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Tales of Immigration

Tales of Immigration by the Rough Writers & Friends @Charli_MillsMigration, traveling for work or life improvement, defies borders. Migration because of war and strife, blurs borders. And the migrations of butterflies and birds, know no borders.

Human migration is big in the news with changes to travel bans and non-citizen statuses. Those seeking to live elsewhere are seeking more than a new place. What we accept as cyclical in nature, we try to curb for humans with rules and walls.

The following stories are based on the February 23, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a migration story.


Arrival by Enkin Anthem

She’s making friends. Already.

It’s been only a few weeks. So little time, so many changes. The people are strange, but at least they don’t shoot at us.

My little girl goes to school. It’s the law. And now she brought home a boy. Where she’s dark, he’s fair – blond and pale like all of them, grey eyes lowered. She pulls him inside. “This is Nils. We’ll do homework together.” He looks confused, uncomfortable.

She changes to Swedish, gestures. “My dad,” I guess she says. He bows, stretches out a hand.

“Hallå,” I say. The only word I know.


Into the Storm by Allison Maruska

I claim my place in the boarding line. Twenty hours from now, I’ll be there.

Mom tried to convince me of the inherent danger. Grandpa argued the region’s war killed my uncle. To them, I am heading into a storm.

To the people I’ll be helping, I am rebuilding after one.

The attendant scans my pass, and I head for the plane.

In a way, Mom is right. Over There is less safe than Right Here. But my heart won’t let my able hands stay.

So, as I watch the Earth shrink beneath me, I head into the storm.


Leaving for the West (from Rock Creek) by Charli

“Pa? Are you leaving us?”

Mary glared at her husband. To avoid the new administration’s secession policies, Cobb was leaving his sheriff’s post. Her family and friends no longer visited, political beliefs dividing neighbors and kin. “Answer the boy, Cobb. He’s your son. He deserves your words, not the gossip to come.”

“Monroe, anyone asks, tell them I’m seeking gold with the Georgians.”

“What about our farm, Pa?”

“Sold, son. We’ll have a new farm out west. Uncle Leroy will bring you all out once it’s settled.”

“Out west? Where they sent the Cherokee?”

“Further west, son. The frontier.”


Blood, Sweat and Tears by Neel Anil Panicker

Makhan Lal offers one last look at the arid expanse before him.

All his weary eyes can spot are acres upon acres of barren fields.

Sweat-lathered tears stream down his heavily lined visage and die slow deaths on his bare-chested, all boned torso.

This year’s been particularly harsh: no rainfall, no crop, no food, and two deaths_ his brother and his

his grandson, all of two weeks.

His weather beaten sixty-five year old self can take no longer.

The decision’s made: migration; to the city, to any place that will get his family of seven two meals a day.


Boat People by Michael

The spring rains had not arrived, the fields were barren, prospects dim. His young family faced hunger if he didn’t act.

He made a life changing decision. He packed up his family and set sail to a foreign land. They were boat people, with nothing to keep them in their homeland they sailed for the opportunity of a new life.

It took four months to cross the oceans and when they arrived it was hot and humid. His brother met them and took them home. They began a new life, in a new land. My grateful, paternal, great grandparents.


Hathersage Welcomes Basque Refugees by Anne Goodwin

Fresh air, dry stone walls and purple heather; how naive to think it would suffice. Roast lamb on Sundays on return from the Meeting House, wide-open spaces in which to play. When we tried them with our schoolboy Spanish, their faces registered not familiarity but fear.

We couldn’t distinguish the bombing’s repercussions from culture shock, grief from adolescent sulks. Saddened that our kindness couldn’t cure them, we wandered through the village to the moors. Indifferent, they followed, until their sluggish steps segued into leaps and jumps. Gambolling among the season’s new lambs, strangers no more.


Migration by Ann Edall-Robson

Their sound reverberates across the meadow. Haunting voices carried on the wind. Finally, the recognizable V comes into sight. They split. They reform.

