Tag Archives: story

Photo op -1

For those few awesome folks who have seen my other Photo op posts, I say thank you very much for your interest. I will also explain why this particular Photo op is named so peculiarly and why there’s no actual photo in it.

Anyone who knows me knows of my affinity for taking pictures of birds of prey, especially Bald Eagles. I have been fortunate enough to live close to where a few Bald Eagles are occasionally seen. I have been able to capture a few in photos, but the opportunities are few and far between. Most times my success or failure has hinged on having a camera with me and some spare time to go get the shot.

On this particular day, which we will call ‘yesterday’, I was driving through the area they are sometimes seen. I had mentioned to my wife a few minutes previously that I had forgotten to bring my camera, but we were in a hurry and I didn’t feel the need to go home and get it.

This was a decision I would soon regret.

As I drove, I noticed a deer carcass on the side of the road and two large birds ‘tending’ to it. My first assumption was that they were carrion, most likely turkey buzzards that also frequent the area in which I live. As I approached, I realized, much to my chagrin, that they were Bald Eagles and I was about to drive within ten feet of them.

My eyes grew wide with shock as I flashed back to my camera sitting on the table at home.

When I was about fifty feet away, one of the Eagles took off and flew directly in front of our van, which also would’ve provided me with an excellent close-up photo. It flew in front of us for around thirty yards, which would’ve been time to get plenty of great shots. As time slowed, each flap of its majestic wings became a torment to me. I couldn’t even enjoy the spectacle because of the enormous weight of disappointment. Then it suddenly veered off as if to say, ‘You had your chance, too bad you didn’t bring your camera’.

To say that I was greatly disappointed would be an understatement.

This ranks as the number one greatest picture I never took.

I have had several more instances that I may share as time goes on, but this one was still fresh in my mind.

In any case, happy new year. Wishing you all success in the coming year.

Mike.

The Journey: Chapter 1

9-23-13 506copyExcerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection

 

Billows of steam rose from the iron giant like breath from the nostrils of a war horse, chomping at the bit on a cold battlefield. The steam encompassed the great beast in a surreal mist, as though protecting it from the ravages of time. The station was deserted as if no one wanted to approach the beast for fear it would rouse in wrath. Slowly a shadow formed. At first, they seem bonded, mist and shadow. Then the darkness drifted closer and coalesced into the shape of a man. A trick of the light, I never knew, but he seemed to be wearing a hooded cloak, dark as midnight. As he drew near, I saw it was merely a hat and uniform.

He walked slowly, gazing at this great mechanized monster as lovingly as a rider checks his faithful steed before a long journey. His gaze seemed to pierce even metal, looking for any blemish, any imperfection. This slow, methodical inspection continued over the length of the train’s passenger, dining, and sleeper cars, ending where it began, at the engine. He mounted the steps, heading for the control room. The dials and instruments were subjected to his scrutiny. Finally, his gaze settled on the fire box. His eyes seem to glow as the intense heat turned his sunken cheeks from white to orange. His normally impassive face gave way to the slightest of grins.

The conductor greeted the passengers as they arrived, helped them aboard until all were accounted for … save one.
The whistle sounded its final warning.
The iron behemoth belched smoke as it muscled its load away from the station.
The journey had begun …

The train moved steadily down the tracks. Its swaying and clickety-clack sound had lulled many a passenger to sleep, but not the conductor. He sat in a comfortable chair, eyes closed, but not asleep. To look at him, you would not know how he did his job at all. To call him ancient would be an understatement. His steel gray hair, thin white face, and emaciated body made him look as though he belonged in a pine box rather than collecting tolls on a train that was nearly a quarter mile long. Suddenly, his eyes snapped open and stared at the antique wall clock, just as it struck midnight. He rose quickly, put on his conductor’s cap, and left the room.

The conductor stepped through the door into the passenger car. It was richly decorated with beautiful dark red carpet, which perfectly offset the golden fringes and accents of the room. The seats were designed in classic style, two seats faced each other, with a small table in between. Outside, darkness had fallen like a blanket, covering the countryside in its embrace. Most of the passengers quickly grew tired of staring out into the inky black abyss. Conversations had been consummated between strangers and had given birth to stories, lovingly shared. The conductor silently glided up behind the first passenger and paused as the man began to weave a tale …

 

This story continues in The Journey: Chapter 2