Who You Are

The following is by Writers in the Grove member Bev Walker.

You are the end of a million generations
foraging for food and shelter.
Thousands of times, over and over,
famine has wiped out whole nations.
Each time, one of your family survived.
Or you wouldn’t be here.

You are the end of a million generations
devastated by disease and storm.
For a million years, in a million places,
through showers of meteors,
Thousand of times, over and over
while all around them died.
One of your family was left standing,
and had to bury the rest.

You are the end of a million generations
torn apart by earthquake, flood, tornado,
arctic blizzard, every terror you can imagine,
whole nations buried beneath every desert,
Whole civilizations lost beneath sea and jungle,
now known only to birds and fishes.
Whole races gone, all gone…except
one of your family.
The result is you.

You are the end of a million generations
destroyed by war after war,
Marauding armies determined to wipe out all in their path.
Somehow, one after another,
century after century,
One of your family made it through all that;
you are the proof.

Neither they, nor you, made it because
you’re the smartest, healthiest, or bravest.
“Survival of the fittest” went out the window
the first time someone reached out
To the wounded, an orphan, a cripple, the sick;
that’s the difference between you
And the ant and the crocodile.

Through a thousand ice ages,
through whole continents ablaze,
There stood one who is still a part of you,
yes, you, and your neighbor, whatever your ilk.
You are the end result of a million miracles,
a treasure, a pearl of great price.

The Garden

The following is inspired by our Prompt-a-Month program. The prompt for this past month was “garden.” This deadline for this month’s prompt, “dance,” is July 31, 2016.

This is contributed by our Writers in the Grove member Gretchen Keefer.

Garden Vegetables out of focus.Allie groaned as she rolled over to shut off the alarm. Through her slitted eyes the gray light of early dawn filtered in. “Why did the alarm go off so early?” she wondered. This was too early for a summer morning. Yet there was something about today….

As she stretched and tried to open her eyes more fully, she heard movement in the kitchen; then the back door closed. “Grandmom.” Allie jumped out of bed. Today was the day she was supposed to help Grandmom take her produce to the farmers’ market. The vegetables had been packed last night, but Grandmom wanted to pick the flowers fresh this morning. Hastily pulling her shorts, shirt and sandals on, Allie hurried out to the garden.

Grandmom greeted her with a warm smile. “Good morning. I’m glad you could join me today. Isn’t it a lovely morning!”

Allie wondered how Grandmom could know this was a lovely morning when the day hadn’t even begun yet. Grandmom was always cheerful, which was one of the special things about Grandmom that Allie liked so much. Yawning, she took the scissors Grandmom offered and tried to pay attention to her instructions. Pick the blooms that are just opening, cut the stems at an angle and put them directly into the ready bucket of water. As they worked, Grandmom hummed familiar tunes or told Allie interesting facts about some of the flowers. Occasionally she would remind Allie to cut the stems a bit longer, so people could arrange the flowers as they wanted to, or to leave some of a particular plant for the bees, which were already starting to buzz around the fragrant blossom. (more…)

Celebrate and Be Thankful

The following is by Liz Winston, a guest to Writers in the Grove Monday workshop. She wrote the following and shared it with us with permission to publish based upon the 4th of July prompt. Liz is a singer specializing in jazz and gospel in Seattle and also works retail during the day.

Another day
Full of fun,
Family, friends,
food, and faith.

A time to celebrate and
Be thankful for a chance to
Choose to make a positive
Difference in life.

Whether I face emotional,
Physical or mentally challenged,
Being thankful for past
And present progress
Things that have molded me into
The person you see today.

Being thankful
For another year to
Celebrate life whether
I feel ready or not.

Boom, bang, pop, sizzle,
Oooh, awwww, wow, oooh
As the lights are bright in
the sky tonight.

Round-Robin: The Smell was Familiar I

The following is one of the prompts created by members of Writers in the Grove in response to Prompt: Round-Robin Writing in a Group.

