Blog : Beautiful-Things

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Red Wings

Red Wings By Iris Graville   |  March 2, 2015
A familiar sound breaks through the morning quiet as my dog and I head out for our usual walk alongside a rocky beach and the marsh that drains into it. Without even looking up, I recognize the rhythmic thwap, thwap, thwap overhead. It’s from the main rotor blade of a helicopter, airlifting someone from the rural island where I live to an emergency room on the mainland.

Army

Army By Ron Riekki   |  February 23, 2015
In southern Spain, in the military, in December, I once danced in a field of sunflowers. Or not danced, so much as sang.

Motorcycle Riders

Motorcycle Riders By Liza Jagoda Allen   |  February 16, 2015
On the back of your motorcycle, somewhere between Leadville and Castle Rock, I plan our future together as we ride along jagged eggshell cliffs overlooking canyons whose gaping mouths open to swallow anything that falls.

Bananas

Bananas By Melissa Cronin   |  February 9, 2015
While I eat lunch with my father today, he stares at the bunch of bananas in front of him. "They're so beautiful," he says. "They're so yellow." He smiles, then giggles. Who is this man?

Catching Snowflakes

Catching Snowflakes By Colleen Warren   |  February 2, 2015
I remember childhood school days, just learning about the singularity of snowflakes, no two alike, the teacher said. At home, my sisters and I duplicated her classroom experiment, substituting white paper rubbed thick and waxy with black crayon for the black construction paper she had used. I stood in the snow with my arms stretched out before me, holding that crayoned paper out like a plate to catch sugared delicacies as they drifted down.

Night Dancing in the Kitchen

Night Dancing in the Kitchen By Chelsea Biondolillo   |  January 26, 2015
It was country-late: the air outside getting cool and damp and purple. I sat at my grandparent's dining table making clothespin dolls while the crickets whined and Teddy-dog sat by the back door smacking his muzzle at errant flies. The doll project made me feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder. I clipped red and white checks and velvet strips from grandma’s quilting stash.

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms By Kate Meadows   |  January 19, 2015
He awakes crying just after 6 a.m. Hard rain pounds against the windows, and the sky is black as coal, electric with dances of lightning. But it is the thunder that woke him. It breaks in heart-stopping claps and low, penetrating rumbles. The violent sound is a noise he can’t make sense of. He reaches for me from the edge of his crib.

Hands like Sunrise

Hands like Sunrise By Chris Bahnsen   |  January 12, 2015
From the riverbank I watch a great white egret on jointed stilts near a patch of tall reeds, calm as the shallows where it stands. My father would come here the way other people come to morning mass, this river his wide altar. Explosive, the egret’s yellow beak spears through its own reflection then bursts skyward throwing diamond droplets.

Maple Spile

Maple Spile By Erin Calabria   |  January 5, 2015
We called that hill of sugar maples at the end of Deacon Parker Road "the big bush." In March, with the sun dropping gold and the slosh of snowmelt soaking our boots, we hauled buckets of sap down from those endless trees to the waiting truck, back and forth till the air turned chill and our shoulders throbbed. We loved that time though--

Skipping

Skipping By Elettra Pauletto   |  December 29, 2014
It’s nearly dinner time in Mweso, a small village in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, but the nuns I’m staying with insist they don’t need my help preparing it. So I relax on the porch and watch the road across the clearing, where villagers walk by on bent knees, flanked by tall trees with leaves like unfurled swan wings. The war is near, but not here, not now.

The Best Time

The Best Time By Linda Crowe   |  December 22, 2014
Nighttime is the best time. I peek in and watch him sleep in his dim room. Sometimes he talks in his dreams. "Mansion Hills, yeah, yeah. Mansion Hills. Good old 2807," and I know he’s wandering through his house and his neighborhood, a nice enough neighborhood, but with a name far above its station.

Lost Tribe

Lost Tribe By Jennifer Alessi   |  December 15, 2014
We called it "seek and go hide" because we thought it sounded cooler. In summer we’d play all day long. After quick cereal breakfasts, we’d gather on our rural street—aged six to ten or so, Lee jeans and tattered tees, mosquito bites like satellite maps on our elbows.