It seems early in the fall for their trek to have begun. Makes you wonder what they know about the coming winter that we don’t.

They’ll stop where there’s open water and feed. But, for today, they are making miles while the weather’s good. The long journey taking them south to warmer climates for the winter. Where they’ll stay until the spring thaw opens the lakes and ponds and they wing their way north once again.


Vagabond Soul by Pete Fanning

Stu checked the address and stepped out of the car. He cursed Ed, his sponsor, and his conscience. They always teamed up on him.

He was far from that kid who threw that drunken punch twenty years ago. His mind, body, and soul, had migrated, were still migrating, carving wrinkles as it sojourned out of the muck of stupidity to, what was he now, anyway? Middle aged? Tormented? Humbled?

Two knocks. Duty fulfilled. But the door opened.

Reconstructive surgery on his left eye, the guy couldn’t even cry properly.

Without warning, Stu released the two words that haunted him.


Spaced Out? by Jules Paige

Is moving around most of your life migration? Especially if you
ain’t returnin’ to that place you was born. For a the most part of
livin’ front doors seemed to always be different colors with
differing keys. An’ most them keys just don’ open the attitude
of folk to welcome you with open arms.

You think you settled as you ages. Then there’s a call to clear
outta your home world and find a new hovel, in space. But you
knowed you ain’t on that list. Ain’t migrated enough education
to lift off to one of them new planets.


Ban-ter by Bill Engleson

“Their parents are dead. That surely is a factor?”

“Not to me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not unsympathetic.”

“Perhaps not. Still, they would have a better chance here, in our country.”

“And lose their identity? Their culture? Their language? We cannot be the world’s orphanage.”

“Is that what you think this is all about? Look, no matter what we do, how many we take in, it will never be enough. But to do nothing, under the pretext that they’ll come to hate us makes no sense, shows no humanity.”

“The risk is far too great. My ban stays.”


Migration to ‘TRAPPIST-1’? by Liz Husebye Hartmann

“You’re telling me there are seven new human-habitable planets, a mere 40 years away light-speed distance?” She looked at him, eyebrow raised.

“Yes! No more worries about ruining our natural resources here on Earth,” He squeezed his sweaty hands together. “We can leave today and arrive in time for retirement!”

“Once we fund and develop the advanced technology?”

“We can easily rewrite Universal Healthcare, and the tax code! It’ll be huge! What could go wrong?”

“Okay, Donnie,” she sighed, looking at the armed border patrol. She flipped open her copy of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora. “We’ll just wait here.”


Flash Fiction by Pensitivity

They come in their hundreds, if not thousands.
Families, young adults, those seeking a mate, returning to the same grounds year after year by instinct.
They travel up to 200 miles a day, with a maximum speed of 35 mph, to arrive in April / May and depart in September / October.
Not for them the comforts of planes, centrally heated homes, and an endless food supply in the freezer.
I’ll be here to photograph their presence, listen to their chatter, and marvel at their sky aerobics.
We shall also have our mops and buckets ready to wash away the swallow bird poo.


Deported by Luccia Gray

‘You’re Magwitch, the convict at the graveyard.’

‘Wrongly convicted, Pip. Compeyes was the mastermind.’

‘Miss Havisham’s groom who abandoned her at the altar?’

‘He was imprisoned and I was deported to New South Wales.’

‘You tricked me into helping you.’

‘I’ve paid you back generously.’

‘You’re my anonymous benefactor?’

‘I worked hard at the Penal Colony. My money is yours now.’

‘I don’t want your soiled money!’

‘Are you planning on giving up your fancy life and going back to being a blacksmith?’

‘You’ve ruined everything. I hate you!’

‘And yet, Pip, you have Estella to thank me for.’


On the Move by KL. Caley

The packing had begun again.

I knew what meant; new house, new town, new school.

It hadn’t been a problem when I was younger but now things weren’t as easy.

