#writephoto — The Forest for the Trees

132116e7-f536-491f-b49e-6d3f0c1d9014“That is absolutely fantastic,” Ellen said as she and her son were on their way to do some shopping at their local mall.

“What is, Mom?” Jimmy asked.

Ellen pointed to the wall. “That is,” she said. “It is so artistic, so expressive. The genius of the person who created it is truly amazing.”

“Uh, Mom,” Jimmy said, “I think you’re going a little overboard in your enthusiasm. It seems pretty straightforward to me.”

“Straightforward?” Ellen exclaimed. “You take after your father, don’t you? Just like him, you fail to see the beauty and artistry that is all around us. How can you see that,” she said, pointing again to the wall, “and not feel a sense of wonder? How does it not stir your imagination, heighten your senses, and elevate your spirit?”

“What are you talking about, Mom?” Jimmy asked. “It’s just a sign. And it’s kind of funny, actually.”

“Yes, it is a sign,” Ellen said. “It’s a sign from God. It’s a sign that speaks to the talent, artistry, and grace He has imbued in us. It’s a celebration of His love for us. There’s nothing funny about it. It’s a thing of beauty. It’s inspirational.”

“Mom,” Jimmy said, shaking his head. “It’s a sign that has two cartoon-like cars facing each other. It says, ‘Please Park Bumper-to-Bumper.’”

“I’m talking about the mural painted on the wall,” Ellen said, “not about the damn parking sign. You are so like your father. You can’t see the forest for the trees.” she added, as she stalked off in the direction of the mall.

“Whatever,” Jimmy sighed under his breath, running to catch up with his mother.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — Heritage

2142471b-500f-4489-bbb7-15e0f3631cb6Phoebe was excited when the envelope arrived. Having been adopted when she was just a baby, she knew nothing about her heritage. She dearly loved the couple who adopted her, and they were the only parents she ever knew, but once she turned 25, the void in her life, that of finding her roots, had to be addressed. It was an itch that she knew had to be scratched.

It took nearly four months, but the envelope from the DNA testing service Phoebe had engaged finally was delivered. Her hands were actually trembling as she carefully opened the envelope and read the report.

456459cc-6aaf-443e-b38c-11d398393fffWhen she saw that her heritage was 90% Scottish, it both shocked and excited Phoebe. She decided that she needed to dig deeper and to investigate her family tree. Did she come from peasant stock, the working class, or maybe even the aristocracy? Phoebe had to know; she became obsessed with learning more of her heritage. She paid more money to the DNA testing service and ultimately learned that her ancestry could be traced all the way back to the time of the Scottish king, Robert I, popularly known as Robert the Bruce.

That’s when Phoebe took a leave of absence from her job and flew to Scotland to find out even more. She spent two months going deeper and deeper into her family’s history. It ultimately led her to a cemetery where she came across an old stone sarcophagus carved in the shape of a warrior knight. This knight, who had fought bravely in battle along side Robert the Bruce, was distantly related to her historic clan.

Phoebe was so overcome with emotions when she discovered the location of her most distant relative that she came back the next day and placed a single red rose across the sarcophagus, along with a handwritten note that read, “In memory of a loyal knight of the House of Bruce who gave his life for his king in July 1314.”

Shortly thereafter, Phoebe flew home and told her adoptive parents of her discovery, and then hugged them both, thanking them profusely for their love and care.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — The Great Outdoors

c4f26af9-3fc6-4e23-a7e4-7c6c8f2a3a65“What a stunning sunset, Josh. Isn’t it beautiful?” Sara asked. “Look at how much dimension there is to the sky with that layer of clouds. It’s so dramatic.”

“This is pure madness, Sara,” Josh said. “It’s cold and damp and it’s nothing short of crazy to go tent camping in the beginning of January.”

“Oh come on, Josh,” Sara said. “Let’s think of this as an adventure.”

“Spring, summer, or fall would be a good time for a camping adventure,” Josh said. “Look at those bare, spiky tree branches. That, and the freezing temperature, doesn’t exactly inspire spending a night in the great outdoors.”

