No Shoveling!

 

“I’ll just be a minute,” Benito shooed his family ahead. “Don’t want you catching cold.”

He rubbed his gloved hands together. The temperature had dropped over twenty degrees in the last few hours.

“Especially you, Junior!” he pointed at his youngest. The boy had weak lungs and had just finished another long course of antibiotics. “In you go.”

“Oh, no, you’re not!” Maria planted her feet in front of her husband. “You are coming in with us. Right now. There will be no shoveling by you today. Boss Manuel insisted. Today you are a guest. After all, it is your birthday!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Digging To China

KeithKreates250

Photo: Keith Channing

 

“Winter is the best for digging!”

Icicles hung from Snout’s whiskers, and his tail wagged excitement. The cookies-n-cream dog had two settings: asleep and overexcited.

It was exhausting.

Dumbo yawned. She stood under the dubious cover of a naked tree, and tried to make the least contact between her paw-pads and the frozen ground. Soon enough their human would stop staring into the hypnotizing rectangle, realize that he can do the same thing indoors, and “Cum’eer” them home. All she could do in the meanwhile was endure.

A bird took flight from a branch above her head and a pelt of snow plonked right onto Dumbo’s back. A shudder traveled from the tip of her nose to the end of her tail, shedding snow as it went. Now she was wet as well as cold. Stupid bird didn’t even have the decency to pick a different tree limb to launch itself from.

Dumbo hated winter.

She hated rain. And ice. And snow. And hail. And wind. And any type of weather that didn’t come with a built-in dry spot to sun herself in, preferably without any flying insects or pull-on-your-ears baby-humans or a housemate that believes the only kind of recreation befitting a dog is one that involves digging smelly things out of the ground.

She should’ve been born a cat.

Cats don’t have to go out in all weathers just to relieve themselves, and no one expects them to sniff others’ butts or follow orders or look happy about it. It was beneath a dog to be envious of a feline, but there it was.

“Come dig!” Snout barked enthusiastically.

“No thanks,” she muttered.

“You’re wet already, might as well have fun!” the smaller dog almost disappeared into the white mounds, paws tunneling in double speed into the frozen substance on the ground.

The human looked up, smiled, and pointed the hypnotizing rectangle at Snout’s behind, before checking the contraption, and raising it again in Snout’s direction.

Great. Mini-dog images. It meant they’d be stuck outside for another era. Who cares if the tip of Dumbo’s tail was ready to fall off from the cold.

“Come dig!” Snout yipped. “There’s stuff underneath here. Who knows what we’ll find!”

Dumbo yawned again and licked her chops in irritation. Go dig yourself to China, she thought, and stay there, too … see if I mind.

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #250

 

Wingspan

 

“I will not have everyone out in the cold!” Mrs. M’s hands were planted firmly on her hips, and when Mrs. M’s hands were firmly on her hips, any who knew what was good for them knew to nod submissively, back up slowly, and give up.

Not Tim.

Sometimes I wondered if he had no survival reflexes or if he confronted the headmistress exactly because he didn’t care to survive.

“We don’t have to be out, out,” he argued.

Mrs. M’s cheek twitched. Oh-oh.

I backed up just in case. If she reached for the switch it would be best to not remain within wingspan.

“We can use the hot-house,” he pressed. “Sunlight and no wind. We’ll be fine.”

The twitch stopped. I held my breath.

“Most panes are intact.”

Mrs. M nodded.

I gaped.

Tim won.

Cramped orphanage or not, he found a way for outdoor play in wintertime!

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimsons Creative Challenge #61

 

 

 

Ethera

The Offering: painting and photo © Sue Vincent at scvincent.com

Photo prompt: Sue Vincent

 

She was Ethera, and she came at the peak of the longest night, on the cusp of the broadening daylight.

She was Ethera. A human. A spirit. A soul. Sometimes one. Often all.

She’d lived among them, flesh and blood and hope and heartache. She’d hungered and shivered and grew and raised and danced and cried and plowed. There had been nothing in her that foretold what she’d become once she passed the veil to the realm of Nether. Where summer did not come and winter did not grip the land and where the prayers of people held substance, unlike bodies, which did not.

She was Ethera. Unseen by most. Perceived by some. Hoped for by many. Feared by almost everyone.

Feared though she’d rarely brought on harm that wasn’t already in the making. Feared though she heralded truth, which for a reason she hadn’t been able to fathom, so many fought against.

She passed like air. Like wind. Like the willow whispering a breeze into one’s ear come silent night.

She was Ethera. And she came bearing gifts: Of scented fields. Of sunlit glens. Of fruit blushing ripe atop the trees. Of roots awaiting the fattening of rain. Of undulating earthworms sliding through the layers of the dirt to aerate the unseen.

As she could, too, pass between the layers of being.

She was Ethera. Some thought her fog. Some thought her ghost. Some knew her as the mist that rose to hold the moments yet to come and the droplets of the feelings those would bring.

