Free Form Thoughts About Champion

via Daily Prompt: Champion



Perusing musings




Don’tings, Do-zings



Doping, Coping, Hoping

Goals. Tolls, Roles

Training, Gaining


More musing

Off and on


Thrice achoozing

Pollen’s amusing

Many thoughts

Ink Blot


Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

A Prudent Ride on the Tail of the Dragon

via Daily Prompt: Prudent

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

— Hunter S. Thompson

At the North Carolina end of the Tail of the Dragon stands the Tree of Shame, a tribute of sorts to the bikers who have been bested by the beast. The Dragon: a stretch of US Highway 129 with 318 curves in 11 miles, running from Tabcat Bridge in Tennessee to Deals Gap, NC. The Tree: adorned with fragments of bikes that missed one of those curves, a fender here, a shard of windshield there, poignant words about bikers who sustained more damage than their bikes.

This photo of Tail of the Dragon is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Is it wise to ride The Dragon? It is not really as scary as as The Tree might have you believe. It merely likes to taunt. I won’t let it dissuade me. The better question is “Can I not ride The Dragon?” The sensation of going into a curve on a motorcycle is unique. It can’t be had in a car. And with its 318 curves, The Dragon periodically beckons me to come glide down its twisting form. tandv And I heed its call. Plus, I guess I’d be described as a prudent rider. No aspirations to break the 9-minute one way record. Not going to literally “skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke” as I ride it. And certainly no interest in adding parts of my beloved S 50 to the tree. Just a steady push to the comfortable edge…oooh those curves!

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

What Would You Do?

via Daily Prompt: Later

Several years ago I stumbled on a way to express what many of us on the far side of middle age know intimately; time is as precious as it is relentless, ever striding forward whether we choose to keep up or not. I called it the 30-30 principle. None of us knows whether we have 30 seconds or 30 years left to live. So, how shall we spend our time? What really matters? As is obvious from the absence of a written record in the interim, writing about the idea was not on the list. I thought about it, but put it off for later. Well, later is here. Gotta love these prompts!

What if I knew I had only 30 seconds? What then? Living alone there is no time for one last comforting hug in the arms of a lover. Maybe a frantic group text to my kids, “I love you. Carry on, Dad.” And what about 30 minutes? Some phone calls to family, friends and former lovers? A quick drive to a close friend’s house for that hug? Though that small Dutch Apple pie on my counter is calling out for attention too ;-). 30 days would be a lifetime, plenty of time to travel to see old friends, with some left over for quiet time at an outdoor café in Paris. So, why am I not doing any of these things right now? I can blame it on the realities of still working for a living, or generalized inertia. Still, it’s worth a thought.

And you, my newfound family of bloggers. What about you? What would you do? If so inclined, please reply to this post with what you would do with a time interval of your own choosing. It need not even be within the bounds of the 30-30 principle. But, please, share.

(Not sure how all this pingback stuff works, but do that too if so moved.)

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

Provisional Territory

via Daily Prompt: Territory

We laugh in unison as the door to the Bunk Room swings open, revealing the roughly 8 x 10 foot room that is to be our quarters for the night. bunk roomFour travelers – two couples – eight eyes scanning the two sets of bunk beds on either side of the room, delineating  the walk-in-closet-sized space that remains between them.

I enter last but glide to the bunks on the left, skirting my partner to toss my black bomber jacket onto the top bed, provisionally claiming that territory as my own. I also secure a spot for my backpack under the only other furniture in the room, a low bench made of a bisected tree trunk with smaller branches for legs. Not much territory, but it is mine. The others also mark their spots, with a sweatshirt here, a backpack there. We left our suitcases in the car just to check in, but now understand the prescient wisdom of that choice. We will get by with bringing in just PJs and a change of socks.

There is no real tension as we collectively agree, implicitly, on our separate territories. We have shared small spaces this whole trip, having driven the hundreds of miles from Anchorage to Whittier and Seward and back, then North to Talkeetna in our tiny rental hatchback. Our Bunk Room at the Talkeetna Roadhouse is just a continuation of that intimacy of space. We smile at one another as our mutual division of the territory proceeds.

talkeetna roadhouseLater, the others walk to the Talkeetna River, but I opt for a draft beer at the Wildflower Café across the street. As that elixir reaches my lips in the graying light of evening I realize my good fortune. Life is good.

When my companions rejoin me, we remark on the odd juxtaposition of our tiny quarters in the vast expanse that is Alaska.

I sleep soundly, hugging my special anti-snore pillow to my chest, comforted by the soft rustlings of friends, and surrounded by hundreds of pictures and postcards from other travelers who have called this bunk room home for a night or two.

In the morning we have coffee and fresh baked pie before setting out to witness the wonders of Denali, hoping to see a bear or caribou or at least the wide open enormity of that wilderness.

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

Varieties of Dense

via Photo Challenge: Dense

Responding to the Weekly Photo Challenge, “Dense” with Different Senses of Dense

Sunflowers at Georgeson Botanical Garden, Fairbanks, AK                                                                       iphone6 457

Crowds awaiting a parade in New Orleans, LA

iphone se 3-22-17 047

A density of lights in Guatemala City, Guatemala

iphone 2-11-17 392

Nightmare traffic all day long in Guatemala City, Guatemala

iphone 2-11-17 360

Copyright ©  Thomas Ward 2017

A Past-due Purple Post

via Daily Prompt: Purple

Violets (I think) in my backyard after a morning shower…

A continuation of an earlier post. Still exploring the limits of my iPhone using the camera+ app for macro lens simulation with no special attachment. Focusing precisely still a challenge with the smallish SE screen, but not bad for just a phone, I think.

