Monday, March 28, 2011

My Duck Stamp Entry

So I just recently entered a painting into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service's junior duck stamp contest. Unfortunately I won't know the results for a while, but I am hoping to win Idaho. Here is my painting...
It is a Common Eider and the painting was done in acrylic paint. The painting is an original from the depths of my imagination, I hope you all like it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Flag

Here is a little free-verse poem I wrote a while back....

The valiant flag in which our Nation takes pride
Hung above the ground with red, white, and blue
Through war and trial it has survived
In hopes that future generations would know
That we may pledge our freedom every morn
It represents the U.S.A the country so true
For over 200 years it has told
Of our power and strength and freedom galore
With the character that only a flag has
It tells the story of a nation under God
A nation that has people from all over the world
Yet still has the strength to never ignore
That the love of our people and our God
Never will fail no matter the storm
 It doesn’t always prevail but always will trust
One day a long time from now
Our children will look up and see
With a twinkle in their eyes
That beautiful flag that flew so valiantly
So that we never would forget in all our days
The purpose of freedom that we will never regret

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Finding Freedom

The waves rolled and so did my stomach. “Oh why did I come on this blasted boat,” I wailed. “Well, probably because you want to go to America,” one of the crewman said to me with a smirk as he walked by. “But of course,” I said to myself. I wandered wearily back to my bunk below. Most nights I wondered if this whole notion of going to America was silly and childlike, but I knew that America equaled hope and hope was exactly what I needed. I stared down at my tattered trousers and calloused hands and thought of the life I was leaving behind in France. As I was thinking of home the boat rocked dangerously and suddenly I was in my old room. It seemed as though I had gone back in time to nearly a year ago, before everything had changed. My life was perfect, I had to work hard, but it was everything I imagined. My parents and siblings still loved me then and all of my friends trusted and believed me. Unfortunately no one believed me anymore, not since the trial. My whole life changed because I was accused of stealing a dozen cattle from our neighbors and sworn family enemies, the Moreaus. In our village stealing something or committing a crime meant immediate extraction from all family and town happenings, otherwise known as the town prison, located directly under the pub. Suddenly I was an outcast without my story even being told. The truth of the matter was that I was in fact not stealing the cattle, but returning them from wandering over our side of the river. Naturally nobody believed the youngest son of the family. At the trial the church gave me two options, I could either be executed or I could be exiled to who knew where as long as they never had to see my face again. In that moment, while standing there being convicted, I had looked at my poor mother. She had a gaze of pure terror on her face and she was tearing up. I knew that I could never be publically executed, at least if I was exiled my mother would know I was still alive. “Elders,” I had said, “In order to no longer bring pain and dishonor to my family, I choose to be exiled.” And that was that, the very next day I was on my way to the coast, ready to embark on this new journey. I did, however, get one last conversation with my mother. As I was packing my things, my mother handed me the old worn out family Bible. Stroking my brown hair, she whispered in my ear, “I have heard amazing stories of this free country across the ocean called America, perhaps you can go there and start a new life.” The next day I had tried to hold back tears as I was saying goodbye to my family, but to no avail. Just then the images of my dear family disappeared and I woke up on a boat, I looked over at my bunk and realized that when the boat had rocked violently I had fallen off my bed, hit my head, and had been knocked out. Rolling over, I groaned. Some sailors ran by yelling, but it all seemed like a blur, but suddenly I noticed that I was in three inches of water and it seemed to be rising fast. “The boat must be sinking,” I said to myself, absolutely terrified. I jumped to my feet, wobbled a bit, and then ran onto the deck. The first thing I realized was that I could see land not too far off. That’s funny, I though, how long was I knocked out? The second thing I realized was that the deck suddenly tilted sideways, which meant that when I got on deck I started falling towards the icy water. Somewhere far off I heard someone scream, perhaps it was me. Just as it seemed that all hope was lost, I abruptly stopped falling; I looked up and saw that my jacket had caught on a protruding plank coming off of the splitting deck. Just a few feet away I noticed the lifeboat fighting the waves with the captain and a few sailors. I knew what I had to do, I started taking off my jacket and immediately I commenced my fall towards the freezing water. The impact made me feel as though I was slowly dying, but my head bobbed to the surface and I could breathe once more. I looked about, trying to find the lifeboat and then I spotted it off to my right just about ten feet away. I swam for my life and reached the boat after what seemed like an eternity. I clambered aboard to the discontented grunts of the others. I started shivering violently, and then I fainted. I awoke not long after to the sounds of a busy port, I looked around and wondered what port this might be. Just as that thought went through my head, my eyes landed on the statue of liberty gleaming in the sunlight. I knew exactly where we were. I looked at that beacon of freedom given to America from my home country France just eleven years before and knew that I had come to the right place. I, Luke Fontaine had found my hope.