From Beyond the Grave, like I said I would.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My father died 15 years ago. An odd mixture of logic, imagination, and oddball intuition, my father died because he was no longer willing to accept the three times a week dialysis that kept him unhappily alive into his 80's.

Although he was an engineer, an early adapter of computers, and a lifelong agnostic, my father believed that when he died he would able to reach out to his family by calling them on the phone after he died.

“It will work like this, Debby” he said. “Within seconds of dying I will be able to use my mind to…

A brief encounter with the otter kind

Photo by Ryan Grewell on Unsplash

One of my favorite walks takes me along a narrow country road. The paved but pitted road bisects protected woodland, with numerous small streams and hidden ponds.

For years this quiet walk has been a source of inspiration for my nature poems and short essays. But one day especially stands out in my mind.

The one and only time I saw a family of otters.

I have a special place in my heart for otters. I have always said that if ever I get to come back as another animal, I want it to be as a river otter.

I love their sleekness, playfulness, sociability, and daring. I don’t particularly shine…

A turning point in the life of a child

Old Roller Skates image by Jim Heaphy/Wikimedia Commons

She was nine years old.
Skinny, dark haired, bright-eyed.

She loved her big family and good things to eat.
She loved speed. And her roller skates.

Whenever she could, she strapped them on
and headed for the steep hill into the city.

Her skate key hung from a string around her neck.
Her good luck charm, that would keep her safe.

Racing down the hill,
her long hair streaming behind,
nothing could stop her.

At the bottom of the hill, he did.

I told you, if I ever caught you skating down this hill,
I would take your skates away…

Image created by Layers, via Pixabay

Who knows when this free fall will end?

Ruminations on the plight of a solitary lightning bug.

Photo by Ihor Malytskyi on Unsplash

I remember a time when I could look out at night from my back porch and be dazzled.

Glimmering fairy lights flashed in the darkness, skimming over the grass and the garden until dawn.

Blinking on and off, on and off, like some kind of secret code.

Numinous lights. Like the stars, too many to count.

Years went by. Decades passed. Changes came.

Still so many fireflies it seemed. Hundreds at least. Too many to count. Such a heart-lifting sight.

Five years ago on an early June evening, I looked outside expecting to see those enchanting lights in their legions again.

Something was wrong. There were not thousands. There were not hundreds.

There were maybe 40. I know. I counted…

A multi-generational tale

The Old Stone Tortoise, photo by the author

Originally my mother bought the stone tortoise , placing it in the middle of an island of hostas.

As a young child I liked to sit beside it and considered it my friend.

It was brightly colored then. I think I remember shades of green and blue.

Years of rain and snow and burning sun and the occasional hurricane or two stripped it of paint, leaving behind plain, pitted stone.

When the sad time came that my mother had to sell her home, there was one thing I especially wanted to take away.

The old stone tortoise.

It sits sedately…

Broken in.

Photo by Marcin Kempa on Unsplash

I awoke this morning with a thought that made me smile.
I think finally I have arrived at the point where my life feels broken in.

Not broken. Broken in.

I am one of those people, no doubt to the dismay of the retail sales industry, who prefers comfortable old stuff to new shiny stuff.

I enjoy my clothes most when they have given up the fight and have started to conform to the plump, rather lumpy shape of my body.

During the pandemic I stopped coloring my hair, finally giving up the attempt to recapture the chestnut locks of my youth. …

Deborah Barchi

Deborah Barchi has recently retired from her career as a librarian and now has time to read, explore nature, and write poetry and essays.

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