She came at the deepest hollow of the longest night, and in her palms she held a bowl of alms, collected by the people’s dreams to appease the frost and sing the morning in.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo Challenge

 

 

No Longer Cold

HolidayNYC NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

It had stared

Though the window

At the clothed

Indoor tree

Wrapped in tinsel

And glory,

Gifts at its feet,

Stars on its crown.

And it shivered,

Naked,

In the cold.

All leaves long gone.

“This tree is naked,”

A child stopped,

Compared,

Bemoaned.

“It is too cold.”

Not anymore, Child,

Not anymore.

 

 

Note: I took this photo earlier today in New York City, as I walked past this brownstone’s holiday decorations. This post is dedicated to all who are outside, looking in. May you be seen. May you be clothed. May you be known. May you no longer be cold.

 

Also, for the new Monday Window challenge

And an extra tag for Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge of: Holidays

 

 

Eyes Aglow

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Photo: Jez Timms on Unsplash

 

In the window

Reflected

Shine from times long

Ago,

As the fire

Resplendent

Warmed cold hands from the

Snow,

And kids’ eyes

Filled with wonder

Twinkled joy in the

Glow.

Elders, too

Filled with stories

Even they’re yet to

Know.

Lights aglow

Hope aflow.

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: glow

 

 

Chill’s Reveal

Frosty morning (3)

 

Morning crept

With cold

Rays,

To frost dress

A new

Day,

With the chill

Soon to

Be,

Preview of

Winter’s

Fee.

 

 

For the Sunday Stills photo challenge: Chill

 

 

Going to Avalanche

P1030409_resize

Photo: Keith Channing

 

The sky was blue when they headed out. Crisp, cold, dry, and sunny, it was the perfect day for some easy back-country skiing.

They planned to be home by lunch.

They did not plan on the weather turning. On clouds so low and so fast that they’d reached zero visibility in almost no time at all.

Joshua could see that Daniel was two steps away from panic. That would not do. Not with the children with them.

“Take the rear,”  Joshua ordered.

If Daniel frowned at his bossy tone, the heavy fog covered it. Joshua stood his ground, literally, till Daniel maneuvered his skis so he was behind the two youngest. Good enough.

Joshua took a breath and tried to get a read from the weather. It was probably best to shelter in place till the fog lifted, but if the weather was about to get worse, it was better they got back before conditions deteriorated further.

There was no way to know for sure, but his gut’s tightening signaled that the latter option was the one to take. His hand tightened around the compass hanging from his pocket. He’d need it.

“Mark! Sally!” he cupped his hands and called for the two older children who, true to form, used any break in skiing for a snowball fight. The wind snatched his voice and he realized that it, too, had gotten worse in the last few minutes.

“Daniel, get them!” he shouted. “Timmy, Ronny, Sid, and Shirley, stay close to me.”

Shirley nodded and clung to his arm. “Are we going to Avalanche?” her voice shook.

“Avalanche isn’t a place, honey,” he replied over the thunder in his chest. “It’s when a lot of snow slides down the mountain. We’re not in an avalanche zone, so you don’t need to worry.”

“But it’s all white,” she sniffled, “and I’m cold.”

“I know, little one. The weather turned on us. We’ll get everyone in line and we’ll get moving and you’ll soon get warm. Timmy, Ron, and Sid, you okay back there?”

The boys nodded unconvincingly.

Daniel herded Mark and Sally closer to the rest and sandwiched them between the younger children and himself.

“Let’s go!” Joshua yelled, his voice barely audible in the whistling wind. “Keep your eyes on the person in front of you. Daniel, use your whistle if you need help.”

Daniel lifted his ski in response.

Joshua concentrated on the compass, on the next few steps. Everything he loved in this world was behind him. The white settled all around and he felt small. Like when he was ten and the world had come down around him in a tumble.

He shook the memory away.

This time he was not going to Avalanche.

He was going to get them — all of them — home.

 

 

 

For Kreative Kue 239

 

 

Ablution

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Photo: Ales Krivec on Unsplash: Vintgar, Slovenia

 

The Radovna pooled itself and waited for her ablution. Still. Clear. Shattering in its beauty and perfection.

Everything she was not.

Hers was more the unfettered rush, cutting gorges, collecting all manner of debris, and lugging along tumbled things that poked their heads out of the milky froth of living.

There were no still ponds in her being.

She looked at the icicles suspended from rocks above the freezing water. They were guarding it.

From beings that did not deserve to be cleansed.

Like herself.

Hom and Boršt rose above the gorge, patient and unbending. The beech trees on the slopes, stripped bare for winter, rustled as they waited to witness her own naked skin.

Her eyes lifted to the bridge, though she expected no one on it. The area was closed to tourists in the winter. Only the locals came, alone, to seek absolution in the Radovna’s icy bowl.

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Slovenia

 

Painted Sky

aurora borealis

Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on Pexels.com

 

They woke

To see

The painted sky,

Where spirits

Skated

Angel-winged

On light and

Turquoise dye,

And looped the

Heavens

And the earth

Like stars

Learning to fly.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Aurora in 28 words