Category Archives: Writing

Virtual Perfection

Fish

The children were fitted with Virtual Sight contacts at an early age. Everyone had perfect eye sight and everything in the world was in perfect high-definition. The Controllers questioned why anyone should view imperfection. So any flaws were quickly removed from view and everything looked perfect. Poverty,human suffering, or the elderly need not be seen. To prevent the population from tripping over unseen bodies in the street, the poor and sick were swept into hidden compounds. When people reached the age of 55 they simply disappeared. This arrangement was deemed sensible. No one should have to see the messy, imperfection of ageing. People sometimes felt uneasy though. A sensation of people walking beside or around, a whisper, a movement in the air, a shadow.

The disruption in the Virtual System occurred during a solar flare in the middle of the Summer Solstice celebration. People were disoriented as their brains fought to adjust to their natural vision. They froze in place as the creatures came into view. There were strange, imperfect beings standing among them. The older ones who had disappeared were still alive. They just had been unable to see them.


Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner is hosted by Roger Shipp. Click on link to learn more about this writing group.

Icy Surprise

bike

“Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have spotted thick deposits of ice in the planet’s mid-latitudes that extend hundreds of feet deep.” – Amina Khan LA Times Science File “Icy surprise is exposed on Mars”

*********************

The Mars outpost was ordered to remove all traces of their colony. Tomir’s parents told him to gather up all his belongings to be shipped on the first transport. He had sorted through most of it when his eyes fell upon one last thing, a gift from his Uncle Domir brought back from the Earth Expedition. It was too embarrassing to show to any of his friends back home. All his friends had their own hover boards. What was he to do with this thing? That’s when he remembered that crevasse in the ice field.

“What do you mean you don’t remember where you put it?” his mother asked.

*********************

Mars Deep Explorer Mission announced that excavation of the scarps in the Milankovic Crater has resulted in an amazing discovery. Scientists have no explanation.

 


Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner is hosted by Roger Shipp. Click on the link if you would like to know more about this writing group.

Packing Up A Life

Cup

I finished for the day and was taking a break in front of a cozy fire with a well-earned cup of coffee. My mother didn’t like earthen ware coffee mugs and all her cups were china. She had a particular affinity for English china cups. Definitely not my taste for a coffee cup but I did not have a choice in her house. It had been an exhausting day sorting through all of Mom’s possessions. My daughter had offered to help but she would not be arriving for another 2 days. My mother was nothing like a hoarder and had downsized once already when she moved into the cottage after Dad died. It was just that many of the things had memories attached to them. It is taking me a long time to go through them because a memory or feeling would be triggered and I’d get lost in a reverie. The photos were the worst. Like the one of me in Tuscany when I was away with a study abroad class. Mom said the photos were almost unreal, like a movie set. She did not know how real it was. This was where the love of my life died.


This post is for Flash Fiction For The Purposeful Practitioner Week # 2 hosted by Roger Shipp. You can learn more about the rules by clicking on the link.

Redwood

Rachel Baum was looking forward to another opportunity to get out in the forest. Her job as a biologist at UC Berkeley was the study of the effect of climate change on Redwood trees. In recent years there was a growing alarm at the rapid changes in the California climate and how it was stressing the trees. Many felt it could be reaching a tipping point with how long the trees could adapt and survive. Her work sometimes required her to climb to the top of a 300 foot tree to check instruments that monitored the weather up in the canopy.
Rachel loved the spectacular views from the canopy and listening to the wind in the leaves. She came to the grove with another biologist who remained on the ground. Josh would send up any needed supplies with a pulley. There had been reports of a storm front moving in but Rachel and Josh thought they would have enough time. As she reached the top of the tree she heard a loud rumbling and looked up to see dark clouds rolling in.
“We better make this quick, Rachel,” Josh called over the two-way radio.
“I just want to check the fog monitor and then I will head down.”
Rachel was reaching over to the monitor when she saw the little Spotted Owl on a lower branch.

