This is an excerpt from Up There by Sherry Roberts. Enjoy.

Chapter One

Up There lifts readers into a captivating blend of magical realism as it explores love, small-town life, the environment, and one woman's quest to find herself.

Up There lifts readers into a captivating blend of magical realism as it explores love, small-town life, the environment, and one woman’s quest to find herself.

Reflections of Ariel Lee

“I am from a long line of women who can ride the wind. According to my grandmother who could drift on summer breezes like a feather, this is the best of worlds and the worst. And I can attest to that. Because of this power, I have been confused and angry. I have been battered and hurt, and I have hurt others. I have driven my own father away until he is just a song in my head. I have been a constant worry to my mother. And yet, I experienced some of my happiest moments Up There in the skies—until the day I gave it all up.”


Beyond the open door, the wind called to Ariel Lee. She was not supposed to answer, not without her shoes. But sometimes when you’re four (almost five), you forget to be afraid. Ariel forgot that answering this invitation—the same calling her grandmother had heard and heeded—can hurt. All Ariel could feel was the eternal tugging at her ancestral genes and hear the whispering in her head, Come and play. And so, she stepped out the door and reached for the sky.

Immediately, this scrap of a girl was embraced and lifted up. The wind welcomed her like family. Having no concept of its own strength or Ariel’s fragility, the wind swept across the central Minnesota farm and whisked up the forty-pound child as if she were dandelion fluff. The air, full of abandon and wildness, prodded the wind chime listening by the back door: C’mon. Join us. The chime answered with a dance of melodious tintinnabulation that soon turned into the reckless swirling of a dervish. Ariel didn’t notice the dissonance because she was swirling too. She laughed as the wind twirled her, a human baton in the powerful hands of the elements. Ariel loved all winds—from warm summer blusters that tickled to cold winter blows that snapped to autumn gusts that smelled apple fresh.

Inside the house, hearing the wind chime’s rising mania, Sahara Stevens Lee was struck with terror. “Oh, no,” she whispered and slammed out the back door.

Face to the summer sky, seeing her daughter tumbling in the air like a leaf out of control, Sahara cried out, “Ariel, come down this instant!”

Ariel didn’t hear the panic in her mother’s voice. Floating past the top of the kitchen windows, she waved and shouted, “Look, Mama, I’m dancing. Watch my dress!”

As if her thoughts and words signaled the wind, she swirled faster, and her sundress billowed.

“No, Ariel, no,” Sahara yelled.

Ariel’s laughter rang out. “More. More dancing!” she told the wind, and it obeyed.

Sahara watched in horror as the wind spun and dipped her child—right into the side of the house.

Ariel screamed as she fell to the earth.


For those who dream of flying. Ariel Lee finds trouble when she rides the wind in this magical story of love and self-discovery. I hope you read more about Ariel’s adventures.