A Blade of Grass Collection

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.

October 15, 2023

Welcome to Carrot Ranch Literary Community where creative writers from around the world and across genres gather to write 99-word stories. A collection of prompted 99-word stories reads like literary anthropology. Diverse perspectives become part of a collaboration.

We welcome encouraging comments. You can follow writers who link their blogs or social media.

Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.

The Leaving by Joanne Fisher

Niamh held a blade of grass in her hand. Letting the wind take it, she watched it float away. She wished to leave upon the wind too.

“Standing in the grass watching the horizon again?” A voice behind her asked. Niamh turned to see Cara standing there.

“I’m leaving.” Niamh declared.

“But you’re a princess. You can’t leave.”

“I want to see the world, even where the humans are, not be trapped behind palace walls.”

“Can I go with you?” Cara asked.

“Yes, of course.” They set off into the woods. Cara wondered how far they’d get this time.

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Parable of the Lawn by Kerry E.B. Black

Straight-spined, the blade of grass saluted the blazing sun. Of a height with its fellows, the grass together created a perfect lawn, lush, uninfested by weeds, American iconic, the envy of the neighborhood. The blades supported pedestrians with ease, the burden shared.

Change came when the gardener was replaced by a lawn service, manning an army of mowers, edgers, trimmers and aerators whose philosophy of ‘quick service’ differed from the old gardener’s ways.

Though the lawn retained its beauty, its roots suffered. Blades pulled away from one another, still lush, but not truly united. When trodden upon, blades crumpled.

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Roots by Hugh W. Roberts

Technology overtook nature, and a blade of grass became a symbol of rebellion.

It sprouted in a crack between neon-lit sidewalks, a living relic of a long-forgotten past. Scientists marvelled at its resilience while authorities saw it threatening their synthetic world.

They dispatched the drones to eradicate the abnormality, but the blade fought back. Extending its roots into the digital grid, it sparked chaos.

Within days, cities crumbled, and nature reclaimed its dominion on Earth.

That lone blade of grass is me. I stand tall, a testament to the lasting power of life, rekindling hope in a dystopian age.

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Amazing Grass by Duane L Herrmann

Slender, elegant, tough, resiliant, humble, common, essential; the blade of grass has grown far longer than humans have roamed. It is essential for life on Earth. Not flashy or ostentatious, but fresh each spring it delights the eye, in summer it sustains others, and in autumn after frost is streaked with colors that amaze. Lowly grass is magnificent in meadows waving under wind – a living sea of greens! In addition to sustaining life, grass harbors life – a multitude of forms flourish within its embrace. And, grass will claim waste space so there will be no barren land.

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Is There Life on a Manicured Lawn? by Anne Goodwin

He stretched and grew and stretched some more, waving his tip at the sky. But when he’d almost reached his proudest, brightest, sharpest height, a rumbling monster sliced his top off.

“Get over it,” said the others. “You’ll grow back stronger. It’s not like you’ve been zapped with pesticides or yanked up by the roots.”

But, with every cut he felt weaker, paler. Now he dreaded growing tall. He dreamt of fields where each grass was named – meadow foxtail, fescue, Yorkshire fog – and interweaved with buttercup and clover. A wilderness where nature ruled and he could spill his seed.

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I Weep by Bill Engleson

It was a mountain meadow
whence I last loved her,
dew-drop morning
long ago.
One blade of wild grass
was growing,
a lonely teardrop soon to pass,
I know.
Came to rest
alongside an old Arbutus,
arms falling to the ground.
Eyes weeping,
crickets creeping,
in the verdant dawn.
Our lips were praising
the soothing soil
as we followed the steep path down.
treacherous incline
O, love of mine
as she slipped into the sea to drown.
It was a mountain meadow
whence I last loved her.
dew-drop morning
come to pass.

And one lonely wild blade of grass.

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Anomaly by Reena Saxena

It’s not unusual for Sara to feel this way – as lonely as a blade of grass in a well-manicured lawn.

She longed to be different, even if she was not worshipped, for belonging to an illustrious family. She envisions the arched eyebrows in her mind – the disapproving glance and pursed lips which will declare her to be a weed.

