He ran around the block ten times and zippo. Then—bang-zoom!—something savvy happened, and now he can bust things up!” Helmet bobbing, my sister pummeled the air in a comical three-punch combination, repeating “Bust! Things! Up!” as she shadowboxed around the house.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Like an itchy foot inside a winter boot, it threatened to drive me mad.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

The last of the dust from the barn settled, revealing the dented silver yowl of the moon, and the basin of the ranch became a patchwork quilt of moonlight and moving shadows.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

“A boy’s got to fall a few times so he can learn to pick himself up and put himself back together.”
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Grandpa looked as though he’d been pulled from the wool of a yarn-spinning dream, but his eyes were bright in the firelight as he caught up with the story.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Abruptly, Fe stopped laughing, her eyes as round as the rising moon.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Back then, that river was still free-flowing and flooded, and full of the magic of a flawless, untamed land. As Eva Mae trundled through the currents, gold dust covered her, bonnet to boots. When she stepped out of those waters, she was a vision to behold. And forever after, that girl could charm gold from wherever it lay hidden.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

“You should know by now that anything is possible, children.” Grandpa nodded in his chair. “Anything.”
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

“Some fears can be conquered, Ledge,” he went on after a lengthy silence. “Others have a way of coming back around. Sometimes at the moment you least expect. Often with the very worst possible timing. Fear makes it hard to think. And when you can’t think, it’s hard to figure out your choices. When you can’t see all your options, all you can do is react.”
-Ingrid Law, Scumble
“ ‘The Flight and Plight of the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing’?” Gypsy’s eyes grew round and bright, absorbing the iridescent blues and greens that lit the brown wings of the butterflies in the pictures. Her lips formed a small O, and when she spoke again, her voice was a wonder-filled whisper.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Sarah Jane was still smiling. I smiled back. Next to the house, the branches of the birch tree swayed in the breeze, its leaves shimmering like green glass in the sun. If a tree could laugh, I thought, this one was certainly doing it.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

I also thought about the way her hair looked all loose and jumbled in the wind—shiny and wild.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Absolute silence had fallen around me as the earth waited for me to finish my tantrum. Then, as though some silent word sped out across the landscape that I’d run out of strength at last, a cricked chirped and the hum and drone of insects returned. Birds chittered back and forth like television news anchors reporting from the scene. Somewhere close by, a prairie dog barked out small, rodent alerts….
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Scumbling is not about you trying to fit in with the rest of the world; it’s about making your savvy fit in better with you. It’s simply learning to balance all the different parts of yourself so that you don’t let the one thing that feels most out-of-control take over and rule your life. Get it?
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Fedora’s old football helmet full of jar lids rested in their place on his lamp, the lids catching and reflecting the dull campfire flames like they still had some magic buried somewhere inside them.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Crickets chirped.
Embers popped.
Then, “Yes!” Startling us all, Uncle Autry jumped from his stump and cheered, filling the air with a swirl of dusty moths and a frenzy of shimmering, flying things. Autry swept Gypsy off her stump into a spinning jig. Autry sang as they hopped and skipped around the fire.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Everyone puts themselves back together differently after things fall apart.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Grandpa stood from his chair and hugged me with more strength than I thought he had left in him. He kissed the jar, gave the lid a little twist, then held it high, waltzing in slow, shuffling steps to the music, as if Grandma Dollop were there dancing with him. Bitsy tipped back her head and howled in doggy harmony. Birds chittered and chirped. Insects added percussion. When I saw tears traveling down paths worn deep into Grandpa’s cheeks, I quickly turned away, hoping I’d somehow said and done enough.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Gypsy stepped lightly, carrying an old glass jar toward one of the stumps, oblivious to the sharp meadow grass and prickly pine needles under her bare feet. I recognized the jar Gypsy set down next to the fast-forward flowers. I could see the faded, antique, red-and-yellow Peter Pan Peanut Butter label easily from where I sat. It had to be the oldest peanut butter jar ever….
Gypsy gave the white metal lid half a twist. Instantly, music rose from inside the glass. Trumpets, violins, and whatnot filled the glade, crackling with the static of a classical radio broadcast captured over fifty years past….
The jar caught the last slanting rays of the sunset, lighting up orange and pink in the girl’s hand.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Gypsy gave a barefoot, twirling salute, before adding, “I’ll watch over them, no matter what!” The enormous butterflies were a big success for Uncle Autry. He hadn’t lost a single one.

I glanced up in time to see Gypsy poke her head out the door of the Bug House, a giant, iridescent blue-green butterfly stealing a secret ride in her curly hair. It was strange that Gypsy hadn’t noticed it. Gypsy usually saw everything.
Gypsy slipped back inside, but not before the enormous butterfly took flight, its wings beating slow and steady like an inhale . . . exhale. My own breathing slowed as I watched the bug land on the wooden beams just above the exterior door. The thing was beautiful.
Something whispered against the fingers of my right hand. I opened my eyes. Gypsy’s Queen Alexandra was there, fanning me with its wings. I startled, but tried not to move, not wanting to injure it. The butterfly only stayed for a second before it took off and flew away.
He looked slowly from the twins to me—then to Gypsy as she stepped out of the conservatory and began to twirl in delight beneath the sculpted trees.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Bitsy hobble-bobbled at my feet, pushing her wet nose into my hand. I scratched the dog once behind the ears, then sat down. Grandpa gave me my own handful of jar lids and, together, we tossed them into the river. Soon all the lids glinted from beneath the water like wishes in a fountain.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

“Just tell me the story, Ledger.” Grandpa Bomba closed his eyes, settling back into the cushion of his own tall chair, the sound of the river like a great-great- and greater-than-that-grandmother whispering to us from the past. “And Ledge,” Grandpa added, letting just one eye pop back open.
“Yes, Grandpa?”
“Make the story really good.”
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Gypsy gave a barefoot, twirling salute, before adding, “I’ll watch over them, no matter what!” The enormous butterflies were a big success for Uncle Autry. He hadn’t lost a single one.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Sometimes the searching is the best part of any quest.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble
Autry winked, then hit the gas, disappearing over the ridge, followed by jet streams of dartling, flittering, flying things.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Half kneeling next to Grandpa Bomba, Samson’s whip-thin frame was tense as he held fast to Bitsy, the late-afternoon wind lashing his long hair into his eyes. He’d shown up completely—stepped up completely—making Grandpa and Bitsy stronger.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

But now I knew too, just as Winona had known, that sometimes things have to come apart before becoming something different—something better.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

October had painted the leaves of the birch trees golden, and joined with the autumn wind to carpet the glade at the Flying Cattleheart. Small puffs of clouds crossed the huge Wyoming sky in herds, like ghostly buffalo flying overhead.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

The only kiss I got that day was the one in the tall tale I told the guys back at school—and that one would have made one super-duper, humdinger headline.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Advertisements

We'd love to hear from you! Say something here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s