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Work in Progress – Sept. 22, 2022

Locations: Fiction, Opinion Published

Come to rest
JM Jesse

Glenwood Springs 

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A single leaf falls

Languidly zigzagging down

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Soundlessly landing 

 

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27 Boxes

By Jeanne Souldern
Carbondale

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At age seven

I sold 27 boxes of Camp Fire Girls candy

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In our neighborhood

I went out alone

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How many blocks walked

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How many doors were knocked and

How many strangers had

Listened to a little girl

 

Chocolate-covered caramels

And mint patties

And the assorted chocolate box

Where are your parents, little girl?

 

Mom and Dad are busy

I don’t mind being a little girl alone

I want to sell for my troop

At my school

 

Sometimes the walk is lonely

But that last nice lady bought two boxes

And she thanked me for being so brave

To venture out alone

 

Brave, I thought

Maybe that is what I am

But I wanted to be a part of

Doing good for my troop

 

If that means I’m brave

Then I guess I am

A brave little girl

 

I sold the most boxes of candy

My troop leader gives me

A paper award

With my name written on it

And 27 boxes sold

 

Messages From a Simple Garden
By Linda Helmich

How can a simple garden have so much to say? 

In early spring, before the snow has melted, the seed catalogs begin to arrive. I hear the garden whispering messages of hope and feel the joy of anticipation, suggesting so many elaborate plans. I imagine how marvelous it is

going to be, maybe. This year could be better than ever before, maybe. 

All of that dreaming eventually leads to the work of chopping and churning and chiding the resistant clods into pliable, friable, welcoming earthiness. I work it with a spade, and with my hands. 

After a long day of it, I smell sweaty and feel sticky. When I lick my dried out lips, they taste salty. My hands are rough as sandpaper, and my nails are ruined. My back aches, but my heart is full. 

It all looks so good! 

When I plant the seeds, I hear new messages. “All through life you are planting seeds with your words and with your actions. What kind of harvest will be the result of how you have lived? Have faith,” it says. “The faith to plant good seeds.”

Though I see nothing happening, I water. Over and over, I keep

watering. Finally, the tiny sprouts emerge, and it is time to thin. Oh,

that tedious thinning! 

The garden says, “Patience! Persevere! You must persevere. Nothing good comes without perseverance.” 

Those are always hard words to hear, but not the hardest. The next

message is even more difficult, for just as the beets and carrots and

cabbages come up, so do the weeds. 

The garden says to me, “Your life, too, has weeds, attitudes and behaviors that are keeping you from being the best you that you can be. What will you do about them?”

These are good things to ponder as my hands are busy. There is

richness in the “examined life.” 

One fine day, I get to reap what I have sown, and the message is clear. “All good work produces a harvest.” 

It is a time to be glad, a time to rejoice, a time to be amazed

with how delicious fresh veggies taste, with the beauty of the colors,

textures and fragrances of the flowers and with the satisfaction of a

job well done. 

Finally, the garden is put to rest, stripped bare, relieved off its burdens above and belowground. For this year, its work is done. It is back to being just plain dirt. Soon enough, it’s covered with snow, but from underneath, I hear a still, soft voice…

“Like me, let yourself be at peace. Rest. You need that, too.”

Tags: #Jeanne Souldern #JM Jesse #Linda Helmich
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