Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/04/23

I paused when I saw the feather on the ground, propped up by the rocks. “Daddy? Is Momma OK?” I brushed the hair from my eyes, and looked at the clouds. “She’s safe up there, isn’t she?”

Daddy knelt beside me, “Yes, Abbey. Momma’s safe.” He picked up the feather.

“Is it from an Angel, Daddy?”

“I don’t know, Abbey. I can’t tell.” He held the feather out, stared at it, and then looked at two seagulls as they flew by, right along the beach. “But I don’t think so.” He pointed at the gulls. “I think it’s from a seagull.”

I nodded, slowly. “Is Momma in the fight, Daddy? Do you know?”

Daddy smiled. “I don’t know. I’m sure she’d let us know if she was.”

I took the feather from him. It was soft, like my shirt, but softer. And so smooth. I couldn’t feel any bumps on it. And I’d never realized how light feathers were. I ran my fingers across its length, “But how do Angels talk to us?”

He nodded, and watched the ocean waves a moment, as if searching for something he’d lost. “They can talk, you know.” Daddy took my hand, “Just like we do.”

“Angels can talk?”

“Oh, yes. They can. They talk among themselves all the time.” With me still holding the feather, we resumed our walk along the ocean. “But they don’t talk to people so much.”

I squeezed my Daddy’s hand, “How can you tell if you’ve heard an Angel?”

He didn’t answer for a while, as we walked along, and all I heard was the ocean, and the seagulls. Until I answered for him. “Is that what that small voice is?”

“Small voice?”

“Yes, Daddy. That small voice. The one that’s always right.”

Even his eyes smiled. “Yes, I do think it is.”

“That small voice no one listens to. You know. The one that tells you to do your homework, or put the dishes in the sink, or make your bed. That one.”

He nodded, “The same one that tells me, turn here, instead of going straight when I’m driving?”

I bounced up and down, “Yes, Daddy! Yes! That voice.”

Daddy picked me up, and carried me as we walked. “Yes, Abbey. That voice.”

I held the feather out. “So, Momma talks to me every day, doesn’t she?”

Daddy nodded, and I promised to listen more to Momma. She was, after all, an Angel. And they know how to stay out of trouble really well, don’t they.

420 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 7th week. You can read about the challenge here. I’ve enjoyed writing for it every week so far. I never know what’s going to happen when I start to write. I just have to get out of my way, and let the story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

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#AtoZ2016 : S Is For Senses

I wonder sometimes
If I’m the only one who does.
I don’t think I am.
But I wonder.
Is it something social people do?
Or is it something people like me do?

I know we all have senses.
Taste,
Touch,
Sight,
Smell,
Hearing.
But I know too,
We all have them in different ways.
Different levels.

Like the blind.
Their sense of sight is damaged,
If not totally gone.

Or the deaf,
Who maybe can hear some,
And maybe not.

I know we all have senses.
And I know,
What my senses tell me
Is not what yours tell you.

So I wonder, sometimes.
As I sit, alone,
And feel.

As I feel the different temperatures
In the air around me.
The different air currents.
My sense of touch tells me of them.
When I stop.
When I pay attention.
I can feel so much.

I can close my eyes,
Touch my fingertips,
And feel the texture
Of my fingerprints.

I can even sit quietly,
And if I pay attention,
I can feel other things.
Like the rhythm
Of my pulse.
The texture of the clothing I wear.

I wonder,
Is that something others do?

There are times I sit,
On the sand at the beach,
Or on the ground,
In a park,
Or a nature preserve.
And I listen.

And I wonder,
Do others listen?
And if they do,
What do they hear?

Do they hear the sounds
Of the ocean’s waves,
Of the gulls, and terns,
The calls of an osprey?

Do they hear anything at all.
Or nothing.
Is everything they hear
Drowned out,
Washed away,
By life.
By stress.
By the things they do.

Do they ever see the way
The sunlight strikes the waves?
The translucent color of the water,
As it just starts to break.
The flash of light,
Sometimes ribbons,
Sometimes diamonds,
On the faces of the waves.

Do they see the ocean’s spray.
The sand moving along the beach
As the wind blows,
The footprints of the birds.

Or do they see nothing.
Save for a splash of color.
An opportunity to take a picture.
A moment to pause,
To take a breath,
And then return to the real world.
The world in which they work.

