Saddle Up Saloon; Picture Promptin’

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

November 29, 2021

“Pal, you’re not ready? What’re ya doin’? Jeez, I figgered a picture prompt’d be purty easy from our end.”

“You’d think, Kid. An’ I think I figgered out thet the reason our writer writes is she cain’t take a decent pi’ture. I’m lookin’ through her photos an’ ain’t seen a one thet’s worth 99 words, let alone a thousand.”

“Well if ya do git a picture prompt up, it’s up ta participants how many words ta use.”

“See thet Kid? Her dang photo album is full a stuff like this. What’s the story?”

“Reckon that’s fer folks ta figger out fer themselves. Is that the prompt?”

“Well, let’s jist see what else is in here… hmm. Mebbe things is lookin’ up.”

“Mother tree, Pal! Ya pine-ally found a picture might inspire folks ta write a flash or a poem. Pal? Pal, where’d ya go?”

Elder Tree by Pal N. O’Roun   (99 words)

Trees’ stories are one of their many gifts. Go to them carrying questions and go without words and you might hear their soft voices.  

Why is this great pine the tallest tree in the woods? The parallel mounds and sinkholes and the age of its neighbors suggest that maybe this pine was young and limber when a fierce storm went through long ago. 

This pine has long witnessed giving and taking. It knows only life, in all its forms and seasons. This tree has withstood, still stands.

Let this tree whisper to you the song of your own heartwood. 

“Oh. Wow, Pal, ya even translated it from yer dialect.”

“Yep. Now folks, if I kin do it, you can. Just go where ever thet picture prompt leads ya. We look forward ta yer stories; please share in the comments or with a pingback ta yer post.”

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via

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  1. Norah

    I love this final line: Let this tree whisper to you the song of your own heartwood. It’s a reminder to be mindful and listen to all that nature wants us to know and to realise that we are all connected.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      ‘Zactly. Thanks for coming’ by, Aussie. Mebbe we”ll inspire ya ta write fir the pine, but by gum, we know yer super busy.

      • Norah

        I’d rather write for the gum tree and probably should. We had a beautiful gum tree removed from our yard this week. So sad. The birds will miss it and so will I, but it had to go as it was becoming a danger to neighbouring homes and the neighbours requested it be removed.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I’ll bet you and that gum share some stories. I mourn the loss of old familiar trees. The silver maple that I climbed and hung out in as a child (I did sneak a climb in three years ago) is being taken down.

  2. Charli Mills

    Hope this prompt won’t stump me! *cue laughing because I’m rarely punny* Fun extra word and picture game for us to story out! Thanks, D.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      A beautiful response, Jules. Ya done made them pictures speak.

      • Jules

        ???????????????? 😀

  3. Jules

    Awe I messed up Pair/ should be paired. And well I just want to say I heard the whisperin’ and I stopped a bit and thought some.

    Thanks for the images. Sometimes all I have to do is go into my yard. Though we did have to take down a few dying pines this summer. I did get to see a red fox loping across the back yard last week. The more I know the less I seem to need. Though you wouldn’t know that for all the stuff I’ve got. 😉


  4. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Hey, Pal, well done! (Now can I have my phone back?) Here is my take on the picture prompt.

    Held in Reserve

    She looked not at her husband but at the snow dusted ground, thick and soft with decades of needles, nudged a pinecone with the toe of her worn boot.

    “No, we’ll think of something, but not this.”

    He again looked up at the great towering pine; so many board feet held in reserve, board feet that the mill had offered good money for, money they sorely needed if the children were to have any Christmas.

    “New toys grow old quickly.”

    “Children grow quickly too, they need Christmas memories,” he countered.

    “Yes, which is why we mustn’t cut this tree.”

  5. SueSpitulnik

    The Pine

    In the spring I sit
    Leaning against the pine
    To smell the earth come back to life
    To watch the chipmunks scamper

    In the summer I sit
    Leaning against the pine
    To admire the trillium that grow beneath
    To catch a glimpse of wildlife prancing

    In the fall I sit
    Leaning against the pine
    Wearing a yellow vest, shotgun in hand
    To harvest some venison for food on the table

    In the winter I sit
    Leaning against the pine
    Enjoying the snow-covered stillness
    Knowing another year has passed

    And another is promised
    Spending time with
    My sturdy towering friend

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yeehaw! Sue ya turned thet pine into a poet tree! Yer poem towers. I love thet ya got the four seasons and more ta come.


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