Making friends became harder and harder.

Being the new kid, the stranger in a class that had been together since primary was like being a cat in a room full of dogs.

Still, I loved my dad and this was the life he chose, the army was all he knew.

When I’m older I think I’ll do the same.

He says in the army you make friends for life.


Adventurous Plans by Norah Colvin

His bag was packed. He was ready. He stopped at the door for one last look, then stepped outside, pulling it closed behind him. At that moment, he was certain; he would never return. There was nothing for him here. Exotic places and untold adventures awaited. At the stop, he hailed a bus and climbed aboard. “Where are you off to?” asked the driver. “I’m on an adventure,” he said, tendering a fistful of plastic coins. “But only if you take me with you,” said his out-of-breath mother, smiling. “Okay,” he said. The driver winked as she climbed aboard.Adventurous plans


Migration Watch by Geoff Le Pard

‘Oh for f…’

‘Paul! Language.’

‘I’m trying to migrate my website and it’s an utter disaster.’

Penny, his daughter, laughed. ‘First world problem dad. Be glad you have power.’

Paul growled. ‘Easy to say.’

‘We had a new kid in school today. From Darfur. His English is amazing. He said he learnt it from listening to music.’

Paul switched off his laptop. ‘You’re right. I don’t know when I’m born.’

Penny hugged him. ‘Glad you’re getting perspective.’

Mary barked as laugh. ‘All it means is he’ll get his people to fix it at work. He hasn’t migrated that far.’


Migrating by Irene Waters

“The Spaniards rejected us.”

“Bastards won’t let us put out deck chairs!”

“The Aussies want us. Only cost us ten pounds.”

They arranged migration interviews, arriving late.

“You boys better make it to the ship on time,” the embassy official warned.

Their mother’s packed clean underwear, hankies and saucepans; crying as they waved goodbye.

Within days they hated ship life as they rounded Cape Horn and faced the days at sea. Finally docking in Freemantle they hit the pub, horrified by the white walls, straw strewn floor and beer served from a hose.

“Perhaps we might need those saucepans.”


 Vagabond Vampires by Scarlett Sauvage

We flew towards a better life, seeking something more than the rubble of our ruined world. Our nearest neighbours welcomed us with open arms. They’d never seen a vampire before, but they soon realised that our bad reputation was the result of wild imaginations. We worked alongside the natives to build our shared world. Then the salesman came. He told tales of wicked vampires that brought fear and terror around the world, of the horror we would one day inflict upon their children. He pitched it perfectly and sold the natives silver bullets for the price of a soul.


Thinly Veiled by FloridaBorne

“Women freed from ISIS are burning their veils,” I said, staring at the video on-screen.

“I just watched a classroom full of girls learning how to wear one,” My husband chuckled.

Aghast, I asked, “Where was this?”

“The Midwest.”

“If you put oil and water in a blender, they’ll still find a way to separate once the whirring stops,” I frowned.

“What does that have to do with veils?”

“Migration! We’re the USA, not the dark-ages,” I said.

“What do veils have to do with migration?”

“Why don’t you ask Native Americans what happened when they adopted European clothing?”


Migration (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee

Jane snaps the gate latch shut and unsnaps Troubles’ leash. She’s making her way toward the back door, picking her way automatically around weeds and old bricks before she notices in the dim moonlight.

The weeds and bricks aren’t there.

Her fingers are shaking as she turns on her phone’s flashlight, casting a circle of light around her while Troubles sniffs around the door.


The rhododendron trunks are cleared of blown-in trash, the old bricks and broken furniture have been cleared out. In the bright wash of phone light, the brown grass even looks raked.

Oh, God, no.

