Picnic day in a Cape Town forest

We walked in groups in the sprawling forest that clung to the foot of the mountain. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbours gathered for the hike, trampling over pine needles and tripping over knotted roots. Animals squirreled out of sight and up into higher branches to give way to the invading human swarm that was us. We picked pine cones from the musty ground and plucked out the nuts. Tasting sweet and tangy on our childish tongues. Grown ups carried baskets full of baked chicken, corn on the cob, green salads and garlicky bread. We stopped to eat at the stream that bubbled and whistled over pebbles and crawling roots.

Summer’s sun winked

through tree tops.

Smiles and chatter.

We were all together.

 

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I remember a massive community hike in what I think was the Newlands forest in Cape Town, when I was about seven or eight if not younger. The hike ended in a picnic. I remember it as one of the most spontaneous and memorable occasions of my life, as it was a spur of the moment thing for me. I suppose that is what life seems like for kids who are unaware of the plans adults make and find themselves in surprising situations.

In my memory, I clearly remember a lot of pine trees and pine cones. They are not indigenous trees. Settlers to the region created pine plantations that still form a large part of the forest.

The featured image shows what the indigenous forest looks like, more lush and tropical-looking.

Shared with dVerse for their haibun Picnic prompt.

 

***Images from wikipedia

 

The school trip

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

The waves crashed over one another, sounding like the distant rumbling roars of fifty lions. Boikanyo had never seen the sea.

“Bring me back some sea water in a bottle.” instructed his mother as she put him on the bus filled with his classmates. He barely heard her above the excited chatter.

Now, the teachers encouraged the children to sit in the shallows. Braver ones practiced their swimming strokes in deeper water. He inched closer to the water and yelped at the cold as it lapped over his feet. He couldn’t remember feeling so exhilarated ever before.

97 words

Having spent some of my childhood in a seaside town, I take it for granted that many people have never seen  the sea. Sometimes cross-border school trips are the first encounters with the sea that children from landlocked countries such as Botswana, experience. Many first-timers say that it is the seemingly endless nature of the sea that captivates them. The way it seems to stretch on further than they can see. And I have to agree. More than any other body of water, the sea has a magic and a call like no other.

It is a popular belief that sea water cures many ailments. Often people collect it bottles to take back home.

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Write a story in 100 words or less. Join in by cicking the frog below!

bigfred

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Creatures of the night

 

 

Men wander dim avenues in search of

gin and Jezebel’s to escape

a personal hell.

Steel-toed workers rise with the moon,

shifting the night into the early morn.

A young mother, weary and bleary-eyed,

fingers running over the keyboard

chasing an elusive word count

 

 

Written for the dVerse prompt using the word rise or its derivative in a quadrille form.

**Image from https://art.alphacoders.com

 

Footprints in the snow

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

 

The last thing he saw was the tree speeding towards him. He had misjudged the icy road completely. What he doesn’t remember is climbing out of his vehicle, finding his way to this little girl’s house where he now sat at her tiny table, watching her pour air into tiny teacups.

“You don’t believe me.” she said.

“There’s no way I’m your imaginary friend!”

She took him by the hand and led him outside. Together they walked in thick snow. She stopped, pirouetted and pointed to the ground, “Look.”

One set of girl-sized footprints were stamped in the snow.

99 words

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Write a story in 100 words or less. I hope this doesn’t go over too many heads!

Click the frog to submit your own story and join us!

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Those darn algorithms

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

 

Rina wasn’t sure what had happened. One minute she was configuring the new algorithms on the black hole transporter. The next there was a strange whirring sound and now she found herself here. A courtyard guarded by hedges that was definitely not her laboratory.

Springing up to her feet, she stumbled over the hem of her ballgown. Blood rushed to her head. A figure approached her from one of the many courtyard doors. Rina drew back in shock as her vision cleared and in front of her loomed a hairy beast in a dress coat.

Belle, are you okay?”

99 words

 

This week’s flash fiction was inpsired by the famous black hole image led by Katherine Bouman and her team. The first black hole picture. Don’t ask me what a black hole is, I can’t tell you. The hazy effect of the prompt image made me think of time travel and disney princesses, Belle from Beauty and the beast in particular. So there it is…

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Write a story in 100 words or less.

bigfred

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***Image from cnn.com

Water reflections

 

 

Water

within you, within me

in our cells, in the atmosphere

Water

reacts and interacts to paint

rainbows and spark lightning

Water

flowing red in our veins and clear down rocky slopes

rising up invisibly into our skies

in cottony cloud collections

shifting resources from lakes to land

tumbling in drops towards earth

onto leaves and soil

and skin and fur

Water

Dammed and bottled

but never contained

Water

everywhere and in

everything

a three dimensional manifestation

of the flowing

sustaining

higher

energy of Love

 

 

*Shared with dVerse prompt on Water.

 

***Image from kyhealthkids

 

 

Antarctica

 

Here, everything is preserved in time.

