COLORFUL WISHES ON THE TREE BY THE GATE: #WRITEPHOTO Marilyn Armstrong

Thursday photo prompt: Colorful Wishes #writephoto


Charlene was delighted with her tree. Everywhere else, when someone had a statement to make, it was always stupid toilet paper. All over the tree and then it would drizzle or rain and for weeks, the tree looked like it had some kind of hideous fungus on it.

She had done a much better job. Bright, colorful. It was a cheerful, happy tree and what started with anger, ended in art. She barely remembered why she started “fixing” the tree. She thought something had made her angry and she wanted to show the world, but before she was even a quarter of the way through it, the project had morphed into Art.

Brianna was going to be really surprised when she stepped out of the house that morning. Not a single sheet of toilet paper. Just bright colors swinging gaily from the little tree by the gate.

Charlene giggled all the way home. Surprise!

IN GOLDEN LIGHT #WRITEPHOTO

THURSDAY PHOTO PROMPT


November.

Just when we think the gold of autumn is fading, the sun sets the world on fire.

Reflections of bronze leaves  glow golden as sunlight skims the water.

Wild birds floating on a river of fire.

Reflection and refraction are transformation, summer’s final bonfire.

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AND IT COMES AGAIN …

Thursday photo prompt – Christmas Present – #writephoto


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The little tree sits neatly on our coffee table. Not a big tree. No lights on it, there not being any convenient electrical outlet nearby. Yet it is satisfying. Pretty, festive, neat. Cheerful without taking over the house.

I remember the big trees of years past. Hulking great trees covered with easily shattered glass ornaments. Shivering with lights and tinsel. I recall all the the years of not being able to decorate the bottom of the tree because cats found the shiny, dangling glass balls irresistible. The dogs found tree an overwhelming temptation too, especially the boys. No amount of heart-to-heart conversations about Christmas tree etiquette with them ever convinced a dog to not imbue the tree with his own personal essence.

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People always called Christmas pines real trees, as if there was something intrinsically superior to cutting down a living tree, hauling it indoors, then decorating it. Only to watch it slowly die. Then dragging it outside to be collected as trash, or give it a Viking funeral in a bonfire.

I’ve always hated taking the tree down. It wasn’t unusual for me to leave it up until Valentine’s Day or later. I hated watching it die and refused to admit it was. Like the cut flowers I  never throw away until they are completely crisp and brown.

This little tree is an elegant fake. It will never die because it has never lived. It can return every Christmas and will never become trash on the curb. I prefer it this way.

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The surprise is how much we enjoy our small, quiet Christmas. It doesn’t feel like deprivation. We can watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story” again. Maybe add “White Christmas” as a bonus. Cuddle the dogs.

No more maxed out credit cards or guilt over not buying the right gift … or spending weeks decorating, wrapping, and preparing. And ending up exhausted, with an empty bank account and a vague feeling of disappointment. This year, my one big blowout gift is for us: I’m getting a team in to clean the house. I’m neat, so it’s not a disaster area. I do the best I can, but cleaning this place thoroughly is beyond me these days. So happy Christmas to me! We shall go into the New Year clean.

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Christmas day will be a dinner with friends. He’s not feeling too well, so we’re going there. I understand. These days, our health and the health of friends is not a given. We keep fingers crossed that it’s going to work out and everyone will be fine — and the weather will coöperate.

Maybe this was the way it was supposed to be. Warm, friendly, quiet. Low key — with not a single shred of disappointment. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah. And a joyous anything else you celebrate. Whether you are having a crowd or just yourself, may it be a time of comfort and joy.

TO DOOR OR NOT TO DOOR. ALWAYS A QUESTION.

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Overwhelmed by a pervasive sense of unreality, I was barely surprised to see the door.  No ordinary door, but clearly a door to another time or dimension. Because in all the books I read, there’s always a door suddenly appearing and on the other side, it’s another time, another place, another world … and it’s always exciting.

Except when it’s 1347 and you arrive in England along with the Black Death. Ouch. That would be really depressing. And quite possibly … final.

