Toadstool Surprise

Someday when you're out walking your combo dog* on a crisp fall day,
you might see one of these ordinary brown toadstools.
It happened to me. 

When I stooped to see a bit better, tiny light-sparkles bounced from micro-thin
spider strands stretched across the cap.  
What a clever decoration!

From bended knees, I peeked farther under the cap to see sunshine-lit gills.
This often despised-sprout looked more and more like a welcoming shelter.

And from a ground-level view (belly)—what an impressive structure! 
The perfect place for tiny folk to relax on a sunny fall afternoon. 

At least it was ... until my combo dog rushed back to see what was so interesting. 
Turns out toadstools are delicate, not dog-proof at all. 
Back to walking. 

* What's a combo dog?
That's what you get when you adopt a puppy from the local animal rescue people. 
They tell you it's a Labrador retriever, but it turns out to be a
beagle-y, Australian shepherd-ish, terrier-type of mutt. 
A cute, smart, adorable one.


Backyard Days and a Story Snapshot

It was my last year as a homeschool mom.
The sweetgum showered red-gold leaves, the bees buzzed lazy tunes,
 and my youngest teenager read aloud from Tolkien.
It was a memory moment—the kind meant for savoring.
Today was the same kind of day, but I didn't get to read in the backyard. 
I hope you did, though.

I took this photo of a pair of glasses I found at a sale. 
Purchased for a few quarters, they sold again for much more. 
My writing fund appreciated the small contribution. 
So, here's a bit of flash fiction inspired by these seen-better-days specs. 

     "Where are my glasses?" Craig ran his hand up his forehead then back down, mashing his nose flat. "Every time I lay them down, they go missing." He flopped into his armchair and a slight veil of dust puffed into the afternoon sun and floated toward thick window panes. 
     Janice handed him the newspaper. "You had them in the church this morning, didn't you? Then you stopped at the Danaher's on the way home ..." She glanced up at him from her own reading, hoping for a clue. Craig had gone still at the mention of the Danaher home, the crazed epicenter of the once-quiet village. "Did you have a chance to talk with—" 
     "No." Craig shot up from his chair and the newspaper fell to the floor, unnoticed. "I remember now. They are at the church." At the door, he grabbed his hat from the hook and pulled it low on his forehead. "You're right, Janice," he said. "You're always right." 


When Your Umbrella Flaps

When you're on a hot beach and the noontime sun is beating down, this is not what you want 
to see above your head. But that's exactly what happened on our tiny patch of Florida beach this year. 

We were happily gawking beach sceneryparents corralling sandy littles, sun-darkened seniors 
knee-slapping, and shark tooth seekers bent double, surf scanningwhen
Our umbrella lost its battle with the wind. 
For a while, we let it flap, too lazy to get up and wrestle it back into a proper form. 
I took a few photos of its free-form, flappy beauty—some of my favorites of the week.

Next time things go wrong on your patch of sand, instead of rushing to repair, 
take a breath ... can you see it? 
Beauty often shines in unexpected, less-than-ideal circumstances.