Why Mom?

Reading Dale’s response to Crimson’s Creative Challenge has inspired me to have a go at it as well. Like Dale wrote, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. You can read all about the CHALLENGE here, and this is the photo meant to inspire us:

https://crimsonprose.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/ccc122.jpg

And here’s my 150-word true-to-life tale:

“Mom, why’s that duck’s head and front blue? Did somebody dye it?”
“Why doesn’t the other have a blue head, too? Are they different kinds?”
“How come the one’s beak is yellow?”
“Why’s the brown duck’s feathers sticking up like that? Is it mad?”
“If they aren’t mad at each other, why aren’t they swimming together?”
“Why are the ducks only here in summer?”
“What do ducks eat when there’s no popcorn?”
“Where do ducks sleep at night?”
“If they fall asleep in the water, will they drown?”
“Why aren’t there any baby ducks? And why…”

Randi was trying her best to answer Frankie’s many questions as they strolled along the creek, but was feeling rather brain-strained when an older woman approached them on the walk.

The elderly lady gave Frankie a big smile and told Randi, “Someday you’ll think of this as the best time of your life.”

Get Out the Saw, Pa

Contemplating A World Without Sparks

Our temperature has risen! In Saskatoon right now it’s 10 F or -12 C and the thermometer is supposed to climb all the way up to -1 C / 30 F. Balmy breezes, almost! Our cats are enjoying the great outdoors this morning.

Texas residents won’t be nodding at that. I’ve been reading about the dire weather conditions and suffering of the poor Southern folks and they do have my sympathy because I realize they aren’t at all prepared. With our well insulated houses, furnaces and insulated water lines buried deep, we’re prepared for extremes of -50 whereas -0 F is a disaster down there.

No power is a game changer anywhere, though. I appreciate what the folks in Texas are going through on that score. (Assuming you have a furnace) heating fans and water pumps need electricity. Baseboard heaters and stoves are useless. We lived in Quebec during “the ice storm of the century” and know what it’s like to have no power for days with the temp hovering at freezing point.

The only way to operate anything – like the pump that pumped water out of our basement – was with a gas generator. Farmers especially were bringing these in from the US as fast as they could find them. For our dairy farmer neighbours with their bulk milk cooling tanks, a generator’s a must. We did have a wood stove in the basement, thanks be, and waded through ankle-deep water to stoke it. Generally speaking, this is not where modern man wants to go.

A friend and I had a discussion one day; she asked, “What if our power supply was cut off permanently.” I said most of us would die. She said, “If we needed to, we’d just have to find other ways to survive.”

I said, “Ha! We can’t live without power for an extended time. In winter, how would you heat?” She thought we’d have to cut wood.

I asked her to imagine the seniors in her building, in all the apartments on all the floors, trying to burn wood. Someone might burn the place down! “And think the million people in your city all trying to find enough firewood and wood stoves. Or get water – or food? Or drive on completely blacked-out streets? What would happen to stores if the city was blacked out every night? All the factories shut down, people out of work? No, I’m afraid if power was permanently cut, most Canadians living in cities would soon perish.”

She was using the idealistic “We’d all go back to the land” mentality. Everyone would get a little chunk of land to live on (which would denude the countryside.) Big farmers would have to share their land. We’d all survive on raising our own veggies, hauling our water (from where?) and sawing our own firewood. Our lifestyle would keep us healthy. It worked once. Why not again?

Recently I read that President Biden is taking measures to wean the US off oil and gas; I tried to imagine how that will work in the long run. Kind of like Texas now, but nationally? Softie that I am, I hate the idea of wind power because those big turbine blades kill so many birds; perhaps that could be fixed somehow? Giant bird nets? But in Texas now we hear the turbines are all iced up. How would they manage at -30F like we get?

Solar panels may make enough electricity for a home, but for a city water and sewage system? For factories and hospitals? Time will tell, but I foresee The train they call the City of New Orleans coming to a grinding halt with its fifteen cars and twenty-five sacks of mail.

Without oil to run factories, I can picture a time when the US will go back to a farming economy, minus the big equipment. Maybe, like my friend suggested for us, each city family will be given a chunk of land and go with subsistence farming, but I fear those beautiful national forests will go for firewood.

I’d thought Canada could benefit: we could sell our oil to the US if they wouldn’t produce their own. But I see the new President has cancelled the Keystone Pipeline project, meant to carry Alberta oil to Louisiana. Eastern Canada would breathe easier if all those dreadful coal-burning factories in IL & OH were shut down, ending the acid rain now polluting Ontario & Quebec waters.

Oil is currently a necessity to our lifestyle, but bringing in oil from overseas runs the risk of more oil spills and pollution. Building hydro-electric dams costs the environment, too. Ontario found nuclear power an unreliable, expensive, waste-producing alternative. Every solution has side-effects that must be calculated. Or, as someone tersely put it, “The cause of problems is solutions.”

In reality we can’t just go back. Not unless you eliminate 70% of the population and their demands on fuel supply and the power grid. Transportation, international trade, heating, cooling, sewer & water, manufacture, agriculture, construction, health care and more: these depend on a steady stream of power/oil & gas.

Idealism is the luxury of folks who are financially secure or retired in their little estate with a nice nest egg. They can dither to their hearts’ content over solutions for environmental concerns. And we should certainly all do our part to stop consuming, wasting, and polluting. READ: Stop buying CHEAP JUNK. Be willing to pay more for things made in your own country, where pollution controls are in effect.

But the poor senior on pension, the welfare family, or the average Joe/Jill who lives in a big city and has to work for a living – especially in a factory – may have a whole different perspective on the importance of saving the environment. Running out of food before payday weighs more heavily on their minds than thoughts of the world running out of oil in the year 2525.