Music touches me.
The sounds of music resonate,
Echo,
Play endlessly,
Within my head,
My mind,
My heart,
My soul.

I cover my ears
And I can hear the endless ringing,
The electronic scream
That’s always there.
That never goes away.
From my damaged hearing.

But I can always hear
So much more.

I can always hear
The music that moves me.
That touches me.
That reaches past everything.

Until all the noise falls away.
All the responsibilities.
The work I do.
All of it falls away.

And I feel the music
Touch my soul.

And I wonder.
Does this happen to others?
Do they feel this too?

Or have the lost touch
With their body’s senses?
Have they become numb,
So that even music
Cannot reach them anymore?

Sometimes, I wonder,
Is that how senses work
For other people?
Is that normal?
Is that how people are?

Or are they like me?
Do they feel,
Hear,
Touch,
Smell,
See,
Like I do?

And is it my senses
That tell me I’m alive?

Perhaps I’ll never know.
Perhaps I’m not supposed to know.
Perhaps no one is supposed to know
How someone else’s senses work.

I only know for certain,
I would not be who I am
Without my senses.

They are a part of me.


It’s April 23rd, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. I expect to catch up on Tomorrow. Only 7 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.

#ThursThreads Week 194 : Tonight She Is Forced To Say Goodbye

Rose stood beside the ocean, staring at the horizon as she wondered if she’d ever see Sword again. It had been nearly two years since his mother, Queen Oceana had left the note, and sword became King. “I wish you could hear me.”

Sunshine watched her sister stand beside the ocean. It broke her heart to see her sister so alone. Rose and Sword belonged together, and they always had. Since the day Mystica brought him to the lake, when he was six. She remembered Sword made his first journey from the ocean to the lake that same year, to visit Rose, with the blessings of his mother.

The two of them had camped in the woods many times as they’d grown up. Sword visited every few months. In the days before the war with the people from the stars, Sword fought beside Rose and her sisters, to protect the villages in the forest.

But, in the two years since he’d become King, he hadn’t visited her, hadn’t even spoke with her.

Now, Sunshine watched Rose stand beside the Ocean, “Tonight, she is forced to say goodbye. And move on.” As Sunshine watched and her heart ached for her sister, a cold, bitter rain began to fall. Rose knew it was her sister who caused the rain, but it was OK. The rain told Rose how much her sister cared.

The two of them stood beside the ocean and waited for the dawn.

243 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 194. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#MWBB Week 2-34 : Gun

Devin let his fingers curl around the grip of the Guardian in his pocket, but kept his finger outside the trigger guard. Wouldn’t do to shoot himself in the thigh by playing with the silly thing, and he’d have a hell of a time explaining it to Beverly.

Beverly, his wife. The bitch. The whore. He hadn’t slept in the same bed with her for three years, and he never would sleep with her again. “Let me think. Thomas, Frederick, William, Hans.” He grinned as his thumb slid down the short, stubby barrel of his gun. “There’s always a Hans, isn’t there?”

Yes, it was a concealed weapon. He’d even concealed it from her. She didn’t need to know about it. Didn’t need to know he’d learned to use it, learned to hit his target. It was his Guardian. The NAA was his gun. It was the last piece of pride, self-respect, and self-confidence he had. Hell, it was probably the only respect of any kind he had.

God knew no one at church or at work had any respect left for him. “Why doesn’t he move out? Leave her?” Yeah, he’d heard the questions, heard the talk. “Doesn’t he know she’s sleeping with other men?”

Yeah, he knew. But he wondered, “What would be the point in leaving?” She’d have the house. She’d have the kids. She’d have the car. He’d be broke, living in a single-wide trailer in a park named Camelot somewhere, sending her all his money every two weeks.

“That ain’t happening. Not to me.”

Hell, two of the divorces in the church and one where he worked happened because Beverly wrapped her legs around the husbands. He knew that, but he didn’t say a thing. Just went to work five days a week, came home five nights a week, watched TV, ate whatever she bothered to fix, never complained, had a beer, and then racked out on the sofa with his tablet, and searched for porn. He liked to imagine it was him fucking all the women. He left Beverly alone.

She didn’t have anything to complain about.