Is Guilt Not Enough by Cheryl Oreglia

I follow the same, excruciatingly predictable pattern, almost daily, traveling from home to work, to home, to mom’s, to home, like a migrating bird, I wonder when my wings will fail? Although I take the same damn roads, I remain neutral, aloof to my surroundings. Sometimes traffic forces me to stop, it’s like being stuck in an elevator, I’ll glance around just to avoid making eye contact with my fellow travelers. Today I not only notice a new homeless encampment on Southwest beside the light rail tracks, but on the same expressway, where the old White Front used to be, a new housing development is springing up. The simultaneous construction of housing for humans living worlds apart yet across the street from each other gives my heart a savage twist.


Migration Reflections & Exchanges

MigrationWhat we learn from others. What we learn from our own journeys. Migrations come in many stories as evidenced by this week’s line-up of flash fiction. We often learn from other cultures without giving the acknowledged nod to the gift. Or we experience the exchange as something so new we see the gift but struggle to gain it.

Human migration is not about current events or about “others.” Human migration is the story of all of us. Even indigenous cultures migrated on small or big scales. It is those who write the history books who define the borders of such migrations. We can see its impact all around us and even recognize than on small scales, we migrate, too — new jobs, renewed life events, moves to other communities.

This week’s compilation will give readers a fresh outlook on migration. Consider these stories as you read current news. Consider your own life, that of your ancestors or even the path you’ve led thus far. Consider our connections to one another. No country, no culture is isolated unto itself. The following is based on the September 2, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows the interaction of a migrant culture on the place of migration.


Leaving Earth. 2147 by Ula Humienik

I looked as the Earth became smaller and smaller.

Its blueness shone in the dark void of space.

Soon, gold lights appeared.

At first small specs,

then figures of human size.

As each approached me, it seemed as if they were greeting me.

I said nothing,

unsure if what I was seeing wasn’t a dream.

Then, their color changed to indigo

and they merged into one big half circle

with a dot of the Earth in the background.

I felt their warmness and welcome

and felt surrounded by old familiars.

I could go on in my journey,

without fear.


Flash Fiction by Katherine Sorensen

“It’s not who you are, it’s how much you are willing to give.” Sarah glanced at her second hand dress, suddenly aware of the faint stain on the front. “We live in a take, take, take society.” It had taken so much courage to walk away from Bob; away from the belittling, the name calling, the threats. “If you’re not giving, you’re not growing.” I have nothing to give she thought. I just want peace, I just want a place to belong, I just want to feel like a worthwhile person again. Maybe next week I’ll try St. Stephen’s.


In Another’s Shoes by Geoff Le Pard

Paul put down the phone. ‘The police. They wanted us to know that child they found – it wasn’t a ritual killing. The family had come from West Africa; it was their way of burying their dead.’

‘But the child had been dismembered.’ Mary shuddered. ‘I don’t understand it.’

‘If you’ve been brought up in a culture where it’s the only way to behave, how do you know different?’

‘You just should. It’s barbaric.’

‘It wasn’t that long ago we drowned witches. Maybe we need to empathise a little more, love. Put ourselves in their shoes.’

Mary nodded uncertainly.


Welcome by Dave Madden

Without coloring outside the lines of my persona, I comforted, coached, and corralled Valentina through the beginning of her first day of school in the walls of a country that was equally fresh.

Aware that I sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah-wah wah,” I continued my attempt to clarify a world in desperate need of closed captioning.

I reached into my bag of pedagogical tricks as to ensure my lessons were packed with TPR (Total Physical Response), pictures, videos, labels, cognates, and any realia to aid understanding.

Language barriers are cracked when cocked heads of confusion crumble into conversation.


Friendship Star by Ann Edall-Robson

A month with her aging Aunt who had no television, no internet, no mall and no cell service. What was she thinking?

She had arrived with none of skills necessary to survive in this woman’s lifestyle. Food, clothes and entertainment came from a store!

Now she could bake her favourite gingersnaps; and her Aunt had taught her to sew. Together, they worked on a Friendship Star quilt.

She balked at milking the cow. Her Aunt was patient and so was the cow.

The wise, gentle woman had changed her life. It would be hard to leave her newfound friend.


