Thursday, January 26, 2017

For the Ages

The stone thudded into place. Drops of sweat marked the dusty surface; his face was grit-streaked, an even exchange.

Pausing too long would earn a rebuke, so he pretended to study the arrangement, pushing the stone to see if it rocked. Soon enough came the rough voice, "Keep it up, son. Dinner in an hour or so." That meant two, possibly three, and more after the small and swiftly-eaten meal. At least by then the sun would be lower.

Trudging back to the rockpile he felt a hand on his shoulder. Without turning he waited, expecting a clout for his slowness. Instead, "I know it's hard work. But this wall will be here long after we're gone."

He walked on, silent in thought. The wall may be here, but after you've gone, so will I. And I'll never look back to know whether it stands or falls.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

From the Ground Up

The engine wheezes to a stop. His usual parking spot, in sight of his office. Well, the space where he worked; he didn't have a window. Or an office.

Two years in, and his mother still reminded him how lucky he was. "You have such a great career ahead of you."

His father would always add, "Beats digging ditches!"

Indeed. Though at least ditches are dug from above. All his career is still in the future, earth above him, pressing down. In forty years he might reach the surface, should he live that long.

Unclenching his hands from the wheel, picking up his case, feet carrying him to the door. Shoulders sinking under the weight, ready to start digging again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Two roads? Check.

Yellow wood? Ehh, not really, more grey and brown.

Choices? Lots of them.

What schools will you apply to? That one's very selective, better have advanced coursework. Your chances for graduate school will be better if you go there. Except it's a lot more expensive, and two states away.

You don't have to pick a career, yet. But to get into the best school you should know what you're going to do. At a small college you'll have a more personal experience. But if you change your mind, a university will have more options.


Today I'll follow this path. That's where my dog went, and somehow he usually gets it right. Maybe I can learn one or two things from him...

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Frozen Out

"Brr. Cold tonight."

The hint falls into the space between them, lands on the skate-scratched ice.

"I'm glad it isn't too crowded." Because you won't be distracted by all the other people. But you are.

"What a beautiful tree. Still, it's a shame they have to cut it down, you know, to bring it here."

A pause to admire the lights. Hands nearby on the railing, an opportunity for some contact, missed.

"You know, the whole tree is dying from the moment they chop it down. But the branches don't know that the roots got cut off. Until..."

Until the whole thing is dead.