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Junah Tales: Episode 10: The Sunflower Dance

Thanks for following my writing.
Here is your next episode of Junah Tales.

Junah Cat and Mo Mouse are amazed by the sunflowers!

Episode 10:
The Sunflower Dance

Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
Episode 10

The Sunflower Dance

The next day Junah Cat was up early. Sister Laka had left some milk out for him, and Sisters Sara and Duma were making music—plucking strings on her guitar and humming—to welcome the sun. The soft light of dawn was brightening the sky, the dew was still wet on the plants, and the air was especially fresh.  His nose soaked up all the fresh smells.

Junah scampered over to the circular stone bench in the center of the garden and curled up on the east side facing the house to watch the sun rise. The edge of dark and light had just passed his spot, so he was enjoying the warm sunlight.

As he sat there, he noticed a row of sunflowers, nearly 6 feet tall, along the outer edge of the raised bed in the Tall Corner of the garden. The sunflowers were all facing west toward the back of the garden with their heads bowed, as if they were resting.

Then he heard a squeaky yawn, looked down along the center path, and saw Mo coming around the corner from her little hole in the side of the garden bed. She was stretching as she woke up. She climbed up to where he was on the bench.

“Good mooorning, Junah,” yawned Mo. “Hope you had a good night’s sleep?”

“I did,” said Junah, “and now I’m observing the garden. Did you see the sunflowers over there? They seem to be resting.”

They both looked over toward the sunflowers, and Junah suddenly stood up on the bench. “Did you see that, Mo?” he asked. “They moved. They’re not facing the back of the garden any more. They seem to have turned toward the house a bit.

“Keep watching,” said Mo. “They aren’t done yet.”

“What do you mean?” asked Junah.

“Just keep watching,” repeated Mo.

Junah kept watching the sunflowers, and then it happened. He saw them move, almost all at the same time. They moved a bit more, then a bit more, then all the way around till they faced the sun!
“This is amazing,” said Junah. “It’s like they are alive.”

“They are,” said Mo. “They do this every day about this time; then when the sun goes down, they turn back the other way.”

“Why do they do that?” asked Junah.

“Look at the other flowers,” suggested Mo.

Junah looked around. He saw the white daisies had turned to face the sun too. The morning glories along the fence, which had been closed up, were now open and slanting toward the sun. Even the irises and lilies had turned. He could see that the dew drops on the rose petals were glistening now in the sun.

“They all are turning to the sun,” exclaimed Junah. “I guess they’re just like you and me, Mo. They rest at night by closing up or turning away, and then they’re active in the day, soaking up the sunlight. It’s some kind of rhythm.”

“Yes,” said Mo. “It’s the dance of the flowers.”

“You know, that’s a nice way to say it. It’s like what I feel like when Sara plays her guitar. My paws want to move, and I might have one or two paws in the air resting while the others are on the ground. And they go back and forth, up and down. That’s dancing. That’s a rhythm. I just never thought of flowers dancing because they don’t have paws or feet.”

“What amazing things we learn in the garden!” commented Mo, moving her paws back and forth like she was dancing.

“You know, Mo,” said Junah, “I like to nap a lot, and now I see why resting is important. The flowers soak up or learn the sunlight each day, and we soak up or learn things too when we’re active in the day. Then, later when we rest, what we learned soaks into our bones and fur. That must be how everything grows.”

“That sounds pretty good, Junah,” said Mo. “But my idea is that we rest first and gain strength for the day, then we go out and explore.”

“Wow, Mo, you have such good ideas! ” exclaimed Junah. “That works too. Whether we act first, then rest, or rest first, then act. Whichever way is good, I think! But the key is the dance, the back and forth of rest and activity. They go together, and growth happens. Do you think that’s the secret of the garden?”

“I don’t know, Junah,” said Mo. “It’s not too secret if you really look at the garden. You’ll have to ask the sisters. Let’s see what else we see today.”

Junah’s purr:   Growth takes place in steps of rest and activity.

 Stay tuned!  Episode 11 will come your way in two weeks. 

PASS IT ON!  JOIN ME!
Feel free to pass this fable on to others who might enjoy it.
Just share, tweet, or forward it using the buttons below.
To receive the continuing episodes of Junah Tales,
every two weeks, simply join the M.R. Neer Reader Group
by clicking here.You’ll also be able to check out other uplifting fairy tales, fables, and legends that I write.  Complimentary copies of my fairy tale,The Four Tasks of Love, and two free chapters of my novel, The Elixir of Freedom, are available to all readers.
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Junah Tales: Episode 9: The Tortoise and Time

Thanks for following my writing.
Here is your next episode of Junah Tales.

Junah meets Thomas Tortoise and learns about the past of the garden.