On Saturday, he did the yard work, washed the car, weeded the flower beds, worked in the gardens. He was the model husband. On Saturday night, Beverly went out. Devin figured she was getting banged somewhere, by someone. Maybe even another Hans. He took the Guardian, and went to the range. He wrote names on the targets. The names of the men he knew she’d screwed. It was fun, shooting Hans full of holes.

Sundays, he went out on his boat. More of a dingy, really. He got it so he could go sit on the water, watch the ocean, pretend to fish. Get away from her. Get away from everything. For a few hours. Just watch the ocean.

He carried his Guardian everywhere. Even to work. No one knew. Anytime he got stressed out, angry, or frustrated, he just put his hand in his pocket, and let his gun keep him safe. He’d never shoot anyone. Really. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. Not even Hans, whoever the fuck he was. No. He just liked to touch his gun, and remember he really did have the power to change everything.

Beverly? Oh, he’d never leave her. No. He wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. He’d carry on, his little gun in his pocket, and wait for her to leave. He figured she would, eventually. And if she never left? He curled his fingers around the grip again. When it was time, he knew what to do.

When it was time.

He slipped the Guardian under the edge of the sofa, took the last chug of his beer, and stretched out. “Think I’ll look at a few pictures, then crash.” He reached beneath the edge of the sofa, let his fingers touch the barrel of the Guardian one last time, “Good night, my friend. Sleep tight.”

It was his only friend.

663 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 34 (Week 2.34) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

#MWBB 36 : Howlin For You

Friday night. And I was alone. In my car. Going to watch a movie. With no one. Going to eat a dinner somewhere. With no one. Going to lie on my bed, with my eyes open, staring at the ceiling all night. Again.

That’s not how I wanted to spend my Friday night. I wanted to spend it with her. Take her to a movie she wanted to watch. I’d have even gone to watch one of those love story movies, if that’s what she’d wanted. I wouldn’t have cared what movie. I wouldn’t have seen the movie, or remembered it. I’d have seen her. I’d have talked with her. I’d have sat next to her. Maybe she’d have even held my hand.

But she wasn’t with me. I’d picked a movie for me. Just like I did every Friday night. One movie after another. And I sat through it, wishing she was there.

After the move I’d have taken her to dinner. A real restaurant. With sit down service. Not a pizza place. Not fast food. She liked Italian. So I’d have picked an Italian place. She’d sit across the table from me. We’d talk about the movie. And about work, and school, and our friends. I’d get to watch her again. See the way the light shined through her hair. See the way her hair caressed her neck and shoulders. I’d wish I could put my hands where her hair was, letting my fingertips trace the curves of her shoulders. I’d stare into her eyes, and forget everything. No studies. No projects. No deadlines. Nothing. I’d just stare into her soft blue eyes. And get lost. I’d talk about anything she wanted. For as long as she wanted. And we’d get a desert. And split it. Two spoons, one for each of us.

Instead, I went to Taco Bell. A fast food burrito, and an absurdly big cup of Mountain Dew. I wolfed both down, and got out of there as quickly as I could. I’d learned. If I kept moving, I didn’t notice as much how she wasn’t there.

After dinner, if she wanted, I’d drive to the ocean front. And we’d take a walk on the beach. She’d take off her shoes, and walk barefoot on the sand. And she’d hold my hand. Her graceful, delicate fingers laced through mine. Our palms pressed together. I wouldn’t even notice the ocean breeze, or the sounds of the waves. I wouldn’t even notice the other people there. All I’d see was her. All I’d feel was her hand, holding mine.

Instead, I went home. To my room, shut the door, and turned off the lights. And I pulled aside my curtains, and looked out the window, into the dark. I stared at the stars, and the moon. I knew they were alone. So far from everyone, and everything. The stars couldn’t talk to each other. No one could visit them. Stars were isolated islands in an ocean larger than I could ever imagine. The stars were alone.

Like me.

Without her.

I slept with the curtains open that night. Lying on my bed. Staring at the stars for hours. Until I passed out. I’d done good. I was proud of myself.

I didn’t cry.

546 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 36 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#MWBB 29 : Stay

It broke my heart
To answer you today,
When you asked me,
Please,
Stay.

You asked me to stay with you.
To hold your hand.
To walk with you
Out on the sand
Down by the water’s edge.

