Stone Soup

Trifecta: Week One Hundred

PHANTOM (noun)

1   a :  something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence :  APPARITION

b :  something elusive or visionary

c :  an object of continual dread or abhorrence

2 :  something existing in appearance only

3 :  a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal

She sat beneath the maple tree digging a hole. So intent was she that the rest of the playground didn’t exist for her; a perfect phantom of focus. Sitting, perfectly stable, on a wooden beam placed on the ground, she added the perfect pebble, and then some more; caught a stray maple seed as it flew down from the tree, neatly broke it into bits, shredded the wings, and emptied it into the hole. She took a pinch of the fine, light brown dirt, and sprinkled it into the hole as well. A leaf lying on the ground made the cut, as did a small fragment of bark. Plodding on, with only the words of a story running through her head, she smiled as the little hole reached three-quarters-filled.

“Stone soup.”

And then, getting up, she dusted herself off and wandered back to the tarmac; recess was over.

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In Retrospect

Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist

July 24, 2013

It’s the year 2113. A major museum is running an exhibition on life and culture as it was in 2013. You’re asked to write an introduction for the show’s brochure. What will it say?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us RETROSPCTIVE.

Looking back on things

Isn’t always black or white;

No pun intended,

Although it does fit right.

We revisit time

Through  photographs and memories

And relive a revised version of life

With an increase or decrease

Always. It’s never the same:

Either we had everything

The world had to offer

Or we had zero, nil, nothing.

Sepia, in our heads

Can become vivid HD

And the finest-hued memory

House a black and white zombie;

In retrospect, it wasn’t

The end of the world, we say

But only when we have forgotten

How it felt, live, that day.

In retrospect, it was

The happiest time in my life.

No it wasn’t – you just don’t feel, now,

All that pain and strife,

Which was the most that you’d known

Back in those days

And felt as bad as the new limits

Seem to nowadays.

I say “seem”

Because even this is relative. See,

In retrospect,

This won’t be worst you will see.

But I’m not pessimistic:

No, Sir, not me –

I believe what you’ve lost

Is nothing to what you shall see.

Retrospective, Merriam-Webster says,

Can mean looking back on past situations

Or just as easily: an artist’s best work

(Over time) showed in exhibitions.

What does it mean to me?

I think it means this:

Never trust your  altered view of the past –

Alternatives exist.

I Didn’t Choose the Nomadic Life: the Nomadic Life Chose Me

Daily Prompt: Rolling Stone

July 7, 2013

If you could live a nomadic life, would you? Where would you go? How would you decide? What would life be like without a “home base”?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us TRAVEL.

The attraction of nomadic life is coincidentally the exact same reason why books with adolescent heroes are so popular. I read somewhere a few years ago that adolescence represents to us the best, most carefree part of life; a time without liabilities; a time when passion and energy are enough to move mountains; a time, in short, when there are no restrictions and anything is possible.

Nomadic life offers much the same – freedom from all your worldly cares. Just think for a moment: if you didn’t live in any fixed place, would you be worrying about the size of your neighbor’s house? about “keeping up with the Joneses”? about getting that dude back who parked so appallingly you had to wait an hour to get out of your spot? Would you even, I venture, worry about government? about whether you fit in? about why the latest celebrity-outcast decided to get a new hairdo? about whether your butt looks big in this?

No. I’m guessing we’d all be more concerned with our families. Maintaining relationships with those who matter; showing love. Appreciating (and treating with respect) nature. Doing whatever makes us happy, whether it’s touring that ancient city, climbing that mountain, starting a business, or learning to do that stupid thing that everyone thinks is a waste of time, but you’ve always wanted to do.

We love the idea of the nomadic way of life because it frees us of the unofficial constraints of society. Although we don’t live in Jane Austen’s world of mile-long lists of etiquette requirements and (miles-longer list) social faux pas, we still feel an obligation of sorts to deny ourselves happiness and instead plod along like everyone else; to deny ourselves happiness because others are too afraid to grab theirs, and sneer us into guilty inaction. Being a nomad would mean that we would have no obligations or responsibilities towards anyone or anything we didn’t wish to be held responsible to. Oh, and yes – you’d figure out how many of your Facebook friends you care about enough to actually stay in touch with. Har har.

Also, while on topic, I want to share an amazing photoblog a friend happened to recommend – it’s about a couple and their daughter who live like legit nomads. If you have a minute, check them out at http://www.theroadishome.com/.

Shaken awake in semi-darkness

My bleary eyes focus on light

Fighting into my room

And blinding me

Through the crack between door and carpet.

Parents’ voices, low and urgent,

Frantic with pre-travel panic

Yet strangely soothing:

I want to go back to sleep

But mom’s saying get up,

You can sleep in the car later.

Brush, shower, dress

Grab a pillow and your carry-on;

Let’s go.

I remember that plane rides are fun.

A Piece of My Childhood

Daily Post: Bittersweet Memories

You receive a gift that is bittersweet and makes you nostalgic. What is it?

Photographers, show us GIFT.

I felt my hands get heavier as she placed my surprise gift in it. It wasn’t for my birthday, and it wasn’t Christmas either….she just told me she’d found something that had reminded her of me, so she’d picked it up while on the road, at some dusty stop somewhere.

“Can I open them now?” I asked, slightly impatient and irritated, more from fear of disappointing her by my reaction than anything else.

“Sure,” she replied. I could hear her smiling through her words.

I opened my eyes slowly, and looked down at my cupped palms – it was a Nintendo 64 Donkey Kong game cartridge. It was several seconds before I could shake my gaze away; a shiver ran down my spine as I looked her in the eye and tried to make her understand what was going through me, because, for once, I had no words.

My mind flashed back to the days my friends and I used to play Donkey Kong on the Nintendo 64 gaming console. I was eight or nine years old, at most, and Donkey Kong used to feature heavily in our after-school get-togethers. It reminded me of a time of happiness in my life, a time I wished I had gradually grown out of, instead of being plucked from in the sort of rude awakening life tends to dole out at one point or another. The days after that had been difficult to get through – hours and days and weeks and months and years of loneliness and tear-stained pillows, bad grades and self-doubt. It was only much later that I’d managed to get it together again and grow strong enough to go out and get the things I knew were waiting for me – one of them being her.

I jerked an arm around her and pulled her close in a one-armed hug, not letting go of that piece of my childhood, and buried my head in the crook of her neck. She put her arms around me then, and I knew she was smiling that serene smile of hers. She’d understood.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/daily-prompt-bittersweet/