Episode 9:
The Tortoise and Time

Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
Episode 9

The Tortoise and Time  

Mo Mouse was waiting for Junah Cat when he came down from the Big Tree where he had seen the whole garden at once. Mo was sitting in the shade of the tree, nibbling on a piece of fruit she had found on the ground by the fence.

“Well?” she asked with a question in her voice.

“Yes, Mo, it was a great idea,” said Junah gratefully. “I got to see the whole garden and more. I’m sure it will help me figure out the garden’s secret.”

“As I was sitting here,” said Mo excitedly, “I got another idea.”

“That first one was good,” said Junah. “What now?”

“I think you should meet another friend. Thomas the Tortoise has been here much longer than me, and I was thinking, maybe he could give you some ideas about the history of the garden. That might help you in your search.”

“Wonderful,” said Junah, “Take me to him.”

“You see that rock over there near the Big Tree? Right where the fence comes to a corner?” asked Mo.

“Yeah, it’s about my size or a little bigger,” said Junah, looking to where Mo pointed.

“That’s not a rock,” laughed Mo. “That’s Thomas.”

“Oh my,” said Junah in surprise, “I never would have noticed. Let’s go visit him.”

When they got to the rock, Mo knocked on the shell, and slowly Thomas poked his head and feet out. “Waaal, how are you, Miss Mo?” drawled Thomas. He seemed to move slowly and speak slowly, but his eyes were bright.

“Hi Thomas,” said Mo, “I want you to meet Junah. He’s new here. The sisters just brought him in. They told him his quest was to figure out the secret of the garden. You have been here so long that I thought maybe you could help him.”

“Yessss, I have been heeerrree so long,” said Thomas, feeling the stretch of time on each word. “Many moons and suns have come and gone; many plants have come and gone; many cats have come and gone.”

“What do you mean many cats?” asked Junah wide-eyed. “Have there been other cats here before me?”

“Suuuree enough, Junah,” answered Thomas. “Ah sure like your name and your black and white colors.”

“Wait a minute,” repeated Junah, “I want to know about the other cats.”

“Oh, there were many,” explained Thomas slowly. “The sisters, ya seeee, have this important secret, and they keep asking special cats to find it. I think, yesss, I know, they like the curiosity cats have, and also that you all can purr. But the other cats, they just didn’t make it.”

“What? Why not?” questioned Junah.

“Ya see,” droned Thomas, “all those other cats just didn’t keep going. They got tired and slept too much. Or they got too curious and got hurt. Or some of those cats lost their curiosity and just played around in the garden. Others just wanted to eat all the time. And some, they even tried to control the other animals. They just lost their attention.”

“Well, I’m different,” said Junah. “I like the sisters, and I like the garden, and I like puzzles. I’m going to figure out this secret if it’s the last thing I do.”

“It maaay beee the last thing,” stammered Thomas depressingly.

“Don’t talk that way, Thomas,” interrupted Mo. “You have to give Junah a chance. Is there anything you can tell him about the garden that will help him?”

“Waaal, the sisters, they all kept saying to pay attention to the garden, to really look at the garden,” recalled Thomas. “They also kept telling those other cats to purr as much as they could. But those cats just forgot about it. Soooo, ah think that might be important.”

“I know how to pay attention,” said Junah. “In fact, whatever I pay attention to starts growing in my life. Just like climbing that tree or looking for this secret. I keep getting better at things by paying attention.”

“That sounds right, Junah,” responded Thomas. “Ah like your spirit. Ah hope you can see everything about this garden. Ah know ah like it here, and it would sure be good to have the sisters finish this big secret thing they’ve been working on.”

“Thank you, Thomas,” said Junah, putting his paw on Thomas’ shell. “You also reminded me about purring. I’ve been so absorbed in learning about the garden that I forgot about that. Tomorrow I’m going to do both.”

Junah said goodbye to Mo and Thomas and went back to the House for the night. He told the sisters about his adventures of the day. They were pleased to hear how he had gained a big picture view and even found out some history of the garden. They said he did well and looked forward to more reports.

Junah’s Purr: What you put your attention on grows stronger.

 Stay tuned!  Episode 10 will come your way in two weeks. 

PASS IT ON!  JOIN ME!
Feel free to pass this fable on to others who might enjoy it.
Just share, tweet, or forward it using the buttons below.
To receive the continuing episodes of Junah Tales,
every two weeks, simply join the M.R. Neer Reader Group
by clicking here.You’ll also be able to check out other uplifting fairy tales, fables, and legends that I write.  Complimentary copies of my fairy tale,The Four Tasks of Love, and two free chapters of my novel, The Elixir of Freedom, are available to all readers.
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Junah Tales: Episode 8: Squirrel & Cat in the Big Tree

Thanks for following my writing. Here is your next episode of Junah Tales.

Episode 8:
Squirrel and Cat in the Big Tree

Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
Episode 8

Squirrel and Cat in the Big Tree


Junah Cat and Mo Mouse walked over towards the Big Tree. As they got closer, they saw a patch of something white flashing around the trunk of the tree.

