Forgotten Art: Meadow – Dove 8

Author’s Note: The story at the end of this letter contains spoilers for the game Samorost 3. If you want to discover this fun puzzle-game for yourself, you might want to skip the story at the end!

A reply to: A letter from Dove

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Dearest Dove,

So I do have a friend from “the big way out there!” And the friend is you!

Do you know what? I don’t feel surprised.

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I feel happy.

And Maki is your friend from the Twin Roses story! That is so wonderful! How on earth did the two of you manage to meet up again?

I told Jenna the story of II  TTYE, the girl, and the Twin Roses ice cream, and she loved it. It’s her favorite story.

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I went into her room the other night, and she had the most enchanted expression on her face as she was singing, “II  TTYE flies! Girl flies! All round the sun! All round the stars!”

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I asked her when I tucked her in what she liked about the story.

“Twin Roses!” she said. “And stars.”

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I wouldn’t be surprised if Jena wanted to be a space explorer when she grew up. Or maybe a physicist.

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Congratulations on your new apartment! The photos you sent of the girls are adorable. They look so happy!

Sometimes when I watch Jena, I wish I still had that joy of everything being new. That’s how your daughters look in their photos.

At least learning is still new to me–especially chess!

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Do you have new things you’re learning, and does it fill you with wonder and inspiration to learn them?

I love your time-scarf! Yes, a knitted scarf is a much better description of time! All the yarn connected up together!

Jena and I have begun to create our own story. We’re both making it up, and I’m writing it and illustrating it. My uncle knows a publisher who might be interested, but even if he doesn’t want it, we’re having so much fun inventing it!

I’ve enclosed a copy of the first chapter for you to share with your littlies!

I have no idea how long it will end up being. I think very long… like a whole scarf’s worth!

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You see, Jena keeps inventing more!

Originally, it was going to be a story about an alien–but Jena decided she wanted it to be about a space squirrel. He’s lost, but he meets lots of friends, and they all help him to become found again. But Jena says we need lots of adventures along the way. I really love the way her imagination is developing!

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Jena would love the decryption code! She’s only just making sense of letters, but I think it would be fun for her to know about codes, too. Or if she’s not ready for that, I would be! I love encryptions and decryptions!

The other night, Jena and I went outside to look at the stars. Jena began laughing as she pointed at a comet.

“What’s so funny?” I asked her.

“There’s girls!” she said, pointing out at space.

And at that moment, I felt like my heart opened up and let in all of life! To think! This universe is more vast than I ever knew… and there are so many more out there, and one who’s come from there is my friend, you!

Thank you, II  TTYE.

Love,

Meadow

dove807

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Samorost the Lost

By Jena and Meadow McCumber

If the stars are flowers,
Are we their seeds,

Made of light-dust
And cosmic giggles,
Space-bits, and weeds?

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In the Beyond beyond,
Far from the Here that’s near,

the hound looked up
at a tin ear’s cheer.

“Oh,” said the one tree,
“What brings this here?”

“Never worry,” said two tree,
“Only the silly fear!”

“Then color me goofy,”
said three tree,
“For afraid is me
As sure as can be!”

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Down from the tower
ran the little one, lost.

It is the Space Squirrel,
known as Samorost,

Cosmically tossed
through the space whirl.

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“Ahoy!” to the hound dog!
“Avast!” to the bunny-pillars!

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A strange wind blows hither,
to make a lost squirrel shiver.

“What dost thou want?
Little lost squirrel?”

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“To be unlost
In this big wide world.”

“My puff can blow magic,”
said the puff flower truly.

“Ride the wind higher,
Back towards your home, duly.”

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“Ring-ho!” said Goldie,
the gazelle with the old key.

“Jump aboard! Follow me!
I’ll take you to Old Ghoulie!”

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Down step by step
Over the lichen lip

Goldie and Squirrely
traversed the path curly.

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“What, is that you?”
said Old Ghoulie.

“The one who is lost
That they call Samorost?”

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At the end of the world
the secrets unfurled.

And the way home was told
To the Squirrel, lost yet bold.

To be continued…

Whisper 1.27

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“It’s Lamber! No, it’s a rocket ship! No, it’s meteor! Wait! It’s Super Lamber!”

I’m happiest when I hear Marigold playing while I paint, cook, or read.

She’s happiest when we’re playing together.

“Guess who’s my best friend!” she says.

“Lamber?” I ask. “Riley?”

“No, silly! You are!”

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Stray Dog has wandered off. We look for him everyday, and we keep expecting him. Every time we hear a dog bark in the distance, we think it’s him. It never is.

We mark the years with birthdays, hers in fall, mine in spring.

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The same crowd comes to every party: Frank, Arkvoodle, Joe, the Nixes, Hetal Anjali, Chauncey, Felicity and Faith, and whoever else happens to show up.

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I notice each year that our friends are growing up and growing old. And then one year, when I look in the mirror, I notice how gray my hair has become, and Lord! Are those crow’s feet around my eyes? Sure enough, I’ve joined the white-hairs.

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“Good party, huh, Marigold?” Frank asks. “You like that dim sum?”

Marigold, who has an athlete’s appetite, ate three helpings of dim sum at this party.

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When all the guests leave and Marigold is tucked in, I sit alone and rock. If there are things I want to do in life, I realize, it’s time for me to do them. But what else do I want? I want Stray Dog to return, but he never does. I’d like to travel a bit, now that Marigold’s old enough to enjoy a trip and while I’m still active enough for hiking and adventures. Maybe we can go to Egypt, so that Marigold can sample her favorite food, falafels.

