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Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic

To say the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic was a global effort is not an exaggeration. This event is the result of an online writing community surrounding one of its own.

Sue has been an inspiration in this little corner of the internet and in the Silent Eye school of myth and mysticism. She’s a kind, wonderful person who has opened many people’s hearts and minds to mystery, fun, and beauty. For years she has contributed a haiku almost every day at midnight, and many people love and enjoy them.

Sue is a poet, photographer, and wordsmith who you can find on her blogs The Daily Echo and/or France & Vincent. Take a look at her blog, if you will – you’ll be sure to find something to entertain you. She (and her compatriot, Stuart France) has published several books, which you can examine here.

If you want to know more about Sue’s battle with cancer, the team here at the rodeo encourages you to see a couple of her posts, especially this one and this one.

If you want to know more about the team led by H.R.R. Gorman, winning entries and judges, be sure to read Announcing the WINNERS of the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic.

The prompt was a photo from Sue’s archives.

JUDGES’ PICKS

ANNE’S PICK: A New Day Dawns by Colleen Chesebro

snowy crags pay homage 
to the land spirits, 
Landvættir—guardians of the terra firma 
earth, air, fire, and water 
jointly bound as one 

where the ley lines converge 
strength and energy 
exist in a parallel space, winter-worn 
bronzed leaves on barren trees 
watchers of the truth 

birth, life, death, and rebirth, 
earth magic abounds 
reflected in the adumbrate clouds of spring 
for keepers of the land 
another day dawns

🥕🥕🥕

GEOFF’S PICK: No Place Like Home by Willow Willers

They had spent the last five years searching for the perfect place to settle. Travelling to several planets and even one other galaxy but nothing suited.

So their hearts lifted at the sight of the valley. The elders raised their hands pronoucing “This is the perfect place, protected by mountains with it’s own water supply. Even a few remaining buildings.”

A voice from the back chirped up.. “That’s where we started from, I can see my house” There was hush, a sharp intake of breath. “As we have always said” their elders smiled. “There is no place like home”

🥕🥕🥕

CHARLI’S PICK: Wind and the Wilderness
by Chengir

“I’m hungry and hate this kind of weather,” Radess complained bitterly.

“Are you kidding?” Boydann protested, “This is the best. The leaves have begun to fall and now there is less to hide behind. You just have to be patient.”

Radess wasn’t convinced. “Like that hunter who shot at us last year?”

“Okay, there was that.” Sighing, Radess twisted his head. “Still, the only way to eat is to hunt.”

“True enough,” Boydann answered. The two vultures spread their enormous wings and slowly lifted themselves into the wind. They floated on the buoyant currents of air. . . and they waited.

🥕🥕🥕

THIRD PLACE: Mornful Song by Chel Owens

Warm, the scent of yesteryears;
A smile escapes her scowl
As hushing rushing heatherings
Dance ‘gainst the moorish howl.

Warming scent
Hush rush
Dance moor howl

A curlew calls his neighbors near
They answer, happily
A song of sunshined solitude
Surrounds her, willingly

Curlew’s call
Sun shine
Will ing ly

Aloft, then, flies the feathered throng,
No longer bound by fears.
Aloft, she soars; leaves life behind -
Behind, with yesteryears.

🥕🥕🥕

SECOND PLACE: A Home, Someday by Chel Owens

My grandma told of wondrous things: tall poles with whispering green papers; rock mounds a person could never climb; and cold, white flakes that sparkled in moonlight. I used to sit, mouth and eyes full wide, trying to see what her silent eyes remembered.

I saved her words; soaked them up.

Now, while my own grandchildren lean against the thick portholes of our transport ship and gaze at distant nothing, I tell Grandma’s memories. I tell of evergreens and mountains. Of snow.

I tell them of the home we left in search of another.

For their own grandchildren.

Someday.

🥕🥕🥕

FIRST PLACE: Seeking Peace by Norah Colvin

They stopped on a verge overlooking the valley.

“It’s beautiful, Dad. And so big. You said it was small.”

“Not small in size, son. Small in mind.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Folks round here didn’t want your mum and me getting married. They threatened to keep us apart. Cruel words were spoken. We left and never returned.”

“Why’re we coming back?”

“Your mother asked us — to make peace. Before it’s too late.”

