#Writober Day 21: Finding Sanctuary Under a Canopy of Dead Leaves

The Beauty of Decay by Maria L. Berg 2022

Study of Contradictory Abstract Nouns

Finding the life in death and death in life. The moment of birth is the first step toward death, every breath oxidizes and ages, moving life toward its end. Every death is teaming with life. When the spark of life extinguishes, a thriving ecosystem gets to work: bacteria, microbes, fungus, ants, worms, seagulls, vultures, coyotes, all work together to recycle the lifeless. Though many humans dream of a life eternal, fearing the unknown of finality, they also show a fear of the unnatural possibility of eternal life as demonstrated through stories of vampires, jinn, ghosts, zombies and other undead or undying monsters.

This morning I began thinking of poisonous mushrooms as a symbol of the life in death and death in life, though any of the lives in my list above could make interesting images. I’ve got a couple more days to think about it.

Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

Today’s prompt is leaves. For today’s images I used a leaf I found last season that had decomposed to only its veins. It feels almost like cloth. I picked a couple aging leaves from the cherry-plum tree too.

I enjoyed this morning’s photos so much. I want to thank Tourmaline for the inspiration I get from this Halloween challenge.

Autumn’s Veins by Maria L. Berg 2022
Falling Leaves by Maria L. Berg 2022


Today’s prompt is about Sanctuary.

Finding a Safe Place to Hide

I had a choice of rooms
but only one offered sanctuary
small, confined, two windows filled
with leaves, branches and vines
sunrise-side towhees shuffle along my eye-line
until I close the thick blackout curtains
then yellow
yellow curtains, yellow walls, yellow carpet
like daffodil fields edged by a wood
faux wood closet doors, veneers on
built-in cupboards and drawers
and in the center a private island
with a quilt, wavy sea-green
cozy in warm blankets
supported by pillows
supporting a laptop, typing
but there’s more than this
comfort and solitude
a property only present here
like a bubble of silence
impenetrable by doorbell or phone
or voices, or boats, or chainsaws or mowers
or ghosts,
like a bomb shelter or lead-lined box
like a force-field, a sound-shield, a safe
sanctuary of calm

Writober Flash Fiction

Today’s inspirational image is “The Wide Carnivorous Sky” by Ian Hinley.

I noticed something was odd right away. Nothing that looked like furniture came off that truck, only wooden crate after wooden crate, all rectangular, uniform. I thought of an IKEA warehouse, or a mausoleum. I imagined an aggressive A-personality with intense Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I went back inside and scrounged around for something to eat.
That night a small bat swooped back and forth along the porch where I sat petting the cat. I hadn’t seen a bat since the giant fir tree fell during the storm. I felt so sorry for that little bat circling and circling my deck then flying back and forth in front of the windows before circling again. I was sure it wasn’t the same bat, and yet I felt that same sad longing watching it, as if it had lost its home.
The next morning, before the sun came up, while I was just settling into work in my home office, I was surprised by the doorbell. I froze, felt a pain in my chest, and tingles in my arm. The only people that came uninvited were either trying to sell me landscaping or pest removal. I crept toward the door and looked through the peephole. An extremely tall man in a green and black checked flannel shirt, straight black hair flowing down his back trudged back down my driveway toward the street with his hands in his pockets. I continued watching, excited to see if he entered the house directly across the street, the only one I could see from here, but then he turned, suddenly as if he knew I was watching.

Maria L. Berg Writober7 Day 21 2022

#OctPoWriMo Day 22: The Lake Betrays

Autumn Leaves by Maria L. Berg 2021

For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge, “leaves,” I left the creating to nature and she came through. It stopped raining and the lake was still and reflective. The soft light through the clouds was beautiful.

Nature’s Paint Palette by Maria L. Berg 2021


Today’s prompt is imagining the lives of previous occupants. The 2018 prompt was “Betrayed.

The Lake Betrays

Every year the leaves
betray the branches
baring them to face
the dead-cold winter
naked and shivering
in the unforgiving wind

Even the lake betrays the shore
receding, revealing the garbage
carelessly thrown from docks and boats
by the carefree warm bodies of summer

out of sight
out of mind
but some days
the lake is clear
and reveals
its secrets

When I found the watch,
I was shocked that it waited
until after he parted
to find its way to my hands

I can imagine so clearly
the satisfying plop after
he hurled it –with a might
of hurt behind it–from this balcony
in grief and anger, the union broken
a union symbolized by the clasped band
the promise of forever in the turning hands
of its face, marking a joint delusion
of shared moments, each
second named and tracked

but the band is broken
the face is clouded
orange and cracked
time flew and tumbled
drowned and dropped to the mud
in the shadow of the stones
and was gone.

The inscription, though worn
turned in the right light
still reads:
To Lenny
Love, Sharon

A Splash of Color by Maria L. Berg 2021

NaNoWriMo Prep

Last year I found putting stickers on Bingo cards and wordcount trackers very motivating. Silly, but whatever works. I used Cass Cutting’s fun blank bingo cards and typed my goals on my old typewriter. Typing them up was as fun as putting stickers on them.

Today I think I’ll have some fun and design my book-cover, then use my design as the backdrop for a bingo card and wordcount tracker. I think I’ll play with Cass’s NaNopoly game this year. I just discovered a roll of contact paper in my cupboard, so things will be getting a clear plastic coating 😁.

Happy Reading and Writing!