Changing Seasons 2016: March

This post is for Cardinal Guzman’s monthly Changing Seasons photography challenge. This year I’m photographing my favourite place in the village – the little wooded path alongside the wildflower meadow that runs down to the stream.

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The main feature during March has been the daffodils, which were much later to bloom beneath the shelter of the trees than in the gardens. They’re like little bursts of sunshine in flower form, brightening the area and cheering the spirit as you walk among them. Daffodils always make me smile.

As well as the daffodils there has also been the sight of the fresh spring greenery to enjoy. Many of the smaller trees and shrubs are opening their leaves, enjoying the light before the taller trees come into leaf and cast them into shade.

The evergreens also enjoy the spring warmth, stretching out new growth.

During March the wildlife has also become increasingly active. Birdsong is a constant soundtrack as you walk through the trees. Occasionally you’ll catch a flash of wings as a brave bird settles onto a branch nearby. Insects are also beginning to buzz and scurry.

I thought I’d finish off with a final gallery that offers a glimpse of what’s to come in next month’s post. Over the last week or so the first of the bluebells have started to flower. I’m now looking forward to the carpet of blue we’re certain to see during April.

I hope you enjoyed the little tour through my own little wonderland. I’d love to know what you think.

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FFfAW: Creations Studio

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy.  The FFfAW challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. This week’s prompt was provided by Uday . Thank you Uday!

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Photo Prompt: © Uday

Creations Studio

The moment Tessa saw the strange doorway her world shifted out of focus. Thoughts stumbled, mired in tar; her surroundings faded to insignificance. She moved through a dreamlike haze, footsteps drawn inexorably closer until fingertips brushed wood. The door opened before her and she stepped inside. 

“What do you wish to create?” a voice intoned.

Tessa’s mind cleared. Heart racing and mouth suddenly dry, she retreated as a figure emerged from the shadows. “I… What?”

“All who find this place have something they wish to create.”

Images flashed, unbidden, through Tessa’s mind: a partner by her side; a child in her arms; a happy, loving family. It was as if the album of her deepest desires was rifled through by curious fingers.

“Ah. A perfect life.” The figure appeared at her side. Bony fingers touched her forehead.

The world dissolved.

+++

“You coming, Tess?”

Michael’s voice jolted Tessa from her revery. Smiling, she scooped their daughter into her arms and hurried to his side.

“Beware,” a voice whispered, “for even a perfect image bears shadows.”

Word Count: 175

To read the other entries, click the little blue frog!

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SPF: Memento

This story is in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge, hosted by Alistair Forbes, that asks that you write a story / poem of around 200 words using the photo as a guide.

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Memento

She’d always wondered what was kept in the garage.

Frances clutched the key to her chest, curiosity battling with trepidation as she stood before the door. As a child she’d spent hours sitting outside, inventing stories as to why her father spent so long within. She’d imagined him as a spy, storing top secret documents; as a scientist, building a time machine behind unassuming walls.

Now her father was merely a memory and she had to accept there were far darker possibilities than those she’d once considered. Frances shook her head, chiding herself. There was only one way to find the truth.

Hand trembling, she turned the key.

Her breath caught in her throat. Shelves lined the room, all filled with achingly familiar objects that set long forgotten memories dancing. She reached out to touch a photograph; trailed fingertips over an old toy. The picture had been taken during a childhood holiday –  her mother laughing as she splashed in the sea. The toy had been her favourite, thought donated to a charity shop many years past.

Tears filled her eyes as she viewed the precious mementos of her father’s life. The truth was more beautiful than she could have imagined.

Word Count: 200

If you want to read other entries or upload you own, click on the little blue frog.

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Cee’s Oddball Challenge: Soaring

This post is for Cee’s Oddball Challenge, a photography challenge that asks for you to share pictures that don’t seem to fit any particular category. I’ve been looking at these shots for a while now, trying to decide what I could use them with – oddball seems appropriate.

Fire small

Flames dancing skywards

Challenging encroaching night

Bright dreams soaring free

Squggly flames

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Saturday Songsters – Tori Amos

It’s  Saturday and so time for another Saturday Songster post. This week’s track is ‘Winter’ by Tori Amos.

Tori Amos in Concert 13 July 2007

Tori Amos in Concert 13 July 2007 – By Flickr user, Spoon via Wikimedia Commons

Tori Amos is an American singer-songwriter, pianist and composer who came to fame in the early 1990s with the release of her first album, ‘Little Earthquakes’. Since then she has released thirteen further studio albums plus numerous compilations and live albums. In 2003 she was voted the fifth best touring act by the readers of Rolling Stone magazine.

I first heard Tori Amos’ music in the late 1990s when I was at university. One of my close friends and housemates used to play the piano and Tori Amos’ songs were some of her favourite things to play. The song I’ve chosen to share this week is one of the first I ever listened to – first played and sung by my friend and later on the copy of the ‘Little Earthquakes’ that she lent to me. Whilst I now own most of her albums, the first songs I heard are still my favourites.

Winter

Snow can wait
I forgot my mittens
Wipe my nose
Get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter
I put my hand in my father’s glove
I run off
Where the drifts get deeper
Sleeping beauty trips me with a frown
I hear a voice
“Your must learn to stand up for yourself
Cause I can’t always be around”

He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I’ll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Boys get discovered as winter melts
Flowers competing for the sun
Years go by and I’m here still waiting
Withering where some snowman was
Mirror mirror where’s the crystal palace
But I only can see myself
Skating around the truth who I am
But I know dad the ice is getting thin

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I’ll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Hair is grey
And the fires are burning
So many dreams
On the shelf
You say I wanted you to be proud of me
I always wanted that myself

He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses have gone ahead
I tell you that I’ll always want you near
You say that things change
My dear

Lyrics from azlyrics

If you’d like to know more about Tori Amos or would like to check out more of her music, you can visit her website here or her Wikipedia page here.

SPF: Master of the Storm

This story is in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge, hosted by Alistair Forbes, that asks that you write a story / poem of around 200 words using the photo as a guide.

Photo Prompt:

Photo Prompt: © Alistair Forbes

Master of the Storm

Gerent closed his eyes, his head thrown back and arms cast wide as the buffeting wind swirled around him. Rain drenched him through to his skin, encasing him in chill fabric. The power of the storm enlivened his senses and set his magic alight.

It was strange to think he’d once hated being apprenticed to the Weather Witch. He’d thought himself condemned to a life of drudgery, summoning and dismissing rain-clouds for farmers like his predecessor, accepting payment in cabbages. Thankfully, ambition and ability had allowed his skills to be deployed far more rewardingly than that.

After several violent storms had bombarded the Citadel in quick succession, the High Lord was willing to pay any price to avoid the devastation of another.

Gerent cast his magic out, lightning dancing around him as he bound the storm to his will. He couldn’t help but grin as he drew its roiling energies into the vial in his hand. For a while the High Lord’s payment would allow him to live the wealthy life he deserved. He corked the bottle and slipped it back into his pocket.

Once the money ran out, then it would be time to release his storm once more.

Word Count: 200

If you want to read other entries or upload you own, click on the little blue frog.

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