“Like it is for her?” His voice trembled.

“Yeah.” He rubbed the boy’s head.

“Will we?”

“We’ll know soon enough.”

He inched the car towards the village.

🥕🥕🥕

Somewhere in the Cold Distance by Doug Jacquier

We climbed the ridge and found a space between the treetops to draw the three elements together; creatured woodland, humanized pastureland and stone high priests wearing pristine white miters. Ensconced in goose-feather-quilled quilts, the gods peered down through their sunglasses on occasion to ensure that all was meet and that all activities were right so to do. We tried to see them through our cheap binoculars, without success, but we did see a lone figure from time to time, inching its way along the shoulders of a high priest, carrying what seemed to be a lighted torch of hope.

🥕🥕🥕

Deja Vu by Gwen M. Plano

Work, Slow
If I could fly
I’d dance through the sky
lift my feet high, swing in delight
with you always in sight.

If we could fly
me in my red dress, you in your tie
across the rolling hills, we’d drift
laughing with each moment a gift.

If time could fly
I’d wish the present away
and hold tight to yesterday
when you were alive.

If only I could fly
I’d soar the heavens high
for just a glimpse of you
something more than déjà vu.

🥕🥕🥕

This Is It by Jim Adams

I’m glad that Covid-19 took my grandfather quickly and he didn’t have to be on a ventilator. He was a life-long Republican, he planned on donating this land to Mike Pence, so he would have a place to live after the election, but all that changed with the Capitol insurrection and now it is ours. Our nearest neighbor is 50 miles away, but there are QAnon nuts in the area, so we will have to be on guard when we go into town. This is the perfect place to build our home and we will have this magnificent view.

🥕🥕🥕

Never Changing, Ever Changing by Doug Jacquier

Our gravest danger
lies in seeing a never-changing view
and clinging to that familiarity for dear life
for life.

If, bird-like, you could fly to the mountain tops
and arrive, chill-faced,
and look back,
you would not be the same as what you were,
where you were.

Fly on endless journeys
that bring you to the destinations they will
and let those ever-changing views of you
deliver the future unguarded.

🥕🥕🥕

Lost and Found by Harmony Kent

The lush valley looked peaceful but proved no less deadly than the snow-capped mountains beyond.

Just through the trees, and I’d reach safety. Then blinding fog descended, and I lost my way. So much for a nice weekend’s hiking. Alone time to let me grieve.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, the blizzard hit. Hypothermia set in. Confused, I stumbled around, lost and alone. Scratched and bruised. Terrified.

The trees saved me. Or, rather, the man tasked with their care did. Both loss and storm had brought me to my knees. They also brought my saviour.

🥕🥕🥕

Verdant Valley Voices by USFMAN

It seems funny that you ask about my travel now. For we both know that Corona’s wrath requires us to stay inside. So I gaze around the walls of my living room, proudly admiring those panoramas of Colorado rustic utopia that I have visited before. Suddenly, I no longer feel confined as I begin to dream. Soon a verdant valley of green happiness looms inside. To reach such depths of my soul, however, I must ominously face a forest wild and mountainous slick. Yet I forge ahead steadily, never doubting that this arduous journey will be worth the risk.

🥕🥕🥕

Destiny by Pamela Wright

He dropped me off, blindfolded, after a long drive. My sense of time had disappeared. Had it been two hours or seven? As directed, when the car spun off, I counted to 25, then pulled off the blindfold. My eyes blinked, blurred, blinked again.

Snow-capped mountains peaked in the distance. A green valley lay below, and settled in between rested a complex of white buildings. Smoke curled out of a chimney on the highest peaked roof.

Testing my wobbly legs, I took one step, then two. I began to hike toward safety and what my kidnapper called “my destiny.”

🥕🥕🥕

Second Wind by Cathi Cade

Had she known she’d be scaling mountains to escape her pursuer she might have prepared herself better, but her personal gremlin had been stalking her unawares. Meanwhile, curfews and patrols to curb the invaders had kept her from friends and supporters.

With no proper equipment and Mutt as her only companion, she was near collapse when the small dog disappeared between rocks. Exhausted, she squeezed after him and caught her breath.

The hidden landscape was more plateau than valley; lush and welcoming. Here she could rest and refresh her spirit. When her enemy found her, she would be ready.

