by Alisa Muñiz Blanchard

I see her stand on top of a mountain, the wind blows her hair out, reaching for the sky, almost touching the clouds. I see her looking through her eyes which squint gently to filter the sun.

At her feet sits a porcupine. They are still looking at one another; she swears that she sees it breathing, but no other movement. They are at an impasse. She fears if she goes any closer she will be stung by the quills. As she looks, she notices that it appears soft. She wants to touch it, but is afraid it will hurt.

I see her squatting down on the mountain now, realizing that this creature is not moving, is not going anywhere, that it is staying at her feet.

She wants to let it know what it feels like to be touched, she reaches out with a stick to gently poke the porcupine before she risks the vulnerability of her hands. She realizes that the animal has passed. And as she pokes it, it falls over, revealing an empty cavity.

It is then that she realized her fear was just a shell. That all along it was empty, her fears were empty. And that the place she was so afraid to travel to, was a safe place all along.

Journal, Volume 2 Issue 10