Alabama Watermelons by A. R. Amore

After complaints numbering in the thousands, the state sent Joe convicts to pick his watermelons. The governor’s degree had scared Joe’s migrant laborers away fearing deportation or worse. Dressed in denim jumpsuits with a broad white stripe down the middle, a busload of prisoners arrived at sunup and two hours into their workday all but three men had collapsed and refused to work. Joe’s foreman, Alejandro shook his head and just smiled; the three who labored hardest were Mexican. The flatbed rolled though the rows while two men followed tossing the melons upward to be caught by the third.


True Grits by Larry LaForge

Ed smiled as the hostess handed him the menu. Edna caught his eye and knew exactly what he was thinking.

They both remembered their first encounter with the strange concoction.

Many years ago, after migrating to the Deep South, they stopped by the local breakfast spot. The server couldn’t hide her amusement at their unfamiliarity with the most popular menu item. “Huh? For breakfast?” Ed asked innocently.

On this day, Ed and Edna settled into their booth, not needing to consult the menu.

Edna ordered first. “Sunrise Special with a double serving of grits.”

Ed nodded. “Same for me.”


Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin

Swelling with pride, I presented my proposals. This was how I’d prove myself to those who considered me too young for the job. I’d produced a cracking itinerary for our overseas guests: a day at the gymkhana with an evening at the Mela on the Golden Mile. All I needed was the committee’s go-ahead to book a table at Kayal’s.

The chairman coughed. “It’s supposed to showcase Leicester’s best.”


“And our English culture.”

“What’s more English than chicken tikka masala?”

“But our visitors are from India, remember. Don’t you think they’d prefer something they can’t get at home?”


Strong-Armed by Pete Fanning

I was conceived in war. Soiled in fear and raised in hate. I lay in the dark. In the trunks of cars. The hills of Honduras. Slung over a shoulder in the stifling heat of Mexico. In your neighbor’s closet.

I speak a universal language: Violence. Money. Desolate villages in the hills. Drug lords. Gangs. Government. I know no customs. Where there is man I thrive. I skitter across borders. Between laws and under the loopholes. I even go to school.

Every day we migrate. Millions of us. Millions of dollars, pesos, lempiras. Kilos and ounces.

Millions of children.


Conquering the North with a Pie by Paula Moyer

Jean’s grad-school move from Oklahoma to Minnesota – three months old.

Thanksgiving was coming up. In 1975, pecan pie in Minnesota was a rarity. The trees flourished in Oklahoma; Jean’s mother sent freshly shelled pecans from her backyard tree.

Dinner invitation from a married classmate. Did she dare?

Jean bussed to the store with a list, juggled bags and pie pan on the way back. She commandeered the kitchen on her dorm room floor. Pop can for a rolling pin.

The smell of Jean’s wafted into the house before her. The kitchen-gathered friends rotated toward the aroma. Stood and applauded.


Unwanted/Wanted by Irene Waters

I’d wash my clothes at the seaside with the women. I’d learn to agitate them in the salty suds and beat them clean on the rocks. My clothes wouldn’t last long, but friendships would be forged with the women.

Emi no wannem woman blong whitefalla here. Sippos emi come long beach me falla no talk talk evri something long gossip, long pikannini, long man blong me falla. No me falla washem clothes blong woman.

The tourists came and wanted the uncomplicated life of the local people. The local people agitated for televisions, money and the joys of western life.


Contributing Alien by Jules Paige

Adapting to a new country could be dicey. Gregorio did
what he knew how to do and that was to hawk his services.
Through the neighborhoods of the borough of Queens,
New York. He walked his wooden wheelbarrow, sharpened
knives and fixed umbrellas – door to door. He fed his family
through the depression that way. In this strange new world
where the streets weren’t paved with gold or honey.

The newspaper thought it would make a good story.
Immigrant makes good. Grandfather did not accept handouts.
Earning the right to make a home for his growing family.