Female Spotted Owl

She was about to catch a quick photo when she felt the hair rise on the back of her neck. The lightning hit a nearby tree sending chunks of wood exploding through the air. A large piece hit Rachel.
Rachel was traveling through a tunnel. She felt the tunnel closing in on her body, squeezing. She thought she heard a young woman cry out and then she forgot about her life on Earth as she came into a new world. The midwife smiled as she welcomed this new life. Her parents named her Alexandria.

Alexandria Mata was one of the first babies born in the Mars colony. Her parents were part of the first colonists to live on Mars. They were both botanists working on plant cultivation. Growing up Alex liked exploring the gardens and small nature areas that were part of the biosphere. Her parents often found her reading her books under one of the few trees. Alex loved stories about trees. She grew up to be a botanist like her parents and her affinity for trees continued. Many of her contemporaries considered her a bit odd for her interest in Forest Biology because, as they told her, the forests are gone on Earth and there would be no forests on Mars. There was one friend who shared her interest in trees, Jeff Kimura. His focus was paleobotany, the study of fossil plants.

776px-Concept_Mars_colony NASA

Artist concept Mars Colony via NASA

Alex was working the day a small package arrived in a shipment from Earth. The contents of the box were not revealed by the label which said it had come from the University of California, Berkeley. As she opened it she found a note from a biologist. I hope you can find a home for this specimen of Sequoia Sempervirens and help this majestic spirit survive in the universe. Most of theses trees had been lost on Earth during the Great Drought of  2030-2045 when there were years of little rain with many months of wild fires. Global warming had denied the moisture giving fog to the giant trees and the drought dried out the soil and the surrounding undergrowth. The fires did the rest. Alex wanted to show the seedling to Jeff but he was at a dig site on Olympus Mons.

Olympus Mons was an old shield volcano and one of the tallest mountains in the solar system. Jeff’s team hoped that the volcano had some buried secrets in its slopes. They were looking for signs of earlier plant life on the planet.  Jeff knew Alex would be very interested in what they discovered, part of a fossilized forest.

“Jeff, this is fantastic, proof of ancient forests on Mars! When will you get some specimens back here?”

“We have them here now if you want to come over to my lab.”

” Right away!”

Word spread fast among the scientists and Alex found a large group in the Botany lab. The lead paleobotanist, Dr. Albero, was speaking. ” The microscopic evaluation of the fossils suggest these trees were ancestors of Sequoia Sempervirens, or Coast Redwoods.”

“How could Mars and Earth have the same trees? “ Alex thought, incredulous.

After the announcement people broke up into smaller groups to talk about the discovery. Jeff signaled to Alex. She walked over to a corner of the room where he was standing.

“Can you believe it, Coast Redwoods on Mars?

“We found a body.”

“What! Where?”

“We found a body buried near the trees.”

“What kind of body? What did it look like?”

“Like this.” Jeff showed Alex a photo he had stored on his communicator.

“Oh my God! This proves there were humanoids here on Mars.”

“Well there was one anyway.”

“Why wasn’t the discovery of this body announced?”

“Dr. Albero wants to discuss it with some higher-ups at NASA. He thinks this discovery might cause some panic in the colony.”

The colony leaders called for a community meeting the following week. Dr. Albero was asked to speak about the discovery.

“I know there have been rumors about the other discovery made on Olympus Mons. We found the body of a humanoid buried near the petrified forest. Further testing on the remains indicates that this humanoid is genetically related to us.”

******

The expedition found two planets in the solar system with environments compatible to their home world. They decided to introduce some of their flora prior to colonization to see if it could survive. They planted some seedlings from one of their most revered and beloved trees.

 

Ancient Coast Redwoods tower above hikers at Simpson Reed Grove Trail

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” – John Steinbeck


More information about climate change and the Redwoods. And 100 Practical Ways to Reverse Climate Change: Drawdown.

Featured Image ‘Growth, plant’ by Antranias on Pixabay.com. Image of ‘Female Spotted Owl’ by Emily Brauwer of the US National Park Service via wikimedia. Image of ‘Petrified Wood,  Petrified Forest National Park, USA’ via Pixabay.com. Image of ‘Mummy’ from British Museum Collection by Klafubra on wikimedia. Image of Coast Redwoods in Redwood National Park via US National Park Service.

This post is part of the Write…Edit…Publish #WEP#ff December Challenge, The End is the Beginning hosted by Denise Covey, Yolanda Renee, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim.