Bev: The smell was familiar and touched a deep place in my heart. It was clear long before we saw it. The scent of the sea is unmistakable, but not apparent at all until you get up and over the ridge of mountains that shield the sight, sound, and scent of the ocean from the valley. We only made the trip once a year but this time it had been five years and anticipation of the wonders of the seashore.

Susan: The kids in the backseat were antsy and loud. Little Billy was especially vocal because he had been too little to remember the trip the last time. Now he was wiggling around in his car seat, causing Emma to upend her can of soda and splash Evie with orange creme all over her Sunday dress. Undaunted, I pulled the car over and pulled each kid out. All lined up against the car, I scrubbed and blotted and straightened each one until we were ready to continue on the journey.

The light sea breeze was calling. The destination close. The kids were all back into their places as I started the car.

Mary: What would they do now? We had a long drive ahead of us. Could we get there safe and sound? The kids fell asleep but I knew I’d better stay awake. It would be a long time until we got to the beach.

DK: The night before had been a mas rush to find the motel, switch rooms when the toilet didn’t work, eat a hurried snack, shower, and tumble into bed. We were all exhausted. Traveling with four kids under the age of ten was harder than I remembered. I had hidden the option for a sleep over back in the recesses of my mind, but now was so thankful that I had packed a spare bag with extra clothes and essentials.

Six AM. Bill was first to wake, screaming “Momma! Momma! I can see the ocean!” He jumped up and down on the bed waking all his siblings.

Lorelle: I was surprised at the speed the children took to get dressed and out of the motel. Back home, it could take 45 minutes to get most of them up, showed, dressed, and off to school This morning, it was accomplished at whirlwind speeds in under five minutes.

Pails, plastic shovels, umbrellas, sun lotion, towels, sun hats, all flew in wild semi-synchronous order onto bodies as if pulled in with rare earth magnets. We all traipsed down the path to the beach below, colorful and noisy, my parade of ducklings.

The beach didn’t stand a chance. The kids tore into it like it was under construction, a demolition derby of digging, building, tearing down, and rebuilding. By nightfall, the tide would come in and erase their day of labor, but for now, they were master builders and architects.

The supervisor of the anarchy, I sat under one of the umbrellas and read, until my cell phone alarm reminded me it was time for another dousing of sun lotion on the precious skin of my ducklings.

By evening, the worn out tykes were quick to shower off sandy warm bodies and drift contented off to sleep. I smiled at them as I stepped outside and closed the door. Finally alone.

Cheri: This was my time, and thanks to the bottle of brandy I had thrown into my bag, I could sit down and let myself relax. It occurred to me that my parents had probably felt the same way at one point. After dealing with all of us kids, they would tuck us in and retire to a quiet place in order to spend a little time alone with each other, probably talking about the day. But here I sat, alone, with no one to reflect with other than my brandy and the sound of the ocean. Being alone is hard, and I often wonder how I arrived here, solitary, with no one to share the events of the day. Of course, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It just happened. Circumstances beyond my control. But it doesn’t make the loneliness any less painful.

DSO: Death of a spouse is not an easy thing. Who am I supposed to be angry at? Steve? God? The drunk driver? His boss for demanding he go that night? Am I jealous because he is safe now and I am left here with the issues of life to deal with? He was always telling me brandy can never be a good friend because it dulls the zest for life that helps make good decisions.

Prompt: Home Remedies

Growing up, did your family have home remedies, possibly passed down from generation to generation?

Some home remedies have been proven to be effective. Some are mere panaceas, of comfort to those giving and receiving the treatment.

The prompt is to write about a home remedy in your family or one you’ve overheard. Tell the story by tapping into the emotional and sensual descriptions of the experience, good or bad.

Prompt: Hiding It From the Family

The prompt this week involved keeping secrets.

You or your character knows something that the family shouldn’t know. Write about how you successfully or unsuccessfully hide the information.

Keeping secrets comes in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, but hiding something from family, people who know you or the character well and share a history, that’s more complicated.

How do they hide the information? Are they successful in doing so? It is important that we know what the secret is or just that something must be hidden from the others? Consider familial events such as family dinner gathers, holidays, or reunions.