A Shift by Sarah Unsicker

The phone call had her reeling.

Ten minutes ago, she had been busily going about her business, doing—what exactly? She could hardly remember. Now she sat, hand on her forehead, trying to take control of her spinning head.

Ten minutes, one friend, one phone call. A new life, the possibility floated before her. Still, she had to live her old life. She tried to remember what she was doing before that phone call. Correspondence? Could wait until she was grounded. The children? Were beginning to argue.

She stood up and took her first step toward her unimaginable life.


Manicured Invader by Pat Cummings

Sandy tapped the stress graph with an elegantly-polished fingernail. “That rock isn’t strong enough for 20% pillars,” she said coldly.

Doug prepared to use his football-linebacker tactics to lead the rock lab team, the fifth time he’d steamrollered Sandy’s input on this project on the basis “the girl” hadn’t run any of the rock-breaking tests herself.

“Wait, men! Um… people,” Colin’s African bass squeaked suddenly, a blush on his blue-black face. “My calculations agree with hers. Do you want to win arguments? Or pass the course?”

Sandy lifted an expertly-penciled eyebrow, and Doug caved. We went with her conclusions. A+.


Finding a Job in 1884 by Charli Mills

Brackish water plagued the settlement.

The stranger with a red beard pushed aside his cup of brown water. He ate boiled potatoes in silence among murmurs of Italian in the dining tent.

The foreman approached. “No jobs here. Move out after your meal.”

The stranger nodded; same greeting from camp to camp. Cheap labor in Washington Territory came from new migrants and no boss wanted a Metis from across the border.

Leaving, he paused, pulled out a forked willow and walked until the point plunged. “Dig here.”

The foreman smiled. “Wait. If there’s fresh water, you’ve got a job.”


Playground Connections by Norah Colvin

The adults dotted the perimeter, holding tight to their own; bound by the security of sameness reflected in their own eyes, excluded by fear felt for differences perceived in others: different dress and hair, unintelligible words and unfamiliar scents.

In the centre the children romped together, united in the secret language of smiles and laughter, funny looks and gentle patting hands; no words needed.

The children smiled, waving promises of future plays, as one by one the adults called them home, delighting in their children’s easy ways, wishing for their own nonprejudicial days. A nod. A smile. A beginning.


Welcoming Committee by Sarah Unsicker

Marie sat on the graffitied bench with her bag at her feet. The fifteen-story gray buildings surrounding the student center looked more institutional than educational, and she wondered whether she had made the right choice.

Of course the train had arrived at lunchtime. Marie didn’t expect a welcoming committee, but after fourteen hours of travel, she had hoped to get the dorm key when she arrived. Her stomach rumbled, but she had eaten her last granola bar hours ago.

A smiling round face approached, with a hand outstretched. “Wilkommen in Deutschland,” the best words Marie had heard all day.


September 2: Flash Fiction Challenge

September 2A black iron hook hangs like a long letter s, and swings empty in the morning wind. It used to support my red hummingbird feeder. Once the bees realized the birds were gone, they greedily sucked down the remaining nectar. Swatting at bees on my own porch is not my idea of a pleasurable walk out the back door so I removed the feeder and its buzzing crew to the garden where I know many bees live.

When the nectar is gone, I’ll reclaim the feeder, wash it and wait for hummingbirds to return next spring.

This is a transition of seasons, and migration has begun. Three days ago the pine trees twittered like a bird sanctuary. Pine siskins, cedar waxwings, sparrows. All on the move. By the time I returned with my camera, it was silent. The Hub watched a goshawk nail a migrating bird. Those wily predators know to watch the passageways we humans don’t even notice above our roads and rails and rivers.

How unlike the birds and animals are we? Migration is their season, not ours. We put away the lawn chairs, harvest the garden, split the wood and hunker down for winter. That’s if you live in the country of the northern hemisphere. Our city counterparts prepare with state fairs and back to school sales on notebooks and shoes. The southern hemisphere is awakening to pupae and blooms and concerns for dry weather conditions.

