Every afternoon, as I walked to work, I saw the old woman sitting on the park bench, feeding pigeons. Then, one day, she wasn’t. I stopped, startled.

Questions: Where was she? Was she sick? Dead?

Who was she? Perhaps a renowned scientist, a poet, a successful businesswoman. Was she a beloved grandmother? Mother? Sister?

The question that truly burned: Why could I notice her in her absence when I couldn’t take the time to notice her when present? Why didn’t I smile, say hello?

Regret filled me. I should have stopped. What memories did I miss by ignoring her?

(my response to the 99-word challenge to write about a park bench)

#Regret #MissedOpportunity #Meditation #Fiction #99WordChallenge #MargaretGHanna #BWLAuthor

After the Storm

You were always fascinated with storms. Even as a toddler, you were never afraid of lightning and thunder. It wasn’t enough just to watch from the safety of the house. You wanted to feel the rumble in your very bones, to breath the rain into your soul. After the storm, you stood in awe at the sight of the rainbow. A gift from the storm, you called it.

Then came the day of the hail. You watched in horror as it pounded everything into the ground. You cried when you saw the leaves stripped off your favourite tree, the tree that had been your friend since, well, since forever.

The first time you were “lost” I searched for you everywhere and finally found you asleep in its shade, curled up against its trunk. You loved that tree. You climbed it, hugged it, counted birds’ nests, sighed as leaves fell in autumn, rejoiced as new leaves sprang forth in springtime.

After the hail storm – THAT hail storm – you panicked every time dark clouds loomed. You worried and fretted, cried and hid your face, prayed that this time your friend the tree would be spared. I had to remind you that the tree had survived that storm, that it regrew leaves, that it continued to flourish and grow and provide the shade and friendship that you so loved.

You’re a young woman now, weathering a storm of your own. As you look out at the tree, you know these storm clouds will pass; that, like your tree, you will survive and flourish, you will provide shade and comfort and friendship to those whom you love, to those you love you in return. You only have to wait.

The gift of the rainbow is coming.

(inspired by “After the Storm,” painting by Loreen Feser, Airdrie artist and participant in Voice and Vision 2019)

#Resilience #Hope #Faith #Courage #VoiceAndVision #MargaretGHanna #BWLAuthor


The hutch stands in the far corner of the shed. Dusty, bedecked with cobwebs, hardware missing, doors hanging askew, it is a battered shadow of its former glory. No prized china sits proudly on its shelves, only last year’s sparrow’s nest. Paint cans and oil filters sit where carefully pressed linens were once stored.

I run my hand over the gouges that scar the counter, among them a crudely carved heart enclosing the initials: DL + BR. My fingers stop at the heart, linger there for a moment.

Who were DL and BR? Were they high school sweethearts who married? Or was it only a summer romance? Does it matter? What matters is that, for one moment, they were caught up in a passion that inspired them to leave this everlasting declaration of love.

I trace my finger around the heart and sigh. I envy them. There is no such moment in my life. I am empty.

(inspired by a word challenge to write about a hutch)

#Loneliness #Romance #Love #Longing #Regret #Fiction #MargaretGHanna #BWLAuthor