#At0Z2016 : M Is For Moose

That damn moose! I will never forget that damn moose! Let me tell you about that evil thing, and what he did to me.

It was June of 2001, and all four of us went on a family vacation to New Hampshire. Back then, I did not have a digital camera, instead I had a Minolta Point-and-shoot 35mm film camera. Pat made sure I had lots of film for it so we wouldn’t run out on the trip. The camera ran on two AA batteries, and I had six spares, all rechargable, to make sure I didn’t run out of power to take pictures.

We’d been there a couple of days, exploring the state, and Pat and the kids, who were still kids back then, kept hoping to see a moose. A big moose, with big antlers. “Maybe one will pose for us. Maybe one will stand right outside the car, and look at us, and we can take really good pictures of it.”

We were heading back to the hotel after a day of exploring in caves, and old houses, at parks in New Hampshire. We’d stopped to get drinks someplace, and I was enjoying my drink, when she suddenly stopped the car. “Mark!”

I looked up, to see why she’d stopped.

There he was. That damn moose. Standing 20 feet from the car, looking right at us.

“Get the camera! Now!” I heard her words, and I didn’t think, I acted. I grabbed my camera from the floor, pulled the lense cap off, and raised it to take a picture. And…

The camera wouldn’t raise. It stopped. I pulled up, and the camera wasn’t having any of it. The kids in the back seat joined in, “Get the camera, Dad!”

“Mark! He’s going to get away!”

I pulled, and pulled, but the camera was magically stopping below the height of the dash of the car. No matter what I did, it wouldn’t come up.

And that damn moose stood there, shook its head, and walked toward the car.

I frantically tried to figure out what was wrong with the camera. I found the shoulder strap, and followed it to the car door. The camera strap was locked in the car door. I had to open the door to pull it free.

The moose walked down the other side of the road, until it got even with the car. The, he shook his head, and turned into the woods beside the road.

The camera was free. I raised it, and snapped a shot, but nothing happened. I turned the camera on, and waited the six painful seconds for it to power up, and be ready to take a picture.

Pat was beside herself, “Mark! He’s gone! The moose is gone!”

The kids were in the back seat, “Dad! You missed the moose!” They were laughing about as hard as I’ve ever seen them laugh.

And that damn moose vanished into the trees.

I swear I could hear it laughing at me.

Friggin’ moose.

And I’ve never seen another moose in the wild since that day.


It’s April 17th, and I’m a still one dayy behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 13 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#Rebirth : A Waste Of Time

“Have you watched him?” Kelly smiled as she pointed toward Edward.

“No.” Kelly admitted. “I’ve never been here with him.”

The two walked through the Camellia garden, taking their time, drinking in the colors and shapes of the Camellia blossoms filling the trees. “You should watch him.”

“Why?”

“Because.”

Cynthia watched Edward walk among the trees, with his camera. Edward stopped often and took another picture of another Camellia bloom. Sometimes, he took a dozen pictures of booms on a single tree. Sometimes, he took a dozen pictures of a single bloom. “What am I supposed to see?”

“Him.”

Him? She saw him five times a week at work. She talked with him, ate lunch with him, swapped birthday cards with him. Edward was her friend from work.

They followed Edward through the trees, keeping him in sight as he moved from tree to tree. He moved in circles, and zig zag lines. He stopped at a tree, took pictures, then looked around, spotted another tree, and made his way to it.

Cynthia checked the time on her watch. Twenty minutes of walking from tree to tree. “What is he doing?”

Kelly giggled. “He’s remembering.”

“Remembering what?”

Kelly didn’t answer. Cynthia shook her head. Twenty minutes staring at trees. Taking pictures with no rhyme, no reason. He had plenty of pictures. How many pictures could he take of Camellia trees and their flowers?

“He has thousands of pictures of Camellia blooms.”

“He does?”

