It is Wednesday and good enough for Friday Fictioneers. We gather each week with our stories of 100 words or so, inspired by a photo prompt. We are happily hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple. Here’s my story to the photo prompt from Dale Rogerson.
Dang! Wanda swore to herself. The lake was getting harder and harder to swim in. She wished people wouldn’t be so careless. It used to be so good here. The water was pure and clear. You could see to the bottom. You could drink all you want. It was that sweet.
Now look at it! Full of junk and algae. And the smell. Never mind the taste. She could just gag. She hope that they would wake up soon before it was too late. What could one do? She swims away from debris.
Loving oneself is perhaps the hardest thing to do/learn. It’s taken me these many unconscious eons and this one conscious year to see how abusive I’ve been to myself. Now I can see clearly how I/all of us can fall into that vicious pattern. Like it or not we are not unique unto ourselves. We are wired the same.
Until we are awakened to that moment, we/I will keep falling into the same hole that Portia Nelson speaks of in her poem, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk.
“I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes me a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down another street.”
I can’t really tell you how many times I have fallen into the same hole. I am unaware of how bruised or battered I became till that aha moment when someone switched on the light. It seems so easy now that I am on the other side of the street. It is not so when I was in the quagmire with no firm foothold.
Learning comes slowly for me. I’ve been stuck in the same place for the last year. Sometimes you have to hit me with a 2×4. Falling into the same deep hole also works! The lesson is lasting. I realize that I am not in control of or responsible for everything. I am not that powerful. Not everything is my fault. No doubt, I will forget again from time to time. It’s only human nature. But I will not hurt myself more in those times with self-blame. Loving kindness starts with oneself.
It is Friday again and time for Friday Fictioneers to tell their stories of 100 words or so. We are hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple. This past week marks her third anniversay as host of this group of fictioneers. Thank you Rochelle for your dedication and hard work. And now, my 100 words inspired by this photo from Ron Pruitt.
The line inched slowly forward. She hoped there was room for her. She craned her neck to see ahead of her. Please! She whispered to herself. She shifted her weight to one crutch, then to the other.
It was hard, but she had to get away fast. She glanced furtively backwards. Someone tried to move in front of her. She quickly thrust her right crutch out.
“No, you don’t!” She cried out.
Finally she was there. She felt arms behind her. Good, someone was going to help her get on the bus. Then she heard his voice.
It is exactly Frinday and time for Friday Fictioneers. We gather each week to tell our stories of approximately 100 words inspired by a photo prompt. We are hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple. Here’s my 100 words this week. My story is inspired also by being lost most of my life. I have no sense of direction. Sometimes it makes for good stories. Thank goodness for Google map.
The rain came in torrents, drumming down on the roof. She could hardly think. She covered her ears with her hands, lowering her head on the steering wheel. Thank God she was alone! There was no witness to her inepitude.
She sat. There’s no need to rush. There’s no place to go. She was lost! Worse, she couldn’t figured out which button/lever to turn on the wipers. There was no manual. She checked. She couldn’t find the radio either.
She should have checked it all out before she left the rental place. Should have, could have. The beat goes on.
There’s something so soothing and meditative about squishing grapes that I never thought possible! That’s the surprise I discovered when I sat down with my two pounds of Concord grapes. Two pounds is not alot but too much to eat. Since we made the effort to grow them, it’s hard to waste them. I am not fond of making jelly. It seems like SO much work. My head gets boggled and quirky just thinking about it. Jamming is no breeze either, but seems like the less evil of the two.
I resigned myself to a bunch of work. But I tried to make it as easy and pleasant as possible. I took the lot into my sun room and sat down with them. There’s no easy way of skinning them except squishing them one by one. I did not rush. I tried to watch/listen to video on YouTube but found it not enjoyable. I gave that up for just sitting in the sunlight, squishing one purple grape after another, watching them plop into the pot on my lap. In a little while I was overcome with peace and contentment. My body said, Boy, I feel good! WOWZIE!
It took a couple of hours to jam two pounds of grapes from squishing to jarring. The result was two little jars of purple jam. No boiling bath was necessary. They will be eaten soon enough or into the freezer they go. The PROCESS was slow and enjoyable but not difficult. The only difficult part was STARTING.
The recipe I followed, more or less:
4 lbs Concord, wild or other seeded purple grapes
1/2 cup water
1 cup raw sugar (organic turbinado)
pinch sea salt
Rinse grapes, stem them, then rinse again (especially if yours are wild or homegrown and covered in sandy Downeast soil, spider webs and slugs like mine). Peel grapes by pinching each one (at the end opposite to the stem end is easiest) and allowing the grape innards to plop out into a medium (4-quart) stockpot or Dutch oven (this is far easier than it sounds; 3 lbs of grapes took me a leisurely 15 minutes to peel). Keep the grape skins in a separate bowl.
Bring the grape innards and any juice to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer until grapes begin to disintegrate, releasing seeds, about 10 minutes. Pour into the bowl of a food mill. Rinse the stockpot, add grape skins and 1/2 cup water, and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer grape skins, partially covered, until soft and breaking down, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pass grape innards through the food mill; discard grape seeds. Add grape pulp, sugar and salt to the grape skins. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then continue to cook at a brisk boil (lowering heat if jam begins to stick) until the gel stage (mine never reached 220 degrees F; I stopped it at 216 degrees when it formed a wrinkly set on a frozen plate).
Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace. Pass a wooden utensil along the sides of the jars to remove any bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
I’m forever trudging down this long lonely windy road. There’s no end to it though I do see a light at the end. I might as well put my head down and keep going. I’ve come this far. I should buckle up, bear down or whatever and see it to the end. Never give up! Never say uncle or squirrel! I have to keep my focus, my eye on the road. I’m so close and yet so far.
The road is long and oh, so dark and lonely. Won’t you lend me a hand? Can I sit at your table and rest for just awhile? I’m cold and my feet and soul are weary with this journey. No need for talk. No need for false comfort. Rest and honesty are all I need.
It is Thursday evening, not quite Friday but it is good enough to tell tales of 100 words on Friday Fictioneers. We are hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple. Here’s my 100 words prompted by this week’s photo.
Her head was spinning like a carousel out of control. Her heart pounded. Lub dub! Lub dub! She crossed her arms across her chest as if to hold the sound in. She bent over, taking a deep breath.
Her head cleared. She sighed in relief. She could think again. She was tired of being down trodden, being at everyone’s beck and call, pleasing them, cheering them on. There was no time for herself. There was no her.
“I’m tired of it. Damn it all to hell!” She muttered. “I’ll have no more of it. I know what I will do.”