Written during the Corona Virus Pandemic with the hope of bringing a smile to someone’s face – or at least provide a short distraction during these challenging times. Stories are created based on one-word prompts that were submitted by friends. Each friend is assigned a character name and I develop a short fictitious story that integrates and upholds the word.

Roxana Crane: Nourishing

The cold dampness of the air embraced Roxana as she trekked through the woods. She felt a chill run through her lean frame, causing her to shiver and rethink this self-imposed time out. Focused, however, she continued walking only to stumble on the twisted tree roots and almost landing ass over tea kettle in the mud pile marked with her name on it.

“I can’t believe I let Celeste talk me into this. This place is a far cry from the city,” Roxana said, exasperated from her close call with falling into a mud pit and feeling like a soggy mess.

“Oh, you bloody fool. There’s no one there. Who on earth do you think you are talking to?” she muttered, annoyed with herself for even thinking this was a good idea.

Funny what happens when you decide to take a sabbatical and leave your life behind. You have conversations in places – and with yourself – that you never imagined. Oddly, however, Roxana thought she heard someone talk back to her. She called out, “Who’s there?” only to realize it was no one.

Celeste had mentioned to her about the tall pines and the way they whispered when the wind kicked up. She said you could see them dance and hear the joy in their whimsical collaboration. I wasn’t entirely on board with this oneness with nature yet, but I swear I listened to another person’s voice talk back to me.

Fantastic, in the midst of all this, I’ve gone mad! Roxana’s thoughts escaping once again.

She had been on edge in the city, and as a Professor of English Literature, she felt the need for change. The town was more congested now, and people didn’t seem to notice or care about anyone but themselves anymore. And the students, they seemed so disengaged. Was it her? Was it them? Was it this chaos that they consistently found themselves wrestling? Or, had I become jaded?

Frustrated at not knowing the answers, Roxana stepped away. It’s not easy to leave behind all that you know. But sometimes you have to let go. And what better place to recalibrate than at her cousin’s cabin in the woods. It had always done the trick for Celeste, so she hoped it would do the same for her. Even if getting to the cabin was like navigating a dark house in a bad horror film.

Regardless, Roxana knew that this was what she needed. Celeste reminded her before she left how important it was to stop and breathe, and she promised her that being in that cabin would be the most nourishing element in her quest for resetting her internal GPS.

Roxana channeled this chance for renewal and continued on her way. And there, in the clearing, sat the most beautiful one-story cabin replete with a hammock hung between the pines. And for the first time in weeks, Roxana smiled. Nourishing. Nourishing indeed. 


Laura Mikolaitis
Laura Mikolaitis
Laura credits her writing, which laid dormant for years, to her late mom, who always believed in her. Writing unabashedly from the heart and inspired by millions of moments, three tenets of evergreen advice that her mom always shared with her are her guiding principles. Whether it is poetry, fiction, or a personal essay, her love for the written word feeds her mind, body, and spirit. Laura’s creativity also comes to life in her passion for photography. Her ongoing love affair with the moon, her joy for family and friends, her connection to nature, and being a loving canine mom often become some of her best subjects. Laura has held many roles throughout her professional career, including Brand Manager, Project Manager, and Director of Global Business Development and Sales Operations. In addition, she has a background in consumer-packaged goods, manufacturing, and textiles. Laura currently works in biotechnology for Berkshire Corporation as their Product Marketing Manager. She holds a Master of Science degree in Communications and Information Management from Bay Path University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from SUNY Oswego. Originally from Northern NY, Laura resides with her husband and canine child in a small town in Massachusetts that captured her heart years ago.

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    • Thanks so much, Kimberly! You are so kind, and you made me blush with glee! I’m enjoying writing this series of stories to keep distracted during this time. And who knows, maybe ill compiled all of them after I’m done. I’m so happy you enjoyed this story!

  1. Lovely story, Laura! A hammock! Yeah, I can see that … 🙂

    Normally here in my little village, my “hammock” is the big table down on the beach, where this year I’ve been sitting pretty much alone … except for the last week when the HUGE trucks delivered our yearly quota of essential sand (to maintain the seawall’s integrity). Now that it’s ended, back to the table in the early morning I can go, coffee thermos in hand, and just allow the ocean air to do its thing.

