Stories in this collection honor fellow writer, Sue Vincent who has impacted the lives of many around the world through her stories and prompts. Life is a river of consciousness where writers dip their quills. Sue has provided us access.
Writers responded to the prompt, and what follows is a collection of perspectives in 99-word stories arranged like literary anthropology.
Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi
Dust of Life by FloridaBorne
We gather the dust of life, floating inside a watery womb.
We burst into a world too cold, light too bright, sounds too harsh, searching for sustenance.
Held in soft arms, comforted by a lullaby, we forget that once we floated in God’s arms, listening to celestial music.
Our universe becomes a nuclear family, adults become gods that fall from favor once we discover their flaws. We become gods to a new generation and fear the loss of our borrowed time.
We cast away the dust of life to float in a universe of joy… knowing we’re finally home.
Adrift by Rebecca Glaessner
A youngling cast eyes skyward upon birth. Energies entered its being, strengthened its mind, its heart.
That youngling grew, phased, loved, laughed. Built together a house-family, welcomed partners and friends, life happy and full.
Years on, now-grown, they lay ready. Every village eagerly awaiting the next youngling’s birth on the morrow.
Eyes closed now, their mind drifted.
No longer amongst their house-family’s hearts, but rather above, looking down upon sprawling villages-turned-cities.
How they’d all grown.
Life flowed onward.
A new youngling cast eyes skyward upon birth, its mind and heart strengthened by an ancient energy.
Unseen, yet deeply felt.
The Everyday Physics of Dreams by Jeff Gard
Like matter, dreams cannot be destroyed. Unlike matter, they are created by scattered dandelion seeds, extinguished birthday candles, teeth hidden under pillows, and wishes cast upon twinkling stars. They are first kisses, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, and promotions. Desires are our bones and blood. One day we will exhale our aspirations. They will rise on thermals, waver within a red and green Aurora Borealis. They will race into space, outpacing radio waves and light. They will dance in the Milky Way and body surf Saturn’s rings. In spiraling clouds of gas and dust, our dreams will condense into newborn stars.
My Thoughts Move Like Water by Brandon Ellrich
Sometimes quickly over rocks with ripples and waves,
Moving so swiftly I get lost and afraid.
At times it slows, spreading deep and wide,
Touching places unknown, feeling peace inside.
As the river bends and winds I go to and fro,
Joined by streams and rains, as I learn and grow.
I give of myself to those who thirst,
And I am changed for better or worse.
I draw near the ocean and my journey’s end,
And reunited with lost family and friends.
Part of the whole, the greatness, the sea,
My body is loosed, my soul is free!
Every Ripple by Willow Willers
“What are you looking at?” the young man asked the older woman.
Smiling she turned to answered him. “I am looking at life.”
Perplexed the young man wondered what she meant. “Every ripple, every shimmer of light upon the water is a life, a story. You see we all flow from the source encountering highs and lows as we meander along. Traveling though the seasons we learn. Small streams join as we travel they do not diminish us but help to us grow as we journey on to reach our sea of enlightenment.
The young man saw the truth.
Believe by Sherri Matthews
She waited by the brook where the fairies played. Where water bubbled gently over smooth, wet stones – she had seen them. Sparkle sunlight drops had danced and promised it would be all right. But years had passed and she wasn’t all right. Where had their promises gone? Like the river beyond she had yet to find, did they exist? How could she trust when she’d known only lies? A twig snapped, she gasped. He had come! She ran to his embrace, he kissed her tears away and said, ‘I never left you.’ And the girl now a woman believed.
Forward Facing by JulesPaige
An odd vista up in the Arizona mountains, riding on a paddlewheel riverboat on a manmade lake. After taking twisting winding roads, some one lane only to reach our destination. The cacti forests were over hundreds of years old, their multiple arms each at one point a stub at fifty years young, amid the scenery. What more could we wish for? A new beginning perhaps for the loved one we had lost. Buried in a box in the same plot as their spouse. Thankful to still have each other to lean on. We silently contemplated where we were going.
Lynn Valley: Tom by Saifun Hassam
When Janice died shortly after her second brain tumor surgery, Tom was desolate. He felt marooned on a sandy bar, his capsized boat swept swiftly downstream on a mountain river. He felt he was in that river cascading over boulders and rocks, perhaps to disappear into a desert even.
