Hours of work, polishing,
Toiling…all because the farmers
Hours of work, polishing,
Toiling…all because the farmers
Color of summer’s end,
Mimic the dance of dry leaves on
Goldenrod has long been thought
To add to autumn’s miseries
Because its golden tresses shake
And scatter pollen in the breeze.
And yet its showy coloring
Belies its role in allergies.
Scattering is strategy
For flowers too drab to flaunt a tease.
So let it dance at harvest time,
It won’t create a single sneeze.
It keeps its pollen treasure close,
As a reward for courting bees.
New leaves into
The sun, and then, Presto
Chango!, they turn the sun into
Good old Blue. Ma said he was called that ‘cause every blue-tick hound was called that, ‘less you already had one, then you might name it somethin’ else. Even so, she’d known more’n one hound man to keep an Old Blue and a Young Blue on the place at the same time.
But Pa, he would remember how he went over to Homer Moody’s to pick him a pup and seven or eight of them come tumblin’ out from under the front porch there, where Lady had birthed her litter. And there was just this one, had a certain look in his eye, even at six weeks old. Didn’t go scramblin’ about with the other pups. Just came and stared up at Pa like he was already his dog. Pa said he knew that kind of dog only came along once in a blue moon, and that was how he got his name. It weren’t no more than coincidence he happened to be a blue-tick hound.
Me and Pa, those last few years, we spent many an autumn night takin’ our dogs out on a coon run. Pa always said there was nothin’ like the music of hound voices carryin’ through the crisp air, and echoin’ through the woods on a cold night. After Blue started runnin’ with the pack, after he had a little experience, it got so Pa would follow the whole run on just Blue’s voice. He would talk to that dog, just whisperin’, just like Blue was sittin’ at his feet. Pa knew those woods inside and out, and he’d tell Blue to cast back, or circle ‘round or head up a certain ridge, and doggone if just a minute later that dog’s voice wouldn’t change and Pa would say, “He’s got him now.”
It was like that the last time we went out. I’d got so I could pretty much follow the pack, though I never could read Blue’s mind the way Pa did. I remember I was standin’, starin’ up through the leafless trees at a full moon, but that was just somewhere to rest my eyes. I was listenin’ to the music of the hounds on a good trail up the ridge. Blue’s voice was bell clear, and I guessed he was doing everything just right, ‘cause Pa wasn’t even whisperin’ to him.
Then, just when it sounded like they had that coon about treed, Blue’s voice changed. Not the rest of the dogs. They just went on with the coon. But Blue let out a howl like I never heard before and never want to hear again. It was just as sad and miserable a sound as a dog can make. For just a flash, I thought maybe he’d been hurt, but then I heard a soft thud and turned to find Pa layin’ on the ground.
A heart attack, Doc Brannon told us later. I guess if Pa could choose – and Ma held that maybe he did, in some kinda way – he would have picked just that way to go: listenin’ to the voices of those dogs he loved and even, nobody’ll ever tell me different, sayin’ good-bye to old Blue.
Before you touched me
I was water in a still pond,
Easing myself into lush green shores,
Cherishing silver flickers of playful fish,
Welcoming skittering mallards
to raise their broods among my lilies.
I was full of life, in a quiet way,
But now you draw me up
To sail the sky for miles
from cloudy height.
And when I grow full,
a part of me comes down in rainbows.
I taste sea salt, sometimes,
Or, intricate and delicate,
Dance in small white pirouettes
To mountain peaks.
Through rivulets and waterfalls,
I fresh my still pond.
I got some pushback when I read this story in my writer’s group. Apparently, some people didn’t think I could explore slightly darker themes. All I want to say is that no rabbits were actually harmed in the writing of this story.
Read it here: In the Blood.
I’ve been struggling with how to display my short stories. Many of them seem too long for a simple blog post, but when I split them up between different posts, there is always the possibility that someone will do a search and “come in in the middle” of the story.
I’ve decided to put the short stories on pages, and use the blog to announce them, or give any other details such as what compelled me to write them.
The alternate title for this short story was: Ain’t Never a Horse.
Follow the link to read the full story of Playing the Lottery.
The name of this blog and the quote in the header come from one of my short stories. Hazel is a character who happens to be a witch, however I believe she reveals a timeless truth: There is a certain order in the universe of things both seen and unseen and we will get much farther going with it than against it.
Saints and shamans, poets and even politicians, have spent lifetimes trying to discern and align themselves with that underlying natural order, because that is where the power lies. Not just power in a political sense, but power in the sense that we can soar so much higher riding the wind than fighting the storm.
Or, as Shakespeare had Brutus say:
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
(Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–221)
I feel a bit like that about writing. Although I know that craft and technique can always be improved, and I certainly don’t write in a trance, I often feel that I am as much uncovering a story as making it up. And every so often, I have the magical experience where the characters start to tell me what has to happen next.
There are stories that want to be told and poems that want to be heard. I hope I can help to set them free.