Bright spot

Short story:

It snowed Thursday, and its been icy cold since then, but I was determined to get a few photos of snow despite the drab gray day and being a wimp who detests the cold. I drove over to Mystic on River Road. I parked, planning to jump out, get a photo, and scoot back into my toasty car. As I took the photo of the Mystic River with the red chairs (above), a woman walked by all bundled up.

“You must be an artist,” she said, with a heavy German accent. “Anyone who sees beauty here today must be an artist.”

“This is my favorite place to walk, and I take photos all the time,” said, “I’m not an artist, but I do see beauty here.”

She smiled. “Then, yes, you are an artist.”

She introduced herself, and then said that she and her husband lived down the road and around the corner. As she continued on her way, she invited me to stop by for tea the next time I walked. And that was it. Just a few words, but she had turned a dreary day into a bright spot to be remembered.

Next thing I knew, I was locking up the car and heading down the road to Main Street, where I stopped in for a coffee and a few decadent macaroons at Sift, and then took photos while strolling up and down the street as I munched on a peanut-butter-and-jelly macaroon under my mask. The streets twinkled with holiday lights.

As I sit here, back in my warm condo, my legs are still chilly from the long walk, but her kind words glow. Thank you, Rita.

To the tomato thief


One more day, I said yesterday.
Tomorrow I will proudly pick two perfect tomatoes,
the largest my 10×10 garden has produced
during my first year in this community space,
surrounded by people who give advice,
water my vines while I’m away
and remind me to lock the gate.

Today, I walked past wild vines
taking over Connecticut soil and stopped short.
My two perfect tomatoes were gone.
The space they occupied yesterday
stripped clean as if they never existed.
A thief had bent over my chicken wire fence
and plucked my perfect pleasure.

I blamed myself for not picking them earlier.
Those huge red orbs taunted anyone who came near.
Maybe they thought I was away, that the fruit would rot,
Maybe it was a stranger who jumped the fence.
Maybe it was simply someone who had bacon and lettuce,
but no sun-ripened, summer-kissed Big Boys.
I forgive you, I whispered.


Anticipating the end of the world


In 1964, I had just turned seven,
hardly old enough to watch
The Huntley-Brinkley Report.

But somehow, somewhere,
I got it in my head that the world
was going to end.
And this doomsday deadline held
my crystal ball gaze for days.

I remember kneeling in the middle
of the double bed I shared with my sister,
pleading with God to delay
the end of the world.

I hadn’t learned to ride a two-wheeler.
Hadn’t made my First Communion.
Hadn’t read all the chapter books in the library.

Every day for a week,
my prayers became more insistent
as I anticipated my final days on Earth.
I told no one out of fear and hope.

Then I remember sitting in class
and it began to snow.  I thought, this is it.
This is the day. Only it wasn’t,
and I went home on the bus.

Tonight, I googled doomsday predictions,
and learned that psychic Jean Dixon
often predicted the end of the world
in the early 1960s.

And so, this is how the world goes on,
somehow, some way.
The children pray for us all.

I used to lift high in the sky


And every night was an adventure.
I didn’t fly, I simply lifted at will,
looking down without fear
at the world below.

No one looked up
while I was suspended overhead,
and I had no concerns
about the people below.
I didn’t see a string,
but something guided me,
softly lifting and lightly touching down.

Tonight, I will more likely
be naked while no one notices
or running late to take a test
that I haven’t studied for.

No wonder I lie awake for hours.