Shortest Story Ever

Unidentified person in family photo collection

“What are you daydreaming about?” she said. “Someday your prince will come?”

“Heavens no,” was the laughing reply. “Geraniums and petunias and a lush bed of these lilies.”

“”You’ve got your work cut out for you then.”


Can’t Find the Curling Rink?

I parked near the credit union in town one day and happened to look up at this sign, which gave me a chuckle because unless you’re from Canada maybe you wouldn’t know what the bottom sign was pointing to. Or would you?

curling rink sign

Yesterday was a full one. Today I’m taking it easy, except for meaning to get outside and pick up after Sadie Doodle, goddamn dog extraordinaire. She has dragged up and chewed up  heavyduty old rubber gloves (where does she find them? no idea), a heated carseat-cover, several unused birdfeeders and the padding from a stool I use sometimes when weeding. Not to mention all kinds of branches and sticks that she’s brought to the step. And cow pies from the pasture! Quite the collector. She’s jumped up and pulled drywall materials out of the back of the truck and ruined them. The list goes on.

Up in the bathroom cupboard there was a bottle of taste-repellent for dogs. I took it to the porch and mentioned it to Scott. He said, “Spray it everywhere!”

She’s even chewed on the house and the door frame.

What a gal. Let’s hope she grows out of this soon.

She’s lucky she’s adorable.

Judge Me By The Company I Keep

It’s 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The homeowners have just left, and the day stretches long before me. What shall I do first?

banner puss awaits

“Come in! Sit down…relax…converse!”

I go out to Little Green and grab the bag containing my feather pillow, my housecoat and pyjamas, toothbrush and a change of clothes. In the other hand is my briefcase filled with old journals, a novel, and a collection of Alice Munro’s short stories. I’m set. What more do I need? I am to eat and drink to my heart’s content and make myself at home.

When the pillow is unpacked and tossed onto the bed, I know the cat won’t be able to resist. To avoid a faceful of fur later, I throw my fluffy green housecoat over it. Sure enough, Puss cuddles right in.

cat and housecoat

I notice Jake’s sleeping arrangements next to the bed. “Wow, aren’t you the lucky one!” I exclaim. He’s got a pet couch, complete with his own pillow. He steps in and settles down for a power nap. He’s a “real” farm dog and will spend an hour or two at a time outside, patrolling his territory, but he’ll balance that workout with plenty of rest. Gotta keep yer strength up when you’ve got a job to do.


There are some who would never stay by themselves in a house beyond shouting distance of a neighbour. Me, that’s what I like. I was perfectly comfortable by myself for two days and two nights, but then I didn’t feel alone … I had Jake and the Puss nearby.


That Helpful Unconscious

Listening to the radio one day, I heard an author say he had collected photographs of unidentified people and used his imagination to write short stories about them. I’ve thought of doing something similar with the old photos in my possession, because the author was correct: there is something compelling about pictures — of people who were once beloved and whose photos were probably cherished — that have somehow ended up in a place where no one knows who they are. Many of the pictures end up in the garbage. It strikes me as sad, but it makes sense too. So often, we don’t write names, dates and places on the back of pictures and sooner or later no one has a clue who-what-when-where-why.

I’ve been giving away many of my old pictures so that they will be with family of those who are in them, and not in a box where they will be meaningless and valueless to my own close relatives once I’m gone.

The author shared his writing routine for the collection of stories he has published. In the morning he’d choose the photo he would write about that day, then go do other things and let his unconscious come up with an angle for a story. He’d come back several hours later and voila, there it would be, ready to be written down and expanded upon. Now doesn’t that sound like a dream of a way to work?

I thought I’d try it. I chose this picture though, not one of people.

three goblets r

It hasn’t given me a story. Yet. And tomorrow it will be forgotten.

It’s so cold right now that it will be no surprise if there’s snow on the ground in the morning, which means I’ll have no wanderlust in me whatsoever and Emil, whom I’ve just picked up from town, will be disappointed that we’re not going to visit Uncle Neil.

I did, however, stop in at the library and sign out a few books that will be new to Emil. Maybe I’ll take butter out of the fridge to soften, and make some cookies. It feels like tomorrow will be “that kind of day.”

You’re Always Sniping

The snipes have returned!

The whistling made by the wind winnowing through their wings or feathers as they dive for insects is a constant, from morning till night. It gives me such pleasure whenever I stand out on the step, and especially now after not hearing it since the fall.Wilsons_Snipe_Chris_Wood_glamor

Here’s a link if you’d like to hear it. Click on the “Sound” button. There are a few chirps and peeps, but then the “woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo” of their wings begins.

Click on the tab for “Sounds” and then click the green dot under “Calls.”


The bird flies so high that it is usually not seen at all and when you do spot it, it doesn’t seem at all the size and shape that it actually is. It seems smaller and its long bill isn’t visible. From the distance it looks like a nighthawk.

To get a good look at a snipe standing still, you keep an eye on fenceposts or, in this yard, sometimes on the chimney of the tractor shed roof.

Their constant summertime presence is one of the magics of living in this spot… and there are many, when it comes to birds that like to stay near water. There are also owls around, and their gentle hooting enlivens the evening hours. It’s too cool to stand for long on the step, and too dark to wander far from the bright circle of the yardlight, so I don’t stay out long on these early spring nights. But I step out often, just to listen to the owl and the frogs and all the others, unseen in the shadows.

checking cattle r

We left early after another family feast last night, but turned east from the SouthForks’ driveway so Scott could make sure all was well with the cattle.

evening sky r

When we lived in that yard, I headed west on my walks and the sky was always magnificent. Last night I got out and stood beside the truck to admire it. 

Deeper Not Wider

It’s a spring day with ice in the air.

Froggies are a-courtin’.

In the trees and sky in evamethyst and clay rery direction, birds are calling.

You’d think we live in a jungle.

I’ve gotta get out there.

My pack awaits.


There’s a movie about Emily Dickinson out, called A Quiet Passion. Its director says that although Dickinson never went anywhere, she had a rich home life. Besides her poetry (her sister found 1800 unpublished poems in her room after her death), she was an avid gardener, played the piano, etc. He noted that you don’t have to be out travelling the world and active in your community to have an eventful, fulfilling life. Your inner journey may just as enriching as the outer, if not more.

It’s my belief, exactly.

“Go deeper, not wider.”