Friday, October 7, 2011


First trip across the Atlantic - to Norway!
1,400+ photographs
My favorites - No, not the aerials photos from the plane or the pretty red and yellow houses mirrored on the waters of the fjord.  Of course I like the bridge and the cranes the best.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Garden

The soft grass clippings warm under my bare feet were in sharp contrast to the underlying hard packed dirt path.  The summer sun beat down, warming the parts of my head covered by hair but heating up the strip of part exposed on the top of my head. Half an hour in the sun and my fair skin would start to almost sizzle if I did not seek out the cool comfort of shadows or the dark protection of the house. The scent of earth and green growing vegetables were sharp but subtle to my nose. Closing my eyes, I took a deep slow breath, breathing in the sweet smell of vegetables heavy on vines and branches.

Looking around the garden and yard, the sun made objects almost too bright. In the yard the daylilies so brilliant and fresh with the morning dew clinging to their newly opened petals, were slowly fading with the passing day. When the cool breeze of evening chased away the lingering sun, blooms that had just woken this morning would be closed and decaying, making space on the stalk for new flowers to emerge with the dawn. Bumble bees danced from flower to flower, filling garden beds with a steady drone. Silent tissue paper butterflies fluttered from garden to garden, dancing across bushes heavy with brightly colored clusters.

Separated from the lawn is a rectangular patch of dirt surrounded by posts strung with fishing line and surveyors tape to keep out deer. Along the bottom of the fence stretches chicken wire mesh to keep out the woodchucks. Overgrowing the bare dirt which is in such sharp contrast to the green yard are tangles of vines – tomatoes, peas, beans, squash, and melons. Their vines entwine and reach out for space. Small squash and melons hide beneath large scratchy green leaves. The red globes of tomatoes glow from between green branches. Tucked into the corners, making every space within the small patch of earth count, are garlic scapes and gladiola fronds. Potato plants play king of the mountain upon their hills – the potatoes silently growing in the cool earth below.

I carefully walk down the short paths, watching for sharp twigs and stones hidden in the dull olive grass clipping that mark the paths. The scent of the freshly cut grass has faded as the sharp green has faded. As I reach the rows of peas, I gently move the soft pale green leaves aside to find the pea pods dangling from the vines. Curls of vines cling to the wire support specifically placed to allow the vines to climb toward the blue sky and create a short curtain. Pea pods tangle from the vines, feeling firm beneath my fingers. Careful to not damage curls clinging to the wire, I pull off a pod and hold it in my hand.

Within the crescent shaped pod I can feel the pearls of peas. Chlorophyll stains my fingernails as I snap off one end and peel the pod open, releasing a moist green scent. The peas are smooth and pop out of the pod with a gentle prod. One by one, I place them in my mouth and run them around with my tongue. The peas are almost tasteless, resistant to my saliva and acting like little round pebbles. Catching one between my teeth, I bite down, the outer flesh popping beneath the pressure.  The taste is sweet and moist although the taste will not be fully developed until I crush the inner halves of the pea and the green flavor slides down my throat. 

The Red Dress Club: This week, we'd like for you to write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Morning Yoga for Excavators

In high school (let's not think about how long ago that was), I used to be a rabid writer - lots of poems, short stories, and random little snippets that never made it further than a dozen words on a piece of paper. Having been following CDG's blog for months now, I am attempting a hesitant return to the world of creative writing for my own enjoyment.

The ground is frozen into a maze of rutted tire tracks. Small frozen puddles decorated with elaborate ice crystal patterns trapped in the grooves of the excavator tracks crunch and snap under heavy work boots.

Large shapes appear out of the darkness as the sun silently creeps closer to the horizon – massive dump trucks with mud caked tires, the arms of excavators rise above the frozen mud and exhaust like the necks of prehistoric metal monsters, smaller bobcats and rollers huddle between their larger cousins.

The choking rumble of equipment joins the insistent morning bird song.  Engines left immobile and exposed to the bitter temperatures overnight struggle to regain momentum.  Workers harshly encourage the movement of oil and pistons with each turn of the key.

Ephemeral clouds of gray exhaust taint the chill morning air - the type of air that pinches the noise and burns the lungs with each breathe.  Men huddle in groups warming their hands with steaming mugs of early morning coffee, their frozen breath rising in puffs like chain smokers and mixing with the gray clouds of exhaust from the myriad trucks and heavy equipment idling across the site.

Among the cacophony of movement and noise, one sleeping giant remains oblivious to the tumult.  The sun glints off the arm of the excavator as it wakes from its nighttime slumber. As if an extension of himself, the operator plays the controls with a surprisingly gentle hand to extend the excavator arm high up into the sky, pausing only slightly before curling the arm back in upon itself. As the sun grows from a mere pinprick of light on the horizon to a cold golden globe in the sky offering light but no only a cold winter heat, the operator continues his morning routine, slowly bringing warmth back to the lifeless frozen metal.

This piece is in response to the Red Dress Club prompt:
Write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly – and find the beauty in it.