Tom went kayaking again on Seasquall River. It was painful at first. The glint of sunshine on the whitecaps. The distant snowcapped Seasquall Mountains. In Lynn Valley, he spent time with Aunt Bev and his cousin Hannah. Their love turned his silence into conversations and his moroseness into laughter. Janice.
Trust by Bill Engleson
I stand on the bank of the river.
It winds through my starving soul,
the water, cool, clear, dream-like,
as I float on its sea-bound roll.
I stand on the shore of the river,
pebbles, pools, and sandstone knoll,
as a broken limb of arbutus
drifts by in the currents control.
I wade knee-deep in the river,
stand in a soothing shoal,
bend, as one will in a river,
take hold of my new walking pole.
I drift in the flow of the river,
no destination, no particular goal.
Full fealty to the river,
Allegiance to my inevitable toll.
Flow by Myrna Migala
A child is born, parents have high hopes, small as a sprinkle, and grows as the world pulls the child into it.
Growing and flowing began a small stream. Gravity pulls it down, moving toward an ocean of eternity. Banking, down to the river’s future. The twists and turns, the bends. The land around is life! Changing from an uphill climb to a comfortable flow in a low valley. Life as a river flowing from height, beginning down through the world. Ups, downs, twists, bends. Life, a gift — a river that someday will end. Ends — or begins again?
The Ripples of Life by Norah Colvin
The stone made a mini fountain where it plunged into the water. The boy and the man watched the ripples spread. The boy’s eyes filled with wonder, the man’s with life’s wisdom.
“Where do the ripples go?” asked the boy.
“Everywhere,” said the man. “Even when we no longer see them, their effects go on. Like that stone, we make a splash in our family when we arrive. Our circles grow as we grow. Our lives touch more and more. We may never know the effects, but they are there, rippling through the world, flowing forever in the river of life.”
Life Explored by Jo Elizabeth Pinto
They sat on the riverbank, the waning sun on their shoulders, poles in their hands with limp lines in the still water, their laughter light on the air.
“A tug, a tug,” she said. He took her pole, his hands over hers.
“Gentle … gentle …”
They lifted the trout, shining, dripping–he held it below the gills while she felt its curves, its muscles rippling. Then he quickly slipped it off the hook and let it drop with a splash; it disappeared into the stream of life.
He touched her cheek tenderly; his wet hands smelled of fish.
Off Balance by JulesPaige
Too many adults weren’t talking. Too many changes were taking place at one time. Her river of consciousness had divided to conquer the fragile sanity that only a child who is kept in the dark after a parent’s death can muster. Willing herself to be in a place of comfort, she sat comfortably in her grammar school art class until the teacher asked why she wasn’t in her reading class. The magic bubble burst, hope dissolved like candy floss on the tongue. Reality slammed her back where her body sat like a mannequin. Reality was cold, bitter and harsh.
Through the Rough by Gloria McBreen
As a young girl, under the watchful eyes of my father, I paddled with the minnow in the shallow part of Dundragon River. The safe part, where the water flowed gently across a million pebbles. As years passed, I ventured further up the river. Deeper, muddier waters, where I learned to trust my own judgement in the absence of my protector. Tread carefully or be swallowed. Keep my head above the water and prepare for the inevitable ripples. When the dam breaks, keep swimming, knowing that those watchful eyes will guide me across the rough, to gentle waters again.
Choices by Ruchira
Today, as I stand on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and observe the waves come crashing, I contemplate upon my life. The goals I had in mind, but the choices I made, paved an unknown path. It made me wonder why I chose to tread on it? Why didn’t I give up and decide to pursue my goals instead? Just then, drops of water fall on my face, and a smile crosses my lips. Aah! It gave me happiness and peace of mind. It’s impressive how life can flow in a flashback anywhere as a river of consciousness.
Clearing Your Mind by Ellen Best
Sit unmoving, unrestricted by the flimflam of everyday drudgery. Listen, hear the burble of the brook giving life to fish, frog and newt. Hear the flop flap as webbed feet slap to keep her afloat, the duck rounding up her ducklings. Inhale, fill your lungs and hold until your head swims, like that day, you took your first sip of golden nectar; back when you were too young to try it. Give thanks for the now. When you hear the beating wing of the hummingbird moth you are there. in the right space to know the measure of self.
