Blog : Beautiful-Things

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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.

Storied Walls

Storied Walls By Sarah Robinson   |  August 4, 2014
The wall outside my window is a bending patchwork -- out of plane, out of level, sloping in opposing directions; each one of its red bricks is imperfect like pottery and bread -- shaped by hand and baked in fire. It is a fragment of the thick red halo that once wrapped this whole city, was once a part of its strategic embrace. Though these ancient walls have been torn by gravity and time, the city still breathes inside them.

Digging for Gold

Digging for Gold By Elizabeth Glass   |  July 28, 2014
My four-year-old niece, Cheyenne, runs toward me, jumps into my arms when I arrive at her house in the woods. I pull her up, our faces are close. She smiles, raises her hand. "Can I see your pretty teeth?"

Late Spring

Late Spring By Marion Agnew   |  July 21, 2014
Another chilly, overcast afternoon. From my nest on the sofa, I stare out the window at the yard, where dead grass outlines piles of dirty snow. The gray sky mutes any hints of greening in the pines and spruce. It would be a fine view in March or even early April. But it's mid-May, and I am as crusty and frozen as the lingering snow. A flash of brilliant yellow startles me; a thunk pulls me to the back window. On the porch lies a quivering feather ball, yellow mottled with dark gray-blue and black. A bird hit the window. Its breast feathers pulse, golden and glowing.

Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones By Sarah Wells   |  July 14, 2014
I am standing with my children in the bed of river rocks that have been broken and smoothed to flat disks, millennia wearing away the rough places. My daughter gathers stones and skips them along the shallow surface. As I dip my hand into the river to retrieve a couple pebbles, I see the stones I wear on my left ring finger, glistening in the creek. They are new and old, ancient in their creation and recently purchased by my husband of ten years. Five are on my wedding band—diamonds I deemed “stones of remembrance” after we married. Stones like the Israelites carried through and across the Jordan, stones the children could see later and ask, “What do these stones mean?”

Ritual

Ritual By Kelly Morse   |  July 7, 2014
Most nights I nurse my four-month-old daughter to sleep. The internet connection is terrible in our bedroom, the light thrown by the little green glass lamp not enough to read by, so I end up sitting in the semi-dark, looking across the bed to the window, or down upon the face of my baby in her steady, drowsy pleasure. The first couple of months, I listened to the dry rattle that preceded the radiator's strange atonal song. I watched ice crawl up the sill, watched storms fling themselves across the prairie, flapping tree limbs across the neighbor's outside light.

Bolt

Bolt By Jason Schwartzman   |  June 30, 2014
You couldn’t go where you wanted so you settled for walking the George Washington Bridge, no one’s favorite. It is a fixture You couldn’t go where you wanted so you settled for walking the George Washington Bridge, no one’s favorite. It is a fixture though, speared deep into rock on both sides of the river. It seems so solid, the bridge, so much of itself, one color, of the sky on a forgettable day—solid. On the pedestrian overpass, not in the cars, you hear the cars, and they sound like old men in a sick ward, wheezing, coughing, insides unsettled, towing the tonnage of themselves. The bridge bears all their weight, a servant of transience, of betweens, ruled by its little gains and losses.

Peaches

Peaches By Elizabeth Paul   |  June 23, 2014
The peach's soft flesh is so barely protected by its thin and fuzzy skin that I think it can't possibly be serious, but rather a jubilant sunburst, radiant and unworried in the brief noon of its summered existence, simply satisfied with the bright sweetness of its being.

My Father's Shoes

My Father's Shoes By Marcia Aldrich   |  June 16, 2014
The day my father died, my husband and I drove in the bright, tilted light of autumn, past farms, pastures, and ponds, finally arriving at the orchard. We parked the car, picked up two half-bushel bags to fill, and walked up the trail of powdered dust, fine as confectioner’s sugar, that led to the grove. That’s when I noticed them—my father’s shoes on my husband’s feet.

The Teacups

The Teacups By Pamela Rothbard   |  June 9, 2014
At the boardwalk, everything is past its prime: sweating hot dogs, mashed bags of cotton candy, melting ice cream. The workers move by rote--lifting and lowering the gate, pulling up on harnesses, scanning tickets. I slump in line. My daughter presses her whole body against the bars that separate us and the ride. As we board the teacups, the song, “Hey Mickey,” blares. It takes me back to college, to crazy humbling love with a boy named Mickey, to being on my own for the first time.

Patterns

Patterns By Luanne Castle   |  June 2, 2014
I wouldn't be here if my father hadn't sent me in his place. Under the insistent fluorescents and amid the smell of machine grease, a small forklift truck operates to the left, and ahead of me, a couple of men in overalls finger the cigarette packs in their pockets as they chat. At the window, a man in a dirty welder’s cap looks up from his clipboard. I explain that I have come to look at scrap metal. Small things, cast offs. Junk yard trash. This isn't my kind of place. I like silk blouses and almond orchards in full bloom.

Cologne

Cologne By Dawn S. Davies   |  May 26, 2014
Not too long ago I was in a crowded public place, trying to slip past people without touching them, when I caught a whiff of the same cologne my ex-husband wore while we were married. I would have thought it would sicken me, revisiting this scent of something so long dead, shoveled down into the underground of memory, the way we bury regret and sadness in order to keep on moving through life. But this cologne?

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