🥕🥕🥕

Melancholy by Harmony Kent

Without warning, my life went from walking through a gentle valley to navigating the edge of a precipice.

Now it’s all jagged spines and treacherous ice and snow.

Not one iota of warmth to be had.

Untrustworthy hills loom as high as mountains—impassable. Defeated, my energy plummets to the valley floor. All the colour has leeched out, and my world becomes more black than white. Grief gone on too long.

Unmoored, rootless—nothing like the trees that once inspired me—I’m adrift in a sky of grey.

Then, through this dire, dark depression the sun breaks through. A ray of hope.

🥕🥕🥕

The Dare by Myrna Migala

One beautiful morning on a much-needed vacation, waking up in a fine hotel, stretching my arms and legs while raising the shade to this picturesque scene. I realized how vast our world is, the mountains; I could almost hear them daring; “come climb me.”

They seemed to be so close, yet I knew those rolling hills topped with snow-white flurries were far away.

The hotel’s view was perfect, from the thick sagebrush that housed the native birds to the changing clouds above.

Should I take the dare from the voice from these disarranged high and low peaks?

Not today!

🥕🥕🥕

Magical! by Trent McDonald

“Magical!”

With a broad smile, the other man gazed across the fertile valley and surveyed the cold, snow covered mountains. “I spent half of my youth exploring this region in vain hopes of finding my way into Rivendell.”

“Ha! Another disappointed Tolkien fan. Welcome to reality.”

“That’s me. Or was. Let’s go; there is an even better vista just ahead.”

Dwinly watched from his perch as the two men disappeared into the wood.

That was close, too close.

Once satisfied he was alone, the elf jumped down and followed the secret path to the hidden home of Elron, Rivendell.

🥕🥕🥕

On the Pains, Pleasures, and Plausible Predicaments of Taking A Hike by Bill Engleson

At a certain level, eye level I mean, it seems that I am as tall as the distant hills.

I offer a soliloquy.

“Perspective,” she says, after I have waxed on excessively about human height, being lost in the woods, and other ragtag trekking thoughts, “It’s all about perspective.”

“Ah,” I smart-mouth her back, “Purrrrrrrspective. You mean seeing the world from a big killer cat’s point of view?”

There once was a time when my witlessness amused her.

This is not one of those times.

“Lover,” she declares, “There are no cougar reports, so let’s get a move on.”

🥕🥕🥕

Julia’s Selfie by Luccia Gray

Sarah steps onto the terrace. “Just look at this stunning view.”

Julie’s head is bent over her phone.

Sarah breathes in deeply. “We should come here more often.”

Julie taps away.

“It’s so peaceful,” says Sarah.

Julie grimaces. “Mum, this is hell.”

“But we’re surrounded by nature.”

“There’s hardly any coverage.”

“No photograph could capture this beauty.”

Julie looks up and smiles. “Best idea you’ve had all day.”

She angles her phone and pouts at the screen. “I’ll post a selfie on Instagram. They’ll be so jealous.”

Sarah sighs. “I suppose that’s one way of looking at the view.”

🥕🥕🥕

Firedrake by Cathi Cade

Crack the shell, unfurl my wings, hail my nativity.
Outside the cave, clouds scud above the rocks surrounding me
Where food is flying free.

Launching, I rise and spread my wings as though I’d sailed before.
One thrust takes me to the trees, across the valley floor,
To seize birds as they soar.

Men are running from the fields with bowmen taking aim.
Anger, smoldering in my stomach, belches through my frame,
Surrounding all in flame.

🥕🥕🥕

Untitled by D.L. Finn

Stepping outside my comfort
I sunk into winter’s deep snow
Frozen and frightened, I retreated
Deafening storms seethed as I hid
The red drapes tightly pulled shut
Protecting my eroding and empty room
Before the ancient drapes dissolved.
I tightly shut my eyes...
Until a bird’s sweet song opened them
Golden sunbeams filled the sadness
The intensity struck my soul—awakening it
I stepped into life.

🥕🥕🥕

Untitled by FloridaBorne

The memory of standing at the foothills with her grandfather did not make this moment any easier. A stoic man under most circumstances, tears fell as he had viewed the eon’s old, snowy peaks.

