Wait For The Light

Photo prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

“Can we go to the playground, Mama?”

The woman stroked the small forehead to compose herself and smiled into the over-bright eyes. “It is the middle of the night, Cara.”

“Can I see?”

The woman tucked the blankets under the child and lifted her. The bundle in her arms felt devastatingly like the infant Cara had been a handful of winters ago, and heartbreakingly almost as light again. She turned so her daughter faced the window.

“It’s dark,” the girl sighed. “I’m tired, Mama. Maybe I wait for the light?”

“Yes, Cara,” the mother whispered. “We wait for the light.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

Valentine’s Vice

tara-meinczinger-MMHbgY8qFFo-unsplash

Photo: Tara Meinczinger on Unsplash

 

“Where’s Valentine?”

I peered into the other room. “Lollygagging.”

“Again?! I thought I told him to give up that nonsense. He’s way too old for this kind of foolishness. I’ll douse him with cold water!”

“He’s not osculating, Mama.”

“Stop being a Peeping Tom …” Pause. Sigh. Flick of the hand. “What’s he doing, then?”

“Just dawdling.”

“With whom?”

“His phone …”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Lollygag in 60 words

 

 

Common Good

fire AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

“What are you grateful for, Mama?” the girl asked, head bent over her slate.

“I’m grateful for fire,” the mother said.

“For fire?” the child paused, somewhat dismayed. Perhaps she thought she’d rise up to the top of gratitude instead. Perhaps because her foot, where an amber had landed and left a painful blister, was not particularly appreciative of flames. Perhaps because fire-related chores of breaking kindling and cleaning out the ashes needed doing before she could go out to play.

“Yes,” the woman smiled, one hand stirring the oats even as a foot rocked the cradle which held the girl’s new brother. “Because without fire there will be no breakfast, no tea, no warm bath. Without it there would be no hearth, no place to get out from the damp, nowhere to warm your hands. Without it there would be no pots, no pans, no knife, no shovel, no kettle, no cake, no bread.”

Speaking of the last, the woman rose to rake the coals and make room for the dutch oven before shoveling a heaping mound of glowing red atop the lid, so the sourdough loaf could bake. She could feel the girl’s eyes on her, reassessing what she’d been privileged to always take for granted. What the mother knew could not.

“It is the common that we often forget to be grateful for,” the mother added, her lilting voice directed at the infant, who’d began to fuss, as her words matched the pace of her resumed cradle rocking: “Air to breathe, water to drink, flour for bread, cloth and fleece, a garden and field, to grow our food in.

“And,” she tugged fondly on a ringlet by her daughter’s chin, “having the common things all tended to, gives us the comfort in which to appreciate the more obvious gifts we cherish … like you, and little David, and your Pa.”

“And Gwendoline,” the girl reminded, eyes flicking to the swaddled corn-doll that she liked to tend.

“And Gwendoline,” the mother grinned. She peeked at the letters on the child’s slate. “And children who do their chores, as you will need to as soon as your S and W here receive a bit of mend.”

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Common

 

 

I’ll Be The Quiver

annie-spratt-t3IYuQZRDNE-unsplash

Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

I’ll be the quiver

For the arrows

You don’t yet know

How to hold.

I’ll guard the darts

The barbs

The jagged

Points,

Safe within the

Burnished leather

Of my years,

Till you grow enough

To be the quiver

For your own

Sharpened spears.

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: quiver

 

Grounded

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“Where did you find it?”

The boy’s face reflected his struggle: to tell the truth would be to admit he’d been doing what he oughtn’t, but to withhold the truth could mean that what needs to happen, won’t.

The woman waited. Integrity was best cultivated by one’s own appreciation of the internal equilibrium that is restored by accepting the inherent benefit of right versus wrong, and not by shaming or attempting to compel it via fear of punishment.

She knew, of course, that he’d been out of bed, and on a night when he’d already been grounded for breaking his sister’s carpentry project. All the more reason, she thought, to let him find a place to dig himself out of a hole of misdemeanors.

