In the back of my mind I've always known that we interact with the elements daily, but with the continuous grind of life and even just living in a small town one tends to forget that.
Yesterday started out as any other day, other than my son woke up with an ear infection. I rushed him to the local urgent care as soon as it opened at 8:00 AM and the prescribed amoxicillin. Nothing major, the kid was still grumpy after being woken up all night with an earache, so I softly guided him into a nap immediately after lunch. (After all, my sleep had been broken up, too.)
Sage's new thing lately is ant colonies. He watches documentaries on them, he has a specially made formicarium on its way from North Carolina, you get the idea. Now, for this formicarium to work, he needs a Queen Ant. A Queen Carpenter Ant, specifically, which do live around here if you go digging through logs in the forest. So, yesterday afternoon found me driving my Subaru Hybrid loaded with day pack essentials, the ant hunters, and the family dog.
South Cottonwood Trail is easily a local favorite, it's an old growth forest, with plenty of moss and mushrooms, conifers and deciduous trees, all enveloping you in there greenery as we walk farther and farther into the forest. Once inside the yellow lady slippers introduce themselves first, their color springing brilliantly from the mountainside. Then a type of purple clematis, that when it doesn't find anything to climb, simply spreads across the ground until finding that unsuspecting tree branch that allows the purple flowers to propel themselves up toward the canopy. The calming beauty of the forest helped through pulling apart old dead logs to look for Carpenter Ant colonies, because to be honest, the thought of pulling apart anything and seeing hundreds of insects scurry about is enough to make me run, but the kid needs a Queen Ant, so I stayed. We did capture an ant that was larger than the others in the colony, but more research indicates that it is probably just a very confused boy ant, who is now sitting on a hunk of cotton in a test tube wondering where in the hell its log went.
Once back at the homestead, we decided a relaxing soak in the hot tub and a fire in the chiminea would be the way to round out our Saturday evening. It wasn't until we were sitting around the fire that I realized the significance of our elemental interactions that I write about nearly every day. The earth elemental, the water elemental, and the fire elemental all were very prevalent, specific parts of our activities on Saturday, which made me wonder a little bit about the air elemental. We hadn't flown kites, so we hadn't interacted with the Air Element directly, maybe something was missing from a great day. It was then that the high pitched whirring from a log releasing air reminded me that this element is always with us, always around us, it's how we breathe. It isn't until it's absent or agitated that we realized it's there. Which is why late in the Alliance novel and all through Bloodlines, the Air Element becomes known as the Atmosphere Element, because when they're absent or agitated, that is when one directly feels their impact. This is probably why Briar is written with a quieter personality, she has a harder time asserting herself with the stronger personalities that represent fire, water, and earth. Her daughter, Aurelia, a prominent character in Bloodlines, is usually in a constant state of agitation, however, so you better watch out for her violet lightning.