Her body wrinkled from the ravages of time, she stood with her grandson at the same place, repeating the last words of her beloved mentor.

“Remember this lesson, my child. Each moment of life we have lived is all that we are promised. Death is a destination, not an end.”

That night under the cloudy skies and a full moon, her grandfather guided her home.

🥕🥕🥕

Journey’s End by Saifun Hassam

Irina put her electronic journals into her duffel bag. Her year in the Glenfalls region was over. A journalist, she fell in love with its mountains and lakes.

From her French windows, she gazed at the Glenfall Mountains. Winter clouds shrouded majestic and towering snowy peaks. Fresh snow covered Quarry Foothills, a stone’s throw from her home.

As darkness fell, Irina slipped out of her home, crossing Valley Road into fallow fields. A farm trail led to the Tern Hills, rusty shrubs bearing autumn’s leaves.

The spacecraft hovered over the Terns. Irina was returning to her home on Triton.

🥕🥕🥕

River Drop 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. . .

🥕🥕🥕

Untitled by Anita

Take me somewhere I have never been.
Open my eyes, lift me high on wings of steel,
Across the white topped mountains to Shangri la
Lay me gently on snow white feathers.
Let me sleep in your eyrie above the world,
where I dream of touching infinity
See angels dancing on the head of a pin.
Where freedom calls with many voices
Where rainbows illuminate each raindrop
With colour magic, blessing those that walk beneath.
A wish made true, their future written with a golden pen.
How good would life be if we could fly on wings of steel. . .

🥕🥕🥕

Heaven on Earth by Darlene Foster

The old cowboy knew his days of riding the range on this earth were coming to an end. He would soon be galloping off into the sunset. He closed his eyes and recalled riding his horse early in the morning or late in the evening in the cool, fresh air. The happiest he’d ever been. His family surrounded him, saying their sad goodbyes. He smiled faintly as his daughter kissed him. “I’ll be all right,” he whispered and took his last breath.

He awoke beside a pristine lake, his favourite horse waiting for him. He had arrived in heaven.

🥕🥕🥕

Saying Grace by Kerfe Roig

Not a body or voice—
something is listening,
filling me with prescience,
nourishment, shelter, rest,
warmth, an embrace. Time and
space have no horizons.

Who knows what is
hidden—earthbound
or beyond—singing
in parallel time?
And where am I?
I can’t comprehend,

can’t contain this feeling—
it is always spilling
out and then refilling
with gratitude—I just
let silence reflect me,
imprinted on the land

🥕🥕🥕

Evidence by Kerfe Roig

You want to know how and where and
what comes next—
but sometimes
life just shows up and takes your
hand without an in

vitation
or giving reasons
why. You can
close your eyes
turn away deny resist—
or try to match steps

to the dance,
recalling movements
of ancient
memory—
re-imagining the questions
into new stories,

colors etched
into elements,
singing. Can
you hear it?—
spirit sailing on the wind.

🥕🥕🥕

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

🥕🥕🥕

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.

🥕🥕🥕

Fresh Eyes by Rebecca Schwenk

She delighted in the brilliant reds and oranges of the canyon walls when the sun shone, and the cool, green pine glens where her feet trod easily on the soft ground.

It’s time to go.

“No! “

They’re waiting for you.

“But I want to stay here!”

Today is your birthday.

“I don’t want this to be my birthday!”

You’ll make a difference there.

She glimpsed the dazzling snow-capped mountains. So majestic!

Go, and let others see the world through your eyes, then return when I call you.

“When will that be?”

Oh, let’s give it 95 years.

“Okay.”

🥕🥕🥕

My Mother’s Song by D. Wallace Peach

Even on a day of grief, the living abide no idleness. Bodies need nourishment, goats tending. The hearth yearns for fire before the wind sweeps us all beneath the dirt. I loathe our hill, the leaden clouds and cold toes, black spots on the moldering potatoes.

For years, I’d griped about my tasks while my mother had sung with the rhythm of her washboard. Of a beauty I couldn’t behold.

Now, without her, I face the quilted valley, the snow-laced mountains, branches gilded by the sun. Only now do I see, and my heart bursts with my mother’s song.

🥕🥕🥕

Stand by Jeanne Timm

I Stand.