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I book us a trip.

Soon, it’s time. We arrive in the early morning.

“Let’s go to the market,” I say.

“It’s awfully sunny here,” says Marigold. “Where are the clouds?”

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At the market, Marigold is so hot that she swims in the fountain.

“I need water!” she says. “I’m not a sun turtle!”

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We take a few day trips, the see the Sphinx and explore some desert ponds, but most of the time we spend at base camp. I learn the recipe for falafels, so I can make them at home.

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Marigold discovers a desert tortoise.

“Is he happy here?” she asks.

“Does he look happy?”

“Yeah. Do you think he’d like it back home?”

“With all that rain and snow and mist and fog? No. He’s a sun tortoise, and this is his home.”

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I meet other travelers, and I always wind up telling them about Dante, and they always end up bored, listening to an old woman reminisce about her lover who died while they were both young. Before I get to the part about how our love never died, they’ve stopped listening and are looking for opportunities to escape. I miss Dante and the red pulsing light of his heart.

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“We need to go home,” Marigold tells me. “What if Stray Dog comes back, and we’re not there?”

“Stray Dog will wait,” I tell her. “If he comes, he’ll come at night, and you know how he loves ghosts! Dante and Martin will be sure to keep him there until we return.”

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Marigold pretends she’s a king of an ancient kingdom.

“What decrees should I make?” she asks me.

“Anything!” I tell her. “Just decide what you want and make it so!”

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When I walk her to her tent that night, I ask what decrees she made.

“Just one,” she says. “I decree our vacation to be over so we can go home!”

“Good decree!” I tell her. “It just so happens this is the last night of our trip, and tomorrow, bright and early, we fly home!”

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Our home never looked sweeter than when we arrived.

“It’s raining!” says Marigold, and the mist settles over the mountains. “I missed you, rain.”

Even the gnomes celebrate our homecoming.

“Three cheers! They’re here! They’re here! The wanderers have returned!” shouts Snowflake.

“Hip-hip-hooray!” yells Bucktooth.

We are home, at the sweetest point of any trip, the coming home point.

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Whisper 1.21

Thinking about how Rainflower Ivy passed and Frank and Annie have become old makes me feel the pressure of time. I’m not getting younger, either, and there’s still a lot I want to do.

When I mention this to Dante, he encourages me to do whatever I’ve got on my wish-list.

“You never know,” he says. “That’s what we discovered, didn’t we?”

I tell him I always thought I wanted to travel. I’m not sure if I still do, since he can’t come with me, but it’s just something I always thought would be important to me, as an artist, a musician, and a writer.

“Do it!” he says. “If you want to travel, travel! Before you know it, you’ll adopt a cat, like you were thinking of doing, and that will just make it that much more difficult to travel. And what if you adopt a kid?”

So I take off for France. And as soon as I get there, I wonder why. I miss Dante already.

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But then I see the way the light glances off the stone walls. We don’t have light like this back at home! I pull out my sketchbook and spend the morning drawing. Oh, I’m so glad I came!

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I still miss Dante. The courtyard garden at the hostel, which is in an old stone manor, is so romantic that I wish I could share it with him. I play my guitar there, playing blues, rather than love songs.

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In the afternoon, I decide to take in the sights. I ride the guest moped out to the Nectary.

The man who runs it is really nice. Turns out that his family are nectarists from way back.

“Is it a profitable business?” I ask.

“Oh! We are not in it for the profits,” he says. “Oh, no. But yes. It is very good in that way.”

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He teaches me how to make nectar. My first batch is pretty bitter, but my friend assures me I’ll get the hang of it. I order a nectar-press to be shipped home so I can master the skill through time.

I sampled a few bottles of excellent vintage, and if I could make something even a third as good, then Dante will be in for a treat when I share it with him.

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By the time my batch of nectar is done, it’s after midnight, and I’m tired.

The proprietor shows me to the guest room.

Back home, even though I’m a painter, a street artist, and now, a novelist, nobody really pays me much attention. I get the occasional discount that businesses like to give semi-famous people. And now and then, some store looking for a promotion will ship me some free furniture. But mostly, I’m ignored.

However, over here, people seem to know who I am. They’ve seen my paintings. They read my first book. And, as a result, I don’t get much privacy. Even while I’m sleeping, somebody sneaks into my bedroom and takes photos of me.

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The next morning dawns in bright sunshine. I cannot believe the golden light here. At home, we see the sun for maybe twenty minutes every third day, and even then, half the sky is clouded over. But here, there’s not a single cloud, and I rediscover that I have a shadow!

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I love the plane trees that dot the fields, and the gentle hills that surround the valleys. Every field is planted with grapes. And the people are so friendly.

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The food is amazing, too. I eat a truffle quiche at a bistro in the town square, and I try to savor every bite so I can make something like this back home.

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At the hostel, I meet another traveler. He’s come from Asia, and he tells me about missed flights and poor lodgings and lost luggage.

“What an adventure!” I say. “Do you ever wish you were back in the quiet of home?”

“Never,” he says. “I was born to wander. This is the life!”

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Vacation passes so quickly. Before I know it, it’s my last day. I decide to spend it back at the Nectary, where I teach the proprietor how to play frisbee. By the time I head out for my flight, I’ve got another best friend.

I’m so excited to go home. The trip was fantastic, and I’m glad I came.

But coming home is the sweetest part always of going away.

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