Will They Be Flowers?

“Will they be flowers? Maybe herbs?” As she asked her fingers played with the new leaves on the young shoots. A new leaf came off in her hand, accidently I supposed. She didn’t seem to notice; I didn’t care to comment.

“Flowers. They are coming along nicely, don’t you think?” I admired the growth, hard won over the course of several weeks.

“Yes, very nicely.”

We turned away from the window box and toward the cozy kitchen table. I poured some coffee. “Cream?”

“No thank you, Maria, I drink my coffee black. How long have the flowers been growing?”  We both sat down.

I added a few drops of cream and watched them bubble back to the top.  “I started a few months ago.” I dribbled a few more drops of cream into my coffee and took a careful sip. “A while back I found that big old window box at a garage sale. I fixed it up and brought it up here to the table by the window. The box is filled with a mixture of potting soil and the extra dirt from the front garden, carried up bag by bag. I bought the seeds and began the nurturing. This third floor apartment has the eastern advantage- fresh sun in the morning yet shaded from the afternoon heat. It took a while to find the right amount of water.” I took another sip.

She looked around. “Yes, you did get one of the better apartments here and you are one of my best tenants. But about the water.” She set down her mug. “That is actually why I stopped by. Next week, well, starting tomorrow, the water will be shut off. I have to re-do the pipes for the radiators and that requires the water to be shut off. There is really no alternative.” She took another sip from her mug.

“Seriously?” I paused, taking in the information. “Couldn’t you have given us more time to make preparations? There are 8 families who live here; no one will have water?”

“I am afraid not. You can gather water in buckets or the bathtub I suppose. You could also move out for a week. I’m not really sure what you’ll do and honestly, it doesn’t matter to me.” She stood up with an air of formalness, brushed off her blouse as if it had been soiled by its presence in my kitchen and walked the 5 steps to the to the door.  Without turning around she said, “I just wanted to let you know.” With one hand on the doorknob she turned her head and added, “Thanks for the coffee.”  She walked out.  The door closed with a click.

Stunned by the news, I took a sip of coffee and stared at her unfinished mug. There on top floated one, delicate leaf.

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She Was Love

She was love
and she was loved.

Some people represent home
that feeling of welcome
the warm embrace
whenever
wherever

She was one of those people who
don’t have to do or
create or
cook or
go out
or… or… or

Just be
Just be love
radiate love
Laugh heartily
In conversation
Share the stories
Call you out
And in

In all of your OK-ness
just as you are
as she is
So it is

So she will be missed

Ways to Start a Story

One of my 4th graders asked me for ideas on how to start a story.  We had a great conversation and looked at some wonderful examples.  Here is what we ended up with:

Ways to Start a Story

  1. Traditional

Once upon a time there was…

  1. Dialogue (people talking)

“Mom! Help me! I can’t…” I shouted to my mom as I fell out of the tree.
———————-
“But you promised to take me to the movies today! You promised! You promised! You promised!” I started crying.

  1. Action (something is happening)

My brother slammed the door just as the rain started. This time he did not get caught in the rain. This time he did not get struck by the lightning.
———————-
I watched from behind the bookshelf as the thief snuck into the living room and opened the top drawer of the desk. He did not know I was there.

     4a.    Description (what does the setting look like? sound like?)

The spring flowers bloomed and the honeybees buzzed along the banks of the river. The sleepy town woke up to the sounds of the roaring river flowing down from the dark mountains. Something floated in the water, trapped by an old tree branch.

     4b.    Description (what does the character(s) look like?)

Jaime was only 4 feet, 2 inches tall but he was the best goalie the team had ever had. He could jump higher than kids who were 5 feet tall. But he never bragged about it. He did not have to.