Jessica Amber Barnum
I’m a teacher, writer, biker and owner of Wordplay Wilderness, LLC. To read and write is to be alive. To read and write with my students is to thrive. To read and write while riding a bike means people can tell me to "Book it on a bike." :)
The Golden We
The forest twinkled with Prince Autumn’s yellows, oranges and reds. Chipmunk knew King Winter was coming soon. So, when Father Sun by day and Sister Moon by night lit the forest, Chipmunk collected seeds, scuttling here and there and everywhere.
Silvery White Wonders
One summer day, a group of children rode their bicycles down a dirt path until they came upon a magical meadow that was speckled with flowers of all colors, and where they each found a place to rest their bicycle. From there, they wandered to the outskirts of the meadow into the thick lush forest.
White space has been tapping at my conscience. The idea of white space came to me recently when I was in the midst of drafting a children's book and a mindful bicycling book, and Shel Silverstein's poetry books came to mind. It came to me again when I looked at my intuitive art drawing for last week’s intuitive art practice hour. When drawing with my eyes closed, I was certain I was drawing on the right edge of the paper. In one particular charcoal-to-paper sweep, I thought I swept off of the paper completely and navigated my hand back on. When I had completed my drawing and opened my eyes, I saw that I had only used ¾ of the page and that ¼ of the right side of the paper was completely blank - with one sliver of my white charcoal that I only noticed when I tilted the paper and saw its sheen in the light. White is my bliss and happiness color.
The Circus Train
The darkness loomed outside the windows as the circus train sped past fields lost to the blur of time. The train lurched and chugged like a herd of walloping rhinos. Latched behind the engine car, the one car with red velvet seats carried a sleeping man sporting a stiff brown suit, spectacles tilted sideways on his face and a slumped posture. The sleeping man mumbled and twitched in sync with the train car’s rumble. And only to the sound of a tiger’s roar in the next train car did he awaken.
Boys and Bikes
I wrote this five years ago. Since then, my boundaries have become stellar, I get to admit. Finding my mind enthralled by the “pedaling for pithy perceptions” mindset while riding my bikes has helped me establish those stellar boundaries. I now have my bikes AND a boy who I married a year ago. Sometimes boys and bikes go hand in hand. It has to be the right boy. And it has to be the right bike. You’ll know.
- Top Story - July 2022
Lemon DropTop Story - July 2022
So, there is the story of the Tweety Bird-yellow Cannondale CAAD4 that came into, out of and back into my life in serendipitous ways. I raced on that bike as a CAT IV and then III on the Green Mountain Bicycle Cycling team from 1997 - 2002. I named that bike Lemon Drop. Yellow, yes, but I thought I could reverse jinx myself and my racing career if I had “drop” in its name, a measure of karmic control so I wouldn’t “get dropped” from the peloton in any race, and the bike would perform perfectly, never showing signs that it was a “lemon.” That didn’t work though. Karmic control is an oxymoron afterall.
Tire Tread for Transitions
A Bear in Winter I am asleep. With autumn’s shorter days and longer nights, transitioning from summer to winter can be a bear. And I feel like a bear! It’s dark and cold in the morning. I’m snuggled under the covers, and mentally I am ready to pop out of bed for the day, but my body is in the thickets of resistance and cringes at the thought of enduring the brrrrr.
The Animal Reiki Scoop
The following story inspired me to extend my Reiki training and become an Animal Reiki practitioner. The story highlights how Kathleen Prasad’s Let Animals Lead® Method nurtures the agency and autonomy of the “neighborhood cat,” particularly in the heart of the 6th Pillar. Here’s the scoop from Snoop.
Alone. When is the last time you gifted yourself solo solace “me” time? Where were you? What did you do? How did you feel? What value did you attach to your time alone? Were you truly alone? Not lonely, simply alone. Just you and the sacred medley of your you-ness.
Distinguishing the Rhythms of Now
As someone who rides her bike six to seven days a week, I’ve noticed how my brain-body-beliefs speak to me in forms of rhythm both on and off the bike. But I recognize that as those rhythms are pulsing and doing their thing, sometimes I am not really in the pulse, and I am missing the opportunity to absorb and enjoy the intricacies of the now.