“Stay with me,
Please”
You asked.
“Wrap your arms around me
As we watch the sunrise.
And then kiss me again.
And again.”

“Stay with me,
Please”
You asked.
“Hold me when the sun sets.
And then all through the night.”

But I could not stay.

“Stay with me,
Please”
You begged.
You pleaded.
“We can walk through the roses,
Hand in hand.
And spend hours on end
Watching the butterflies
Again.”

My heart ached
As you spoke those words.
If only I could
Spend time with you.
Sitting on the sand at sunrise.
As the sun
Brings the colors of the world
Back to life once more.

If only I could
Kiss your lips
As the ocean waves
Played their songs of life
Once more.

“Stay with me,
Please”
You whispered,
As your fears
brought tears
To your eyes so blue.

You should know.
I love you.
I really do.

But I cannot stay with you.

Both our hearts know
This is true.
Although someday
I may find a way
To return.

Right now
I cannot stay.
For I would be in the way.
I would halt the flow of time.
So you could never change.
And never grow.
And never learn to walk
On your own.

For I know the truth.
I know why you asked.
You pleaded.
You begged.

I know
You are afraid
To be alone.
You are afraid
Of you.

If I stayed
You would use me
As a crutch.
You would put me
In your heart.
Where you need to be.

You would look into the mirror
When you wake up
Every day.
And see me looking back
At you.

You would do everything
I wanted to.
And love every minute of it.
Because you wouldn’t
Have to live
With you.

You would never learn
To see your own eyes
In the mirror.
Stare into their
Clear,
Strong
Blue.

You would never take the time
To stand out on the sand,
Down by the water’s edge.
And listen to the songs
The ocean sings to you.
Watch the world prepare
For its healing rest
As the sun fell from the sky.
Feel the world
Come back to life
As the sun restores
All the color
Painted over by the night.

You would hold my hand
So you would never get the chance
To feel the breeze
Flow between your fingers,
And across your palms.
And your fingertips
Would never feel the texture
Of the sand
On which you stand.

And you would never see
The beauty of the roses
Of the butterflies.
Because you would see me.
Keeping you company.
So you wouldn’t be alone.

If I were to stay
You would never get the chance
To meet yourself.
To be alone.
And learn to see you
As I do.

If I were to stay
You would never learn
Why I love you so.

That is why
I cannot stay.

That is why
I have to go.

533 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 98 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#12DaysBop : Day 12 – Camping In December

It’s Day 12, the last day of Stacy Hoyt’s 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop. The last prompt is the gift of moon. And I’ve always liked the full moon…


We went camping at False Cape every three months. Our first trip was in March. We spent two nights in the park so we could spend an entire day exploring. We saw so many wild flowers just starting to bloom. The trees were just starting to leaf out. Many of them filled with flowers. The Dogwoods were especially pretty. She liked the pink ones best.

In June we’d walked the beach all the way to North Carolina. She’d loved it. Watching the dolphins out at sea. Watching the pelicans fly in their precise formations. Several times, we’d stopped, and sat down on the sand, and watched the sand crabs digging their holes and skittering along the sand.

In September, we watched the sun set into the sound on the west side of the park. And the sun rise from the ocean in the east. We had fun, watching the rabbits forage for food. I lost count of how many deer we saw.

In December. It was cold, but we had fun exploring trails in the park. They ran all the way to North Carolina. We loved hiking together. That night, after the sun set, we took a walk by the ocean. The way the light of the full moon reflected off the waves was stunning. We stopped, and watched the endless waves.

And on the sand, in December, beneath the full moon, we closed our eyes and listened to the music of the ocean.  While she still listened, I reached in my pocket, and pulled out the ring. I got down on one knee, and when she opened her eyes, I asked her to marry me.

She said yes.


Please go enjoy the rest of the stories in the blog hop. There are some really gifted writers out there. It’s well worth reading their work. You can find the other entries here:

The 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop, Day 12 – The Gift Of Moon

#12DaysBop : Day 8 – It’s Only Water. Nothing More.

It’s day 8 of Stacy Hoyt’s 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop. Today, the prompt is seas…


They say the ocean doesn’t care for anyone, anywhere. Like the land, the sky, the rocks, it simply is. That without the animals and plants living in its depths, the ocean is just water. Cold. Unfeeling. And uncaring. Only water. Nothing more.