I stand in awe, gazing as a somber breeze generates thoughts of my ancestors.

It turns to spring with the colorful uprising of flowers too breathtakingly vibrant to paint.

My grandfather builds a cabin, creates his garden with the hands of a god.

Grandmama tends the kettle brimming with sustenance, the steam escaping satiating the air with a tantalizing aroma of nourishment.

The gentle breeze absconds, the frigid ground underfoot.

Survival is tenuous yet many live to welcome the ensuing spring.

Seasons pass quickly, life carries on.

Survival of the fittest, still the name of the game.

🥕🥕🥕

In a New Land by Mae Clair

“Is it everything you dreamed it would be, lass?”

Bridget soaked in the vista. Mountains such as she had never seen, capped by snow and wreathed by a crown of lowlying clouds. Green rolling fields that reminded her of the home she’d left behind. Here was a chance for new beginnings.

The journey had been arduous. First by ship, then long months in a lumbering covered wagon, but standing on the hillside, wrapped in her husband’s arms, she felt nothing but optimism.

“Aye.” She touched his cheek, smiling up into his eyes. “That and more, love. We’ve come home.”

🥕🥕🥕

Homecoming by Restlessjo

The snow recedes softly over the mountains, and at last I am here again. The year has been long, the weather fierce. Twirling jacket over shoulder, I tread steadily towards the cottage, excited to be home.

The door flies open and a celebration of family spill out. I raise my arm and wave, forgetting for a moment that they do not know. A tumble of youngsters barrel down the road towards me, skipping and whooping. The prodigal son.

Suddenly they halt, recoil in horror. It wounds like the knife that left me scarred. I couldn’t bear to tell them.

🥕🥕🥕

Pop’s Paradise by J.E. Goldie

They’d been trudging through bramble and over ragged rocks for hours. Jane suffering from scratches from a thorny patch of shrubbery. Allyson wishing she’d a second pair of boots.

“Should we camp? I can’t walk another mile. You look like a cat savagely attacked you.”

“You’re right” Jane said, examining herself.”

“I’ll be right back.”

“Don’t be long! Be careful!”

Allyson took a quick, over-the-glasses look at Jane and smiled.

A moment later Allyson heard Jane laughing hysterically and screaming, “I can see it! We’re here! It’s Pop’s hidden valley! We’re home!”

Now he could finally rest in peace.

🥕🥕🥕

Ambrosial Love by Balroop Singh

Snow clad mountaintops
Kiss capricious clouds.
Emerald lake watches,
As rosy hues of dawn smile.

Surrounded by dreamy mist,
Romantic paths allure me.
I follow the trail
Wintery kisses welcome me.

Swaying on the swing of desire,
Drenched in delight
Bathing in the beams of sunrise
We vow undying love.

Chilly wind wends us closer
Echoes of nature caress
The fragrance of our love,
Wafting on the clouds.

🥕🥕🥕

Glenfalls by Saifun Hassam

Trevor leased out the family farm when his father died. He was a geology professor at the Coleridge University about two hundred miles away. His sister Moira would manage the farm next year.

The formidable Glenfalls Mountains towered above Glenfalls Valley. Woods, homes, and farms wound their way along the Quarry Hills.

He loved the solitude of the mountains, its craggy cliffs, and fishing streams. On this wintry day, gray brooding clouds shrouded snowy mountain peaks, reflecting the sorrow in his own heart. He found a measure of peace as he hiked along the Terns south of the Valley.

🥕🥕🥕

Panorama by Susan Mills

She happily sat bareback on Daisy, the horse they had assigned her. They thought that being from Boston, she couldn’t ride Western. She had proven them wrong. From this elevated spot, all she could see was mountains in all directions, vast, untamed beauty. So different from the East, from the nearness

of everything. She felt the freedom, immensity and power of nature. Riding at home in rings and placid woods had never felt like this. But her time here was short; she would soon return to the city. This moment, though, was etched in her soul: free and limitless.

🥕🥕🥕

Untitled by J.E. Goldie

There was a sweet scent of freshly scythed fields. A balmy breeze kissing her cheeks. It was as if she was drawn into an artist’s masterpiece. Snow capped mountains. A luscious fertile valley with vibrant green pastures. Sombre clouds and a fine mist settling over the landscape. Untouched Utopia.

