Monday, September 5, 2011

That Ol' River - Magpie Tale




The river took the shed we built, and with it hours of sweaty labor and talk in the shimmering delta heat.  She gave back Tom Holloer's truck and a couple feet of stinking blackstrap-thick mud.

You can smell the river all year 'round; can't describe it but you know it.  It's the blood of the land, sometimes flowing like it should, occasionally rising up and busting through it's walls and then you might just die.  But you can't live without it, now can you? 

People say why dontcha just move, goin' through this every ten years or so, stubborn is what y'all are but they talk outta both sides of their mouths. They call us the salt of the earth and they line up at fancy restaurants to eat what we catch and what we grow.  We take life from the ground that the river built;  sometimes she takes it back.

Everything in this world costs something.  Some people won't want to pay anymore, and they'll head off somewhere else, maybe to the city where there's other kinds of rivers just as mean and just as dangerous and a helluva lot more unpredictable.

This is what I know, and I'll stick here just as hard and fast as that old truck, at least until I die and my blood mixes with that ol' river one last time.
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This is a Magpie Tale  for photo prompt #81

26 comments:

  1. this is a beautiful write...and the question is one often asked of impoverished areas as well...why not just move but...nice touch on joining the river there in the end...

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  2. Great story, Li, down-to-earth and very well-written.

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  3. Nice response to the prompt, Li - very believable.

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  4. A well thought-out, beautifully expressed take on the prompt.

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  5. "It's the blood of the land, sometimes flowing like it should, occasionally rising up and busting through it's walls and then you might just die." Now there's a great opening line to an even longer tale...

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  6. I love this! I could smell the river, feel it's presence. Understand the ties.

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  7. Excellently written and a pleasure to read.

    Yvonne.

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  8. I understand flooding and you captured the truth of it well. There is always a risk, but it comes with a gain.

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  9. This is amazing piece...
    Wherever we go we have to face challenges,so why not face them here!
    Wise words!

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  10. Gosh Li. Prompts like this make me want to start writing but I really cannot justify the time. I have to focus on two sets of studies!!! Still, I might still make an effort for your three things challenge.

    This post was so good! So tell me, is it fiction??? I absolutely believed it!!

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  11. Excellent piece full of the proud stubbornness of a man of the soil.

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  12. Just really amazing voice you used. You always astound me with how much you put into short pieces.
    I really think you should think, at some point, of doing the ebook thing too, collecting the best of your pieces. I know, one more thing to do. ;)

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  13. The attitude of this character sounds like that of the people here who live close to the river. When the hurricanes come and the river is in spate their houses get washed away.

    Liked these lines...You can smell the river all year 'round; can't describe it but you know it. It's the blood of the land, sometimes flowing like it should,...

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  14. Absolutely awesome Li! Reminds me of life along the Miami River. Your stories are so descriptive I can feel right there again.

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  15. Hi Li - this piece rang so true. As a kid our childhood home was surrounded on 3 sides by rivers, and yes they flooded, but we wouldn't have been the same people without them.
    Lovely read
    Lx

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  16. This is a great flash fiction piece! I love the combination of photo/story. :)

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  17. Wow, that's a great story. I like the idea of there being other kinds of rivers in the city. Great stuff!

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  18. I love it. Made me think of what i really matters to me moving from one country to another and another...

    JJRod'z

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  19. Nicely done. And the image helps bring out the story too. Very Mark Twain-ish.

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  20. A shed for a truck? I think that's a fair trade. An excellent piece, as always. Great job channeling the local farmer. Salt of the earth, that's what they are. And stubborn as all get out. They should move, that's what they should do.

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  21. Love the last line, about blood mixing with the river. Fantastic writing!

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  22. This is some fantastic writing! Love it!

    http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/he-was-a-ford-man-2/

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  23. Very nice. I enjoyed the way you portrayed the "give and take" concept with the river. That was very nicely done.

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