What Is Nine Hundred Miles? ~ prosery

What Is Nine Hundred Miles?

What is nine hundred miles to a man when family is a short flight away, or a drive in a day? Is there separation when connection is as simple as a message, a call, or FaceTime? What is the separation when the difference is measured in split seconds?

The heart will guide where the mind cannot see. And so the man made the move. Both baggage and cartage. A relocation of nine hundred miles to be with the woman he loved, loves still, and to know happiness. He learned that nine hundred miles is actually eighteen hundred miles, for the heart must always return. He has traveled that distance many times over the years, so that he could know the two sides of happiness. So it is, and will always be, for crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.

This is my response to Prosery: Finding Your Way, the prompt from Merril at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. With Prosery, the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction with a 144-word limit. Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. For this prompt, the line to be included is from “Map to the Next World,by Jo Harjo.

“Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end”
                                                                                                    – Jo Harjo

I’ve met the additional challenge of hitting the 144-word mark, exactly.

July will be nine years since I moved from New York to be with Bonnie. We were married three years ago, but there have been many trips back to Buffalo to visit family.

The Gift of Miles


The Gift of Miles

Each a reward
Closer to those I love
Nearer to all that I miss
A toddler’s laugh
A newborn’s downy caress
An infectious smile
Bonds that remain unbroken

A gorgeous whitewater free fall
Of cascading emotions
Joy in waves that embrace
The blue overhead
Sky, water, and souls
In a shared presence
Always welcome
A warm embrace on my return

I left home on November 1st (after casting an absentee ballot) (and after testing negative for COVID-19) for the 900 mile drive from Missouri to New York, so that I could see my new granddaughter, who was born on November 18th. A stop in Cleveland allowed me to see my granddaughter there, and a second COVID-19 test in New York allowed me to visit free from quarantine. In addition to seeing family, I made sure to visit some of my favorite sights around western New York, including the Niagara River and Lakes Erie & Ontario. Of course, the drive home allowed me to see my granddaughter in Cleveland once again, and I arrived home 23 days after my original departure, having driven 2400 total miles.

Shared with Open Link #279 – LIVE Edition at dVerse ~ Poets Pub

On the Road Again, Finally

On the Road Again, Finally

I’ll be away for the next three weeks, so I thought I’d get in one more chance to take photos of fall colors. On Saturday, I went for a drive to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, which is 60 miles south of my home in Missouri. It’s located on Lake of the Ozarks and is known for its limestone bluffs and karst formations, as well as for the fire-ravaged mansion known as “The Castle.” I’ve posted other photo blogs of its fall colors in the past, including this one.

It was a mostly sunny day when I left home. By the time I reached the lake, scattered clouds became mostly cloudy as the day went on. The temperatures were in the mid-60s so it was comfortable walking weather. I didn’t do any trail hiking, but I walked about 1 ¾ miles by following the paved and graveled paths. While some trees were bare, many were colorful and the oaks and hickories were getting ready to change.

As I said, I’ll be gone for a few weeks. I left yesterday, Sunday, and drove 700 miles to my son’s home in Cleveland. I’ll stay here for a few days before moving on to Buffalo to stay with my son. Of course, I’ve spent some time (the first visit in eleven months) with my granddaughter, who will be two years old in a couple of weeks, and I’ll see her again on the return trip.

I thought I’d need to stay here for fourteen days, so that I’d be cleared to enter New York State, but NY’s travel restrictions changed while I was driving to Ohio. Now the requirement for all out-of-state travelers is a negative COVID test within three days prior to entering NY, followed by a three-day quarantine in NY, followed by a COVID test in NY.

Coincidentally, I tested in Missouri and received a “negative” notification Sunday morning. Since test results can take up to a week, I’ll drive to NY on Wednesday (within the three -day window),  then test on Saturday. I should have my “negative” result by the following Saturday, just in time for me to see my daughter for the first time in eleven months, just before her baby is born. Since she has type 1 diabetes, her doctors want to induce labor two weeks early to avoid complications. So, she has a “tentative date” of November 17 for her first child, and if everything works out I’ll get to meet my new granddaughter.

My online presence has been erratic the past few months, but for the next three weeks it could be sporadic. I know I’ll have down time while family is busy at work and I’m technically “in quarantine,” so we’ll see how that works out. I have poetry to catch up on, as well as comments on my own poetry to catch up with, so I’ll do what I can. I’ve looked forward to this visit for a while, and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

take new direction
changing leaves

Here are some of those photos from Saturday.
(Click any image for a larger view in a new tab.)