Dog’s Delight

Image by Dave Francis — Pixabay
Oh wow! Is that a cat?
That clump of fur over there -- 
that long tail I see twitching?
Can I chase it? Huh, Master?
Just for a minute? Oh, heaven!
Please say I can, Master.

Cats are so much fun to chase –
better yet if they go up a tree.
I keep them up there ever so long
glaring and squabbling,
but terrified to come down.
Oh joy! Do I ever love that!
Bark, bark, bark – nya nya nya.
Disgusting, hissy things!

Say yes, Master, let me go!
I'll chase that cat clear into
the next valley. Or if it leaps
on the fence I'll hurl myself at it
with my most ferocious growls.
Oh, wow! Will that ever be fun!
Can I, huh? Can I?
Master, please let me chase it!

Awww… It disappeared.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: WOW!
Word of the Day: SQUABBLE
Your Daily Word Prompt: FEROCIOUS

A Unique Editing Encounter

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge for today is REPLACE
The Daily Spur word prompt yesterday was EDITOR
The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was WOODSY

Fandango had an interesting story as his response to these prompts, the furious reaction of a writer who’s sent his manuscript off to an editor and it comes back thoroughly red-penned. He calls the editor, irate about all the marking and even replacing of sections. So I’ll credit Fandango for my tale. His story got me thinking down this line. I do feel a bit of sympathy for that editor, though he overstepped his role.

One day, after reading a story by a multi-published author, I asked my eight-year-old grandson, “How can a person fall off a train and land in front of the train? And furthermore, land far enough in front of the train that the train can stop in time to not run over the person’s body?”
He thought for a moment and said, “It would work if the train’s going backwards and the person fell off the engine.”
A certain writer should engage my grandson as technical advisor.

A Unique Editorial Encounter

I was wandering my way through an Ontario woodland path one morning, taking in the sound of birds, the woodsy smell of the trees and earth, listening to the wind fluttering the leaves, when I came upon a penguin weaving its (its – not it’s) way among the trees.

“What on earth! Oh, I’m losing it,” I exclaimed. “Penguin! What are you doing in these woods?”

“I don’t usually do woods,” the creature replied. “I seem to have gotten lost.”

“Big time. You’re over half a planet from home.”

“Can you tell me the way to Puddleville?”

“Puddleville? I can, but what do you want to do there?”

“A writer who lives in Puddleville wants a penguin for her story; she ordered me from e-Bay. She’s writing something about Hudson Bay and she wants me to do a guest appearance in her story.”

“But there are no penguins in Hudson Bay. Ever,” I protested. “Never have been.”

“You’ll have to take that up with the writer. I’m just one of the cast. I’ve supposedly stowed away on a fishing boat going into Hudson Bay. Now I’m to fall off the boat and flail around in the bay so her brave main character can save me from drowning in the frigid water.”

“Save you from drowning? But you’re a penguin – you can swim. And as far as frigid waters go, the water in Hudson Bay is a lot warmer than the Antarctic.”

“Say, you really like to find fault! What are you, an editor? What have you got against an exciting sea rescue? She’s writing it in a very dramatic style readers will love.”

“I like my drama to be realistic, even in fiction. A lot of readers do, you know. She should have at least hired a seal.”

“But I’m way more interesting than a seal any day.” He took a moment to preen a bit. “Anyway, I’m just going to do what I’m told, then grab the bucket of fish she’s offering as payment, and head south.”

“I think this whole story is going to head south. What’s the name of her book so I don’t spend good money on it.”

“She’s calling it Igor’s Alaskan Adventure. I’m Igor. “

I shook my head. “Why am I not surprised? Anyway, how be you follow me home, then I’ll drive you to Puddleville in my car. You’re never going to get there hobbling through the woods like this. I might even have a word with this writer about geography. Alaskan Adventure indeed!”

“You’d better watch out. Writers don’t always react well to some ‘slash and burn’ editor type finding holes in their plots.”

“You’re probably right.” I sighed. “Well, come on, Igor. Your adventure awaits.”

Forest Image:
F Richter & S Hermann at Pixabay

Saturday Morning Blips

Good morning everyone. 🙂

I’m writing this post on my phone, so will be brief. Having computer issues; lately browsing has been so slow and this morning it won’t take me anywhere at all. Sigh…

We had a real fall day yesterday with dark rolling clouds and a chilly wind. Thankfully it’s sunny this morning and only breezy.

I see the young hummers tanking up at my feeder and realize they will soon be leaving us. Fields are golden with ripening grain and yesterday we saw a swather cutting a field of canola.

I’m in a bit of a slump lately, so little energy — and less as far as writing goes. At least when it comes to actually sitting and putting my words down in a file. Hopefully this will “come to pass.”

I hope you’re all staying safe and making the best of the last month of summer.

 

Ripples

“People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”
― Dorothy Day


The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was RIPPLES.

My thoughts went in two different directions: I considered writing a verse about the ripples you will see in natural settings…and then I pondered the philosophical angle, where RIPPLES symbolize the power of example. Particularly the influence that a good example can have. How many individuals have carried out a work which has blessed the whole world?

I opted for the “ripples as a symbol of influence” angle and chose the quote by Dorothy Day. Whoever she is or was, her thought is a wise one. And I’m going to add my own mini-poem on this subject. The verse I wrote about natural ripples I’ll save for another post. 🙂

This world is full of ripples
and each of us must choose
the ones we’ll be a part of,
to win at life, or lose.

Some lives have left a swelling
of blessings for us all
while some leave sad examples
how far a man can fall.

Each ring will ripple outward
toward some final end:
the eulogy of “enemy”
or accolades of “friend.”