The thought of riding my bicycle up and down Indiana State Road 55 and even getting as far as DeMotte, exhausted and proud because we also got back, makes me realize today how big I felt our world was back then no matter how small it actually was by other measurements. Like burrowing rodents on a communal challenge, we knew that trip my brother and I took to DeMotte broke important, new ground.

There was a hill half a mile from the prairie farm we had to climb to reach our destination. We were told to be careful because cars could not see us. We were careful, at least on our bikes, or lucky that few cars usually drive that rural road. I wondered why that hill was there at all considering how flat everywhere else was. At the time I reasoned that even the slightest elevation, say a foot, must be caused by a dinosaur’s body lying somewhere below. I wanted to dig them up and then keep going to China.

I can still see that hill, but I can’t find it for sure on Google Maps. The information online does put in perspective most of the places I heard and imagined as a child. “So that’s where they are!” I tell myself. However, I don’t need an online map for that hill. Even in my memory it remains difficult to bike up, but fun to ride down.


Text: Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday.  Mish is hosting with the theme “hometown”.

Photo: “Trees in Winter”

Santa Self-Care — #writephoto

Mark loudly rang his own doorbell. “Thank you, Santa!” He heard Julie’s feet pitter-patter as she rushed to the door. “Have a nice day, Santa, in your snowy fairy glen at the North Pole.”

Julie looked outside. “Where’s Santa?”

“Sorry, Julie. Santa’s gone. He left gifts for you.”

Eventually someone would have to tell his daughter about Santa, but Mark couldn’t do it. She’ll have to cure herself even if she breaks her own heart.

Later that day Julie answered the door. “Santa! Back so soon?”

“Who was that?”

“Sorry, Dad. Santa’s gone, but he left you this present.”

Text: Linked to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt and Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge with the prompt “self-care”.

Photo: Sue Vincent provided the photo for the prompt.

Sue Vincent's #writephoto icon

Bleak — #writephoto

The weather is too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry but something, since there’s room, if only rock, may call it home and welcome passing waves of water, air and other life although what comes may soon move on. Its welcome doesn’t mind the moving on. It’s glad to serve as ground.

We build out there where weather’s hot or cold or wet or dry like plants that cuddle sheltered by the cracks from waves of water, air and other life. It’s bleak but something calls this pure space home and some proclaim this home a sacred place.

Text: Linked to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt and as a prose poem to dVerse Meeting the Bar where Amaya Engleking hosts with the prompt “jazz poetry”.

Photo: Sue Vincent provided the photo for the prompt.

Sue Vincent's #writephoto icon

Gratitude — Sun Salutation

Even seagulls understand,
Salute the brightening Sun.
They pause with eyes that watch it rise,
Give praise, for day’s begun.

Photo: “Sun Salutation” by the author.  I am linking this to K’lee and Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge with theme “gratitude” and since gratitude seems to make forgiveness easier I am also linking it to Debbie Roth’s Forgiving Fridays.

Unrealized Transformation

I have never seen an owl, but I have seen pictures. I don’t remember if they ever appeared in my dreams. There they could come in many forms representing, so I’ve heard, good luck or bad or death or wisdom perhaps with the sprinkling of Merlin’s understanding of reality. Unfortunately, like most people, the scientific nonsense I believe in, without being aware of it, would still keep me from taking such dreams seriously. It’s really too bad. Maybe the owl has brought me bad luck through the back door? Maybe, because I refuse to take that deep, transforming breath and become as wise as those owls are said to be, I deserve all my current blindness? Maybe this, too, will all turn out well in the end?


Text: Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday. Victoria is hosting with the theme “owl”.

Photo: A winter scene in Techny Park from last year by the author.

The Costs of Love — #writephoto

A sweet maiden frolicked in the fairy glen by its flowing waters swatting mosquitoes.

A brave knight saw her and halted his steed. “Fair maiden, you wander in the enchanted glen. Did mosquitoes bite you?”

“Many have tasted my innocent blood. Many have I dispatched to their fiendish hell. I trust, sir knight, you have returned with glorious kills from the Draconis Mountains?”

“That is true, fair maiden. The dragons who haunt those heights have breaths so foul they have long addled the souls of many a woeful warrior but I have succeeded where others have failed.” The knight dismounted. He reached into his bag and produced a bottle of Fairy Godmother’s Feisty Mosquito Repellent. “It’s the best on the market and it’s only $3.49 today.”

The maiden carefully scanned the many reviews on her phone. “Almost five stars and a better price. I’ll take two bottles.” She opened her bag and produced a bottle of Merlin’s Dragon Breath Neutralizer. “It’s only $6.98 today.”

The knight eagerly bought a bottle and they lived happily ever after.

I’m linking this to Sue Vincent’s Flow #writephoto. She provided the photo for the prompt.
I am also grateful to Christopher Fielden for accepting this as Story 158 of Lesley’s Nifty Nib-Nibbling Nonsensical Narrative Writing Challenge.

Sue Vincent's #writephoto icon

Reflections on the Deep End

I rarely descend to the existential depths of metaphysical dread. Why would anyone want to? Besides there’s nothing down there. That’s why it’s dreadful. Why get all miserable over nothing? Sanity stays on the bright surface with the breathable air and the cleansing rain. Or, to put it in other words: don’t look down–the deeper depth is toward the sky.  That leads me to my problem. Although I don’t have anything particularly dreadful to write about, which should make the sophisticated and critical reader question my allegiance to the dark side, I no longer have any motivation to shut up.


Text: Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday.  Bjorn is hosting.  Toni provided the prompt why do we write in the way we do?  I am not sure if I answered it.
I am also linking this to Debbie Roth’s Forgiving Fridays because it occurred to me when I woke this morning that if I really want to levitate to a deeper depth I will have to stop weighing myself down with making sure karma is distributed equitably. There’s plenty of karma to go around.

Photos: “Water Flowers”, above, and “At the Chicago Botanic Garden”, below, by the author.

At the Chicago Botanic Garden