Playboy

Playboy By Steven Harvey   |  December 8, 2014
When my mother caught Chris and me looking at Playboy, we knew we were in trouble, but to my surprise she did not get angry. She took me into the house and pulled out the large glossy art books with paintings by the Impressionists. “A woman’s body is beautiful,” she told me.

Turkey Soup

Turkey Soup By Marissa Landrigan   |  December 1, 2014
On Thanksgiving, after the turkey is carved and gutted – after we slice through half of the twenty-pound bird my mother insists on ordering, though there are only ever seven of us for dinner – my father and grandfather return to the half-spent carcass and harvest the rest.

Raindrops

Raindrops By Linda Dunlavy   |  November 24, 2014
A thunderstorm breaks this morning. Afterwards, my nine-year-old daughter calls me to come outside and look. I go, resisting the temptation to finish washing the dishes first. My youngest child won’t be young much longer. The soft, still air feels like forgiveness after the sky’s wild outburst. My daughter is admiring hundreds of raindrops clinging to spider webs in the corner of our front stairs. I usually remove these webs with a flick of the broom. But not today – they are transformed, bejeweled, and their splendor leaves me powerless to disturb them.

Rocket Scientist

Rocket Scientist By Andrea Caswell   |  November 17, 2014
As a child, when adults asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had plenty of answers, but they all sounded like Halloween costumes. Race-car driver. Astronaut. Olympic track star. My father was a rocket scientist for NASA, so the idea that a person could be anything, in this world or beyond, was real to me.

The Giant Dipper

The Giant Dipper By Julie Marie Wade   |  November 10, 2014
When I ask her “What was the greatest adventure of your life?”, my grandmother grows quiet. Like all questions I have ever asked, she takes this one seriously. I watch her lips part along their narrow seam, the glint of gold visible between her two front teeth.

Missing

Missing By Riane Konc   |  November 3, 2014
You have been ours for ten months, and tomorrow, the state will return you to your mother. Not ours, of course. We know. Foster parents have no rights, not really. Friends and family of foster parents certainly don’t, no matter how many braids we tie, or school assemblies we attend, or baths we draw. I know the words on your spelling list for next week--you’ve been struggling with affect and effect--but it doesn’t matter, because tomorrow you will go home, and though we don’t know it--though we give you our phone numbers and beg you to call, we will never hear from you again.

Last Lure

Last Lure By Marilyn Borell   |  October 27, 2014
Waiting to take the ferry across Alaska’s Russian River to the more fruitful south bank, I poke around the breast pockets of a fishing vest I haven’t worn in years and come up with a fly, one tied by my father at my kitchen table in the late 1990’s. I know this, because Dad always pried the business end of the hook a little more open when he finished. The hook is dressed in hunter orange hair, wrapped tight on the shaft with black thread, secured with strokes of my clear nail polish.

Trike

Trike By Louise Krug   |  October 20, 2014
Depending on whom you talked to, it was either a recumbent bicycle or an adult tricycle. There was a big difference between the two terms. “Recumbent bicycle” sounded like a serious piece of machinery, and called to Louise’s mind old men who wore spandex shorts and sucked packets of energy gel. “Adult tricycle,” though, sounded too special, something for people who could not ride a two-wheeled bicycle, and well, who couldn't do that? It was like saying “Adult crib” or “Adult diaper”—something for the very old, the almost gone from this world.

Edge of the Chesapeake

Edge of the Chesapeake By Andrea Mummert   |  October 13, 2014
My legs dangle off the dock. Clear water flows under my feet. Rows of low waves move toward me in slow parallel lines, disappearing below the boards. A white streak of light runs the crest of each wave, and the slightly shadowed troughs glisten powder-steel blue. I can see to the marsh bottom. Evenly spaced ridges in the mud look like imprints of the wavelets on the water’s surface. In my throat rises a feeling of being filled, but at the same time, longing.

Rain

Rain By Robert Root   |  October 6, 2014
Our children are up to their knees in the waves before we notice the dark cloud above the lake, a blur of rain below it, moving toward us. As I wade out to them, the cloud comes closer, and we return to the beach. Within minutes the sky darkens overhead and the first chilly raindrops strike bare shoulders and backs. Under towels wrapped around us, token protection against the rain, we huddle together while other bathers retreat, leaving us alone at the water’s edge in the rain. Then I see my granddaughter, the ten-year-old, still standing in breaking waves and falling rain, smiling at us, shrugging nonchalantly, never flinching.