Do What You Love by M J Mallon
What makes us human extends beyond the care we give our young. Perhaps it is our creativity which marks us as distinctive from other species. Life is akin to a river of consciousness, we may drift along, or choose who we truly desire to be. Whatever we decide, we must live life to the full, expressing ourselves in music, words, performance, or art. Troubling obstacles will come and go, pebbles of uncertainty, meandering moments, thunderstorms and floods of tears, unsure and uncertain times. To accomplish our hearts’ desires we must stay focused, determined and resolute on life’s turbulent river.
Common Waters by Kerry E.B. Black
Everyone knows brooks babble, but not everyone listens.
Legends explain waters spring from the same source – Then take on their own lives. Sometimes they secret underground, but other times, they flow, vast and muddied with so much information, even the most astute has trouble understanding.
Clever streams of consciousness skip from rock to pond, clear, youthful, only to pool resources and tumble as mighty waterfalls. Be they sluggish and algae-thick or coursing with rapid purpose, people dip into waterways in dreams Jung interpreted as universal understanding.
We test waters to share commonalities, if only while we wade and listen.
Clouded by JulesPaige
within the acceptable range
all the courses, the trails
worked up and down, predator and prey
in the air or on the ground…
the black bear went over the mountain
crossing the valley…
test results were blurry facts
that just flowed on the page like that snow melt
from the peaks into the common valley below
who wanted to read the writing
that determined any finality?
who wanted to read the last sentence?
Life’s Flow by theindieshe
She lived in an ivory castle with pink lined walls beneath the canopy of the bright blue sky and spun happy dreams. But Sisters of Fate deluged her paradise and she drifted into stormy waters. Meandering down the cobbled bed, she was tossed and turned to be chiseled fine. Savouring each rough tumble, she bravely flowed on to learn new lessons at each turn. The tiny bubbling rivulets infused a surge of hope in the weary, battered soul. She drifted along to new shores to make a fresh beginning. She was reborn to be as bold as an unleashed tempest.
A River’s String of Consciousness by Kate
I am a river born from the rattling-cold mountain streams, a peaceful current sliding around rocks and meandering amongst the trees, on my way to the sea. Silver-coloured fish hide beneath my surface while armored turtles plod covertly along my bed. Iridescent and blue, playful dragonflies swoop over my waters catching their prey and howling coyotes come out at night and frighten the gentle deer away. People rarely visit me, but when they do, they usually come alone or in twos. They always sit and listen to the gurgling of my waves, while I give comfort to their souls.
Epic Places: Crater Lakes: Jeff by Saifun Hassam
That spring, when the snow melted, the earth tremor’s impact on the Crater Lakes’ bio-habitat became more evident. The historic Ranger Station west of Lizard Lake tilted at an alarming sharp angle. Lizard Lake, an ancient volcanic crater, overflowed with snowmelt from a new underground river. Green Lake, a meteorite crater lake, had sunk deeper into its bedrock. Its marshes were alive with songbirds. Jeff discovered a new sinkhole near the Greenford River bearing snowmelt from the Granite Mountains. Broken pine trees and rock debris filled the dry sinkhole. In time Greenford River would flow into a new lake.
Forms by D. Wallace Peach
“Men are like the wind,” she said as they strolled beside the river. “Untamable, borderless, playing life like a flute.”
He grinned. “And women?”
“Rivers.” Her gaze roamed to the water. “We possess boundaries through which we channel our power, connecting the past spring to the future sea, always present as the river is present, though each day it is entirely new.”
“Am I truly the wind?”
“I think you are clay,” she decided with a laugh. “You’re still forming. Pushing and poking. But do not worry. I am the river. I’ll keep you from drying before you’re done.”
No Vessel by Anita Dawes
Shout it from the roof tops
Climb the highest mountain
Let out that long held yell
The universe should know better
Than pluck a beautiful flower too soon
How dare that unseen hand
take that which we long to keep
Rage against the injustice across the planet
Rub out as much of it as you can.
Beautiful people, music, words of a song
They leave their mark on your heart,
Live for ever, in memory
they remain forever young.
Love flows like a river from heaven.
So much, it cannot be contained.
No vessel will hold it all…
River Drops by Barb Taub
My beachball, almost as big as my 4-year-old self, shivered in the current carrying it away. I laughed.
My fluorescent pink float dropped into the River Liffey, tracing the path in Ulysses we’d read together. He laughed.
