Cling to Singing Souls

Cling to Singing Souls

Jacob Vinson

Cling to singing souls

They are our last hope

Our only hope

That our lives do not wither away

For otherwise we would never sing

Never laugh or cry

Live only to die

Cling to singing souls

So that you may sing forever

In a symphony of life and death

After death there are no tears

No worries, or even fears

But nothing lives without hope

Hope that we all may cling

To an ancient soul that sings

And live forever, to sing and shout

Beyond time and space

Yet, I often wonder what will happen

Once I have completed my journey beyond life

Will I like it there, or will I want to go back?

Back to the place I was born, to do it over again?

Only time will tell if my beliefs will fail

But I will continue searching

For that one singing soul

That will show me the way

Through the clouds we will fly

Knowing that we are all connected

The living and the dead

Cling to singing souls

Respect the lives they once had

To one day dance among them

In abysmall fields of light

January is National Blood Donor Month

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January is National Blood Donor Month

Start off the new year right, by donating blood to the Red Cross or your local blood bank in honor of National Blood Donor Month. The process only takes an hour of your time, and results in lifesaving platelets or pints of blood for those in need.

Hundreds of thousands of healthy people with good, visible veins  donate blood every year. I have seen the Red Cross donation truck parked at shopping malls, grocery store parking lots, and schools and there are donation centers located nationwide. All blood types are needed and with more traffic accidents happening during the winter season, clean backup blood is sparse this time of year.

The first month of the year has been recognized as National Blood Donor Month since 1970. According to the American Association of Blood Banks, now known as AABB, in the United States every day, “approximately 39,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims.” The AABB works in conjunction with the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers and their main goal is to help those in need of blood, especially in harsh winter environments due to illness, accidents, and unforeseen weather conditions.

In order to donate blood, you have to meet certain donor requirements. The most important is that you must be at least 17 years old in order to give blood voluntarily, although some states do consent at 16 with written parental consent. You must be at least 110 pounds, you should be healthy meaning without infection, not on antibiotics, without a fever, and generally feeling well on day of donation. You may only donate if you have not given blood within 8 weeks.  The rest of the guidelines are available here from the American Red Cross.

CEO of America’s Blood Centers, Jim MacPherson says that a major shortage during the cold season could risk lives if people don’t try to donate on a regular basis. “To avert critical blood shortages this winter, we need citizens across the country to schedule an appointment to donate blood…. Blood has a shelf life of only 42 days, which means it constantly needs to be replenished. Donors can give blood every 56 days, or six times a year.”

Teachers and students around the country can also benefit from blood donor month without even having to donate blood. Because elementary age students are unable to donate, donation centers offer classes and demonstrations on how a blood bank works including the different types of blood, the blood donation process, all while providing a community service and an informative lesson plan for schools and home school families.

By inviting a spokesperson to talk to your class or organizing a field trip to your local blood bank, teachers can inspire their students to do more in the future and donate themselves. If you are too young to donate or have non-viable veins like me, you can still help by offering a monetary donation or simply by volunteering your help during this important donation window. Once the New Year is over, the champagne is gone, and the parties are cleaned up, think about donating blood this January, you might even get a slice of pizza or a free t-shirt.

The Key

buffalo2007_page_25_image_0001The Key

Jacob Vinson

I feel as though I am in a room of mirrors, yet instead of my own image being in them, I see several different people- several different aspects of my personality. I see the happy, the sad, the downright evil, and even the unrelenting kindness that I try to portray- as well as my many other moods and personality traits. I wonder how all of these attributes could possibly come together into one human being. Behind my grin, my frown, my smirk, and my warming smile, I see locked doors, all with compelling decorations adorning them. My smirk is the most noticeable mirror, taunting me to just give up and fail, fall into the darkness, and disappear.

I have the key to one of these doors- unfortunately, I don’t know where it fits, but I am certain it is for a door that will open and leave me facing in awe at the radiant beauty inside- a passageway that will finally set me in my place. When I pass through it, I’m sure that I will be totally and forever content with my life. When I do find this door, I will shun the bad things that my past has wrought, hold on to the good things and glide freely into the abysmal yet radiant gateway.

It sounds so nice, but realistically to accomplish a path to my correct setting, I must go through my life, morally face all of my emotions, and continue on my worldly journey for happiness. They say the journey creates the man, as does the man create the journey, and every journey begins and ends. It has its ups and downs, from seeing loved ones thrive, and others tragically perish. A journey also includes seeing nations fall and rise like the seasons, seeing the flowers blossom, grow and die, seeing the sun, feeling the rain, breathing the cold winter air, but never in vain– all in a seemingly magical and wondrous cycle.

The vanity of vanities would be to live one’s entire life without purpose, and I will fight to make sure that my own life does not end up this way. I have the key- that much is certain- and I pray that along the journey I may pick up clues that will eventually guide me to the end of my voyage- to a door in which my key fits.

As I said, every journey ends- some unfortunately end badly, but others end well. I have the power to control my destiny. I have the power to defeat the pessimism that is in my heart and soul- to destroy that demeaning smirk behind my hazel eyes and change it into a warm and calm smile- a smile that is content- for then I will no longer need a key- I will have found the place to which I belong, and in that moment, with relief, everything will be clear.

With life being so unpredictable, the two things that I would want most would to be able to live my life clearly and contently- to never have to worry if I’ve taken the wrong step, to never regret the choices that I have made, and to never doubt my next move. One day I will be free from the tangling grasp of anxiety and depression.

With the key held firmly to my heart, I press on.

A Message to the Lost

To the lost: do not worry.

The silence will soon be repressed by something truly amazing.

You will hear a voice.

A sound will echo through your mind and alter what you think is reality. Panicked souls will be crammed in a crowded, unknown and dark place. The foolish will scream and bicker of how they should be treated differently than everyone else, as the wise stand in a placid gaze towards the sky- or what was the sky.

Observance is key. See how your world is changing around you, and change among and amidst- Like a chameleon changing to mock its background. After all, that’s all we instinctively do: Avoid danger.

Play the songs that compel you to run.

Remember the thoughts that drive you beyond the natural.

Look at the photos of loved ones and hope to see them again.

Keep your gaze short, however, as time is not on your side.

…And remember: be rational. Running is good as long as it’s in the right direction. When the time is right, listen to your heart.

That essential moment where everything clicks like a firing gun- It ultimately decides your fate. You only have one chance to dodge the bullet. The time has come to make things right. You hold the key to escape from torment. You can find what you are looking for.

Do not fear, for fear is your greatest enemy. Open your hand and look at your palm. There, envision everything you’ve ever wanted; now close your hand into a fist- gripping your dreams close to your heart; and with that hand, you can make dreams your reality.