Holding

Holding By Kathryn Wilder   |  September 29, 2014
My sister and I live on either side of sixty. We've been mothers half our lives. Visiting her in Oregon, Ashland, running a steady hundred degrees for days into weeks, we head to Lake of the Woods for the coolness of lake water and wind in the pines. Winding up the mountainside and back through our lives, our four children are never far from our conversation, like our own childhood—childhood, singular, as we shared it, for better or worse, till death do we part. One minute I'm driving my sister's Honda Fit through the forest; the next instant something bounces from the trees onto the road in front of me like a basketball, and that color, and stops.

Chalk on Pavement

Chalk on Pavement By Tami Mohamed Brown   |  September 22, 2014
At the far end of the empty park-and-ride lot, a silver Toyota jerks its way across the yellow painted parking lines in starts and stops. Someone, presumably, is learning to drive. Sprawled sideways on the ground, I pull an oversized piece of pink sidewalk chalk across the uneven cement, my hand echoing the jerks of the car in an attempt to carefully form letters on a square of pavement next to the bus shelter, the rough concrete cold under my hands.

Sign Language

Sign Language By Asha Dore   |  September 15, 2014
The motion of the body. Exchange of truths. Listening without the ears. Telling without the mouth. My daughter points to her chin and signs, my favorite then points to a moth that bumbles through the air on the other side of the sliding glass door. When the moth lands on the door, she moves toward it. She presses her hand on its glass. Wing against wing. The words she will fling through the twitch of her knuckles, the clasp of her palms, the flap of her wrists. Years and years of words, of stories that reach past hearing, past telling. Stories that reach into the skin.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers By Patrice Gopo   |  September 8, 2014
To the right of my childhood home, where the grass melted into a thick wood, our tree’s steady wooden arms embraced two sisters and their imaginary games. I remember low branches covered with lichen and soft moss, just a foot or two above dark soil. The dip between branch and trunk served as a sort of woodland lap, a seat to welcome even the most unlikely tree climber. From early morning, we slid our hands across peeling birch bark while our feet peeked from beneath a cap of bright, green leaves. By day’s end, sticky, brown sap stained sleeves, palms and pant legs.

The End of the Movie

The End of the Movie By Christopher Bundy   |  September 1, 2014
Today: summer afternoon on the front porch as thunderheads grow over the top of a giant oak. In the yard you perform perfect cartwheels, your legs long and straight in the air. Watch this, Daddy, you say, and execute another textbook cartwheel before you bounce up the steps to sit in my lap and rest your head against mine. You stare at the darkening sky. A breeze lifts your hair as distant thunder rumbles. This is like the end of the movie, you say.

Half-Lady, Half-Baby

Half-Lady, Half-Baby By Jennifer Niesslein   |  August 25, 2014
We’re in our bunk beds. Summer in western Pennsylvania, windows open. Someone nearby mowed his lawn not too long ago. The carnival is in town behind the fire hall, and earlier tonight, we stuffed ourselves with cotton candy and elephant ears. In the darkness, we hear the barker for the freak show. Come see her! Half-lady, half-baby!

Ceremony

Ceremony By Jill Talbot   |  August 18, 2014
Spring struggles through enough days to offer tulips. They've popped up in every garden lining the street, and a few reach from the corner where Indie, my twelve-year-old daughter, and I turn toward home. This is our end-of-the-day walk with our dog. A few nights ago, she picked two of the tulips—red-pink petals, black anthers—and put them in a mason jar on my nightstand. Tonight, she asks if she can pick one for herself.

Lilac

Lilac By RL Gonzalez Del Valle   |  August 11, 2014
The scent in the air is familiar this last day of spring as I push my granddaughter's baby carriage, strolling the new neighborhood where my son and his family have moved. I spot the purple lilacs just above my head, blooming in splendor on tall bushes surrounding a stately home. I pull a branch down and push my face into the luxuriant bouquet, breathing their fragrance full measure. No lilacs grow in the subtropical clime where I've lived for decades.

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