Archive for awards and prompts

Unnatural Fireworks

Unnatural Fireworks

July 5, 2013 | Leave a comment

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The noisy booms from the sky, streaks of color lighting the clouds,

Yes, it’s the fourth of July, but Mother natures rules this year.

The tiny creek is a raging river, littered with trees, bird feeders, toys.

Our grave driveway is underneath the water that blocks the road.

My dad worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority when I was a kid.

Their job was to try to manage flood control. Where there were floods,

We went to photograph, special phone numbers told river levels.

We filled out charts in the days when a main frame took up a room-did one thing.

It’s in my blood. Two of my sons son and two friends sloshed up the road.

The water running down what used to be roads, way to deep to be safe.

Taking videos, pictures, laughing, giving up on umbrellas, soaked to the skin.

Though we laughed, it was muted, somber. We knew why the yards of mud came.

Our mountain city is obsessed with getting rich people from other places to come here.

Strip the vegetation so they can “see” from houses we couldn’t dream of.

We shout to no one, “GO HOME!” CLEAN UP THIS MESS!” But they keep coming.

The collapsed retaining wall and 8 feet of lost land are somehow “our” problem.

I know how the native Americans felt. For “white folks” we’ve been here a long time.

The 1780 US Census lists us in this county, by 1840, we were on this road.

We have lived in this house 5 generations and now my kids can’t afford to live her.

Something is really wrong with this. It used to be a quiet farming community.

I can’t help it, I am mad. I know good people have come here too.

For all the greedy developers, mostly bankrupt before to long, I have one message,”Go the heck home, glare down on your “lessers”, ruin their land, build mansions, ruin the land,

and don’t forget to take pictures of w=what life was like before you ruined it for them.

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Inspirational Qoute prompt

Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
Richard L. Evans

Although I missed the” Saturday” prompt, my last effort to write was deleted by my computer after much work.  I felt discouragement was a good topic to think on.

I thought of all the hard times I have been through, some my own doing, some unthinkably cruel and it made me realize that despite the difficulties that life had thrown at me, I am still, still fighting, even smiling once in a while.

I think of all that would not have been accomplished if I had given up the first time life knocked me down and realized that even having survived the loss of my child, my health, losing so many friends and family members, I still have things to rejoice. I have six beautiful grandchildren, a teen who is my heart and soul, a dad who has struggled, like me through the worst of times and is still her. a family who has always been there for each other.

Life is short, we do not always reach all of our goals, but each life we touch, each tear we dry, each person that decided to give it one more try, is a small victory. We often overestimate what we are capable of doing and underestimate the true effect we have on the lives of others.

Today, I will celebrate the meal I cooked, the baby I fed, the kid I took home in the pouring rain.  Today, I will be glad my dad looked up and smiled at me at the exact time I did, took my daughter and her family breakfast, hugged my teen.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I accomplished more today than I imagined that i would. I didn’t let the hurt of all the yesterdays stop me from making someone smile today.

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Requiem for a Sycamore and Poplar Tree

Fifteen years ago, my dad had to cut down a Sycamore, giant and majestic, that he had planted when he built the house in the 1950′s. He left a very high stump, which soon sprouted and the new branches, themselves became a problem. They got in the way of power lines, blocked the view of ‘ and the mountains. Everyone fussed at dad, but he continued to just “trim” back the limbs.

Now my son has built a house next to my father and has become concerned that a tall poplar that dad also planted nearly 60 years ago could fall onto the house or damage property if we don’t cut it down. Not only is dad’s heart broken, I find myself grieving it too. I now understand dad’s feelings. It isn’t just a tree, even a majestic tree, it is a collection of memories, a diary of sorts. They are two trees, one ruined, one soon to be that deserved to be giants in some preserved forest. I see both myself and my children gathering sycamore balls, poplar blossoms, the trees were part of what “home” meant”

I have no answer, I have thought of ways to donate the wood and such but have found no affordable options. When I see a tall tree, still safe in the forest, I smile. And, as with the Sycamore tree, I can’t help but hope that sprouts will appear from that immense root system and at least be a reminder of what was and what should be.

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Dogwood Winter

It happens every March here in the mountains. Right after a cold spell, the sun will come out. It will warm the earth, causing flowers to bud and bloom. Those of us who love to garden will rush to the hardware store. We buy top soil and seeds. We dig up dead grasses, sprouting weeds.

Spring is here at last! A few glorious days of warmth. Fragile lilacs burst forth. We want so badly to forget what the unseasonal weather meant. It is not spring, not really, not yet. Grandpa called it Dogwood winter. I just sigh and call it disappointment.