For a fleeting moment she felt a familiar warmth, tenderly caressing her.

“Darling! Wake up! Please stay with me! I love you!”

Lingering, she watched an ambulance whisking away. In those precious few last moments, and the release of an ethereal whisper, “I’ll always love you”, her soul took flight.

🥕🥕🥕

The Photographer by Marsha Ingrao

Tammy sold thousands of portraits, especially of young children. Landscape was harder and everyone thought they were experts. She couldn’t make it smile, or show personality.

“The governor wants landscape shots,” Tammy complained.

“Want help?” her neighbor Kirk said. “Ride with me.”

“What and take pictures of rows of fruit trees?”

“People have done worse. But no, do you trust me?”

Kirk was sixty-two, handsome with a slight limp. Tammy had known him for nearly ten years.

“Of course,”

“This is how you find landscapes with a mega personality.”

Kirk loaded her equipment then helped her into his Cessna.

🥕🥕🥕

Sustain by Kevin Parish

The way forward holds the sacred promise of our ancestors.

Prime, lush, rich lands upon which no mouth shall hunger,

Nor any thirst be unquenched.

Here lies our salvation and hopes of tomorrow.

Those who chose to stay behind will perish,

While those who followed me will propagate forever.

For now, my good and faithful followers, I beg thee,

Sleep with the knowledge that when the light has faded to black

You will eat and drink your fill here.

For the promise has indeed surpassed prophecy into reality.

This planet will sustain our race for a millennium and beyond.

🥕🥕🥕

Healer by Balroop Singh

Winter was a burden; its beauty ended with the last breath of Jim. Each year, snow got spattered with blood. Indelible memories smothered her, gray sky deepened her darkness; a vortex of emotions drowned her.

Lily yearned to break free but murmurs of grief tethered her to the walls of her room.

“You must join the winter carnival today,” words of Deacon echoed.

Impelled by an unknown power, she stepped out.

Hope illuminated her path. Elated crowd welcomed her.

“May I introduce you to my friends?”

Lily’s smile brightened his world. New love blossomed. Deacon beamed at his success.

🥕🥕🥕

The Pledge: A Trip of a Lifetime by Jacqui Biggar

The old Cadillac crested the hill and there they were, the Rocky Mountains- as big and majestic as she’d dreamed.

“Oh, Paul, look at them. Have you ever seen anything grander?”

Her husband of forty years glanced over, moisture glimmering in the corners of his eyes. “They don’t hold a candle to you, my love, but I’m glad we’re here, just the same.”

She reached across the bench seat and clasped his gnarled hand. This man, who was as strong and enduring as the mountains laid out before them, had always been her rock.

“Happy anniversary, my sweet love.”

🥕🥕🥕

Vibrant by Sheri J. Kennedy

Seasons jumble, Tumble
Sprigs of spring held under
Silent thunder
Dreams of green, Unseen
Ravine.
Summer entices
Fire-like slices
Embers fall
Shadows darkened,
Call.
Horizon shrouded, Clouded
Solitude teaching, Reaching
Hope peaks shine, Recline,
Fade, Loneliness leaching
Ashen Grey.
Dark receding, Light-heart pleading
Life lingers, Bright fingers needing
Sprigs eternal, Vernal
Passing Grasp Lasting
Touch Sky’s Day.

🥕🥕🥕

Painting Secrets by Hugh Roberts

“This painting is the most unique in today’s exhibition.”

“I know exactly why you’ve said that.”

“Do you?”

“Yes.”

“Do tell.”

“Because the snow on the mountains was applied using a palette knife. There are no other paintings like that here today.”

“Close, but not quite.”

“No?”

“No. You’re right about the palette knife, but not why the painting is unique. You see, a murderer painted this picture.”

Short gasps rippled around the gallery.

“She hid the body of her husband behind a wall using the same techniques to plaster the wall as she did with painting the snow.”

🥕🥕🥕

Memory, I miss You Dearest Friend by MJ Mallon

My limbs seize I struggle to breathe
Breathe and remember
Remember traversed peaks
Peaks with death’s warning
Warning filllled ridges, ice
Ice compacted, death’s claws
Claws gripped as you tumbled.