    • Susan, that sounds lovely! I would do the same. I sometimes take my coffee out with me to the back yard, especially on a warm sunny morning, and enjoy it in my Adirondack chair. We all have our unique places, don’t we? In the colder weather, and during “lockdown,” I’m partial to my recliner or window seat with a hot cup of coffee to welcome the day.

      Thanks so much for reading, Susan and for sharing with me here. I hope you are doing well.

    • Thanks so much, Myriam! I’m glad that you liked this distraction story. I’m enjoying writing them, and I am so happy that Dennis is sharing them here also.

  2. YOU’RE nourishing! The forest – and throw in a trout stream for good measure – is my favorite environment. (Trees DO collaborate!) Thank you for taking me there, Laura, if only briefly. I loved this piece, and you had me at ass-over-tea-kettle. What a vivid picture you painted here. We all need our one story cabin and hammock these days.

    Next story, please!

    • Jeff, you made me blush with your kind words. Thank you for reading this story. I’m pleased that it transported you elsewhere, even if only briefly. My friend, who provided the word prompt “nourishing,” used to use the phrase ass over teakettle a lot, so it seemed fitting to weave it into the story for her word.

      I have three other stories written and submitted to Dennis, and I have about ten or more to go. So, there will be more stories. And since I’m newly unemployed, it’s an excellent way to channel some of my newfound time.

    • My pleasure, Darlene. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this story and for your kind words. It’s a productive way for me to pass some time and adjust to a new normal as we navigate this pandemic and being home.

      I always wanted more time to write, so perhaps this is fate’s way of intervening. In no way, am I making light of the crisis we are facing, but I believe in silver linings even in the darkest of times. So, being home, unemployed, and having more time than I’ve had in many years, I’m trying to embrace the positive.

      I wish you well, Darlene, and I hope you are staying healthy and safe.

  3. Laura, when my dog and I venture out, sometimes I love to stop and just listen to the silence. The wind does whisper in the trees, and there is a truly magnificient gift in touching base with nature as you do, and as this story depicts. How the pace slows, how nothing seems urgent or pressing, and as your pace slows, so does your blood pressure, and your brain… your little sabbatical here accomplished exactly what your stated goal was. Thank you.

    • I like to do the same, Tom. There’s a marsh that I walk by almost every day, and I usually stop and listen. It’s quite melodic with the sounds of the birds. There are two geese which are there every morning, and I love to watch them. My golden retriever is fascinated by them also. It’s a great spot to recalibrate and take some long, deep breaths.

      I appreciate your kind words, Tom, and I’m glad that this little sabbatical allowed you to escape briefly also. I wrote it for a friend who lives on the West Coast, so I channeled a bit of her also when crafting this short piece.

      I hope you and yours are staying healthy and well. Thanks for all the support, Tom!

    • Oh, Shelley. Thank you, my friend! I’m so glad that you enjoyed reading it. Writing this series during this time is helpful, and I’m enjoying the generative moments. I figure it is something I can do with intention and purpose in the hopes that it might uplift someone’s spirit. I hope you are doing well.

    • I’m so pleased you liked this story, Larry. Thank you for taking the time to read it. My dog and I go for a lot of walks lately. He’s not used to me being home and interrupting his regularly programmed schedule of sleeping. It’s good for both of us, and good for the spirit too. I hope you are staying well.

  4. Ah, thank you for the respite, Laura! I feel like I’m living in that cabin in the woods-though it is a house on the side of the mountain surrounded by trees. How important to be nourishing to ourselves in all the ways we can these days and then bring that energy to others. 🙂 Hugs to you. Stay safe and well.

    • You’re welcome, Laura! Thank you for reading this story. I’m enjoying writing them. It’s a beautiful escape for me, especially during this time. I guess you could say that writing nourishes my mind and spirit. I hope you are staying safe and well, also.