Rooted in earth

I do not think it is possible to work with the stories, currents and history of the land and remain oblivious to the rich tapestry of life.”

So writes Sue Vincent, beloved blogger at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. There, in addition to sharing her remarkable paintings, poetry, flash fiction, short stories and more, she has also grown a community of writers who respond to her beautiful photographs for the popular #writephoto prompt. These photos are mostly of landscapes, land that Sue knows well on many levels.
By now you have seen on different blogs that we are rallying around our friend Sue who has given so much to so many. The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic is a contest that will honor Sue. The details of that are best heard from the horse’s mouth when the event is posted at Carrot Ranch tomorrow, February 1. There you will also learn of additional ways to take part; one is to join the “Parade” in which you can reblog one of Sue’s posts from any of her sites— Daily Echo or France and Vincent— with a comment about why you found it special. I am reblogging Sue’s piece Rooted In Earth that she published on a third site, The Silent Eye.
She had me at the title, and this truly resonates with me: “There is a reverence that comes when we are rooted in the earth of our landscape, when we listen for its heartbeat in the changing seasons and feel our place within it.” But Sue tricked me Good, for this piece is also a reverence for being human on the Earth.
Yet it is beautiful, and within this earth our own roots are planted deeply, and our life is drawn from the same source.”


d’Verse MTB; Opening lines…beginnings

At the dVerse pub for poets Peter from Australia is pulling pints and calling the shots. This week he offers beginnings for our consideration. I don’t know if my first line grabs anyone or not but it came to me and I grabbed on to it. This is my first d’Verse response in a couple months, so I am not letting go. This is my poem for Meeting the Bar, and with “way” in the title and 44 words exactly I am giving a nod to Lisa’s Quadrille #120 prompt from Monday.

Way of the Muse

This one is carved lean by hunger

bone sharp wary, lurks at shadowed edge

uncertain crouch unfolding to a pounce

for it’d rather hunt than beg

this night it laps at moon-milk

senses hunger-hardened, whet

ink-blood tracks on snow-white page

Emptied, it’s sated, fed.

Saddle Up Saloon: Quizzical Trivia

Come by the Saddle Up fer some serious fun. Everyone’s a winner with their trivial pursuits. Are ya game ta play?

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

“Hey Kid. Another manic Monday. What ya got lined up fer this week?”

“Hey there, Pal. This week thought we’d run a quiz show outta the Saloon. Folks kin play along an’ answer the questions.”

“Thet soun’s like a trivial pursuit, Kid. Thinkin’ ya jist give up pursuin’ better options.”

“Mebbe, or mebbe you could be more open ta tryin’ new things. Oh, that could be a question: Who’s the ornery one, Kid or Pal? Naw, too easy, it’s clearly you.”

“Hmmf. Okay, here’s one: Which a us is most likely ta make a mess a things, Kid or Pal? Nope, cain’t use thet, it’s way too easy, don’t wanna assault folks’ ‘telligence.”

“Seriously, Pal, let’s get a quiz t’gether. Folks like qizzes.”

“Folks hate quizzes! Ya might trigger some a ‘em, Kid, stress ‘em out.”

“It’s jist fer fun, Pal. Like ya said, trivial. An’, it’s a open blog…

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CRLC Challenge; Light at the End of the Tunnel

Over at Carrot Ranch the January 21, 2021, prompt is: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that rephrases ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ Think of how the cliche replacement communicates a hopeful ending and aligns with your character or story. Go where the prompt leads!Mine is a double.

Coming In

Skipper. Always a corncob pipe stuck in his mouth, puffing away like that’s what powered the boat. Remember one time we got caught out in a bad nor’easter. That corncob grew cold but he kept it clenched in his teeth as he steered through the troughs and waves, me shivering scared in the cuddy cabin. I didn’t believe we’d weather that one. Then somehow Skipper had a free hand to relight his pipe under the brim of his oilskin hat. The storm was still pounding wild, but that round glow chipping at the dark told me we’d come through.


His hands at his chest clutching the blanket edge reminds me of him at the helm that night, our lives depending on his firm and determined grip. Now his breath wheezes like the gurgling stem of that corncob pipe. The electronic machines cast steady waves of green light, sounding ebb and flow. If it were a depth finder I could read it. I want to believe he’ll weather this one. That tube in his throat, does he think that’s his pipe? Aren’t his lips moving, champing at the familiar bit? I watch his hands. Light your damn pipe, Skipper.

