RIGHT THERE, a lockdown flash fiction piece


Fine, true, it was in a cemetery. What can I say? Not that I would post that, maybe, or tweet the fact, but yes, I own it.

Hey, it’s a different world now, right? And when we Liked each other’s comments on a Local Music page, then ran across each other again in a Green New Deal thread, then became Friends, it wasn’t long before we wanted to see each other in flesh and blood.

No restaurants. None of the parks opened up again yet. Not a single bar. So I took a chance. I don’t mean a COVID-era screw-social-distancing chance; more like a he-may-never-reply-to-this chance.

In these long slow times, I had been pondering exactly that—time. It was like I now, finally, had learned how to inhabit the present: hearing birdsong, studying a fallen pine cone, gingerly planting seeds.

But wait, behind the immediate, there would rise every so often a swift breeze from the future, tipping me into conjecture and confusion and hope, asking me to set questions against trust, and measure mission by the rule of belief. An impossible place. Just give me straight apple blossoms; give me the winging gull.

Later, with dark perhaps, might come a different sort of wind. The past, of course, whistling half the night to have me remembering childhood, pondering my parents, dreaming layer by layer into further generations; tumbling back.

Which is how I came up with the cemetery for our meeting place. I wanted to scatter rose petals and purple irises across my brother’s grave. I wanted to sit silent, to watch, to hear small bees in the California lilac above it.

I needed to cover it all—bring past, hold present, have faith in future—as I met him first time amidst fading gravestones, under ancient oaks, eyes following together the tumbled clouds.

“Wonder if one of the mausoleums is open…” he grinned.

I punched his arm. We didn’t need to be anywhere but right there.

We had time.


We commemorate the end, 100 years ago today, of a war. We weren’t there, but still we can feel the relief, the weight finally lifted, the peace that is so necessary to our souls.

Breathing deep, shifting our eyes forward, today we too need to serve―not cross an ocean and fight an enemy, but to fight, right here, in our own homes and hearts, the greater enemy of unsustainable habits that are marching us toward the most terrible of possible wars, over food and water and a square foot of safe land.

Fight our self-centred thoughts and unthinking actions; our insistence that everything’s okay because so it seems to be for ourselves; our knee-jerk wish for always more; our belief that we are entitled to what we have, and others not so much; our unwillingness to look at what we are doing to the world, the creatures upon it, our children and each other; our lack of will to make the biggest or even the smallest change; our turning, again, a blind eye; our unadmitted greed, which sets the stage for Nothing for Anyone; our refusal to really care…

History says that we must care. Caring, to be real, must take shape in hope and in action.

Today, please, 100 years out, take a first fighting action to help spare us all from a future worse than any war.

Need action ideas? Please ask.