They say people see what they want to see. They have given the ocean a personality. A name. And a behavior. Calling it the harsh mistress of the sea. A dangerous place that’s taken countless lives. A graveyard for ships through the centuries.

But I know when I walk upon the sand, down by the water’s edge, it hears every whisper, every voice. It hears laughter and tears both. It knows, and it hears. How else would it know when to make a wish come true?

Like when its waves form fractured mirrors, reflecting the sunlight, like the sun was striking diamonds floating on the surface of the sea. Or when it rests just calm enough so you can see the dolphins as they swim along the beach. Like when the crashing of the waves upon the shore can soothe the aching of your heart, and calm your fears, so you can sleep at night.

Like now. As I stand here. By the water’s edge, as the sun slowly inches into sight far to the East. Its light melting away the blackness of the night, and bring back to life, the colors of the world. As if it’s reminding me there’s always hope. Dawn always comes. And life moves on.

I think I’ll stand here for a time. And reach out with my heart. And let the power of the ocean heal the wounds deep in my soul.


Please go enjoy the rest of the stories in the blog hop. There are some really gifted writers out there. It’s well worth reading their work. You can find the other entries here:

The 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop, Day 8 – The Gift Of Seas

Disciplined? Me?

There it was.
A note from her.
“You’re so disciplined!”
It started.

And I laughed.
Me?
Disciplined?
Since when?

But I thought a while.
I do that, you know.
Think.
It’s how I figure out
This world I never made.

I remembered as I thought.
All the times I’ve heard those words.
Through the decades of life
I’ve been blessed with.

And I finally understood.
It all fell into place.
Another puzzle piece
Made sense.

I would like to say
I’m not disciplined at all.
But I suppose I am
In my own way.

See.
There’s just so much
Other people
Just don’t know.

Let me ask about
Your kitchen sink.
Are there any dirty dishes,
Pots and pans,
And empty cans
In it?
How long have they been there?
Since this morning?
Since last week?
Will the kitchen sink be empty
When your day ends,
And you go to sleep?

Mine won’t.
It almost never is.
I have fits keeping up
With the dishes.

I try.
Gods, how I try.
And sometimes,
I get on a roll,
And get them done
Every morning.
For a week.

And then…
Well…
Things just don’t work out.
And I end up
With dishes in the sink.
Sometimes for several days.
Before I get around
To them.

When was the last time you swept
Your kitchen floor?
Last night?
This morning?
Hell,
Even once a week?

You know.
I can’t remember when
I last swept mine.
It’s been a while.
It’s something
That just slips my mind.

But I get to it
Every now and then.
When my feet tell me,
“I’m not walking in there
Again!”

Thursday was trash-day
In my neighborhood.
Put the trash bin out
By the curb.
And when the truck comes by
It all just goes away.

I’m mostly good at that.
I collect it up
And get it out.
Almost every Thursday.
But.
Every now and then.
I just hose that up.
I get the bin to the curb.
Just before the truck arrives.

And everything inside the house
Collects in the bin
For a whole week.

Silly me.

Then there’s laundry.
Oceans of it.
I’m betting you
Almost never
Run out of socks.
Or pants.
Or under-ware.
Unlike me.
I run out frequently.
Seems I just can’t keep up
With the laundry to be washed.

I end up with it
Piled mountain high
In the hallway downstairs.
Washing it all
At one time.

Even though I know
It would be easier
To wash and fold it
As I go.

Do you vacuum your carpets?
I’m not saying that I don’t.
I mean,
Just this week,
I cleaned the one in the Family room
Right up.
Vacuumed that sucker
Twice.

First time I’ve cleaned it
In two months…

Oh, yeah.
I’m disciplined.

I used to think
This was all bad.
I was such a failure.
Because everyone knows
You do those things
To take care of your home.
And your family.

And I felt like
I was broken.
As if something was wrong.
When I couldn’t keep up
Every day,
And every week,
With the things
Everyone else gets done.

But I’ve learned.

I’m not good at those things.
They’re hard for me to do.
It takes time.
It takes effort.
It’s hard work.
Other things I do
Are simple for me.