My children dropped sticks from the bridge into the stream below. We laughed.
I dropped his ashes into the waves above the beach we’d loved. I remembered laughing.
I stand at the water’s edge. A bobbing flotilla approaches, beachball stripes proudly at front. All the bright tear-filled laughter calls, my flotsam raft. I step aboard, head out to sea. All the laughs…
Finitely Endless by Goldie
I was born high up in the mountains. In the beginning, full of energy and with my head up in the clouds, I navigated twists and turns with little care. Splashing outside my confines, I caressed rocks, inviting them to join the party. Some gave in and rolled with me, while others remained stagnant. Somewhere along the way, the terrain had changed, and the excitement vanished. Open plains contained me. There will come a time when I take my last breath and become one with the sea, but, until then, I must keep on running. Running like a river.
The Life River by Ritu Bhathal
Life is a river
Each of us a drop
To become one
When we clash
Banging and crashing
Against the banks
When we live
Dapple the surface
Together we flow
Side by side
Whether we like it
Life is a river
Ebbs and flows
But, in the end
Continues to flow
Ups and downs
Ebbs and flows
Life goes on
From Where I Came by Donna Matthews
It’s summer; you’d think it’d be hot, but not so in northern California. Instead, downright chilly, I think, as the freezing river water makes its way inside my shoes. We have two miles to hike along this riverbed to reach the Tall Tree Grove. As typical on the trail, my thoughts soon join my feet in wandering. I love the cold air on my cheeks. Yes, the feeling of being wide awake at this moment — exactly where I need to be. Finding myself at the exit into the woods, I stop and look back from where I came.
On Beeley Moor by Anne Goodwin
Legend coats this landscape: stone circles, the bronze-age burial mound, Hob Hurst’s House. Layers of later industry: guide stoops for the packhorse trails, millstones left unfinished when grit-grey bread went stale. My thoughts flow through histories of those I’ve met here, steered here, recollected on these moors. Consciousness a stream of memories adrift from date or time. Ideas I’ve birthed amid the heather, drowned in peat-bog, revived on bilberry bushes as green hairstreaks feed. Until the final stile prompts my wondering: What happened to the ice cream lady? How many rambles since her van’s been spotted on the bend?
River Life by Di @ pensitivity101
Silence and solitude,
Magnificence of Nature,
What secrets does the river hold?
A haven for wildlife,
A studio for birdsong,
Each has a story to be told.
The river bends, hiding
Its twists and turns of mystery,
Reflected images awaken,
Dawns and sunsets,
Feathers and foliage shaken.
Ripples are gentle,
Tickling the surface so sweetly,
Poetry in motion,
Majestic and regal,
At one with each other completely.
Man is a visitor,
This world is for learning,
Take heed and a privileged pride,
Watch, see and wonder,
Relax in its splendour,
Its beauty cannot be denied.
From One Question To The Next, Ad Infinitum by Geoff Le Pard
Earliest memories are impossible to confirm, as time coalesces when young. Mine, if it be such involves me, in my pushchair watching a thrush smash a snail on a flagstone. My reaction was to ask my mother why. First memory and first question.
Life runs on questions, expanding from the toddler’s incessant whys, through the hows and whens and wheres to the teenager’s whatevers and beyond.
We paddle forwards on those questions, sometimes battling intractable ignorance and at others flowing easily as answers accumulate in our wake.
Eventually Mother Nature answers my final why with a terse ‘why not’.
The Hunter by D. Avery
The pale winter light was already waning when he began following the buck.
Only the frost sparkled moon witnessed his pursuit farther and farther into the snowy woods.
The buck loped across the snow covered river, looked back from the tree line. He followed. Midway he heard water chuckling under soft ice. Breaking through, he chuckled too, suddenly realizing the joke.
Letting go his rifle, he slogged through deep icy slush, pulled himself up to where the deer had disappeared. Soaked and freezing, he nestled into the snow, saw the river of stars overhead.
He chuckled again. Another river.
The River of Life: Double Ennead by Colleen M. Chesebro
dawn reflections shimmer
a blood-red birthing
the new journey meanders in small ripples
searching for a known truth
testing the waters
a small stream traverses
the land, growth is key
consciousness actuates a forward passage
as water rushes fast,
over stones ahead
From the sun’s dying light
the darkness succumbs
to the passage of time, the river still flows
in the celebration
of a life well lived