What happens to a weed after it is plucked and thrown out for being in the wrong place? Do they wither away or multiply?

It’s about finding the soil to suit your propensity. Anomalies prove the norm yet reveal alternatives.

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A Beautiful Afternoon by Michael Fishman

It was a beautiful afternoon.

I woke to the sun’s gentle warmth. Rolling over I smoothed the blanket and propped up on my elbow. She was lying next to me, eyes closed, her brown hair fanned out in an auburn halo. The slow rise and fall of her chest comforted me. I reached over and plucked a blade of bluegrass and slowly traced her eyebrows, first right, then left. I drew a slow path down her nose to her lips. She drew a deep breath, stirred, and opened her eyes.

She looked at me. Into me.

She smiled.

Hello.

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Diamond Girl by D. Avery

“I don’t care if it’s still wet,” Hope cried. “The sun is out! There’s diamonds in the grass!”

“Wait up then,” her mother said, “I’m coming too.”

Pulling on her own rubber boots Hope’s mother followed her outside.

What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now forever taken from my sight!”*

“What, Mommy?”

“Hope! You’re kicking at the grass, scattering diamonds everywhere!”

“It’s just the leftover rain. It’s going to dry up anyway.”

But Hope slowed, finally stopped entirely and hunched down, focused on the sparkling spears. “They’re beautiful,Mommy, each and every blade of grass.”

* from Wordsworth’s “Splendour in the Grass”

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Sharps, Flats, and Naturals by D. Avery

It was past noon when he spotted them, down by the beaver pond. He joined them, dropping to the grass and rolling about dramatically.

“I’ve fallen on my sward!” he cried.

“Your sword?” Hope asked.

“Sward. All these spears and blades of grass make swards. How’d you two come to swash up on this grassy shore?”

“Daddy, look, I wove a mat from cattail leaves. Mommy says cattails are the most amazing grass.”

“Huh.” He placed a blade of grass between his thumbs and blew, whistling loud and shrill.

Hope’s mom played a soft riposte from a cattail reed.

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Blade of Grass by E.A. Colquitt

Flax was proud. After saving the holcus from grasping human hands, he was to be knighted at last.

The ceremony: he was given his own sword, not shoulder-tapped with another’s, by Mab. Then, all danced a roundel, and sang amidst the magic morel circle.

When alone, he drew his prize. Its blade flashed green in the firefly glow, revealing its origins: spellbindingly scythed from the plains of Oberon himself. These swords were known for the flexibility of their blades, their light weight…

He whispered to the weapon: ‘Grasses are hollow, so what have you found?’

‘Honour,’ his sword replied.

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Stream of Conscience by Sue Spitulnik

A single blade of grass grows.
Have you ever watched a guinea pig eat a single blade of grass?
Their little mouth can move faster than you might imagine,
Then, they look for another single blade of grass.
My Dad loved guinea pigs.
He had one after another, all named Whistles.
When they heard the fridge door open, they’d whistle for food and expect it.
Whistles didn’t like that wide, heavy grass with its sharp edges.
We children used that to put between our two thumbs
and blow across to make it whistle.
It only took a single blade.

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A Squawking Goose by Ann Edall-Robson

“Between your thumbs.”

“Like this?”

“Almost,” he said, “here, let me help you.”

“No! I can do it myself.”

He laughed at the spunk. Sitting on a rock in front of her, he picked another blade of grass, showing her how to position it between her five-year-old’s thumbs.

“Squeeze it, but not too tight and lock your fingers together.” He instructed, moving her thumbs against her lips. “Now blow hard.”

The noise sounded like a goose with a sore throat.

She danced with excitement before throwing her arms around her brother’s neck.

“I made the grass talk.”

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Food for Thought by JulesPaige

blades of green yard lawn
kin to aquatic grasses
cooked rice in my bowl
has this wild grain been blessed
by the Inari ?kami

Food travels from different parts of the world to be tasted and consumed by those with desires for something different, old or new. Recently I picked up a package of Thai Brown Rice (thin noodles, the package says; product of Thailand). Perhaps Mae Khwan Khao has blessed the rice in my bowl. Could this ‘giving’ goddess be a friend of (the Japanese god, ‘kami’) Inari ?kami. Curiosity about a grass blade, brought me new knowledge.

