Friday, May 8, 2015

Green and Blue Survival (Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge)

Northern California, even in a drought, has a wet winter. The frogs begin their mating calls in moist December, and sing through January's downpours. Even the tiniest pool becomes a potential tadpole nursery. 

When the temperature rises enough, these pools will also form breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Soon after the rains cease, the spring plants begin to peek out. Adult deer know what they like the flavor of: ceanothus and native oat grass top their list of browse. But the fawns nibble everythingthey have to learn what tastes nice. Enough fawns come through our hillside property to seriously impact the landscaping.

Still, we collect the rainwater when it fills the gutters, streaming down from our uphill-neighbor's pavement and the turn-around at the end of the street. Runoff from roof and street gutters is channeled into a linked series of 55-gallon repurposed olive barrels. Our oaks and native plant landscaping will not lack for water this summer.

At the communal garden plot, loads of compost and horse manure mark the beginning of spring planting. We harvested the last of our fava beans for pickles last week, but have not decided what crops to plant at "the farm" for the coming season. In the midst of this burgeoning growth, the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge is a timely diversion.

May 6, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is a snapshot of spring. I realize that some Rough Writers are riding into autumn, and I hope this isn’t a disadvantage to focus on a season we are not collectively sharing. We could think of it as “spring eternal.” Warm, renewing, new life, hope.

Hope springs eternal, and so does life. From the bitterest (or dryest) winter, we always welcome the renewal of spring.

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Green and Blue Survival 


Dumping condensation that has collected on the lid of the makeshift rainbarrel, I set it carefully back over a full container that once held olives, and move downline to the next.

This one holds a nascent green frog. Its tail still reveals its tadpole nature. Scooping it gently from its tiny pond, I walk it downhill to the sump pool. It can survive here long enough to sing next winter, unless the crows eat it.

"Hon!" An excited voice floats from the side yard. "Our ceanothus came back!" The tiny blue blossoms have survived another winter of deer depradation.