The Stone Stairs

A short fiction piece on place and memories


The stone stairs tumbled down the breach dug into the side of the hillock, steep and uneven. Grass burst from the spaces between the slabs, moss clung to their faces. The tumble poured into the earth, down a shaft that ended at a rough hewn door, a vertical plank of wood that seemed carved in place, as if from the taproot of some massive oak tree that had once stood on the mound.

OldFfarmsteadNature had long ago curled her tendrils around the head and jambs of the door’s timber frame, trying hard to pull it deeper into the hummock, the door appearing to meet directly with earth. A rough wooden dowel poked from a horizontal slot cut in the left side of the slab, and to the right four rusted carriage bolts signaled the iron straps that held a slide bolt to the inside of the door.

Read more ruminating

Gravity Sucks!

Realizing the gravity of the situation

You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most?

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17Gaia to the Greeks. Terra to the Romans. Earth to Westerners. The Big Blue Marble to the Apollo 17 crew. The Third Stone from the Sun to Jimi Hendrix. Back on Terra Firma. Mother Earth will swallow you, lay your burden down. What will I miss most about you?

Read more ruminating

The Old Woman

Every village needs a mother

The old woman had raised most of the children in the village. Every Sunday she would go to the little restaurant on First Street, sit at the same table, and hold court. A stream of young people would enter the restaurant, stop by the table, and submit to her review. Some came by themselves, some in groups, but all came to see the old woman.

Harper's_New_Monthly_Magazine_Volume_104_December_1901_to_May_1902_(1902)_(14781045774)She knew all their names. She’d helped raise some of them from infancy. She remembered all their birthdays, all their hopes and dreams, and all their past mistakes, better than they remembered them. And though some of them were well into raising children of their own, they still came, they still presented themselves for inspection, and they still listened to the old woman.

Read more ruminating

Who is My Favorite Person?

If you don’t like you, how will anyone else?

This Daily Prompt from The Daily Post folks got me thinking about all the people I’ve come across in my life. And believe you me, there’s been quite a few. And yet, there doesn’t seem to be “the one”, that person that I’ve stuck with for ever and ever, and who has stuck with me. So I thought I would explore why, and maybe figure it out.

I’m thinking back. Who was the first person I can remember who made an impression, who could be considered a “favorite?” Memories that far back are pretty jumbled for most of us. I’m no different.

Harper's_New_Monthly_Magazine_Volume_104_December_1901_to_May_1902_(1902)_(14781045774)I remember the boy who lived next door to my paternal grandmother, Scotty was his name. “Mammaw”, that’s what we called her, lived in a small town in Indiana. Scotty lived next door to Mammaw in a house with exterior walls that were made from smooth, round river rocks, even the walls of the front porch. You could climb the walls of that house just like the climbing walls in gyms today.

Read more ruminating

Grandma’s house

Childhood memories of favorite places are tonic for the soul

Harper's_New_Monthly_Magazine_Volume_104_December_1901_to_May_1902_(1902)_(14781045774)Grandma’s house was tiny when I returned to see it, all those years later. She moved there after Grandpa passed, when I was young, perhaps three or four. They say the old place was just too big for her to handle. As a child I thought Grandma’s house was enormous and wonderful. I like the childhood memories best.

It was a block off the town square, on a quiet tar-and-chip street with a pronounced crown. Between the street and the cracked, uneven public sidewalk was a deep drainage ditch, deeper than I was tall. You could sit at the bottom, in the closely mown grass, lose sight of the world around you, and watch the clouds drift, puffy balls. Read more ruminating