Take A Side

sideways benches NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

It does not always work to take

A seat

Head on.

Sometimes the best way

Is

To come at it

As if you’d really meant to move

Along.

 

 

 

For Cee’s Black&White Photo Challenge: Side of things

 

 

They Live In You

jorge-sa-pinheiro-1VQRywqoMtY-unsplash

Luanda, Angola; by Jorje sa Pinheiro

 

“Why is the top of that mountain rusty?” he asked.

His grandmother’s hand tightened gently around his wrist, then released it, almost in apology.

“For your ancestors,” she said.

He looked at her, uncomprehending. She had a way of speaking without saying everything she meant or with saying more than she meant and then cloaking it so it was still a tangle of implied meanings. He didn’t always know which it was. Or both. Her lined face was held up in what looked more like grief than awe.

“Grandma?” he asked.

“This rust is the mountain holding up the iron bled by your great-grandfather’s chains and the chains of those before him, and before, so many generations that the rust of those shackles rose up. It is the blood of the mountain and like the blood in your veins, it is them. They live in it. They live in you.

 

 

 

For the What Pegman Saw challenge: Angola

 

Light Ahead

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

After weeks of gray and thistles and ceaseless wind that scraped her raw, there was light.

She could scarcely believe it at first.

The cloud cover had been so complete for so long that she’d began wondering if there was even a real sun still behind it. The revolutions of soupy daylight and inky nights felt equally murky as every step became oppressive. She had waking dreams of being lost inside a massive warehouse, a mouse in a maze, endlessly seeking an exit yet seeing none.

She wondered whether there was still use in trying. She was oh so tired.

Now there was a break. The sky spawned a cavity and the leaden heavens began to dissipate. She could discern a layer of ease in the distance.

And light, streaming like caressing fingers ahead. Showing the way home.

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to the all-too-many who are staggering through their personal wilderness, caught in the molasses of gloom, and thinking of giving up — keep on, hold on. There’s light ahead, and we’re leaving it on for you.

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto challenge

 

 

Vintage

grapevine InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

The sweetness will mellow,

Proofed with time,

To become its own rich

Memory

Of ways

To be wise

Be full

Be kind.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Vintage in 22 words

 

 

Up Close

Up Close NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Up close

The purple pinks into the blue

And makes the hues

Shine through.

 

Up close

You can forget yourself

As edges curl

And bloom unfurls

In you.

 

 

 

For Sunday Stills: Close-up

 

 

 

Faith in Stones

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

They none of them could explain when it had been built or how it had been done. The standing stones were magic enough, but the slab of solid rock perching above their heads against the laws of order and human power — it went beyond what anyone understood.

Even The Sage did not know.

And she knew everything there was to learn and some of what could not be taught yet she ascertained anyhow.

“Though I heard say …” The Sage stretched the words as every child and many an adult leaned into her speaking. It was the mid-of-day that followed the longest morning. A time of pause and story. “… that it could have been the Angel Bird.”

The elder’s wisps of hair haloed her face. The oval itself was shadowed by the relative darkness under the stone overhang.

A child shifted in his mother’s lap. An errant toddler was reprimanded. A baby’s wail was quieted by its mother’s nipple. The people settled.

The Sage lifted her chin and many eyes followed. Soot and marks of time tanned the gray expanse above.

“In her beak, the Angel Bird can carry many men into the sea. Her wings can mask the stars so fishers lose the way back to their hearths. She can lift a whale and place it on the shore to feed the people. She can bring the howling wind. She can ice the river. She can slash the fire in the skies. Yet she can also pluck a clover and carve a snowflake. She can blow a single hair off of an ailing person’s forehead and lead them back to health or to the place-of-no-more-breath. … ” The Sage paused and filled her own lungs with air. “Perhaps the Angel Bird was the one to lift the slab atop the pillars.”

“Can she take it down?”

An admonishing murmur rose. Young voice or not, saying a thing made it. Now the notion hung above them like storm-clouds. Fear thickened the air but to state the worry might make it, too.

The Sage raised her palm but let the silence linger. Her eyes wandered over the cracks and small crevices of the ancient stone.

The questioning child was not to blame. The Sage had wondered similarly herself. Had her thoughts manifested through the young one’s mind? It had been known to happen. Sometimes it was a sign of too-easy a persuasion. At other times it signaled the nascent perceptiveness of a future apprentice.

The girl met The Sage’s eyes with tears brimming at the unfairness of collective condemnation, but stared on, defiant.

The latter then. The Sage allowed a corner of her lip to twitch. She’ll take it on herself to observe the child. In the meantime the girl deserved the response that had chased away many an hour of The Sage’s sleep.

“Indeed the Angel Bird can …”

People gasped. More frowns were directed at the girl, who pulled herself straighter, pushed a mess of tangled hair off her face, and squared her shoulders.

The latter. No question now.

“And she likely will. In time,” The Sage added.

An audible inhale rippled through the group as more and more faces lifted to inspect the heavy ceiling. No longer a taken-for-granted solid refuge, but a slide-between-the-fingers sand.

“All things die,” The Sage pressed on, aware that the answer had become the opportunity for its own story. “It is no curse nor blessing. No different than the change of seasons or the leaves that bud and green and grow and brown and fall. In early summer it may seem that foliage had always been and always will be, and yet we know that time will come when the leaves will die and the branches be laid bare.”

“This is no leaf,” a woman murmured, eyes uneasily on the rock and her body curled over a nursing infant.

Several other women fidgeted and darted glances at the sunny meadow at the shelter’s side.

The Sage sighed. Panic tended to have its fingers intertwined with knowledge. She knew it better than most.

“Life requires faith,” she said. “Every person who ever took shelter under this place of magic — from the first ancestors to the persons sitting here today — accepted that it is not of our doing. Whether by the Angel Bird or a different magic, this marvel means that our people do not suffer in the rain or ice or burning sun. We did not build this. It is our home but we do not own it. The most we can do is ensure we keep it well and are not the ones to destroy it.”

 

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto prompt

Headway

Headway AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

One man.

One sail.

One boat.

One day.

The rock of waves

Holding a sway,

He grasps the bar

Through misty spray,

As mountains loom

In white and gray.

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: One

 

Falling Skies

Falling sky NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

The skies aren’t falling

About our ears

In a squall

Of rain,

Nor in white flakes

That slough off

Of clouds

Again.

 

These skies are falling,

Bit by bit,

In tears

Orphaned

By pain,

And lost in hollows

Fed by

Hate

That’s allowed to

Remain.

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS prompt: Fall from the sky

 

 

Rail Road

rail road PhilipCoons

Photo: Philip Coons

 

 

Where the rail

Meets the road

And the gravel

Kisses tracks,

Linger not

At the cross-point.

For the trains

Will chug on

And engines run

Because they can.

 

 

For the Which Way Challenge

 

Be Like Cabbage

cabbage AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

“Be like a flower,” she said,

Wrinkles creasing like sun

‘Round her eyes.

“Be like cabbage, too!”

And she laughed

At my confusion and

Touched a calloused hand

To my cheek

For the umpteenth loving time.

 

“Bloom alone does not fill stomachs,”

She explained

And the years without

Flickered sad behind her smile

But did not interfere.

“Cabbage blooms as pretty as any,

Yet unlike most who wilt

At summer’s end,

It will hold goodness at the ready

To nourish you through winter.”

 

“Be like a flower, then,” she smiled.

“And like a cabbage, too.

For it will sustain you:

Bland or spiced or hot or cold

Until the snow melts

And you have lived to a new spring

And can, one day, grow old.”

 

 

For Cee’s FOTD challenge