April 25: Story Challenge in 99-words

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

April 25, 2022

It finally happened. The melt of spring has arrived.

The heady feeling of seeing water gushing over clumps of live grass makes my body want to float up and away. There’s nothing quite like that definitive transition between one state of being into another. A new job, a new relationship, a long-awaited moment rests on the cusp between wanting and having. For me, it is the moment of spring.

After a long winter and impossible piles of gritty snow, I stand with yellow rain boots in a six-inch deep stream rippling where last week I still had to climb snowbanks to get to my daughter’s house. A thunderstorm with heavy rain and warmer temperatures hit the Keweenaw and tipped the landscape into days of release. The water lets go. In the flow, I splash with glee.

Ghost House Farm finally got a break in the weather between the rain, snowand wind to put up the massive plastic skin of their greenhouse. It’s the first day the chickens experienced outside after a winter cooped up in the coop. Chickadees and robins fly recklessly from the cherry tree to cedars, an ariel display of feathered joy. A red squirrel scampers near the crew who heave plastic like sails up a mast. Pups romp in their own creek flowing across the dog yard.

It’s mushy, gooshy, and everyone’s emotions are elatated. One farm hand laughed that his body was twitching as he finally felt the sun deliver vitamin D. The farm receives spring at last!

The night before this magnificent melt and roof-raising at the farm, I had attended a performance of Carmina Burana at the Rozsa Center on the campus of Michighan Tech University. The theater was packed with families in town for events and graduation the following weekend (Finlandia families, too). In perfect timing, the entire theater welcomed spring. This is what spring melt feels like on the Keweena Peninsula:

Carl Orff is beloved on our peninsula. We have many here who regard his musical teachings and others his beats for dance. I love that his cantana is about wine, women, and poetry from the Medieval period, reminding me how much I enjoyed translating literature from Middle English.

It’s a week of transitions for me, combining farm work (I’m the cook and chief bottle washer), last-minute tutoring for finals, setting up literary events locally for summer, and indulging in some much needed body healing sessions. In a burst of vitality, this is an uplifting time.

Let’s take off and explore our beautiful earth no matter which hemisphere we each reside. Let spring feel eternal in our hearts!

April 25, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “up and away.” You can imagine a story from the photo of hot air balloons, a flying superhero, a natural wonder, or any other direction your inspiration goes. Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by April 30, 2022. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines.
  2. Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form below. Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
  3. Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
  4. Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
  5. Please include the hashtag #99Word Stories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts in social media.

Submissions are now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.

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  1. Becky Ross Michael

    Such a glorious time of the year in the UP!

  2. guyleneiswriting

    Beautiful pictures!
    And I love Orff, too. And Sibelius 🙂

  3. Anne Goodwin is bringing Matilda Windsor home

    Glad you’re up and away. And great to see Carmina Burana here. I have sung it and, although I love the christian choral works, it’s great to get to sing something secular with the same force behind it.

  4. Norah

    How wonderful that spring has arrived in the Keweenaw and that you are getting to enjoy time at the farm.
    I enjoyed the Orff music. It didn’t know it was his composition. I’m not really into what I would call classical music, but I did learn about Carl Orff’s Schulwerk at college and taught some of it in classes long ago. Now I have learned there was more to him than that. 🙂

  5. Sam "Goldie" Kirk

    Wow, that’s a lot of people! What a great way to welcome Spring!

    I hate the water of Spring. The mud. Ughhh. Instead, I turn my head away and look at the flowers.

  6. joanne the geek

    It’s getting colder here…

  7. Liz H

    Looks like life is busy, and a little bit of heaven, at the farm. We can always use some o’ that.
    Here in the Twin Cities, MN, we had many days of rain, one of which was in the 70’s. Took care of the snow, but now the temps have dropped again — 33 degrees at noon today (Tuesday). On the plus side, the sun is shining, and maybe the rains will have distracted the floodwaters that like to annoy our neighbors to the north of us, just about around this time.
    The “Disappeared XX” serial continues…an exercise in pantsing that I’m enjoying so much with the helpful nudge of prompt and microflash limits from Carrot Ranch, and Six Sentence Stories. Brevity, while the soul of lingerie, is also the soul of literature!
    Stay well, stay safe, and stay blessed by Lady Lake!

  8. Jules

    Charli – Glad spring has finally sprung in your parts.

    I didn’t see the prompt come in… but I hope to get to it soon. I’m still a tad behind. A few good days and being out tends to let the indoor list go… Cheers, Jules.

  9. Jules

    You might get my entry twice, since the first time it ‘burped’ and said my time expired.

  10. Stine Writing and Miniatures

    That is awesome music! The venue is fabulous. I can’t even imagine being there in person!

  11. Jennie

    Hi Charli! No one welcomes spring from a northern rural community in the way you do- every reader is ‘there’.

  12. suespitulnik

    From the pictures, I can see why you are thinking there is no end to the snow. Thankfully it does end. Happy spring!

  13. Michael B. Fishman

    Don’t fret the melting snow. In just a few months it’ll be back!

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