Kelly’s smile was a relaxed, happy smile. “And he still takes more.” She watched Edward moving around a specific bloom, trying to hold his camera to take the best shot, with the best framing and background. “Don’t you wonder why?”

“It’s a waste of time.”

“Is it?”

Cynthia wanted to scream, “Yes! I have things to do! Places to go! A life to live! Deadlines, and commitments. I can’t be here, wasting time, wandering through a bunch of trees, looking at stupid flowers!”

“Why is it a waste of time?”

“What?” Surely, Kelly knew she’d asked a stupid question.

“Why is it a waste of time?” Kelly’s grin told Cynthia she knew everything, every reason taking pictures of flowers was silly, and a waste of time.

“You know.”

“So tell me.”

Cynthia took a deep breath and shook her head. “It’s his day off. He’s got things to do. A home to take care of. Laundry to wash. Dishes to wash. A lawn to mow. His family to take care of. Groceries to buy.”

“Yes. He does.”

“He doesn’t have time to wander around, taking stupid pictures.”

“Watch him.” Kelly resumed watching Edward, her eyes alive with color, and light, as if seeing something beautiful, something special. Cynthia had seen that look, she knew what it meant.

“What are you watching?”

“Just watch.”

She watched Kelly, as Kelly watched Edward. She realized Kelly was stopping at the same trees Edward stopped at, looking at the same Camellia blooms he looked at, watching him to see where he went, what he looked at.

“He always finds the prettiest blooms.”

Cynthia looked at the Camellia blooms too. Pink, red, white, and variegated, pink and red, pink and white, red and white. All of them different. Some just starting to open. Others in full bloom. Bright green leaves, others dark forest green, others almost pastel green, dark green, almost black veins laced through them.

The petals of the booms weren’t solid colors. Some looked like velvet. Others were like the leaves, veins of color laced through them. Pink with pink veins. Red with black veins. White with white.

She found herself carefully examining Camellia blooms. Their colors, their textures, their shapes. She found her eyes drinking in their colors, trying to burn them into her memory, so she could see them when she closed her eyes. So she could dream of them at night.

Cynthia watched Edward move from tree to tree, “He doesn’t care about the pictures, does he.”

“He doesn’t.” Kelly smiled, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.

“He’s not here to take pictures.”

Kelly didn’t answer, moving to another of the Camellia blooms Edward has stopped at. Cynthia joined her, the two of them drinking in the sights Edward lead them too. Cynthia forgot about time. About responsibilities. About everything.

“Do you understand?”

Cynthia felt lighter. Less encumbered. Less trapped. She closed her eyes, and had to smile. “I want to look at more flowers.”

“Tell Edward.” Kelly pushed her toward Edward. “He’s been here dozens of times. He knows where all the flowers are. When they bloom. When they peak. When to find them.”

“I can’t. I don’t want to bother him.”

Kelly giggled again. She marched up to Edward. “Cynthia wants to see more flowers.”

Edward grinned, nodded, and off he went. They followed him, through the camellias, to a paved path to another part of the garden filled with Azaleas in full bloom.

He smiled at Kelly. “Will this do?”

All she could do was nod.

“You’re welcome,” and he smiled. She’d never seen his eyes so alive. She watched him walk through the Azaleas, many so filled with color, and with blooms, she couldn’t even see their leaves. Some towered over her. Some were tiny bushes, barely knee-high. Some lined walkways with walls of color. Pink, red, almost orange, white, and even blue with white middles. Oceans of blooms.

“I told you to watch him.”

Cynthia giggled.

“Do you know why?”

“He remembers, doesn’t he.”

Kelly laughed.

“He remembers what life is.”

Kelly drank in the colors and fragrances of the Azaleas. “Yes, he does. And every time he comes here, it brings him back to life.”

Cynthia couldn’t argue with her. Just by watching Edward, she’d felt her heart and soul wake up from the sleep she put them in each day when she became a responsible grown up.

“He remembers.”

“Shut up, Kelly. I have Azaleas to look at.”

They both laughed.