Returning; #writephoto & Shimmer;decima 41

Photo by Sue Vincent


And now she stands alone again

stands in rarified company

stands unafraid upon the scree

stands far above the shadowed glen.

On the edge of beginning’s end

expectant eyes brightly shimmer

witness waning daylight’s glimmer.

All she’s taking is all she’s learned

she’s journeyed well and now returns

soars above the golden river.

Sue Vincent has returned with her Thursday photo prompt! While I have been an infrequent participant, I have missed this weekly prompt and the wonderful writing it generated among so many bloggers. I also used Ronavan’s decima challenge to meet the prompt. In his decima challenge #41 we are to use “shimmer” in the c line. Go to his site for more on the form and to see other responses.

Saddle Up Saloon; Chattin’ ‘Bout Story Chat

Marsha Ingrao returns to the Saloon with a unique opportunity for authors.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

“Hey Kid, look who jist come in. Isn’t thet?”

“Yep, it sure is.”

“Back fer more?”

“Yep. She’s gonna take the stage ta do some sharin’ ‘roun’ the writin’ community.”

“Thet’s what the Saddle Up is all ‘bout. Howdy, Marsha Ingrao! Welcome back ta the Saddle Up Saloon!”

“Hello Pal. Hello Kid.”

“What is it ya wanna share, Marsha?”

“At my blog, Always Write, I’ve started a new feature called Story Chat.”

“Story chat? Like, ya chat ‘bout stories?”

“Yes! When an author’s story is accepted, they get free editing and then their story appears on Always Write with their byline and bio. Then readers from a wide audience comment and speculate. The author joins in the discussion with the readers.”

“Thet sounds kinda unique.”

“That’s what Hugh ofHugh’s Views and News said!”


“Yes. The birth of Story Chat started with a conversation between Hugh Roberts…

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The Usual; SixSentenceStory

Through the diner window Deborah watched the truck pull up, watched the familiar dismount, the tail end of an unfiltered Camel hitting the ground just prior to the vibram soles of greasy steel-toed work boots. She watched the bold long-legged approach across the parking lot, liking all 200 brawny pounds of what she saw. Already she had in the usual order, had it pinned on the line even before the purple-cabbed Peterbuilt had ceased squealing and hissing to a stop. Every two weeks, the same, though every two weeks the banter became increasingly serious, became conversation, and questions, increasingly potent.

This time Deborah was nervous like never before and glanced around, glad to see there were only two customers in the place, both distracted with their phones, not even looking up when the third driver strode in, beaming at the sight of her.

“Ellen, my bag is in the back; this time I will go with you.”

The prompt word is “filter“, the rules are to write a story in six sentences. The link up is HERE, thanks to our host Denise of GirlieOntheEdge. Author Anne Goodwin reminds us in a recent article that February is  LGBT+ History Month and can be acknowledged and celebrated through literature. Maybe that’s why this story went where it did. I just had the first line, then decided to reassign those boots.

Page Turnin’

Belatedly, a nod to the new year. Kid and Pal want you to know their new page is up, their third, cleverly titled “Ranch Yarns 2021” which follows “Ranch Yarns 2020” and “Ranch Yarns ’17-’19” before that. These pages are where you can catch up on the antics of these fictional Carrot Ranchers who of their own volition respond to the Carrot Ranch Literary Community prompts every week. You may have caught Kid’s recent interview HERE. This past year Kid and Pal wandered off the Ranch for the first time and rode roughshod through some other blog hops. They settled down when the Saddle Up Saloon opened at Carrot Ranch, as Charli Mills left it to them to run the place. What could go wrong? Some things did go wrong, but through the miracles of fiction, were righted by the end. Whether it’s to take the stage and perform, or to just sit at the bar and comment, all are welcome at the Saddle Up Saloon, located in the wildly mild west of Carrot Ranch.

Lookin’ Back an’ Goin’ Forward

“It’s a new year Pal. Tell ya what, I ain’t inta all this visionin’ stuff.”

“Any hindsight on 2020 then, Kid?”

“Ain’t gonna put on rose colored glasses. We all know what went on, an’ is goin’ on, but there’s other places fer that conversation. I’ll ‘centuate the positive lookin’ back.”

