Blue Candles

January 9, 2023
An image of M-J Kelley's drawing of the Snoot Arch and the fire-breathing dragon, Soot.

Sometimes a place takes a long time to find.

And the Snoot Arch is just such a place.

It is an odd construct. And much like Stonehenge, it is made of a circular stone arrangement, albeit vertically. The stone voussoirs are stacked upon each other and meet in the middle to support the enlarged keystone.

The Snoot Arch is ancient. And for that same length of time, it has defied gravity. Though skilled in its craftsmanship, no stonemason ever claimed the work. And for as long as anyone can remember, the Snoot Arch has been called just that.

It is a hard place to find because one has to be on a journey of purpose. And many steps are needed so as to be directed onto the connecting pathways that lead to the Arch. And much like a maze, decisions must be made along the way. Unfortunately, sometimes the path sends you in the same direction that you had just travelled from. But, taking it a second or third time brings new considerations and ideas you had yet to think of, bringing about a different result.

And so, after such a long journey, when you finally find yourself facing the beautiful stone monument, you pause. And you realize that the long journey that was is no more. So you rest, marvelling at the two beautiful blue candles that are miraculously burning bright.

The blue hue of the candles brings you peace, the perfect resolution for the path trodden. Hope and gratitude were found along the way, and you are struck by the valued lessons you were taught.

One of those lessons was belief. And it is in that awareness that you understand there is so much more to the world than tangible entities. So many things, hard to explain, exist to help you.

Some of these little inexplicable things are small green fire-breathing dragons — called Snoot Dragons. They are the keepers of the Arch and the blue candles. They provide this respite and a destination to journey towards.

The small fellow leaning on the Arch’s keystone is my dear friend Soot. He smells like an inviting campfire. His charcoal muzzle has singed whiskers. No doubt from the fire that he breaths out. Friendly and chatty, he had been alone for a long time. But now was happy to have my company.

We had a nice long talk. Soot followed my progress and knew I would find my way to the Arch one day.

“But how did you know?” I asked.
“Well, you’re not one to give up. And you believed.”
“I had no choice,” I replied.
“That is belief, sometimes.”

“By the way,” he said, “thanks for drawing me.”
“You’re welcome!” I laughed. I found our conversation enchanting. How often does one talk to a dragon? Let alone one you drew?

I laid down on the grass, and Soot joined me. The sky was a perfect cerulean blue. Always there.

“What did you learn on your walk?” He asked.
“Well, a lot.” I chuckled. “But if I had to sum it up, I would say the value of one’s contribution. It’s important to recognize it as well as to value it.”
“Hmm,” he said. “A little esoteric, but it will do.”
I smiled. “That’s me.”

“So now what? Where to?”
“Well, Soot, I need to check on some of the characters I’ve drawn. Like Jack.”

M-J Kelley's cartoon drawing of a frog named Jack with a huge bouquet of flowers. He is looking for true love.

“Who’s Jack?”
“He’s the little green frog looking for true love.”
“The guy with the flowers?”
“Yah!” I laughed. “And I need to talk with Old Edgar. There is a problem with the Razorback Bickering Clams.”

M-J Kelley's drawing of Old Edgar, a psychic, a cautious bear and a happy bug.
Old Edgar

“Oh, they’re awful!” he said.
“Yes! But they make great villains! I based them on a large family I once knew.”
“I don’t know if Edgar knows what to do with them.”
I smiled, appreciating their long friendship.
“If anyone does …”
“And what about those Buzzards, The Wretcheds!” He interrupted.
“I have drawn them and have an outline, but I still need to write their story.
“Is that your next story?” He asked curiously.
“No. My next story is about a game. And that is all I am saying.” I said with a smirk.
He squinched his snout. Smoke circled out.

“Are you ok here by yourself?” I asked.
“Ya. But it would be nice for others to pass through the Snoot Arch occasionally. It’s a beautiful place to be.”

M-J Kelley's drawing of Pony, a dog and Marbles, a boulder walking through the grove of the sacred sister trees.
Pony and Marbles

I nodded, adding, “Well, Pony and Marbles are coming to see you. They have a map, but it is upside down. Poor Pony. So it might take a while. And Jack will, for sure!”
“Awesome!” he said cheerily, adding, “I love company.”

We stood up and stretched.
“I guess I should get going, Soot.”
We hugged.
“I’ll be back.”
“I know. You have so much to learn.” He said. We both laughed. Who knew dragons could be so sarcastic?

M-J Kelley's self-portrait called Onwards. She is trudging through tall thick foliage with a sack full of ideas.

And so with that, I slung my bag full of ideas, drawings and stories onto my shoulder, paused, looked at the beautiful blue candles once again and slowly walked through the Snoot Arch. It was a rite of passage. I took seven steps. Stopped. Took two more. Turned, and the Snoot Arch had vanished. I was onto my next journey. But I would see Soot again and that made me smile.

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