So … do I go through the door? Just stand here like a wuss and prove how completely cowardly and indecisive I really am? Maybe I should go home first to gather supplies. Stop by the doctor, get inoculated against plague … they have that now, I hear. Take a supply of medication like broad spectrum antibiotics.

And bottled water.

Plus, a horse and cart. That would be useful, a horse. Especially the cart. I don’t suppose a cell phone would help much …


Then, the door was gone. Oh well. Missed it again. Next time I’ll be ready.

THURSDAY PHOTO PROMPT | SUE VINCENT

WALKING BY STILL WATERS

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He had always loved calamari. In fact, he loved squid in every form in which it could be prepared. Italian-style,  in red sauce. With balsamic vinegar as salad. Fried, baked, stuffed or pickled. With ink or in butter sauce and garlic, it was all delicious to him.

His wife teasingly told him that one day a giant squid mother would come up from the deep and grab him, crying “You ate my children!”

And that’s exactly what happened (minus the shouting), that day. He was walking alone, by the quiet waters. By the gentle sea as the shades of evening drew on, a long, dark tentacle snaked up the sand. Before he had time to recognize what was happening, he felt himself being dragged out to sea.

As the waters closed over his head, his final thought was “Damn. My wife was right! Again!”


Thursday photo prompt – Still water… #writephoto

THE TREASURE CHEST – THURSDAY PHOTO PROMPT

Carrie and Rob were talking. About the things they would do if only.

If only they discovered a forgotten bank account or won the lottery. It wouldn’t have to be a huge win. By lottery standards, a very modest win would do the job nicely. Enough money to fix some broken things around the house. Maybe pay off the lingering credit debt and the car.

And take a trip. Carrie wanted Paris. Rob still yearned for Hollywood. With a enough money to fly first class and stay in a really nice hotel. Maybe they could do both.

But right now, Rob had obligations. Responsibilities. He had to drive some hundreds of miles to his family home in Pennsylvania. Mom and dad were decades gone, but somehow, none of the kids had been willing to clear out the old house. Rob’s youngest brother and his wife had lived there for a long time and now, they were gone. As were his other siblings. He was the only one left. He knew he could hire professionals to clean it, but that seemed cold.

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The old house was huge. Two attics. A couple of basements, one of which was blocked off. Rob didn’t want to know what might lurk there. As he climbed the creaky, narrow stairs to the attic, Rob was hit by a wave of nostalgia. He remembered rainy days with his brothers, pretending to be bandits or pirates or explorers.

As he climbed from the stairwell to the light, he was surprised at how tidy and organized the space was. There were boxes, of course. Racks of old clothing, each item carefully zipped in a tinted plastic cover. Plenty of dust too and it swirled around his legs as he walked across the creaky floor. He found himself smiling. Some second-hand store was going to have a treasure trove of goodies to sell.

Against the wall, near the east-facing window was something he didn’t remember. A huge, dark trunk. For the life of him, he couldn’t recall it. If it had it been there when he was a kid, he’d surely remember. It was just the thing to inspire dreams of loot and booty to a child with even a hint of imagination.

So now it’s your turn to imagine what Rob found inside …

Thursday photo prompt – The Chest… #writephoto

LET DOWN YOUR GOLDEN HAIR …

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From the depths of sleep, she heard the voice. Calling. That old, familiar, and utterly unwelcome refrain. She opened one, sleep-filled eye. Noticed it was still dark — not yet dawn, then looked at her clock.

“Four in the damned morning? You’ve got to be KIDDING,” she snarled. To no one in particular, except Perhaps, a self-assured gray tabby who  completely ignored her. Which was de rigueur unless tuna or catnip was involved.

The voice came again.

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair,” he called.

“Another #$@%^# prince,” she said under her breath. She arose from her bed in the high tower. Went into the bathroom. Came out with the chamber pot. He was calling again.

“Rapunzel, Ra …” and when the contents of the pot covered his head, he just stopped. Gurgled. Mounted his horse and trotted away.

Rapunzel picked up Perhaps and sighed with pleasure. There would no doubt be another prince on some other night, but at least for this night, no one would further disturb her sleep.

“Good night, sweet prince,” she giggled as she drifted off.

Thursday Photo Prompt – Sue Vincent