“Thet’s why Shorty built the Saloon last March. Givin’ folks a pos’tive place ta come ever week fer a break an’ mebbe a laugh.”

“Thinkin’ Shorty’s jist keepin’ us corralled.”

“Thet too.”

“It worked.”

“The corrallin’? Or the morale-in’?”

“Both! I look for’ard ta more a the Saloon.”


“So yer lookin’ for’ard, Kid. Thet’s visionin’.”

“Is it? How d’ya see the Saddle Up down the road Pal?”

“Jist want the Saloon ta be a frien’ly hangout where folks drop by an’ say howdy, mebbe git up on the stage an’ showcase themselves an’ their work.”

“Yeah… Pal, in ‘ddition ta the Saloon, we was in dang near a hunnerd fifteen 99-word yarns last year.”

“Think fame’s changed us Kid?”

“Naw. ‘Sides we’re jist legen’s in our own minds— or someone’s mind.”

“S’pose. But thet someone’s corralled our “Ranch Yarns” here.”

“An’ we’re ridin’ for’ard at Carrot Ranch!”

Wanted: Real or Fictional Folks ta take the stage.

Saddle Up Saloon; All the Critters Is Stirrin’, ‘Specially Mause

Kid drops the ball, but there’s a puppy to point to it and a puglet to fetch it. Come by the Saddle Up Saloon to say howdy and congratulations to Charli Mills and (expanded) family.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

“Dang it, Kid! What’s goin’ on? We got a Saloon ta run.”

“What’s the problem Pal?”

“Yer the problem. First those goats and now thet pig of yers— thet pig should not be in this ‘stablishment.”

“This is not ‘a pig’, not any pig; this is Curly. My pig. Lookit ‘er. Ain’t she the cutest?”

“Git ‘er out afore the Board a Health comes by.”

“Oh, she’s plenny healthy, ‘an asides, she’s a service hog. See the vest she’s wearin’?”

“Says ‘Servus’.”

“Oops. Serves us right fer d’pendin’ on spell chick. But the point is, that vest means she’s got ta ‘comp’ny me wherever I go. ‘Cause a PTS.”

“PTS? You?”

“No, you. Pal Totally Stresses. Pet Curly, Pal, scratch her b’hine the ears. It’ll make ya feel good ta make Curly feel good.”

“Enough a yer nonsense, Kid. What if Shorty come in here, saw this piglet a yers…

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CRLC Challenge; Butterfly & Stone

I’ll tell you the January 7 prompt from Charli at Carrot Ranch, but as always it’s a real fine post that goes with it, worth clicking on over there. Okay, the prompt is, “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the contrasting prompts butterfly and stones. The two can be used in any way in your story. Go where the prompt leads!” Though butterflies are the more obvious symbol of reflective change, both butterflies and stones go through transformations. In my first response I revisited the Dillard essay entitled “Teaching a Stone To Talk”. In my second, I took advantage of the setting offered by this prompt and used it to visit with Marge and Ernest. You may recall that the gang built a Zen garden and a pagoda style she-shed for this couple to encourage their nuptials. (If you go to their page to catch up, you might want to scroll all the way down to “Archway”.) Either way, there’s more to this scene.


In “Teaching A Stone To Talk” Annie Dillard states that we’ve desecrated the groves and sacred places, “have moved from pantheism to pan-atheism”, and so “Nature’s silence is its one remark”; “The silence is all there is” and this silence is our own doing.

I wonder; who are we then, to presume to teach a stone to talk? We need to learn to listen!

It isn’t easy work; it requires great attention and practice. But the stone has much to say about patience, endurance, and transformation.

Look. A butterfly lands whisper-winged on a lichen-cloaked stone. Watch and learn. Listen.


“I’m glad it’s Nard in there, Ilene.”


“I’m glad you’re here with me. See Marge’s plants with all those butterflies on them? That’s my stomach.”

“Oh, Ernest. It’s all good. She’ll be out soon.”

From the stoop of the singlewide, Ernest looked across the river of stones of the Zen garden to the closed pocket door of the she-shed, while Ilene studied the butterflies adorning the buddleia and echinacea.

“Blue! Limenitis…? Ernest, have you ever seen anything so beautiful?”

Ernest was looking at Marge, finally emerging from the pagoda styled shed in a blue dress.

“No, not ever.”   

Limenitis arthemis astyanax