V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #90: contribution

“I received the nicest package today!” my mother tells me excitedly over the phone. “It couldn’t have arrived at a more perfect time!”

Kleenex, Voltaren, scotch mints, body lotion and a hand drawn picture from a great granddaughter, all bundled and dropped at the entrance to the nursing home, where we are no longer allowed.

My daughter and her family put it together.

Another daughter picks up medications for an elderly neighbour who can’t get out.

Ric is grocery shopping for us and others in the neighbourhood, minimizing exposure.

What can I do?, I wonder, feeling helpless in this state of isolation. It hits me in the middle of the night. Do what I can. Write.

So now I put out a weekly newsletter for our retirement community, 75% of which are widowed individuals. Inviting contributions, I’ve offered to organize and distribute, my mission to keep humour and entertainment the priority.

In these times of physical distancing, staying connected is a greater challenge.

Contribution is the weekly focus.

Look forward to your interpretations.

To participate, create a post on your site, and then drop a link in the comments, or highlight the address to this post and create a link back. Photos, poetry, prose, or any other creative expression is welcome!

Of Course, It Isn’t Real

Oprah is smaller in person, and quite unassuming. We’re having tea in her bedroom as she gets ready for the day, and I feel as if we’ve been friends forever. She does most of the talking, and my mind tries to process all the details of her life – most of it contrary to what I’ve expected.

Of course her public persona is different from her private life, I realize! Why hadn’t I known that.

“You’re welcome to hang out here,” she offers. It’s tempting, but I have my own things to do.

Besides, it’s all been imaginary. I’ve never met Oprah in person. This has been a dream.

Feels good though. Oprah! I consider staying in bed, safe in Dreamland.

This week we have focused on the imaginary. We’ve explored the night sky,
‘imaginary’ as a possession, the corona virus, imaginary friends, magic and words, our bodies, life’s chapters, books, the paranormal, and the unexpected.

A Star’s Story, Blog of Hammad Rais
For a Rainy Day, parallax
The View, I Write Her
So Real, Reena Saxena
Imaginary Friend, Susan’s Place
If I Could Write a Letter to My Body, It Would Say…, Culture Shocks
Imaginary Calm, Stuff and what if…
I Didn’t Know What I Was Missing, Sgeoil
Imaginary, thoughts and entanglements
Who Would Have Imagined, one letter UP

Thanks to all who participated. See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

Feathered Elegance

Rumours of the Tundra Swans in our neighbourhood lure us out. They migrate through here in early spring and linger for a week or two. We head to the drive along the river where the Common Mergansers are currently doing their mating dances.

Caught this female in the midst of the ritual. Love the hairdo.

Further downstream, we spotted a newcomer to town: Hooded Merganser.

Such a beautiful bird.

The swans were nowhere in sight, so we decided to drive to a nearby town. On the way, I spotted a few large white birds on a local pond:

Elegance with feathers.

( For Eugi’s Causerie weekly prompt: elegance.)

The River, My Heart

A landmark in my life, the river follows
ages, and eras, seasons measured by her flow

She acknowledges change, bears the winter
regally, swells with confidence as Spring rains

Will walk beside me in sunnier times, and
hold my secrets as Autumn catches us in her flames

She holds my heart, my faith, always knows
and at end of day, oh how she glows.

(For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A River Runs Through It.)

V.J.'s Weekly Challenge #89: imaginary

Fresh air was the remedy yesterday. From six feet apart, we greeted our neighbours.

“How are you keeping?,” I asked a widow.

“Well thank goodness for the cat,” she said. “Am missing my husband, but I do talk to him regularly.” And then realizing how that sounded, she added: “His picture, you know.”

I get it. We do what we can to survive. Ric has stocked the garage with groceries and supplies. When we need something, we call out: “Going shopping!”

Pippi just now whined at me because her brother was in her bed. “Make him get out,” she cried.

“Seriously?” I responded. “You can lie on the couch or snuggle up with Dad or me.”

She’d have none of it. So I grabbed one of those big floor pillows and pulled it up beside her bed. “Here,” I offered. “Lie here.”

Toby immediately exited the bed and claimed the pillow. Pippi jumped into bed. Ric and I roared with laughter.

They are dogs after all.

If ever there was a time for creative thinking, it is now. I’m even thinking about bringing my imaginary friend out of the closet – haven’t seen him since I was ten.

The word this week is imaginary. Respond in which ever way the muse moves you. Looking forward to your responses.

The Dominos Are Falling

A local business owner returned from a trip South, and went back to work, his thoughts no doubt wrapped up in the running of his store. Two days he worked, ignoring the fatigue. He blamed it on the stomach bug he’d picked up while away. Day three he decided to get checked out at our local hospital.

All routine stuff.

Until it wasn’t.

While in emergency care, his health declined. They decided to test for COVID-19 even though he didn’t display the symptoms. He had it.

He was transported to a hospital that can deal with his concerns. At time of transport, he was in serious condition. Currently, he is critical.

Meanwhile, a second case, related to the first, has popped up.

Our town is now under a state of emergency. All non-essential businesses and recreational programs are shut down.

The dominoes are falling.

Stay safe out there people. Better short-term discomfort than long-term suffering and loss.

We can do this!


Thanks to all who participated this week. Please visit the original post to read contributions in the comments box.

Juxtaposing Mornings, radhikasreflections
Fear of the Times, I Write Her
Deep Pockets, Reena Saxena
Empty Shelves, one letter UP
For Whom The Bell Tolls, Jen Goldie
Ripple Effect, Eugi’s Causerie
Haiku, Does Writing Excuse Watching?
domino effect, Sgeoil
The Domino Effect, parallax
Domino Effect Creating Chaos, Stuff and what if…

Thoughts on Gates and Fences

My childhood home was surrounded by fence, bordered by tall cedars – we had a secret to keep. I learned not to trust neighbours. I learned the price of shame.

At the back of the yard was a gate that opened onto a field and beyond that a wooded area. There I found serenity, connection, and a knowledge that what happened within my father’s fortress was not the totality of life.

I like gates.

I vowed not to need fences, that my life would be an open gate, but that was senseless. I was accessible to anyone who wanted to trample my garden.

Took a few dents and whole lot of pain for me to realize that gates and fences coexist for a reason. Boundaries are healthy, and at certain times, locks are mandatory.

(Photos for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: fences and gates. Thoughts part of my process. I’ve been obsessively photographing fences and gates recently. I’ve been sketching them too, trying to figure out the draw. Guess now I know why.)

Here’s one of my sketches: