I am very excited to be hosting guest writer Dean K Miller, the fly-fishing poet, on reecedaniel.com today! The two pieces that we've decided to go with for this week's Fresh Story Friday are from his 2014 book And Then I Smiled: Reflections on a Life Not Yet Complete. Check them out and let me know what you think!
Now for the contest:
Prizes will be given out for the first (3) comments left on this post as well as the best (3) comments. One grand-prize package will be given out to the best comment. The first comment prizes are first-come-first-serve (what are you waiting for? Scroll down and comment!) but we'll be accepting entries for the best comment for the rest of the week. Dean and I will decide on a winner next Friday.
We have the following prizes available to choose from:
- (3) copies of And Then I Smiled ...
- (2) copies of Echoes: Reflections Through Poetry and Verse
- (1) copy of Sometimes the Walls Cry: A Book of Haiku and Sketch
In addition to this, one grand-prize winner will receive copies of all three books! Also, everyone who comments is welcome to a free e-book of The Odyssey of a Monk.
Also, don't forget that I will be publishing a story next Thursday (8/11) to celebrate the release of Congratulatinos's new album Don't Fade, which drops on Friday (8/12).
That's all for now.
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The Explorer Returns
Last night’s fog, which shrouded the street lights, had descended to hug the ground. The sand was damp and cold against the soles of my feet. The distant sound of breaking waves, unseen through the brume, cast an ominous mood. Undaunted, I proceeded toward the ocean. Looking behind me, the hotel was obscured, swallowed by the gray moisture. Moving nearer the salty surf, my footsteps exposed dry sand hidden under the wet, thin-crusted, top layer. I walked into the enveloping mist, welcoming the solitude and grateful to be heading home.
Dressed in only shorts and a t-shirt, the cool morning breeze met little resistance. A chilled shiver coursed up my spine. Droplets of moisture collected on the hairs of my arms. The constant crashing of waves grew louder. The scent of oceanic decay filled the heavy air. With a final check from where I’d come, I saw the sun’s deep, muzzled glow, its heat unable to penetrate the gray. Continuing on, I reached the hard-packed sand, remnant of the receding tide. My feet sensed another drop in temperature. The sea drew me nearer.
And then I saw her. My pace quickened; the first shallow rush of water, chilled from unfathomable depths, covered my toes. I spiraled back in time, memories washing through me as quickly as the wave receded and then another took its place. The frigid liquid wrapped around my shins as I waded deeper. It released its grip and proceeded inland. The brief meeting of old friends complete, we both had more to do. We would meet again.
With gentle relentlessness the waves continued to oppose my direction of travel. The cry of a lone gull, unseen in the thickening fog, signaled a warning; I had ventured far enough. Foaming waves crashed mid-thigh. The morning sky, a pale blue along the horizon, became visible through a small portal in the fog. I looked into forever and the vastness of beyond, seeing every possibility of life. I understood what the sailors of yore had felt and possessed the knowledge of their ship’s captains: Another world was out there, waiting to be discovered.
A second cry from the gull signaled my time to return. I retreated from the sea, taking with me its lessons. Each passing wave guided me inland and then returned to its source, accepting its journey as complete and welcoming its new direction.
I reached the hard-packed sand, a traveler from a distant time and yet, from not so long ago, and discovered a new world inside of me.
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The Senses of Life
It is grey though not necessarily dark. Foreboding may be more correct. Being right isn’t the concern now. It is the situation. I’ve traveled here on a road where the toll was paid by decades of choices. There is a smothering feel around me. The darkness is coming, like cascading roll clouds over a mountain top, billowing leeward to windward. I know it is coming. I am powerless to stop it. I’m not sure I even care.
I am alive, because I see it.
There is no need to worry, for light always follows the dark, unless it doesn’t. At which point there is no worry, because darkness will rule the landscape. I’m sure it’s inside me. But outwardly I feel its clutches. There is no need to scream, for it would be silent. Sound is energy and there is no energy here; except for a laughter that is foul, evil and very real; if I were to believe.
I am alive, because I hear it.
A small flame refuses to be extinguished. It flickers in the soft breeze, casting shadows that grow larger than life as it consumes itself and gains strength. Smoke rises from the valley floor. Creatures flee unsure of what is happening, but know now is the time to run---or die. The earth is barren. Burning hides litter the blackened landscape.
I am alive, because I smell it.
The season has changed. I saw it coming and still was taken by surprise. The dry, fallen leaves with their caramel-corn crunch signal life has expired. It is not meaningless, it is just---gone. The crisp, vacant air is stirred by the whirling of dead leaves in the autumn wind. Why must they rattle so? Don’t they know their time has come…and passed?
I am alive, because I feel it.
And now, the turning of a key, the passing of a friend, and a voice in the darkness offers hope. Moonlight pierces the clouds; their grip on the night broken and they recede in fear. The wisp of a memory stirs a beating in my heart. Life courses through my veins. It seems an awakening is on the horizon. Or is it? I bite my tongue and blood oozes into my mouth.
I am alive, because I taste it.
Yes, I am alive.
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Dean K Miller is a freelance writer, author, editor, poet, and publisher. With five titles to his credit, his singular works have appeared in several anthologies and over three dozen publications in print and online. He is the creator of The Haiku For You Project and has his own micro-publishing house, MDK, Inc.
For 28 years, Miller kept the skies safe as an air traffic controller and is currently a training support specialist for the FAA. In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing, hiking, and still water kayaking. He is a co-founder and volunteer for the veteran's support group Platte Rivers Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. He lives in Loveland, Colorado with his wife and their two dogs.
Pinterest: Dean K Miller (though not too active here)