#writephoto — Perspective

3FB8307E-BA25-4FB4-8A8D-34805693822D“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Carolyn asked her friend, Ann, after handing her the photograph. “I’m going to have it mounted and framed and hang it in my living room.”

Ann stared at the picture for a moment and then handed it back to Carolyn. “It’s okay, I guess,” Ann said.

Carolyn was shocked and disappointed by her friend’s reaction. “Seriously?” she said. “It’s just okay?”

“Well, I guess it’s got some artistic qualities about it in an avant-garde sort of way,” Ann said. “But I’m not sure I see the same beauty in it that you do.”

“Oh my God,” Carolyn said indignantly. “How can you look at that photo and not see the beauty in it? It’s a goddam work of art.”

Ann grabbed the picture out of Carolyn’s hand and looked at it again. “Okay, sure, I can see the artistry,” she said. “But what made you take a picture of the setting sun being reflected on the surface of a slushy road?”

Carolyn took the picture back from Ann and looked at it again. “Oh for crissake, Ann,” Carolyn said. “You’re holding it upside down.”

975A6C51-D39A-477E-A545-1CC800B02EB5“Oh,” said Ann. “It’s a sunset over the lake. My bad.”

Written for today’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent. And, yes, Sue, it is a beautiful photograph when you look at it from the the right perspective. 😃

#writephoto — The Mausoleum

Martin finally received the results back from his DNA test. He was adopted when he was an infant and never knew who his real parents were. He was told that he had been adopted, but he never felt the need to know about his biological parents who had abandoned him. He loved the mother and father who raised him and he knew that they loved him.

But when his adoptive parents died a year ago in a freak car accident, there was a huge hole in Martin’s heart. So he decided to dig into who he is, and step one was sending a small sample of his saliva to one of those DNA testing services.

Martin was nervous when he opened the envelope and read the report. The results weren’t at all what he was expecting.

AF3CBF07-CF0F-4853-86B3-679D360F928DMartin’s adoptive parents were black. Martin’s skin was the color of coffee with a touch of cream. He’d always considered himself to be African-American. And yet, according to the report and the graph, his ancestry was less than six percent African. He was more than half French, almost one-third Jamaican, and about twelve percent Brazilian.

Martin also learned that he had no living relatives. His closest relative, his birth father, had died at the age of 60 when Martin was 19. Martin Googled his birth father and learned that he was a wealthy man who made his fortune in coal mining. He also discovered that his mother had died in childbirth. His father never remarried and had no other children.

The Google article noted that his father had been the great grandson of slave owners in Mississippi. The family left that state and moved to West Virginia after the Civil War due to a scandal over his great grandfather having had a torrid affair with a slave. His maternal grandmother was the product of that affair. She had been handed over to a family of freed slaves after her birth.

“That explains a lot,” thought Martin. Apparently his father, seeing the black baby his mother had birthed, gave the child up for adoption, rather than deal with yet another scandal, since he knew that his unhappy wife had been having an affair with a Jamaican diplomat.

Martin found out that the family had a mausoleum in West Virginia and he decided to go visit it. There he saw a statue of his great grandfather, the slave owner, in the rotunda of the shrine. It was then that Martin decided to contact the lawyers of his late father’s estate and claim his birthright to his birth family’s fortune, using the DNA evidence he had to bolster his claim.

And Martin vowed to donate it all — millions of dollars — to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

#writephoto — Swan Lake

7A563CD9-929C-4D68-97B1-9E3E7391A0ADThere were many origin stories for what became known as the “swan shrine.”

Some claim the obelisk served as a grave marker or tombstone carved by the ancient, indigenous people who occupied this land tens of thousands of years ago. The theory was that this stone stele was erected as a monument for commemorative purposes. The belief was that the site was used to bury one of their kings or high priests. But when archeologists first dug into the ground around the rock, no evidence of the site being used as an ancient burial ground was found.

The truth of the obelisk’s origin, though, dates back only a few hundred years to the farmer who originally owned this property. At that time there was a large lake on the farmer’s land and the lake was inhabited by the most magnificent white swans any of the locals had ever seen.

The farmer would come out every day and feed his beautiful swans. But something happened that turned the lake waters putrid and all of the farmer’s beloved swans died. He was bereft and almost inconsolable at the loss of the swans he so cherished. Ultimately he had to dredge the lake and fill it with soil, as nothing he tried was able to purify the water.

Once he had reclaimed the land, he took a large boulder and crafted a shrine for his swans. He etched crude images of three of them on its face and carved-out a deep-set, triangular arch toward the top of the obelisk to hold offerings and to light candles, which he did every day at the same time that he used to feed his swans.

After the farmer’s death, his land, along with the shrine, were purchased from his heirs by the city. The city dug out a new lake, which is now populated by numerous ducks, geese, and beautiful white swans. The farmer’s swan shrine overlooks what is now known as “Swan Lake.”

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

#writephoto — The Clearing

06A55884-65C1-4932-8037-76018DF3326BFrank pushed his grocery cart, the one he had appropriated from the Safeway a few months back, through the park. The cart, loaded with a sleeping bag, a tarp, some warm clothing, a few rolls of toilet paper, and some snacks and a bottle of cheap booze he’d swiped from the convenience store, was hard to push through the dirt on the trail.

Frank could see that the sun was starting to set and he needed to find a suitable place to set up camp for the night. He was looking for a path less traveled, and one where he could find a relatively flat clearing, isolated enough to shelter him from the disparaging glances of other patrons of the city park.

It wasn’t Frank’s fault that he was homeless. How could he know that the economy would come close to collapse and that the factory he worked at would be shuttered? How could he know that his wife would leave him and his grown kids would shun him after the alcohol turned him from a good man to a drunken bastard? How could he know that he’d lose his house and find himself on the streets begging for scraps and morsels like a mangy dog?

But this was not the time to consider such weighty thoughts. He just needed a clearing where, away from prying eyes, he could unfurl the tarp, roll out his sleeping bag, crawl inside, and pray that he would at last find his lasting, quiet, endless peace.

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

#writephoto — The Tundra

C2CD0E1D-F9A6-488A-A3E5-FA39A26B0535Ashok looked back across the frozen tundra toward the snow capped mountains. He had been walking day and night for at least two days, although he couldn’t be sure, since he was somewhat disoriented. He thought he was heading east, as the sun was slowly setting the over the mountain range and he was still lucid enough to remember that the sun sets in the west.

Or was he actually looking back toward the sunrise? He was confused. Maybe he was heading west. Maybe he was walking in circles. He was so tired, so cold, so hungry. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could go on like this.

How easy would it be for him to find a large rock to sit next to, to lean up against, to close his eyes, and to fall asleep. But he knew that if he dared to do that, he might never wake up.

Days, or maybe weeks, from now someone would find his frozen body and wonder what had happened to him. They’d find the crude, hand-drawn map in the pocket of his parka, see the “x” marking the spot where the loot from the heist was supposed to have been buried. But if they, like him, followed the map and reached the destination, they, too, would find the buried treasure gone, their trek in vain.

Ashok tried with all his will to keep walking, but his will was not quite strong enough to overcome his weariness. And so he found his rock, slinked down next to it, and closed his eyes. For the final time.

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.