Full Moon Comfort ~ haibun

Full Moon Comfort

Since moving to Missouri, I’ve made many trips back to Buffalo to visit my family, probably as many as twenty in the first seven-and-a-half years. Three of those trips were by air, but the rest have been by car. The trip is only nine hundred miles, one-way, a distance easily covered in a day, and I don’t mind the drive. Driving also makes it easier to make a stop near Cleveland to visit my son and his family.

Bonnie still works, but I’m retired, so I have a lot more flexibility when it comes to travel time. It’s always nice to have company on the drive, but I don’t mind driving solo. I can cover the total distance in daylight, except when winter brings darkness in the early morning and evening hours. There have been a few times when I’ve had the moon for a companion.

With travel restrictions due to the pandemic, I haven’t made that trip since December. I’ve missed opportunities to see my granddaughter in Cleveland, who will be two years old in November. I’ve not seen my daughter since before she learned she is expecting her first child in November, and I don’t know when I will be able to hold her daughter. I’d say it’s down to once in a Blue moon, but even those seem more frequent.

thoughts of family
in search of consolation
full moon appears twice

This is my response to Haibun Monday 9/28/20: to the Moon!,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image: Harvest Moon, 29 September 2012

Unknown Horizon ~ quadrille

Unknown Horizon

I once thought it was the separation
of distance that magnifies
this richness I find in family.
Now I understand it is age,
with reflections on the past
replaced by a wistfulness
for future lives I will never know,
as they continue without me.

This is my response for Quadrille #80 – Eat the Rich, the prompt from Kim at dVerse, which is to use the word rich in a 44-word poem that does not require meter or rhyme.

A Family Grows ~ haibun

A Family Grows

Distance. Family. A 700 mile drive, and balance is achieved. Fair weather may be followed by three days of storms, but balance will not be diminished. Rain or shine, my grandson’s wedding will be a day of celebration. Not even Sunday’s drive home can change that.

a family grows
two hearts look to their future
journey together


Distance Is Not a Factor ~ haibun

Distance Is Not a Factor

This morning finds me on a solitary journey, as my wife stays behind for work, driving on a ten-hour jaunt to visit my son and his family in Cleveland, where I shall hold for the first time my lovely granddaughter, now four weeks old. My drive continues the next morning, Thursday, taking me to Buffalo for holiday visits with both my son and daughter, interspersed with visits to sisters and friends.

Maxing out the time of that stay takes me to Sunday morning and a very, very long drive home, as I avoid driving on New Years Eve day, weather permitting. Indianapolis is a seven-hour drive and offers a layover if weather becomes a factor, leaving just six hours for an early drive home, the next day – hopefully early enough to avoid the serious drinkers on New Years Eve.

Odd breaks may offer a chance to read random posts by my friends on WordPress, but I anticipate a lot of catching up, once I am home.

for the holidays
distance is not a factor
when words aren’t enough

This graphic from weather.com shows the weather system over the States, as it is expected to develop, west to east, this week. My route (the red line) will be through rain, with snow expected in New York, once I arrive. The stretch from Cleveland to Buffalo runs parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline and is known for its “lake effect” winter storms. I’ve had my share of storms along that route. Hopefully, they will have passed before my drive home on Sunday.

Cherished Voices ~ haibun

Cherished Voices.jpg

Cherished Voices

Silently, yet so full of stories, the plastic box sits on a closet shelf, patiently waiting for me. I lift it carefully and place it on a side table in the bedroom. Just the motion of lifting it seems to wake something. Perhaps it’s the light reaching the contents through the translucent sides, but the box seems to take on life, like a faint buzz passing through the sides and into my hands.

I unlatch the lid and raise it to look upon faces I’ve known through my life: parents, grandparents, sisters, cousins and children. I realize the buzzing has become a murmur of voices, each of the many photographs inside whispering a narrative about events, as well as emotions. I move them around, sift through them as I listen to their tales, stopping at the one picture that always seems to draw me into its very depths.

All are relative to my life, but this one stands out from all the others, going back to my very own beginnings. I hold a photo of my parents standing on my grandparents lawn on their wedding day. In a photograph that was black and white until painted in watercolor by a dear friend of theirs, it seems as though he was drawing the joy on their faces into the world around them. Every time I look at this, I recall the wonderful home they gave me and I hear their voices once more.

in the joy of youth
sealing their love with a vow
bond of a lifetime

For Haibun Monday: Murmuration at dVerse,
qbit/Randall asks us to consider a single element of a greater whole, telling how it stands as a part of the group, yet apart from it.