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An Irishman’s Laugh

To say that my great grandfather was a n Irishman went back a few generations.  His family began their trip tow hat was the the “colonies” in the 1700′s. Yet, they kept their Irish customs, the Irish brogue and considered themselves ” Irish” despite generations of being in America.

I used to give my grandmother a “Saint Patrick’s Day” card every ear.  It always brought a smile to er face and a good story of her fathers love for the Irish heritage that had been handed down to him largely by oral history.

My grandmother always loved to hear her father’s laugh when something that aggravated him happened.  A a father of 12, he would laugh and ay, “At least I don’t have any red-headed children.”

I always though that was an odd way to be thankful.  As the generations progressed, quite a few red-headed descendants appeared.  I am sure he would have loved them, and with a jolly Irish laugh, think of another way to be thankful for the little things that go right.

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The End of Her Dream

Corrina admitted to herself that she had scanned the obituaries for year, hoping, silently that his name would not be there.  It had been over half her lifetime since the less that two years they spent together, but those two years had changed her, made her what she was, Today, so was that short column in the obituaries, a story of life after her, of a few short years when he had tried to settle down, have a family, be free of his demons.

Her most daring adventures, were with him, her look into a world she had no idea existed were during her time with him.. The lights of LA from San Bernardino, the distant curves of the San Juan from a pull-off on the edge of a cliff.  Eating burgers from a grill in the forest by the side of a road.  saving a secret souvenir found among the shacks and shadows near those Mississippi tenant farms.

She remembered the big cities up north, staying with French-speaking Canadians with snow piled high on the road side in late April. She remembered the fear from some of the things that happened there,and from some that happened nearer to home.

There were things Corinna  did, and did well, in  that long ago day, that she can not imagine even trying, now as a grandmother. In  these few years and in all the ones after, she was always hoping he had  loved her like she lived him,though  in her heart of hearts, she knew he never did.  No the for even kind, maybe the for now kind.

His family was good to her when she was not close to her own,  She still smiled, when she thought of her visits wit them, after he left and they still hoped they hoped he would go back to her. He didn’t.

Time went on, life went on, they had separate lives, a few strange connections, accidental ,meetings with each other,  family members, a silent pain in the quick conversations, always a feeling of “what if…”

Corinna had countless dreams of him, he made her, but never knew it.  Why did  she often dream of him, crazy dreams, a little too real, instead of dreaming of the man she spent her life with smiled and suffered so many years with.  She didn’t know.

Tonight, the dreams were different. There was no quiet ending, no sad goodbye, no answer to the “what if…”.  The dreams-no, nightmares, were surreal, unimaginable.  She woke up shaking, her heart thumping, time after. time.

Corinna was miserable, She finally told her daughters, one who knew a lot about those days and the younger,  who knew only  little, why she was in such a strange mood. She had to think of a way to find out what happened why, who was thee, who had been by his side.

Finally, she though of an answer.  A bit crazy, but probably not unwelcome.  There was one person who would care that she still cared and tomorrow, she would write an old fashioned letter, never knowing if it would be answered or not.

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The First Flowers

The biter winds howls through the pines above us.

I walk, arms gripping my shoulders, down the hill.

There among the sharp spines of rosemary, the bare dirt,

A paperwhite has struggled through the soil.

Time passes, a few weeks later, I notice the buds of daffodills

and suddenly, it seems they are in full bloom.

With winter not wanting to say farewell, spring has forced his bitter wind away.

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Help-my “New Post” and picture/star button to get to Reader,etc are gone!!

I have a new computer, got a new external hard drive today.  When I look at other readers blogs,most used to have a “Ne Post” button and a tiny photo of me with an orange star in a box, now there is nothing there on any of them, I had to go through all sorts of hoops to even get on the HELP page and get here.  I never have been able to find a way to simply sign in and write, I’ve always just used the bottom on another blog page.  Will someone at wordpress or a reader who can explain SIMPLY what happened and how to get to the “new post” and reader links please help me.   Having a new computer is bad enough.  I used Firefox Search engine and have a Windows 8 computer.  Thank you so much!

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Travel Theme – Shadows

Although I did not write this-and it is the wrong holiday-it is a childhood favorite of mine that my grandkids now enjoy-I cannot recall the author-we were “made” to memorize it in 5th grade.

Halloween

The moon is round as a jack’o’lantern

The trees grow black and bare,

As we go walking with spooky giggles

Through the chill, ghostly air.

Who’s shadow is that on the haunted ground?

Who’s hiding behind that tree?

Oh, down the tree comes my bad, black kitten

And the shadow is only me!

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You CAN go home again.

http://dailypost.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/couple-embrace.jpg?w=480&h=597

With one last hug, Delila tossed her heavy bag over her shoulder and rushed to board the street car. Soon, she’d be on the train, back on the way the cool, quiet cabin in the Appalachian valley of her home.

