what comes naturally

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 15: O
Flash essay, 100 words 

I heard a faint rustling in the forest. Suddenly, five deer bounded right in front of me and loped off through the woods. I marveled at their beauty, grace, and sheer vibrant aliveness. 

Left to their unpolluted wildness, animals naturally do a good job of taking care of themselves. And it shows. They eat in accordance with their bodies’ needs. They generally don’t get obese or drunk or drug addicted. Neither do they need an exercise plan to work their abs, or glutes, or obliques.

Humans don’t even know how to do that anymore. So much to learn from nature.

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scent of hope

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 14: N
Flash fiction, 100 words 

The scent of the lilacs wafted into the house. Mandy paused, taking it in. She walked outside and clipped a small, bushy sprig of blossoms. Since it wouldn’t be allowed, she tucked the sprig into a plastic bag. She knew it was just the right thing.

Her mother lay in the ICU, unable to move or even to look out a window. Mandy took the sprig out of her pocket. She held it up in front of her mother’s eyes, then up to her nose. Mandy’s hopeful heart leaped as she saw those death-dull eyes suddenly sparking with light.

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the transformative power of a run

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 12: L
Flash essay, 100 words 

I linger over my coffee, brooding. I’m sluggish, resistant. I sit half-heartedly fighting the ennui that keeps me in the chair with my melancholy thoughts. It would be so easy to just … not.

Somehow, I manage to make myself lace up, get up and out the door. I walk fast. Finally, I’m running. 

Legs pumping. Feet feeling the ground. Air in my lungs. Eyes soaking in the trees, the sky, the path ahead. I feel my aliveness with joy and gratitude, aware of my heart of compassion, my kinship with all of life. Creativity blooms. It’s a beautiful day.

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for what it’s worth

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 11: K
Flash fiction, 100 words

Speaking his promise aloud, he pushed the ring onto her finger. 

Over time, the ring simply became part of who she was, like her lips or nose. For almost a quarter of a century, it witnessed all the big events, and the small ones, too, of a marriage.

Now, she twisted it carefully up over her work-worn knuckle. She laid it in the palm of her hand, along with the ring he had always refused to wear. She finally understood why.

She reached out toward the jeweler.

“I saw your sign. How much will you give me for these?”

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creativity exercise

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 10: J
Flash fiction, 100 words

Teeth. Lots of teeth. A long tail.  And those little bitty wings, for whatever evolutionary purpose that might serve. The monster, of course, happens to be green.

The jaws are wide open. Because it’s hungry? Roaring? Singing? Laughing?

I don’t know. Is it a dinosaur? Or a demon? The disturbing thing is that it emerged from my imagination, and, in an odd sort of way, looks kind of friendly to me.

This. This is what happens when you leave me alone with paper to cut up and no plan except to mix things up and see what you can make.

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first clue

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 9: I
Flash fiction, 100 words

Everything was planned. She ran her index finger down the list. She knew where she was going, that she could find a job and friends.

She continued with the packing, a slow, careful process. She considered the little things that held meaning for her, a few books, some precious mementoes. Furniture, not so much. 

He was not there to see her leave.

There had been a wonderful few years. They were simpatico. She loved the way he always called her his “Boo.” 

Despite the apologies, she knew the instant he slammed her up against the wall that they were done.

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habit-forming

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 7: G
Flash fiction, 100 words

Six months as a high raw vegan, and Corby glowed with energy. He happily kept an aggressive workout schedule, including running and strength training. Even mentally, he felt sharper and happier.

Out with old friends one day, Corby decided to cheat a little on his new lifestyle. The drinks, the potato chips, and the burger would have done the trick. He threw in a piece of pie for good measure. 

The ensuing gastrointestinal distress was convincing enough. The lethargy was the kicker though. After six months of feeling great, Corby knew the old ways of eating just weren’t worth it.

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signs of spring

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 5: E
Flash essay, 100 words

It comes right on the heels of that first, glorious birdsong. My ears discern another unmistakable assurance of spring:  the sound of equipment.

Trucks, herbicide and pesticide sprayers, fertilizer spreaders, lawn mowers, chain saws, forklifts, weed whackers, rototillers, and more. It all comes to life in a rush.

Sure, climate change or health impacts are real concerns, but property values trump all that. Or, perhaps it’s the belief that the fabled Green New Deal is just over the horizon somewhere?

Another demonstration of our willingness to carry on the status quo, even when it’s patently against our own best interests.

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lesson learned

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 4: D
Flash fiction, 100 words

At least there weren’t any witnesses. 

Tyler sat on the pavement. He had landed awkwardly next to his car as he pulled the door open. 

Looking up and down the dark, empty street, Tyler grabbed onto the open car door and pulled himself up. That was going to hurt tomorrow,  he thought, rubbing his backside. 

He climbed in, got behind the wheel, and fumbled for his keys. Where were they?

Then it slowly dawned on him. Perhaps the ungraceful exercise that landed him on his derriere was a clue. After that many beers, it was time to call a cab.

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misstep

A to Z challenge, theme: anatomy, day 2: B
Flash nonfiction, 100 words

My eyes fluttered open. Leaves and branches slowly came into focus.

My ears took in the sound of traffic passing nearby, then, the crunch of footsteps coming close.

A face came into view.

“You okay?” The gruff-looking stranger looked down at me quizzically.

“I don’t know.”

After a moment, I heard his footsteps crunch away and disappear. The sound of the traffic alternately surged and subsided.

Finally, I tried to sit up. That’s when the pain hit. 

Somehow, I got to my unsteady feet. Cradling myself with one arm, I trudged home, the broken bone wailing all the way.