Echo Spot

The air was hot and dense and lay heavy over the night like a second skin and the screams pierced through it like a dagger. They echoed off the Atlantic and again onto the walls of the L shaped house, startling her awake from her already restless sleep. Audrey sat up and sprang to her third floor bedroom window in darkness, peering out as she centered her thoughts, ” The damn noise they make in the middle of the night! One night, I swear, I’m going to wake up to a murder.”
Through the light fog and dim, phosphorescent glow of the streetlamp, Audrey could make out three ghostly figures walking brusquely along the seawall. She fine tuned her ear, searching for a trace of a cry for help. Yet no discernable words would form, only the screech owl howling across the night from deep within a young woman’s lungs. Two of the three shadowy figures were clad in dark hooded garb. One of them, preternaturally tall and ghoulishly hunchbacked, surely was a man. The second was vague and puny, gloomy and frightful. They were pulling and dragging the wraithlike woman who was wearing a dank off white blouse that seemed to be shredding away. She was without a doubt, the noisemaker, the scream keeper. Now a gruff, muffled male voice could be heard in short monosyllabic bursts of anger as the shrill screams became less frequent, trailing off into the blackened sea.
“They must have walked from somewhere. No vehicle’s in sight. But from where at two thirty in the morning?” Audrey thought, questioning if this would be the time to call the cops.
Then abruptly, like an African impala, the hunchback swiftly jumped over the seawall without so much as looking before he leaped. Vanished, gone over the six to eight foot drop on the far side of the wall with nothing but jagged rock and water for a landing.

There remained only the two ghostly figures pacing quietly with only an occasional imperceptible wail. He tugging her. Attire of light and dark. Quiet and noise rapidly shuffling back and forth.
Wishing she had a pair of night vision stealth goggles, Audrey squinted her eyes watching, waiting, contemplating,
“What the hell is going on down there? It’s impossible to land on the other side of the wall and not get hurt. Yet, the two trudged to and fro in the murky mist.
“It can’t be so. Why the wailing?
Why the dragging? Where did that ghastly crookback go? Why the disappearing act? Why the pacing? Why the muffled angry bursts?
“Finally”, she sighs, “in all of the sweltry nights of seawall noise, at last, a murder in the making.”

In response to writing group weekly prompt, “noise”.


Butterfly Balm

When I awoke from my sleep walk I knew that the danger had passed. And that when you’ve not a thing left to loose, you fear not a thing. It’s taken me years however, to realize that there are few who share my perspective.

There are those who advise me not to walk or ride along the side the of the road, only on a bike path. “It’s too dangerous.” They say. “Aren’t you afraid of walking alone?” A friend once asked. “Afraid of what?” my honest reply.

You may think I’m a danger seeker, an adrenalin junkie. You are largely wrong and slightly right. You see, I’ve already lost all of the things that many may be afraid of losing. Oh, I won’t try to kid you. It wasn’t easy. It was really bad and for a long time. But while I slumbered, fear in and of itself disappeared. Fear of the worst because the things I’d feared most in life had already occurred. Fear of losing my child, my family, my home, every tiny scrap of possession and even my beloved dogs. My future, my present, my life. Yes, I faced the lighted tunnel. The fear of multiple coinciding, life threatening health issues. Fear of anxiety.

Fear of fear.

It all came to pass in a number of bloody battles, an unintended war fought by a weary woman on a war torn battlefield of a life.

As I lived my previously ordinary middle class life of relative caution and calm, the dangers of simply living it held tight their grip. My sleep walk years, a nightmare when merely waking up was fraught with danger; breathing itself, an insurmountable challenge.

They’re a blur to me now, those years. Thankfully, they were even then.

But I am given today.

You may wonder why it is that I so thoroughly enjoy my nature adventures, my attention to subtleties. I want to experience the clarity of it, the crisp, clear rawness of it’s detail. I want to feel the wide-awakeness of it on even the minute level. For in the minute lies the grand. Danger be damned.

Through the sultry sulphorous air I pedal to the Point, to Breakwater Village despite the breathing alert. Breathing I’ve finally mastered. At waters edge I lighten upon the most magnificent butterflies flittering in a butterfly balm bush for souls almost found. My eye strikes upon brilliant speckles of white, yellow, divinely detailed splotches of orange interlaced with intricate strips of dusted coal. Winged daydreams flit across blue, grace green, fly above fuchsia, lace into lavender, touching softly onto castles of vapor.

I am awake. I stay myself under a searing sun. I breathe salve of sweet, salty air and butterfly balm infuses my life like a dream.



is your name
We share your plight
empathy close so to the same
Your unbearable grief has brought you fame
Your visible anguish carries him
morning through night
DNA won’t allow Moms to give up the fight
Your pod’s postured there for you and he
Can you trust them to help you in setting him free?
Torturous the day for letting him go
But he’s in your heart, your soul, every cell that you know
Oh Tahlequah
your sorrow’s felt by all who see
Your beautiful boy wrenches our hearts
as you carry him beautifully,
natures tragic art
through the sea


It Was That Kind Of Day

Newburyport, MA.

OMG Newburyport!
It was that kind of day.
I’d venture up north to see what all the buzz was about not knowing that the town was abustle with their Annual Yankee Homecoming Days Festival.
A more polite crowd I could never have hoped for. My hiking friend, Steve Pressley was there with Julie and her dog Mika. I ran into them on the sidewalk in the middle of the crowd, twice!
With little trouble parking on what I also didn’t know was the “outskirts”, I jaunted into the town center via one of the beautiful rail trails and learned of the festivities from a fellow walker. “Can’t be much.”, I thought as we walked.
How wrong I was! There was live entertainment of every kind on a couple of different stages as well as street performers of all ages. There was food, food, more food. Restaurants; open air, indoors, food trucks, vendors, you name its, what have yous. Scents and sounds to set your mouth watering and your ears swooning.
The waterfront, was plentiful with serene, pristine, parks, walkways, shade trees and gardens, all spacious, accessible and free. Yes free! It was so relaxing you could just close your eyes and take an afternoon nap. It was that kind of day. And dog friendly; yes, very dog friendly! The dogs were as well behaved as their people.
Like I said, a more civil crowd I couldn’t have hoped for.
Plum Island was another level of heaven. My arrival was coincidental with the outgoing moon tide. This created a turbulence at the sandbars and tide pools by the mouth of the Merrimack River which proved utter joy, a treat for fisherman, swimmers and waders alike; natures original waterpark.
At Newburyport Town Beach as the sun began to set, lovers and lovers of life quietly observed the wondrous changing light, the deepening of colors, the July Full Blood Moon rise. The night folded closely around us all as we began a sensational silvery mid-summer’s Newburyport dream.