Some children tended to break rules all the time. Her son did not. Or at least not without what one could usually understand as good reason. That the nine-year-old had refused to say why he’d demolished Liz’s contraption, and that he did not argue when he’d been sent to his room, told her there was already more to the story than what he was willing to tell her.

The moment lingered. She let it stretch.

“Outside,” he said. He lifted his eyes to her, having crossed the Rubicon.

Displeased as she was that he broke curfew, she was proud of him for finding the courage to admit it.

“I see,” she nodded and raised an eyebrow in direction of his cupped hands.

“I had to save it.” Timidity was gone now that truth was set in motion. “Liz said she was going to put it in her new cage and keep it. But it is not a pet, and it is hurt and it cannot fly and something was going to come and eat it.”

The boy’s eyes were bright with tears of righteous defiance. “I don’t care if you ground me till I’m, like, a hundred. He needed help!”

The bird wriggled clumsily in the boy’s palms and the child’s young face crumbled in uncertainty. “But … um … before you send me to my room for forever, can you please please drive me to the vet?”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto prompt

 

 

Day Trip

Photo prompt: Sandra Cook

 

The day dawned gray and there was threat of rain, but she wasn’t going to be deterred by a bit of dirty weather.

She dressed him in his powder blue slicker and packed a bag with this and that. She weighed the idea of leaving the cumbersome stroller, but at three, though the boy liked walking, he lacked endurance for it.

“We going to see Papa?” he asked as the train rolled into the station.

She hesitated. She was loath to lie to him.

“Not the one you know,” she answered finally. “Though he may become it. We shall see.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Glacial Undertones

Glacier AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

He will carve mountains

For them.

Slow but steady

In his pressure.

Relentless

In the calculated cold of his

Convictions,

That curl like tight fists

Under an unquestioning love.

He has carved himself

In the process,

Into valleys of sacrifice.

Carved them, too,

Into mirror images

To reflect the truths he holds.

He will carve mountains

For them,

Heavy-handed and doggedly

Protective.

Glacial with volcanic undertones.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Glacial in 66 words

 

 

Not Blueberries

Not Blueberries NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

“Look, Mama,” the child called, a soft fist held aloft as she ran, delighted, toward her mother. “I found some polka-dot blueberries!”

“Wait, where? Let me see? Those aren’t … Did you eat any?”

The child shrugged and twirled away, fingers closing protectively over a grimy palm that still held some blue orbs of what-mama-said-are-not-really-blueberries.

“Wait! Get back here. I need to see those again … Are you sure you didn’t eat any? They could make you very sick! And …” the woman looked around their deserted picnic blanket. “Where is your brother..? Where’s Eric!?”

“Oh,” the little girl pranced out of reach, and gestured vaguely in the direction of the trees beyond the forest clearing. “There. He found polka-dot strawberry mushrooms!”

 

 

 

Note: Inspired by a true story of a family I know, whose summer picnic ended up with a call to Poison Control, an ambulance, and two children in the Emergency Department. One child was fine. The second child eventually got better. Mama still can’t touch berries or mushrooms. Teach your children about the dangers of foraging and instruct them to not pick or eat (!!) any plant they don’t show you FIRST. …

For Terri’s Sunday Stills: Danger

 

Repeat Construction

build SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

Look, Mama! Look at this!

Can you believe how high?!

I did the whole thing by myself

And I will tell you why:

It is the tallest building king

That ever touched the sky,

And I will build it up again

Each time someone walks by.

 

 

 

For Friday Foto Fun: Construction

 

Fuzz Guard

 

Ducky AtaraKatz

Photo: Atara Katz

 

Listen up

Little fluff

There’ll be no mischief

And stuff.

Best make sure

That you stay

In the shallows,

If you don’t

Wish to meet

Claws as gallows.

There will be no

Dissent

Till wings let you

Ascend.

So since you are yet

To create

Actual feathers,

You will heed

Pond-time rules

By your elders.

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Feathers