“Grab some of the tree branches that are on the ground and let’s build a fire,” Sara said. “Once we light it up, we can cuddle together in front of the fire and it will keep us nice and toasty.”

“Nothing like igniting a fire in front of a tent on a cold, wintry night to generate a little warmth,” Josh said, smiling for the first time that evening.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. I know Sue described this picture as having been taken at dawn, but it fit better into my story as being taken at dusk.

Also written for these one-word prompts: Nova’s Daily Random Word (dimension), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (madness), Daily Addictions (damp), Ragtag Daily Prompt (spiky), and Word of the Day Challenge (ignite).

#writephoto — The Calming Clouds

339D1947-3C7F-4C84-B11E-DDE647BE625BDarren stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind him. Concerned, his wife ran outside after him and found him standing there, hands on his hips, staring off into the sky.

“Darren, what’s wrong? she asked when she got to his side. She reached down and grabbed his hand. “What’s got you so upset?”

Darren continued to stare at the sky. He saw the sun shining through the gray clouds, illuminating the bare branches of the winter trees. After a moment he sighed and said, “I’m sorry, Liz, but I just get so damn angry every time I watch the news. The man took an oath of office in which he swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. But everything he does, ever word he utters, is detrimental to the country and its citizens and violates the oath he took when he became president. I find it relaxing to watch the slow movements of the clouds across the sky. I brings me peace.”

“Well, you deserve some peace and relaxation, that’s for sure,” Liz said. “And as to Trump and all of his rich, corpulent political sycophants, and corporate fat cats, their corrupt and despicable manifestations of amoral behavior will be judged appropriately by the court of history.”

“I hope you’re right, honey,” Darren said, “but in the meantime, I’m at peace just watching the clouds float by.


This political fantasy was written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. I also fit in these one-word prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (oath), Fandago’s One-Word Challenge (detrimental), Your Daily Word Prompt (relaxation), Ragtag Daily Prompt (corpulent), and Nova’s Daily Random Word (manifestation).

#writephoto — The Long Walk

34416887-00AC-41B3-BFF4-821FF8F185D9Eric stopped, lowered his large backpack onto the surface of the road, and took a sip of water from his water bottle. His gaze followed the road that led across the valley toward the foothills in the distance. He looked at his Apple Watch to check his progress. It had clocked 28,321 steps for the day so far. At his stride, that equated to about 13.6 miles. His goal was 20 miles a day and he felt pretty damn good about his prospects for hitting today’s daily target. Less than six and a half miles to go. Piece of cake.

Five Days Earlier…

“You’re doing what?” his daughter, Shana, said when he first told her and her brother, Jesse, about his plans.

“Dad, you’re 67 years old,” Jesse said. “What are you trying to prove?”

“I’m trying to prove that I’m alive, son,” Eric said. “Ever since your mother passed last summer, I’ve been kind of lost, my life without purpose, without meaning. I’ve always been driven by a sense of accomplishment and if I don’t set a goal for myself and work toward achieving that goal, I might as well just roll over and die, too.”

“But Dad,” Shana said, “don’t you think this plan of yours is a bit extreme?”

“Walking 20 miles a day is not extreme,” Eric said. “I used to walk almost that much nearly every day when our dog was still alive.”

“Bandit died ten years ago, Dad,” Jesse pointed out.

“Listen, I’m going to do this and I’d appreciate your support, you two,” Eric said.

“You’re a stubborn old man,” Shana said, “but of course you have our support. Whatever you need, Dad.”

“Thank you, honey,” Eric said. “What about you, Jesse?”

Jesse rolled his eyes and nodded his head. “When are you planning to leave?” he asked.

“On Monday,” Eric said.

“And how long will it take?” Shana asked.

“If all goes according to plan, between five and six months,” Eric said. “That assumes I can consistently log around twenty miles a day.”

“Has anyone your age ever done anything like this before, Dad?” Shana asked.

“I don’t know, sweetheart,” Eric answered, “but I’m not trying to set or break any records. I’m doing it because I need to do something challenging and different.”

“Well, Dad,” Eric said, “I’d say that a 67 year old man walking from San Diego, California to Portland, Maine will satisfy both.”


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