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Grass Tickles Your Toes by Dianne Borowski

Sammy lived with his Mother and brother in an apartment. There was a playground but the swings and slides were broken. There was no grass anywhere. Every day Sammy looked out his window and wondered if there was a place for him where grass grew. He wondered what grass felt like.
This summer Sammy was chosen to go to camp. The church paid his tuition. Pastor John drove him to the campgrounds. When they pulled into the drive Sammy’s eyes grew wide. There was grass everywhere. Sammy kicked his shoes off and began to run. The grass tickled his toes!

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A Classmate’s Dare by Mario Milizia

They had a signal. Once Mark joined him, a short walk in the dark to the cemetery, then a quick picture would answer their classmate’s dare.

Jason put the blade of grass between his thumbs and blew his homemade whistle. A rustle of weeds, a quick hi, and off they went.

The shadows, cast by their flashlight, made the cemetery look creepy. Jason set the camera for a time delay.

As they posed, something jumped out from behind the tombstones. When Mark and Jason started running, they recognized two classmates’ voices laughing and heard them rolling on the ground.

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Adventure Awaits by Melissa Lemay

Walking through the grass, I see wispy silk of conical spider webs painted with dew. I think about how monumental one blade of grass must look to the minuscule spiders that made them. It reminds me of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, when the Szalinski kids and their neighbors accidentally miniaturize themselves with their father’s experimental shrink ray in the attic. After being swept into a dustpan, dumped in the trash, and taken to the curb, four children travel through unexpected peril in an entirely new world—their overgrown lawn. A simple blade of grass can be an adventure.

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Fairy Hang-out by Margaret G. Hanna

I searched everywhere and finally found her lying on the ground under the lilac tree. “What are you doing?” I asked.

“Shhh, Mom. I’m watching,” she whispered.

“What? I don’t see anything.”

“Get down beside me. You’ll see.”

I lay down beside her. “I still see nothing.”

“There.” She pointed with her chin.

“That blade of grass?” Was she really staring at a blade of grass?

“Yes. Sometimes it moves and sometimes it doesn’t.”

“That’s just the breeze.”

“No, Mom. It moves whenever a fairy lands on it. Just watch. You’ll see.”

Housework could wait. Fairies were more important.

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A Faery Warning by Colleen Chesebro

“Faeryn, stop! Don’t move,” whispered Luna.

The young witch stopped. “What’s wrong? What do you see, Luna.”

“It’s hungry grass planted by the faeries. Hilda taught us about this grass during our plant lessons. It’s a patch of cursed grass. Anyone who walks on hungry grass is doomed. They’ll experience everlasting and voracious hunger.”

“What should I do?”

“Walk backwards. Don’t step on a single blade of grass, or we’re both doomed.”

“Luna? I think I stepped in a mushroom ring.”

Faeryn turned. She watched Luna disappear inside a whirlwind vortex.

In the end, the fairies got their way.

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One Blade of Grass Turns Yellow by Sadje

The ants were working in a frenzy, for just today the blade of grass near their hill had turned yellow. It meant that winter was near and time for gathering supplies for the long winter months was running out.

They weren’t the only ones worried about the scarcity of food. The chipmunks, the squirrels, and even the small birds were looking for food to tide them over the winter months but were coming up empty!

How were they to know that humans in their arrogance and ignorance had destroyed many food sources in their bid to build concrete jungles.

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First Flight by Miriam Elen

Harry had been sitting at the top of the hill for most of the day. Studying the clear blue skies and the birds passing by, collecting sticks from here, taking them back there.

He’d even been engrossed by the critters moving inconspicuously around his hands. Paying attention to their surroundings; the softness of the ground, the whisper of the wind making the blade of grass nearest to him dance. Actually, that blade’s bright green colour reminded him of Jax’s eyes and caused a surprising pang in his heart. Jax, his brave little dragon. Off on his first independent flight.

