puddles of inspiration


“Puddles and mud and tiny bird footprints,

silt dusted leaves and ripples of sunlight.”

The poet felt his poetry muscles growing warm.

His daughter waited until he turned to dig out a pencil and paper before splashing through his inspiration in her red rubber boots. She smiled up at him as his eyebrows shot skywards. “You comin’ in?” she asked.

He could not deny the temptation. “Maybe I should write children’s books instead,” he said, and hopped right in.

etchings in the sand

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She walked along the beach, noticing at once the designs the waning tide etched upon the shore. Time and nature wrote their stories over everything. No one living long enough would be exempt. It’s not as if she expected to be, she just didn’t see why she must be confined to paper.

The wizard knelt by the sand, studying the image. The tides often drew these trees upon the sand as they ebbed. Never the same tree, but always an ancient, magical tree. The wizard lived his life by symbols and he could no more ignore these trees than he could understand them.

With a sigh, the tide began to withdraw, whispering out to her droplets to call them home. They balked, as children often do, lingering in the sunlight and delighting in the sand, until she pulled them, unwilling, out to sea. Their dragging fingertips left etches on the sand she did not have time to hide.

the unexpected toddler bed

We went away last weekend and our daughter was very concerned about what hotels were like. She must have asked us thirty times on the way to our hotel where she would be sleeping. Getting a bit frustrated with explaining that there are beds in hotels over and over again, we told her she would have to sleep in the bathtub. She was silent the rest of the drive as she thought that over. But we had forgotten that it was a four-year-old we were dealing with. She insisted upon sleeping in the bathtub when we got there.


how to pack a little extra time

I was packing for a trip the other day when my toddler comes into the room with her alarm clock. It was a gift from my brother and boasts a picture of Tinkerbell and a dead battery.

“We can’t forget to pack this.”

“Why do we need that?” I ask.

She looks at me, stunned. “So we don’t run out of time, of course!” she tells me in a tone which suggests this should be obvious.

In the suitcase it went. It’s always good to have a little extra time just in case.


My daughter’s hand was warm and sweet inside my own as she peered into the dark forest. “It’s not as dark as I thought it would be,” she announced.

I tried to point out the fireflies among the wildflowers, but her eyes never left the seldom-seen stars of the hazy night sky, devouring them with her entire being. “Wow,” she whispered, transfixed.

We walked further along the wooded lane, with her looking over her shoulder now and again to make certain that the moon was still there. “It’s my friend, the Moon.” She would say this in a whisper, only to shout “Hi Moon!” and wave to the jolly orb. Now and then he winked at her with wisps of fog, much to her delight.

A green firefly lit up in a patch of clover not far from us. She gasped. “A firefly!” The green light flashed again, and again, as she counted…poorly.

“I want to see another one mummy!” she said. So we circled our lawn, traipsing through the wet grass as we watched for fairy lights in wild places.

“We have to whisper, and tiptoe. Whisper and tiptoe.” She hissed the words as she stomped through the wet in her beloved rubber boots.

She squeezed my hand tight as a moth flew too close to her face and they startled one another, but it’s easy to be brave when you’re old enough to be out in the dark and your friend the Moon is right there and your mummy is holding your hand. “What was that?”

“It was a moth.”

“Was it a fairy moth?”

“It might have been, it’s hard to tell in the dark.”

As we neared our little pond a handful of fireflies whispered their luminescent greetings and we settled in to watch their frolic of twinkling phosphorescence. Some nestled in the devil’s paintbrush, while the bolder ones soared as high as the branches of the nearby trees. Her eyes, glazed with the sleepiness of one who is usually in bed before dark, looked back up to the stars in wonder.

In sitting still the mosquitoes discovered us and began their most irritating feast. We swatted dutifully for a little while, until finally she suggested we go back inside. Hand in hand we walked back to the house. “So what did you think of the fireflies?” I asked her.

“I thought there’d be less bugs. And more faeries,” she said, “But I liked them very much.”

thorny fortress


They built their nest inside a snarl of rose bushes where nothing could reach them unscathed. Within this thorny fortress their hatchlings grew, happy in the scent of wild roses, entertained by rose hip mobiles, and knowing little danger from the outside world. It was only when they learned to fly away they realized the darker nature of the thorns who helped to raise them.