Her heart was pounding, as she slung the travel bag down on the floor and slid down into the worn seat, exhausted, yet exhilarated. It had been wonderful to see her brother again. They were adults now, their visits seemed so infrequent, so crowed with activities that there never had been time to just sit and talk, reminisce.

Richard, her older brother had gone off to college in San Francisco, and never returned to the mountains. Delila had always been afraid that would happen. He was a wanderer, never satisfied, always seeking new adventures, places that set his soul on fire with dreams of the future.

She had hoped the big city, rushing streetcars, noisy streets, a tiny apartment, living expenses that were beyond ridiculous would bring him home after a few years working two jobs to pay the bills. As beautiful as the steep, rocky hill and the site of the ocean from craggy cliffs could be, was it really as soothing, as healing as home?

Richard was walking back up the hill to the apartment he shared with a colleague at work, a cat named Shivers and three goldfish. Surprisingly, he was thinking about the things Delia had told him, tears running down her cheeks, as they had sat on the rugged hillside overlooking the bay the previous day.

He opened the window, the breeze fluttering the curtains, and thought of her locks of golden brown hair as she had brushed them from her face, over and over as she told them of Aunt Lou’s last days. Her hair had always been a mess and she wasn’t about to contain it with a chip or clasp-at 11 or 31. It was part of her, as much as her azure blue eyes and long, skinny legs.

“Remember when we were kids and Aunt Lou took us to her “thinking place” up on the mountain?” She had told him as they sat above the rugged cliff, eating pickles and drinking Sprite. He had spread the blanket on a grassy spot and opened the bag lunch they had brought to share on this last day together.filling it with favorites from their childhood. The grasses waving in the swift breeze had brought back memories of the solitude and beauty of Aunt Lou’s hidden refuge. She had always gone there when she was sad, lonely, or perhaps simply needed sometime alone.

Even now, it made Richard smile to think that so many years had gone by before she had even shared this special place with them, her precious niece and nephew, her only living relatives. He reached his doorstep, panting as he climbed to the second floor and looked out the window to see if the street car was still in sight. It wasn’t.

Delila had given it her best shot, she thought as the crowded streets became irrigated farmland. She had reminding Richard of the days the three of them spent in that special place, how Aunt Lou had taught them the name of every flower, tree, mushroom, and insect that she saw as they trudged up that hill, leaves crunching underfoot. They skipped over tiny rivulets making their way down the mountains, laughed when they caught their coats on a briar, or slipped on a muddy creek bank.

“Had it meant anything to him?” she wondered, the trains rhythmic chugging seeming to surround her as the scenery swept by.

She thought of him as teen, rebellious, long hair back loosely with a rubber band, his defined chin, perfect teeth. He would sit on Aunt Lou’s porch in the evening, playing Lynyrd Skynyrd songs on his guitar, singing along quietly, shaking his head in rhythm, as if the songs were coming right from his soul.

“ How could he leave that place, his little sister, Aunt Lou?” she thought as the train began to climb up the Rocky Mountains, so stark and foreboding, not like the gently soothing, lush green valleys that surrounded them at Aunt Lou’s.

“There was a liberal arts college nearby, their town wasn’t so small that there was nothing to do, and it was so beautiful there in the mountains of North Carolina. Even more, it had hurt her that he had stayed there all these years, coming home only for an occasional visits.

She thought of how Aunt Lou, widowed at a young age had taken them in when their parents had died in a plane crash when they were seven and eleven. Her memories of her parents were vague, almost dream-like. His memories seemed to bring him more pain, it was if the thoughts of them had festered inside him as he grew.

Delila had always believed that Richard had held some sort of anger at their parents for wanting to go on that stupid trip anyway. Leaving them there with Aunt Lou to go on a trip to the Grand Canyon. It seemed rather selfish to him- he had finally admitted it yesterday, while they were sitting there by the ocean, the waves pounding against the shore.

It would have meant so much to Aunt Lou, as she had struggled through the cancer, to have had Richard with them. Delila often wondered if she would have re-married, had kids of her own. Had Aunt Lou given up her life for them?

Up in his apartment, Richard stared out the window. “Was it too late to go home?” he thought. Nothing would be the same. Somehow, he knew that he wanted to raise a family there in that valley, for them to spend time with Aunt Delila. The thought had  stricken him like a bolt of thunder.

“I can’t run from it forever,” he sighed.. He turned on his computer and began looking at “Accounting Jobs-Walton, North Carolina”. He wondered what Delila would think when he showed up at her door, Shivers in his cage beside him

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