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Mice and Fairytales by Nicole Horlings

Sometimes a mouse just wants to pretend that imaginary worlds are real. Why ever shouldn’t she enjoy the wonder of a good fairytale, or seek to recreate one? Perhaps she’ll collect some hair trimmings from the salon to make a wavy wig to enact the roll of the princess or turn a sturdy blade of grass into a sword and become the knight. She may ask the turtles to pull a carriage for her, or request to put a saddle on a snail. With wishful thinking and practical intension her fantasy can become, at least in part, a reality.

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In Heaven You Can Run Again by Gena Daman

The grass feels soft, slightly dewy, against your bare feet. You spread your toes wide and marvel at the individual blades poking through. Each blade is a bright chartreuse, tapering to a delicate point, gently suggesting a direction.

Granny takes off her gardening gloves, hugs you, humming softly. Gently she pushes your hair out of your face and kisses your cheek. Poppy is at her side looking proud.

They step back to admire how lovely you are. You smile your beautiful smile. Then Poppy takes your hand, boyishly grinning.

“Let’s run. It’s a marvelous feeling.” And off you go.

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Growing Dirt by Charli Mills

Not a single blade of grass grew in the yard, but Mable bought the house. It was all she could afford after Nate’s mine accident. Winter was rough. She’d canned enough of her garden harvest to survive. How could she live off the gray grit from smelters? Come spring, Mabel began to dig out the stamp sands from her lifeless yard. She bartered for topsoil and cleaned chicken coops for a few dollars and all the poop she could haul. If she were to grow her precious seeds, first, she had to grow dirt. Her garden outlasted the mines.

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The Inherent Dangers In Open Poeming by Geoff Le Pard

Dweeb the Insufferable is the principle reason the Little Tittweaking Poetry Slam is on a hiatus. In its last iteration, the committee challenged everyone to reimagine the poetry form. Stan Tzar couldn’t move beyond a single verse, Pen Tamiter returned to her alter ego – I Am Bic – to little acclaim, but the competition collapsed with Dweeb’s performance, during which he imagined visiting every field in Little Tittweaking, seeking the perfect blade of grass while utilising every poetry form. Everyone tried silencing Dweeb but finally accepted that while this Paean ‘In the Grass’ continued there could be no more Slams.

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Blade of Grass by Inga Mary

There is a young handsome man coming from a rich and well-to-do family. He is friendly with a man of same age, who processed all the bad habits, such as smoking, drinking, etc….which the rich man is ignorant of. As the days passed, the rich young fellow started to get into some bad habits. He is unaware, that he is spoiling himself little by little. One day his parents and relatives realised that he is not of himself due to the bad relationship of a friend, which is like a blade of grass. Little poison is enough to spoil.

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Rabbit Food by Norah Colvin

Everything was just so. She’d never felt worthy. This was a chance to prove herself. The fresh flower centrepiece belied her butterflies.
“Mum, Dad, welcome!” She smiled. They pushed into the room.
“I don’t eat rabbit food,” said her father, as Jacinda passed him the salad of mixed leaves she’d grown on her balcony.
“I grew it myself.”
“You should know by now your father never eats greens.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Sorry? Are you trying to poison me?”
“Why would I?”
“At least I could whistle with a blade of grass.”
Jacinda was cut as from a blade of grass.

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Just a Blade of Grass by Sweeter Than Nothing

She would have been lost forever, had it not been for a single blade of grass. 

Kate was a spectacular gardener, from the day she first toddled into the garden aged 2, her thumbs had been thoroughly green. 

By 7, she had cultivated her very own jungle, plants and trees from all over the world exploded from the earth. 

At 9, she was sowing and singing, happy as can be when a shadow loomed behind her. 

She would have been lost forever, had it not been for a particular species of grass spotted on the bottom of a boot.

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Mower by Simon

What you doing?
Mowing!
Afraid? These blade of grass can cut you?
What makes you think that?
Look at you, soft feet, soft hands (Chuckling at his soft physique)
No. By the way (Walking to him) you should be afraid.
For these grass?
No, you see the marks at the bottom?
Yep. (Took out Cigarette)
You read news?
Yep (lit it, ashes fall on to his lawn)
Found? Who got murdered in our street?
Nope, it’s flash news, Gore death!
I still hear her screaming, it wasn’t easy crushing with a Mower.
(trembling) Why did you kill?
She smoked.