Word Count:  990 (excluding quote)

Full Critique

WEP CHALLENGE FOR DECEMBER ............THE END IS THE BEGINNINGS

Wild Fires

” When you’re evacuating from a wild fire it’s hard to decide what to take with you.”

My ability to write provides a path for expression about my life experiences. I am often moved to write when my feelings about a thing run high. Maybe a part of being a writer is the need to chronicle your life.

I thought we had been lucky and avoided the fire season in our section of Southern California. But as it often happens, the fires have their own secret plans. We were evacuated from our home a little over 10 years ago in the middle of the night so this time we decided not to wait until the evacuation order to get packed. Experiencing an evacuation does that to you. You know it can come suddenly, with little warning, and you must go. There had been no evacuation orders yet but we were busy gathering a few mementos and family photos, our wedding album, videos of our kids growing up and my son’s bar mitzvah, a small photo album of my son’s wedding, a few precious notes from my daughter, our kid’s baby shoes…It’s hard to decide and remember what to take with you. My son and daughter in law had to pack up all the equipment in their car for my little baby grandson, just in case. It’s not just the fires but the threat of power outages. Some medical equipment he needs requires electricity. We talked about them coming to our house or her parents depending on who loses power. If all of us lose power they may have to go into West LA to other family. We can see the smoke in the air and hope the Santa Ana winds die out soon.


This post is for One Liner Wednesday hosted by Linda G Hill and the monthly post for the Insecure Writers Support Group, #IWSG , Co-Hosts: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

 

Mothers And Daughters

“See, people come into your life for a reason. They might not know it themselves, why. You might not know it. But there’s a reason. There has to be”
Joyce Carol Oates

My mother in law was married on November 24, 1948. She did not know that her first daughter in law was being born a little over a week later. We did not meet each other for another 26 years. My future husband had talked me into driving down to Los Angeles with him after we had a big fight. She did not like me at first. He was her first-born and she was definitely not ready to relinquish him. I was the wrong religion. I would marry her son 3 years later. My mother in law had 4 sons and was used to a house full of males. It was a nice change to have me at the dinner table because I was appreciative of her cooking. She was my mother in law for forty years. She taught me how to make chicken soup. She helped me shop for my wedding gown and plan my wedding. I was her first daughter in law and I gave birth to her first grandchild, my son Scott. She first learned about being a mother in law with me. It was not always an easy relationship. Especially after my son was born and 4 years later my daughter, Kate. She had very strong opinions about many things including child rearing. I had my own ideas. As the years passed she became less critical and I became less sensitive. I suspected it might have been her experience with the next two daughter in-laws had taught her to be more diplomatic. Through it all, the holiday dinners, kid’s birthday parties, graduations, and major illnesses, my in-laws were always there. Both of my parents were gone and my children had only one set of grandparents, one grandmother. In her later years she developed dementia and gradually became less talkative. I think she still recognized me. She had often said she thought of me as the daughter she never had. My mother in law, Mary Lynn, passed away in the first hour of Thanksgiving day with most of her family around her. For a large part of my life she was the mother I never had.


One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image is of the ‘Barbara Bush Rose’ via wikimedia.

Pen and Ink

Do you remember fountain pens with the screw in ink cartridges? We used to have those when I was in grade school. We also had traditional fountain pens with the siphoning mechanism to suck up the ink out of an ink bottle. In older times there were ink wells in the student desks. Of course we had ball point pens too. But fountain pens seemed like more fun to use. Only sometimes they would leak and make ink stains on my middle finger. You could pick out the color of the ink, blue, blue-black, turquoise blue. Writing by hand with pen and paper is a lost art and my penmanship is not a good as it used to be. I do have a nice Montblanc fountain pen with a bottle of blue-black ink. You need to twist the barrel to siphon the ink into the pen. I’d like to start writing letters again.

Fountain pen ink cartridges (assorted) via wikimedia


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt word for today is “ink.” Featured image of ‘Fountain Pen’ by WolfBlur on Pixabay.com Fountain pen ink cartridges, ( assorted brands) by Pavel.satrapa on wikimedia.