Our fires in northern Idaho are taking a pounding from the rain. Australia is anticipating its own fire season. I wonder if the Aussie and Yankee crew bosses will exchange phone numbers before the Australians go home.

There is a human resiliency to the places we’ve selected to settle down and homestead. The survivors of hardships are the ones that plow the earth and seek the water. Subsistence farming is not necessary in our modern world of grocery stores and gourmet food found on Amazon. Yet still I dig, not as deep as those who came before me, but I still grow food out of dirt and water.

The Hub and I watched a movie that showed what our homesteading farmers were made of. Grit and simple values. If you’ve not yet seen, “The Water Diviner,” do. It’s not an easy movie; it follows the lives of characters after the Battle of Gallipoli, yet it beautifully unfolds the complex relationships between Australia, Great Britain and Turkey. It’s easy to make such a story one of war or blame, but “The Water Diviner” is about seeking what is lost, and what we share across cultures.

The opening scene is that of a hardy farmer with a talent to divine water in the Australian Outback. He finds the spot and digs. And digs. And digs. At last, he strikes water that begins to fill up his well. The trouble is, he doesn’t know where his three sons are buried. Many who enlisted to fight in the Great War were killed in action at Gallipoli and ended up in unmarked graves.

“Water Diviner” is also a story about a Turkish widow who believes her husband could still be alive. She’s a modern woman, running a hotel and raising her young son with pressure from her brother-in-law to be one of his many wives. The movie follows the Australian farmer, but we see multiple perspectives from all sides impacted by war and displacement.

Maybe we aren’t so different from the birds after all. For thousands of years we have migrated. The Australian farmer was not a native of that continent; the Ottoman Empire that once conquered was in turn conquered and divided; Americans came from around the world and pushed all the way to the frontier; and today, nations grapple with the issue of migrants.

War, famine, desire to improve the life of one’s family – the same reasons birds move. Hawks pressure little birds out of areas. Wetlands go dry and birds seek new homes. Osprey show up every year in Sandpoint because of the same reason the Californians do – it’s beautiful here in summer and the houses are big and overlook vast waterways.

Have we ever truly stopped moving? How do we decide that movement is shut down just because we like where we have settled and too bad if other people have not been so lucky? What about traditional migrations, such as Mexican workers to pick California fruit before returning to Mexico? Why can’t they stay in land the US grabbed (pardon my political incorrectness, I meant to say “compromised”) from Californios in 1850?

Too complicated of questions to answer easily, but ones I ponder as I watch the cycle of migration unfold in nature and read about the plights of human migrants barred or banned from moving.

My mind shifts to what cross-cultural interaction brings us. I’m fascinated by water divining and have been told by a real diviner that I have the ability. I still have the willow witching stick he cut for me from the fork of a red willow. I know not where this tradition began but I see it has spanned time and the globe. How many other foods, books and traditions do I posses because of my own ancestors migrations and that of those I live among?

We think we are so secure in our boundaries. Like birds, we still seek wisdom in moving to a better place, and like bees we take advantage of shelter or a food source another group left behind.

September 2, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows the interaction of a migrant culture on the place of migration. It can be the reverse, too such as a migrant picking up on local customs. The idea is to explore exchanges.

Respond by September 8, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Finding a Job in 1884 by Charli Mills

Brackish water plagued the settlement.

The stranger with a red beard pushed aside his cup of brown water. He ate boiled potatoes in silence among murmurs of Italian in the dining tent.

The foreman approached. “No jobs here. Move out after your meal.”

The stranger nodded; same greeting from camp to camp. Cheap labor in Washington Territory came from new migrants and no boss wanted a Metis from across the border.

Leaving, he paused, pulled out a forked willow and walked until the point plunged. “Dig here.”

The foreman smiled. “Wait. If there’s fresh water, you’ve got a job.”