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Toes of Summer by Meredith Caine

My memories from childhood stay inside me. Carefree days of a lazy summer every year. Waking up late to the purring of the mower just outside my window. The smell of fresh cut grass wafting in the air would make my soul feel impish. It would push me outdoors barefoot walking through it. My feet loved to feel the cold wet lushness. And no matter what, it happened, without fail there would always be, a time when I would have to bend over to pull out that one single blade of green grass from right in between my toes.

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The Single Blade by Liz Husebye Hartmann

…Bows and trembles still,

But wind punishes, more likely to cut

Than caress and quicken the hopeful green of early months.

Pulsing chlorophyll sparking, breathing deep

The sinewy length of sultry Midsommer.

Samhain-sharp sun leaches its brittle length to liminal pale.

It crosses over, anon.

Soon silent white death shall cover all,

But waken it screaming in mid-winter thaw,

To die again and again, die deeper and harder.

Or simply spread a counterpane, softening nightmares,

To sweeten collective memories of family, dancing in a summer breeze?

As trees above shower color below, the single blade lies down and dreams.

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Contemplatin by D. Avery

“Hey, Pal. I see yer contemplatin a blade a grass.”

“It ain’t somethin folks tend ta do, Kid. We tend ta see grass plurally. Like sand.”

“Somethin like trees an forests? A whole made up a multitudinous individual parts?”

“Somethin like. Reckon turf’s a interweavin a grass like the weekly collections is wove t’gether from individual stories. It’s powerful stuff, Kid.”

“Reckon so, Pal. An strong resilient turf comes from a variety of grasses growin t’gether.”

“Yep, growin t’gether. But ever now an agin it’s good ta focus on jist one blade.”

“Why?”

“Cuz each one’s a miraculous creation.”

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Contemplatin Too by D. Avery

“Pal, we got a union? Shouldn’t fictional characters be strikin with the writers and actors out in Hollywood?”

“Thinkin we should strike up the band fer ‘em, Kid. They’re takin a stand ‘gainst creativity bein exploited by so-called Artificial Intelligence. It’s beyond AI replacin human creatives— it’s also bout AI manipulatin folks’ art an images, even likenesses. Ferever!

“Artificial turf ’s green; blankets the ground; might even feel good unnerfoot. But it don’t feed the cattle. It don’t photosynthesize. It don’t decompose an feed the soil.”

“It ain’t a miraculous creation.”

“Thet’s right Kid, not one blade of it.”

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Tuft Negotiatin by D. Avery

“Aw, shift, Shorty. Kid’s doin it agin. Takin a idea an runnin amuck with it, as Kid is wont to do.”

“Must be why Kid’s marchin an shoutin bout wants.”

“What do we want?! Carrots! When do we want ‘em?!”

“Excuse me, Kid? Anyone can get any amount of carrots here at any time.”

“Really? Oh… Well, what should I negotiate for? I know! One more word!

“One hundred words! 99’s absurd!”

“Do you really want another word, Kid? Like carrots, 99 words are for all, no more, no less. It is fair.”

“Kin go where the prompt leads?”

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Tipping Points by D. Avery

“Yes!”

“But did ya see that, Shorty? Coulda ended this bit up there with yer ‘Yes’ if we were allowed jist one more word.”

“Or coulda used a contraction.”

“Contraction? Hey! It’s jist now occurrin ta me— I been workin without a contract!”

“Cuts both ways, Kid. Ya also didn’t refer ta a blade a grass in that bit.”

“Well, that bit followed the bits afore it. Aw, shucks, Shorty, I am thinkin bout the prompt. Got me feelin I’m jist one little blade confrontin big ol mowin machines.”

“Look aroun, Kid. All these blades standin with ya.”

“Sharp!”

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Thank you to all our writers who contributed to this week’s collection!

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37 Comments

  1. Bill Engleson

    As Will Wordsworth said, “That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind. “

    • Charli Mills

      May we never grow weary of such wonder in words.

  2. Bill Engleson

    Or perhaps, Henry Miller…”The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. “

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, yes, yes!