“There she is,” said Mo. “That white flash is her tail. She likes to hide a lot and moves very fast. You just have to keep up with her.”  Soon they heard some fast chirps, and Sandy peeked out from behind the trunk of the Big Tree.

“Hey Sandy,” said Mo, “This is Junah. He’s new here. The sisters just brought him here, and told him to find the secret of the garden, whatever that is. I thought maybe you could give him a squirrel’s eye view by taking him up in the tree.”

“Can you climb?” chirped Sandy quickly. “If you can, then follow me. Mo, you wait here, and we’ll be back in the crack of a nut.” Then Sandy started circling up the trunk of the tree, looking back to see if Junah was following.

Junah pawed the tree trunk to see if his claws would hold. They stuck, and then he had to pull out the front claws while the back claws held him in place. But he was too heavy to climb straight up the trunk. So he jumped over to the white picket fence that surrounded the garden, and then jumped up to a low-hanging tree branch. Soon, he caught up to Sandy.

“C’mon, Junah,” whistled Sandy while flicking her tail, “you can see the garden best from up here.” They climbed higher until they could see all around. The House itself faced east so it could catch the rays of the rising sun every day. Sandy said the sisters liked it that way. And the garden stretched out behind the House on the west side.

When Junah looked down from the branches of the tree, he saw spread out below him a marvelous sight, full of colorful flowers, green growing things, and walkways. The garden was laid out in a long rectangle behind the House. A white picket fence surrounded it with entrances on each side. There were four raised beds or patches for growing things with stone walkways in between and a circular bench in the middle.

“Okay, Sandy, I see the garden, and it’s got four patches. What’s growing in each one?” asked Junah.

“I call ‘em the four corners, Junah,” said Sandy. “The one up-front nearest the House on the north is the Vine Corner. It’s full of creeping vines like melons, squashes, beans, and tomatoes. The Tall Corner closest to us here in the tree is full of rows of corn surrounded by sunflowers. That’s my favorite.”

“What are the other two called?” asked Junah.

“Well, you see that raised pond in the far northwest corner near the other Big Tree like this one?”
“Yes, I see it,” said Junah.

“Well, the garden patch nearest the pond is the Herb Corner. That’s where the sisters grow special plants that smell real good. They use them to spice up their cooking. It has things like thyme, lavender, coriander, mint, and more.”

“What’s the last corner called?” asked Junah.

“That’s the Root corner,” said Sandy. “It has veggies that grow in the ground, like sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and so on. All you can see are the big leaves that grow above the ground.”

Junah also noticed there were hedges along the white fence in many places, and just outside the fence were lots of medium-sized trees that looked like they had fruits or nuts on them. “Are those fruit or nut trees?” asked Junah.

“Both,” said Sandy. “The sisters liked to have lots of different kinds. There are orange, apple, apricot, plum, and other fruit trees along with some almond trees and pistachio trees.”

Junah looked up from the garden, turning in all directions. Looking to the south across a wide meadow, Junah saw a large forest full of green trees. Then in the other direction on the north side at the far end beyond the pond, he saw a sloping hillside that went down to a slowly moving, winding river.

“You ever been to the forest over there, Sandy?” asked Junah. “Or down to the river on the other side?”

“Nope,” said Sandy, “I’m happy in the garden. Those places seem far away and kind of a mystery to me.”

“Okay,” said Junah, “My job is just to find the secret of the garden. So I guess I better get down there and start looking for it. Thanks for the tour, Sandy. This is a great view.”

“You’re welcome, Junah,” said Sandy, “It’s nice to have you here, and I hope you find the secret so you can tell us all about it.”

“Sure,” said Junah, smiling as he waved goodbye.

“And if you need any help,” chirped Sandy, “just ask. I can get things done pretty fast because I can go high or go low. So I get around.”

“I’ll remember that,” said Junah, as he climbed down branch-by-branch till he got to the overhanging branch. He gracefully jumped down to the white fence, and then lightly to the ground.

Junah realized this world around the sisters’ house was bigger than he thought.  But finding his way around the garden would be easy now because he could remember the big picture.

Junah’s purr:  Finding your way is easier when you have the big picture.


Stay tuned!  Episode 9 will come your way in two weeks. 

PASS IT ON!  JOIN ME!
Feel free to pass this fable on to others who might enjoy it.
Just share, tweet, or forward it using the buttons below.
To receive the continuing episodes of Junah Tales,
every two weeks, simply join the M.R. Neer Reader Group
by clicking here.You’ll also be able to check out other uplifting fairy tales, fables, and legends that I write.  Complimentary copies of my fairy tale,The Four Tasks of Love, and two free chapters of my novel, The Elixir of Freedom, are available to all readers.
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