Tumbled, too far too soon
Soon, we’ll climb heavens
Heavens, hiking Spring together
Together admiring Autumn’s treetops
Treetops forgotten, Summers by the sea
Sea, Winter’s awash with memory
Memory, I miss you dearest friend.

🥕🥕🥕

Painting Secrets by MJ Mallon

I trudge through forests,
Seeking solace backpacking
To places you loved
I’m touring each new day writing
Postcards for you dearest heart
On mountains I sit not alone
You’re beside here with me
The clouds kiss mountaintops where you lie
Buried deep in the snow you loved
How you teased death with every step
It caught you this time, lover
Your spirit roams these peaks
Looking for footholds,
Taking chances
Numb pulse gone
Lover
Sleeps

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Snow Clouds by Ritu Bhathal

“It’s coming, mummy! I can see it coming!”

Jack turned from the window and jumped up and down on his bed.

“What’s coming, Jacky boy?” I reached up to ruffle his hair.

“The snow! Look! The big snow clouds in the sky.” His excited eyes searched my face. “Remember, Daddy used to say, when the clouds look so full and fluffy like they’re gonna burst, it means snow is coming.”

I had to turn away to wipe tears threatening to fall and said my own prayer.

“Please, John, if you’re up there, make this come true for your boy.”

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It Would Be There, My Shangri-La, There in Those Faraway Mountains by Bill Engleson

I had gazed at them forever. They appeared so remarkably close. I began to believe that I might touch them though at times, they seemed too remote, beyond my reach or so I told myself.

At times.

Lo, they persisted, teasing me with their dominion, tempting me with their dignity.

One day, I overcame my inertia and set to walking.

Alas, my age had tapered me, tapped my resolve, and I collapsed by the wayside.

Bone-weary though I was, I could not resist the call.

There was a call.

I heard a call.

Or, perhaps, it was the wind.

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Walk Tall by Gloria McBreen

Have you ever felt so tall that the birds in the sky nest in your hair?

Let me tell you; I’ve bounced on puffy clouds, and sailed through breezes to reach the peaks of snow-capped mountains.

I’ve swung from branches of the tallest trees knowing that should I fall—or be pushed—I might hit the bottom.

Down there I am but a speck among billions of other specks, and I’m face to face with things that crawl.

I say to myself, ‘Fix your hair and rise above them. Who knows what little bird might need a nesting place?’

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A Walk on the Wild Side by Hobbo and Dauphy

Waking with a birdcage mouth
Bloodshot eyes, a drum-roll head
Shake a leg, we’re heading South
Come on mutt, get out that bed.

Dauphy dog is quick to stir
To the woods and at a pace
Wildlife fleeing in a blur
Safety in that open space.

Noontime we have reached the spot
Tiffin time and what a view
Virgin white those mountain tops
Dauphy, keep this entre nous.

So, satisfied, we head to base
My head has cleared, my cares erased.

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Hidden Path by Miriam Hurdle

“This is the best skiing vacation ever, honey.”

“It’s fun for me learning to ski, but we must pack to leave tomorrow.”

“Honey, please return to the hotel first? I’ll be back soon.”

“Well, back for dinner.”

Midnight came with no signs of Francis.

Sheila called the police. They promised a rescue immediately.

No news from the police all night.

“You could return to London first.” The hotel manager suggested. She did, reluctantly.

The phone rang after two days. Her heart jumped.

“Mrs. Mason, a hiker found your husband on a hidden path. He is severely injured but alive!”

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The Final Destruction by Ken Gierke

The beauty held in the far horizon
cannot be gauged until it is experienced.
There is no chill in the unknowing,
only an awareness of heights scaled
and heights waiting to be achieved,
the warmth of their waiting value.

Light or dark, each moment
along the way brings me closer
to enlightenment, the hindsight
to reveal the gift within each moment,
in that moment when all fog is lifted.

🥕🥕🥕

Goblin Chant by Chengir

Through mountain air,
You’ll hear our horns blare.

Across the land, we track and stomp,
Nothing satiates our desire to chomp.

From drifts of fallen snow,
No place is too far for us to go.

The call of blood,
Has more power than a flood.

We stalk, we track,
We will not slack.

Over the great green greasy grass,
We give you chase on masse.

On we run,
We are not done.

It’s just a thrill,
For us to kill.