  3. sweeterthannothing

    Great collection this week but mine seems to be missing? I ping-backed the post and submitted it via the form yet it seems to have been lost to cyberspace still.

      • sweeterthannothing

        Thanks so much! It must have just fallen through the cracks 😀

      • Charli Mills

        Oops! I missed your story, Sweet! The back of the barn was in disarray with submissions to multiple collections as I was behind in my Ranch chores. I found your blade of grass and added it properly.

      • sweeterthannothing

        No worries! I assumed it had gotten lost in cyber space, thank you for coming back and adding it in 😀
        It must be so hard to keep track of it all with everything else going on at the moment.

    • Charli Mills

      It went AWOL, Sweet, but has found its way home to the fair meadow of this collection.

  4. Ann Edall-Robson

    As always, this group steps up to the plate and bats one out of the park. Excellent collections.

    I missed the submission deadline due to celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving with our family. If you would like to read my piece, here is the link to my 99 Words abouta blade of grass: https://www.annedallrobson.com/blog/talking-grass

    • Charli Mills

      Ann, there’s a weird glitch in WP that withholds yours and Bill’s comments. It’s driving me crazy because I can’t figure out why unless WP has some weird Canadian bias.

  5. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Amazing grazing here! Leavings, loves, longings and lawns… So many lush and lovely stories from a single blade of grass prompt! All these writers are outstanding in the field.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      I loved your story about the union! It was brilliant!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        ?? Aw, shucks, Colleen, that was all Kid.
        And, thanks, glad you liked the yarn.

      • Charli Mills

        Kid has a brilliant wrangler. 😉

    • Charli Mills

      I love your summary of “Leavings, loves, longings and lawns…” Yes, amazing grazing, D! I’m a happy cow chewing my cud on these stories.

    • Nicole Horlings

      I loved your story about the dew drops on the grass being diamonds, D.!

  6. Colleen M. Chesebro

    What a fabulous bunch of grass stories! The creativity in this group never ceases to amaze me. Bravo everyone!

    • Charli Mills

      The Collection is always a gift for me and it delights me when others see it, too. We unwrap, not knowing… To me, the gift is in understanding that creativity is always underway, out and about, lurking in all the places until it seeps out and we realize, there is no end to creative response.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        You’re right. Each story is a surprise. I like how we’re all so different, yet each story is so full of creative energy.

  7. Miriam Jones

    A wonderful, and amazingly whimsical, collection here!

    • Charli Mills

      Indeed, Miriam!

  8. Ann Edall-Robson

    The Carrot Ranch writers have done it again. A great selection of 99 words. While I celebrated our Canadian Thanksgiving with family, I missed the deadline. Here is the link to my piece is you are in the need for another story. https://www.annedallrobson.com/blog/talking-grass

    • Charli Mills

      Happy Thanksgiving to and yours and all our Canadian Friends! The deadline was all over the place, a target of errorism on my part. The Squawking Goose is too darling not to include and since I had the post open to correct my errors of omission, it was easy to get yours added. Hope the holiday was a good one.

    • Nicole Horlings

      I quite enjoyed your Squawking Goose story, Ann!

  9. Bill Engleson

    So much grass, I feel like I’ve lawned quite a bit …

    • Charli Mills

      I’m laughing as if I’ve lawned too much, too, Bill. 😀

  10. Norah

    Always a great collection. So many different ideas from poetic and romantic to wild and dystopian. I followed links and commented where possible. It’s always fun to do that.

    • Charli Mills

      Another oops! I added your link that I missed, Norah. Thank you for reading! Yes, so many variations in tone and literary genre even.

      • Norah

        No worries about the link, Charli.
        Your comment about the genres is much more eloquent than mine. Understandably.

  11. Nicole Horlings

    This was an enjoyable collection – felt like there were some gorgeous wildflowers growing in the meadow of this collection.

    • Charli Mills

      Meadows are so rich with what they contain and we can each enjoy our favorite blooms!

  12. E.A. Colquitt

    Ooh, lots of summery stories in this collection (I’m missing the sunshine…) 🙂

    A great read!

    • Charli Mills

      I miss sunshine too!

  13. Charli Mills

    Thanks for sharing!

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