Since it is a writing prompt

Roses are red. These Violets aren’t blue. Here they are anyway, first one, then two 😉

violets modified 012

Better in pairs…

dual violets 009

Copyright ©  Thomas Ward 2017




How Do You Want Your Eggs?

via Daily Prompt: Symbiosis

“…this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, ‘Doc, my brother’s crazy; he thinks he’s a chicken.’ And the doctor says, ‘Well, why don’t you turn him in?’ The guy says “I would, but I need the eggs.”

Alvy “Max” Singer (Woody Allen), in Annie Hall

“I’ll have the All-American Slam,” I said, not yet looking up, distracted by some newspaper headline I’ve long since forgotten. “How do you want your eggs?” she asked, the lilt of her voice compelling me to meet her eyes — sea green pools, inviting, the kind that should come with a warning sign “Dangerous Currents. Swim at your risk.” In the fraction of a second that followed I dreamed a complete future of intense love making and long lazy afternoons working crossword puzzles together. “Over,” pause, “easy” I managed, eyes locked to hers, searching for a sign, for anything beyond a simple breakfast-ordering exchange. Her smile that followed gave it, along with the rope pulling me into those seductive pools.

The next morning I woke before she did, and made us breakfast, scrambled eggs and toast. As I brought the plate to the bedroom, her eyes, just opening in the faint morning light were calm, the storm of last night’s love-making a comfortable memory. “This is how I want my eggs,” I whispered, “In bed, next to you. Always” The eggs were forgotten, cooling as the storm rose yet again.

In the days that followed, we rarely left my apartment, venturing out only to forage for provisions to sustain us. But as raging fires sometimes do, it burned itself out, and we realized in the embers that a sustaining emotional bond was not going to grow to replace the waning physical need. We parted friends but have lost contact over the years.

Alvy Singer goes on to explain that the egg joke captures how he feels about relationships, “They’re totally irrational…but, I guess we keep going through it because, most of us need the eggs.”

Realism? Cynicism? Symbiosis.

I guess we do need the eggs, but different kinds at different phases of life.

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

Meaning and the Value of a Noun

via Daily Prompt: Meaningless

Between the exuberance of seeking meaning in all things and the despair of finding it in none, I try to find the meaning of meaningless. It’s hard to think about on its own. As an adjective, it wants something. I need a noun to tie it down.

Meaningless existence is too grim to contemplate and meaningless job is close behind. So I use my random noun generator (seriously) to find a fit. Several nouns pop up but don’t really move me. Habit is the first one to catch my attention. We all have meaningless habits, so ingrained we are unaware, else we’d change them. Next is umbrella. Meaningless umbrella makes me laugh. Images of water dripping from me, forming puddles on my covered porch, totally drenched after the downpour, then going inside to the rack where I conveniently left my umbrella earlier today. Then meaningless twin, wondering if I had a twin, which of us would be the meaningless one.

I find the meaning of meaningless in how it binds with different nouns. Some others I found intriguing I’ll leave to your own interpretation. Perhaps they contain stories as yet unwritten for someone to exploit: meaningless hat, meaningless consent, meaningless fertility, meaningless majesty, meaningless mortality, meaningless anniversary. If this post sparks imagination it will have meaning. If not…then it is a meaningless post.

Well, at least the background is green.

via Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green!

Having fun with my iPhone SE. The camera+ app lets you do fun things including Macro.

The clover featured above is one example. Here’s another:


Just for grins, here’s the same flower in normal mode:


Still working on focus and image crispness, but making progress:


Here’s a great site for more tips about using your iPhone creatively.

Here’s a great book, Art with an iPhone, by Kat Sloma that can help you get the most out of your phone.

And here are just some general thoughts about Photography as Creative Expression.

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017

Cold Tea

via Daily Prompt: Immerse

I hit the send button and my manuscript is off to the editor. I glance to the lower right of the screen. 3:17 AM. Hmm. Finished. I hope he likes it. Oh well. I’m done for now.

Reflexively I tilt my head to the side, twisting the back of it forward and down at an angle toward my shoulder, hearing — no feeling — the subtle crunch of vertebrae — like cracking knuckles, but much more satisfying.

Only now, in this quiet moment, the clicking of the keys a faint memory…the deep abysmal silence of my own mind. The pressure in my temples. Could I not have felt that pressure before? An odd inward force, like my entire head has just now given up its role as a distraction sentry — keeping my eyes on the screen, my fingers on the keys, keeping all else at bay. I am still trapped inside my own mind. Conversation an impossibility as my head still clenches to not let go of its singular duty to maintain focus

Panic — no, milder — unreasoned concern — did I include that last reference, did I check the headings or just the text? Like having driven on a long roadtrip, arriving at my destination with only faint glimpses of memory of how I got there. Not going to check.

It’s good enough, for now. I’ll check in the morning. Right now I’m tired — and something else — my hands are freezing, I’m shivering almost uncontrollably. It feels sudden, but must have been building. How could I not have noticed? Tea — that’s it — I need tea — soothing warmth.

I stand and my knees complain, “how could you have kept us bent like that the whole time?” Sorry. Dropping the chamomile bag into the cup, draping the thin thread over the side, filling it with water from the filtered refrigerator spout. Walking, still stiff,to the microwave. I press the button, opening the door — and laugh. Another cup, oversteeped, cold, like me. No idea how it got there, but I must have gotten up sometime earlier in the writing siege. Don’t remember. I guess I was immersed.

Copyright  © Thomas Ward 2017