Blog : Beautiful-Things

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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?

The Necklace

The Necklace By Elizabeth Gaucher   |  May 19, 2014
In the 1970s, a necklace dangled long and lonely over our Kick the Can circle at the end of the street. Legend had it that a neighborhood boy had flung it, swung his arm like some cartoon pitcher and released the chain into the blue. It had been a soaring serpent, a dragon scraping the moon with its wings. Children who witnessed the moment were different from the rest of us. They said the chain streamlined, then widened and descended, its pendant dragging it back to earth in a sudden turnabout.

Dust

Dust By Sarah Evans   |  May 12, 2014
Who knew this sign of decay, of finality, of that to which we return, could also be so beautiful, so graceful, so lively as it floats in the sliver of sunlight that punctures the slit between my bedroom curtains?

Wrinkles

Wrinkles By Georgie Hunt   |  May 5, 2014
I was just talking to my grandmother on the phone. Oftentimes when we speak, she apologizes to me for the scratchiness of her voice. She says she has a cold that refuses to go away. I know this is just how her voice sounds now after the stroke.

Bells

Bells By Jessica Jacobs   |  April 28, 2014
After a month alone in this New Mexico canyon, five miles from the nearest neighbor with no electricity and no reception, the cabin’s last inhabitant began hearing things. I wonder if I will, too.

Baptism

Baptism By Martha Park   |  April 21, 2014
I’ve watched my father baptize dozens of babies. After sprinkling a little water on the baby’s head, Dad carried the baby up and down the aisles of the church, pausing to let the people on each pew lean forward and meet this new member of their family. Dad didn’t baptize me. Two of his old seminary buddies did it. Dad told me if I get married he won’t perform my wedding ceremony either. There are moments, he says, when he gets to sit back and cry. When I was a child, though...

Driftwood

Driftwood By Sonja Livingston   |  April 14, 2014
I’ve taken to collecting driftwood along the river. This is because I don’t have Cable TV and therefore lack better vices, but also because I can’t get enough of the way bits of tree wash up along the banks of Mud Island in spring, everything taken in by the river north of Memphis pushed along and carried south—clumps of stubborn snow and fishing lures and broken kites, but it’s the driftwood I stop for, carrying pieces home in my arms or in bags when I think to bring one along for the purpose.

Canary

Canary By David Frey   |  April 7, 2014
A month later it might have been a tulip poplar leaf in a dying burst of brilliance on the driveway. (Nature’s last green is sometimes gold.) But it was August, so I pointed—“Look, a goldfinch”—even though it looked nothing like one and upon closer inspection certainly wasn’t. But how did a canary end up here, a driveway to a house on a hill in a forest? How long did it think it could avoid the hawks that prowl these woods, this bird, so unwary we could nearly touch it?
Keywords: beautiful things  |   1 comments

Sometimes Distant Sounds

Sometimes Distant Sounds By Marsha McGregor   |  March 31, 2014
There are times I rock on my porch in this battered chair, listening to life going on in the distance and long to be a part of it. A band playing on the green, the crack of a bat followed by whistles and cheers – even the traffic shushing by can make me wonder why I’m not going anywhere.
Keywords: beautiful things  |   1 comments

Carrot

Carrot By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 28, 2014
Tonight I peeled and chopped carrots for dinner, tossed them with oil and thyme, oven-roasted them. The simpler the ingredient, the more miraculous it seems to me. A carrot. What must that have been like, on first discovery?

Nightwalk

Nightwalk By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 27, 2014
I read a story once about a woman who gives herself over to the night. She encounters no one, just sneaks outside, surveys the dark desert, and comes back changed.

Cat

Cat By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 26, 2014
Since the birth of our daughter, I have been short with our cat. I shush her or toss her off counters and chairs. It seems to be all I can do. I am already being screamed for. I am already giving more of myself than I can give.

Silence

Silence By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 25, 2014
Today there was the slumbering hush of a house in the morning with everyone else asleep, then the vacant stillness of an empty house in the afternoon.

Name

Name By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 24, 2014
I’ve recently dedicated myself to learning the names of trees. Before I never thought it made much of a difference, but the beauty of their names compelled me.

Garden

Garden By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 23, 2014
Once again, I have decided to grow a garden. These aspirations tend to end in hard green tomatoes, withered basil, and parched soil. Yet today in a surge of optimism we shoveled the sod from our raised bed and lugged home giant bags of dirt.

Grandpa

Grandpa By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 22, 2014
My mother’s father is slowing down--growing quieter and more forgetful. This evening, while my grandma cooked dinner, my daughter and I sat with him in the den. He is too frail to hold her or bounce her up and down on his knee, but not too far gone to notice her staring at the birthday balloon floating behind his chair. Slow as a turtle his hand reached back...

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