This week was hard, as hard weeks tend to follow a randomized pattern of easy, hard, or indifferent; a non-sensical equation comprised of mathematical possibilities and a sledge hammer. “X”, which is me, is the only known factor. I never know what the week will be. I only hope I can cope.

I don’t respond well when someone presents me with irrational, angry emotion and places the entire blame at my feet. Deep down, I prefer measured discussions, led with rational thought. The kind of thoughts that allow sincere communication and, hopefully, a compromised conclusion.

At face value, the discussion quickly digressed into a one-sided shouting display. Lots of finger-pointing, “YOU”, and the laundry list of every perceived slight was flung at me.

I listened. Then I measuredly and quietly told the person I was proud they were able to articulate so well, and detailed how I would respond to their request.

When the meeting ended, the flashbacks began. Every one where I simply had to take the person’s lashing. Every one where trying to defend myself was derided, ridiculed, and declared hopeless. Every one where the person implied that theirs was the only rule. Every one that were “gotcha” moments so the other person ensured their winning and my cowing to their will. Every one where the only choice was to listen so that it would all finally end.

We have all heard of fight or flight, but there is a third one. Play dead. I am that third in these situations. Play dead and maybe the predator will go away.

I have a secret to tell you. They never actually do.

My soul is exhausted.

That night, I opened the computer and signed up for therapy again. I do not hope to be better. I only hope I can get more tools to help me cope.

Friday Fictioners – 2169

Good morning!  It is time for another round of Friday Fictioneers, brought to you by our faithful leader, Rochelle, who is, as we speak, on her way to Israel for an humanitarian endeavour with her cousin, Kent.  Safe travels to both of you!  Thank you to Jean L. Hayes for donating the photo.

Friday Fictioners is a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less using the photo as a prompt.

If you can come up with a good story for this picture, please add your link by clicking on the link below the blue frog. 

©Jean L. Hayes

Sand sifted through RAM’s fingers. First time this way through this ruin-filled landscape. He was tasked to look for the archeological signs of crumbling homesteads, cracked asphalt, and fallow farms, and he found them.

He marked the coordinates, 36.1540° N, 95.9928° W, then surveyed the area for any possible life signs.

Nothing. Only wind moving among the weeds.

He looked upward, noting a relentless blue sky. When the clouds’ tears ceased to fall, so did the planet’s life. Slowly at first, but a prolonged, agonizing death that nothing living could withstand.

Within his head he heard, “Head back to base, Robot- Archeological Mission. Today is done.”

There’s Always A Guard

The Guardian of Green Mountain Trail, JS-L ©2019

All journeys, no matter where they start, at some point arrive at a guardian who demands proof the hero or heroine is worthy to move onward.

Fearfully staring at my threshold guardian, all spiky tentacles angrily jabbing the air, swinging blade-sharp rapiers, puncturing reality with an intensity that mesmerizes me, I wonder.

Are you good or evil? A henchman of an unknown antagonist? Or are you an animal that simply exists, neutral to all but your own nature? Are you the beast that asks me a riddle, and then gleefully consumes my living soul as my body writhes in agony because I did not speak aloud the correct answer?

Could you be my guide to help me through my trials? The sherpa who has been up and down the mountain so many times, your intimacy with the route is your shield? The all-knowing angel who sees my value before I even know it myself and are tasked to help me in the finding?

Trembling, I wonder if you are the worst of all. The embodiment of my fears, obsessions, and hatreds. The Guardian that always presents yourself as the mirror image of the one I detest the most. Peering into that looking glass, I see me, the disappointed, the distracted, the diminished. There, staring back at me, is the only person or thing that will forever keep me from starting my journey, let alone seeing its end. This Guardian casually flings my misunderstood emotions and meaningless dreams into the ether, and, as indifferently, watches them land with no effect upon a world that confirms my valueless life.

I think you the third.

Now, Guardian, let me tell you what I do see. You, the Past, desperately looking for a reason to stay relevant; sending your warped appendages digging, searching for sustenance; waving madly for attention; swinging demanding fists for retribution against slights and insults; cajoling then arguing when your indignations go unheard.

You are an incomplete death.

I carried you for so long. Whatever purpose served, I was completely entangled. A familiar torment is still a type of comfort but one that eventually needs, if one chooses to live, an axe taken to it.

Enough. I no longer need that burden of tangled roots, molding rot, and stench of unresolved pain. Better I carry your memory on my journey. I’ll make that promise to you.

You tried to guard a way that is still treacherously threaded and knotted with my own-made stumbles that trip me in my tracks and bar my way forward.

Hear this. Be food and shelter for worms. Allow birds to rest in your embrace. May the seasons guide you back into the earth. You can’t guard anything anymore, because I know what you are now.

You are only a tree, blown over by a hard storm’s wind, because your roots were too shallow. You are only a dead tree now and no longer stand guard upon this road; and I have somewhere else to be.

Forward. Onward.

To the journey’s end.

Meander-Weekend Writing Prompt #104

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge of writing a poem or prose in 47 words or less. There are no prizes. It’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.  Thank you Sammi for hosting and at Dale for inspiring!

Aspens’ Glow, JS-L ©2019

“Call it walking meditation or a neighborhood stroll; by whatever name
suits you, rediscover the art of meandering.” 
― Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls: Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road

Spring in the Colorado Rockies has resisted arrival for weeks, and with another predicted seven days of wind, rain, and snow, I am beginning to think resistance to Winter is futile.

Yet, yesterday’s brilliant sun turned the lower elevations’ snow into rivulets and called for a walk, albeit muddy, in the woods.

The dogs and I meandered through Arapahoe National Forest, along paths dotted with last year’s scrub oaks and hopeful blades of grass.

We came across the first hints that soon this part of the Northern Hemisphere would move toward warmth. Up here, the Alpine Butter Cup and Pasque Flower are our harbingers of spring.

Take a meander in the woods to know that Old Man Winter’s grip is loosening.

Ranuculus adoneus, Alpine Buttercup, JS-L ©2019
Pulsatilla, Meadow Anemone, JS-L, ©2019


Scientific drawing of bees. Plate origin unknown.

Beehive Arson in Texas Kills Half a Million Bees

Bludgeoned, again my heart is bludgeoned by egregious acts, senseless deeds, tragic stunts that show a certain type of human believes that if he can’t live his life his way, everything and everyone else’s life is forfeited as well.

This is what I say to you.

Get help.

Leave the rest of us alone.


“Place a beehive on my grave
And let the honey soak through.
When I’m dead and gone,
That’s what I want from you.
The streets of heaven are gold and sunny,
But I’ll stick with my plot and a pot of honey.
Place a beehive on my grave
And let the honey soak through.” 
― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

To Begin

“There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.”
Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana

Thank you for walking with me. ~Janet

Van Gogh’s “Path In The woods”, 1887 (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam)

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