It’s time to bleed,
On you, goblins feed.

🥕🥕🥕

The World Beyond by Ruth Klein

the world beyond
hidden treasure
concealed from sight
out yonder, beyond
through the brush
the treasure of our mind
is way down deep and
comes alive with imagination
a perfect hiding place
now, sun, mountains, trees
with the valley in-between
can you see it?
what lies over there?
peace and tranquility along with
searching and finding
lands of plenty
close your eyes
imagine
adventure awaits
yonder

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A New Journey by Pensitivity

The plain beckoned, distant, and calling on the wind.
How many billion footsteps had set foot on this land?
All different, all unique, all the first of a journey.
Animal or man, four legs or two, bird or reptile, each found
their way here.
The expanse was great, and once beyond the trees, a new
exploration would begin.
This is a place found in dreams, simplistic beauty and peace,
totally unspoiled by progress or greed.
Nature at its best and most forgiving, a clean canvas to
what lies beyond.
All it takes is one step........... when we are ready.

🥕🥕🥕

Mountains Call the Strigidae by E.A. Colquitt

Above her trees, it’s all grey up there, but it’s not a snow sky: clouds hang at different altitudes; sunlight brightens the smallest fell.

She’s thankful for the view. Technically, she could transform and go right now, with everyone indoors. Unfortunately, at her window’s edge, a few houses cluster nearer the hills. If she can see them, they can see her. Any flight she makes, the Parliament will hear.

For now, then, she simply has this view. One day, though, it’ll be beneath her once again, the sleeping green rolling up into snowy owl. One day, she’ll soar anew.

🥕🥕🥕

Walking with Pa by Marsha Ingrao

Deanna looked at her watch. The temperature dropped six degrees in fifteen minutes, the wind chilled her between each zipper tooth of her down jacket. Her mother pleaded with her to stay home until the storm had passed. At seven-thirty the sun had promised Deanna a pleasant, warm hike in spite of snow on her weather app.

“Your pa will never forgive me if I let something happen to you.”

“He’s not here, is he?”

Dee, that’s not fair.”

“He died at age 49. That’s fair?”

Deanna grabbed her backpack, slammed the door and squealed out of the driveway.

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Take Me Away by Annette Rochelle Aben

Feather duster in hand, Valinda stood transfixed by the picture on her client’s wall. If she could afford a vacation, this is where she would go.

She closed her eyes. The feather duster fell from her hand. Magically, she was transported to her version of Heaven. She was dressed in hiking clothes. The wind tossed her blonde hair. Clean air filled her lungs.

Her moist eyes opened and Valinda glanced once more at the picture. She knew that she wanted that feeling more than once a week. Besides, no one would miss that picture. It belonged in her house.

🥕🥕🥕

The Proposal by D. Wallace Peach

When he’d asked for her hand, he’d promised a white-washed farm in the patchwork valley. Verdant fields and tart cherry trees perfect for pies. He’d offered gardens and pearls and the earnest comfort of old-fashioned love. And each time, she’d denied him.

Then they’d climbed her autumn hill, where the valley flowed like an emerald river, and beneath the woolen clouds, the sun’s long brush painted the mountains with light. He grasped her hand and dropped to a knee. “If I build you a cabin on this golden hill, will you marry me?”

So certain was her answer.

Yes.

🥕🥕🥕

Untitled by Christine

Marcy looked out over the trees feeling the morning air, crisp and clean, filling her nostrils. It had finally become a reality. Her dream to live in the mountains with only the earth and Dexter, her dog, to keep her busy was finally a reality.

Marcy hadn’t realized the beauty that lay before her on her bedroom balcony. Leaning on the railing to look down into the valley, Marcy felt a wiggle and heard a short snap before falling to the ground below. Would someone find her? The world darkened around her.

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Home by Jean Tubridy

February light
embraces the countryside
softening textures.

Sun-burnished branches
strive to preserve Autumn’s glows
and Summery greens,

But Winter prevails
with dark snow clouds gathering
to whiten the world.

Already the peaks
are flouncing in icy gowns
with dancing hemlines.

The dreamy homestead
sheltered and solitary
stands white-washed and smiles

Rejoicing in love’s
passionate togetherness
and sacred moments.

🥕🥕🥕

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