And that piece of the puzzle
That just fell into place?
That’s exactly what it says.
I do things
That I can do.
That I like to do.
That make me feel OK.
That make me feel good.

And then I do the things
I have to do.

Isn’t that what you do too?

It makes people feel good,
I suppose,
To have the perfect home.
Where not one single dish
Sits in the kitchen sink.
And you could eat an egg
Off the kitchen floor.

Some people,
I suppose,
Like the idea
Of the carpets being clean.
So you can’t even see
A single cat hair
Anywhere
On them.

And some people
Seem to like
That the laundry’s always clean.
That everything’s all folded,
Put away in drawers,
Or hung up in a closet.

I’ve even known some people
That collect the trash
Through their whole house
Ever single night.
And put it in the trash bin
Before they go to bed.

And I’m OK with that.
But that’s not me.

To me,
They’re disciplined.
And I’m a wild man.
With no rules.
And no discipline at all.

Me?
Disciplined?
Really?

Not one single bit
More than you.

I’m just different.
That’s all.

Life Is Change

I stood next to my mentor. On the beach. It was bitterly cold. The wind was rushing in from the ocean. Lifting waves of loose sand, blowing them toward the dunes. The waves crashed into the shore, the wind adding catching a fine mist of water, blending it with the sand. The wind stripped away any body head I had. Leaving me even colder. My hands were numb. My ears ached. I found myself wishing I could go inside. Or back to the car. Anywhere that was out of the wind. “You wonder why you are here, yes?” He spoke. Always, he started with a question that he already knew the answer to. I merely nodded. Then he began the lesson of the day. He began walking toward the dunes. Along the way, he stopped, picking up a handful of dried, dead sea grass. It had that dull, gray-brown color. “Everything changes, young one. This is something you must learn.” He walked back toward the ocean. Right into the wind, with it’s sand, and ocean mist. Stopping just short of the waves. He made a fist, crushing the dead, dry grass he’d collected. Leaving only pieces, shards, fragments. Collected in his hand. Protected from the wind. “The people of this life collect up a few things. A career. A home. A car. A spouse. Children. All the things they believe define success. Much as I hold this dead grass in my hand.” He looked into the wind. “But the wind of life. It blows. The ocean of life. It’s waves come and go. It’s tide rises, and falls.” He looked up and down the beach, motioning that I should do the same. “As the wind blows. As the ocean’s waves come and go. The beach changes. It does not stay the same. It lets go of old things. Old forms. And welcomes new things. New forms.” “I can make what’s in my hand stay the same,” he explained. “So long as I keep it all within my closed hand. Where the wind can not blow it away. Where the ocean can not carry it to sea.” He smiled at me. “ I nodded my head. Then he continued. “I can interfere. I can block the wind. I can block the ocean. And keep what I have in my hand.” He looked at me. “But this is like me being able to stop, or control the weather. It would stop the flow of life.” He faced the wind, holding his hand out in front of himself. Opening his palm. And watching as their crushed, brown fragments blew away on the breeze. “Or, I can let the wind, and the water, do what they want to do. I can let them change what is in my hand.” I watched the fragments as the wind moved them from his hand. “Do you understand, young one?” I answered honestly, as I knew he would know if I were to lie. “No.” He smiled, then spoke. “Over the coming 6 months, you will spend the time required to come here. To this beach. Once a week. And you will stand here. And take pictures of the beach, both to the North and South. Examine each picture. Compare it to the other pictures. Remember what I have said and done here today. Then you will understand.” I did what he had asked of me. And as the six months came to an end, we reviewed my pictures. It was very clear what he’d said. The pictures showed how the beach changed, every week. How it was not static., always changing. He’d tried to warn me about the trap of losing my awareness of life, becoming defeated by always trying to prevent change. For as the sands of the beach changed each time I was there, with each picture I took. I realized that change simply is. And that static, and unchanging, is not. I spoke with my mentor then. About the pictures. He spoke. “Change is natural. It is part of the order of life. Static is not. It is part of the way of death. Where everything becomes stagnant. And slowly dies.” I remember his words to this day. Even now I can see him as he spoke those words. Life is not constant. Not static. It changes. And to prevent change is to prevent life. Gradually killing the very life you attempt to capture, and protect. It has been a difficult lesson to learn.