The landscape frozen

in its final expression.

 

Caves gape at some distant surprise

where cornflower skies kiss sapphire seas,

time after time.

 

Icicles drip over the cliff’s edge

like the cascading crystalline hair

of a slumbering, frozen

 

Ice Queen who cares for

naught but her beauty sleep.

And a tender glowing expression.

 

 

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I’m just about getting this in before the link closes!

Written for dVerse Poets Pub open link night. I missed the chance to post on Amaya’s Cascade challenge earlier this week so getting a two in one. It’s not in the exact form, but learned a lot in the process!

 

Images from hideawayreport.com (1) and wildfoottravel.com (2)

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in translation

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

 

Sue sighed exasperatedly at her husband. “This is hardly romantic, Rakesh.”

He squinted at the tourist map of Venice, holding it under the streetlamp but his head kept blocking out the light casting a shadow over it. “Hmmm…”

“We’ve been wandering for hours. It is dark already. We are lost. Just admit it.”

Just then, loud shouts erupted from a nearby cafe, “Basta! Basta!”

“What do you think is happening over there?” Sue stretched her neck to glimpse some of the action.

“I’m not sure.” said Rakesh, scratching his beard. “But it sounds as if they want more pasta.”

99 words

**** Basta means “that’s enough” in Italian. Usually used in a firm tone to put a stop to something.

Okay, okay this was as cheesy as the mozarella on your pizza. Nonetheless, hope you enjoyed it. The prompt reminded me of when I wandered the dark calles of Venice once. Not a good idea.

Written for Friday fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Write a story in 100 words or less. Click the link to add your flash fiction and join the party.

bigfred

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The nature of things

PHOTO PROMPT© Sandra Crook

He came to escape. Refresh. Clear his mind. Where better than a lodge out in the Botswana bush? Archer checked his phone for the fiftieth time. Only her screen-lock picture smiled back at him.

Outside, a masked weaver bird worked diligently on his nest. A female fluttered by and slipped inside the hanging nest. Archer knew if she liked it she would stay. Within seconds she popped out and flew off. Just like that. No warning. No goodbye. Leaving the weaver bird staring after her wondering what he did wrong.

“Chin up, buddy. The right one will stay.”

99 words

The prompt reminded me of the bright yellow weaver birds that are prominent in Botswana. There’s one that tears the leaves off of my palm tree into thin strips to weave his nest. They are such clever little things.

Honestly, I’m not sure if the females inspect the nest to their liking. Some bird species in the world build elaborate nests, complete with fancy bottle caps or shiny pieces of litter, and the female arrives to inspect it all. If she approves she simply settles right in. If not, she continues on her way.

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Write a story in 100 words or less.

bigfred

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Birka

 

Maybe what I miss most

Wasn’t the beige dwellings

housing our belongings.

Though I protected them with all my might

I longed to escape their confines.

 

Maybe what I miss most

wasn’t the calm lake that spilled

into the Baltic Sea.

Though it was a silent witness

where Solveig and I made secret love

beneath the twinkling eyes of the gods.

 

Maybe what I miss most

was a curl of Elin’s yellow hair

wisping up into the air

as she loosed her lethal arrow.

Cheeks flushed.

Eyes ablaze with the glory of war.

 

Maybe what I miss most

were sounds of military merriment in the tavern.

Victorious and raucous.

While I washed the blood off of my axe

in the quietness of the lake

that swallowed our stories into the water.

 

Maybe what I miss most

were the sounds of twenty boats

breaking a path through the Baltic Sea.

The promise of fortune and fate

drawing out the heaving breaths

of my army, working the oars through the black water

towards a destination far beyond

what we could see.

 

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Inspired by the very real historical Viking Warrior, who was first assumed to be male upon excavation in 1878. (And also inspired by a song with the same refrain). Due to the remains being buried with an arsenal of weapons and a game set, used in strategic thinking, it was clear that it was a warrior’s tomb.

It took more than a hundred years later for someone to examine the bones and confirm that the lack of Y-chromosomes indicates the remains were female. This caused much controversy. But the evidence speaks for itself, and the myth of the female Viking warrior became fact.

The artifacts in the tomb indicated she was a high ranking warrior. My poem tries to capture life through the eyes of this dead warrior, in the Viking village of Birka.

Geography plays a major role in the activities and organisation of a community. In this case, Birka (located in Sweden) was a major trading post between Northern Europe and the rest of the world.

Anthropological and historical studies show that much of what the modern world perceives as uniquely masculine or feminine gets debunked by findings such as these. Where medieval and sometimes ancient customs do not have the same roles and customs assigned to specific genders as we do today.

 

Written for dVerse Poets Pub

 

**Images from Smithsonian.com. Featured Image: (Antiquity Publications Ltd./drawing by Tancredi Valeri)

 

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A reconstructed Viking Age house in Birka. Image source: http://www.worldsheritage.travel.wordpress.com