He Stands Waiting

9 Apr

A 100 word meditation on migration for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below from Jennifer Pendergast.

(And an extra twenty-three words as a reminder that though we are not often aware of it, the Universe and all creatures that inhabit it are subject to laws laid down to ancient rhythms at the dawn of time.)  [Do not read if you are prone to information sickness or anything that unnecessarily pushes  the hundred word envelope.]



(Copyright Jennifer Pendergast)


The arc of the sun sweeps ever lower across the sky and each day grows shorter and colder as the light fades by degrees. At length a deep and insistent voice intones a command that resonates through earth and steel and tiny bones and into the hot-blooded heart of a lone scissor-tailed-flycatcher. It warns of bitter winds, long dark nights and killer frosts to come.


Until the sun is high in the sky again above green forests and halcyon days are suffused with warm radiance.


It cannot be ignored.


Gather your strength. Spread your wings.

Take flight.





Though the mills of God grind slowly;

Yet they grind exceedingly small;

Though with patience He stands waiting,

With exactness grinds He all.

       (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

40 Responses to “He Stands Waiting”

  1. Sandra April 9, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    You’re late, young man. But well worth every minute of the wait. A beautiful piece. What else can I say? It captures those overwhelming moments when you watch them milling around for hours before forming that perfect arrowhead to leave us for another winter. And you can only stand in awe of their collective inspiration and determination. Wonderful!

  2. elmowrites April 9, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    Beautiful, Doug, and very true. I love that Longfellow quote – and you have more than earned 23 extra words of my time!
    I’m only sorry that my camera (and the photgrapher) couldn’t pick your little friend out with a little more definition.

  3. Caerlynn Nash April 9, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    You are flying high with this one. Nice!

  4. Nan Falkner April 9, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    Dear Doug – This is a soaring success! I love it! Nan

  5. Craig Towsley April 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    That was a helluva second sentence, Doug. It moved like a train picking up speed.

  6. Liz Young April 9, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    That made me want to spread my own wings and fly to escape the cold. Beautiful. And your eyesidght is better than mine, to have picked that small blurred bird from the photo!

  7. lingeringvisions by Dawn April 9, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    Very poetic. I felt my heart soar.

  8. singleworkingmomswm April 9, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

    Like a song, this story flowed. Lovely. Every week I read there’s something that prompts me to look further and learn. Scissor-tailed flycatcher…what a stunning bird, and one I would not see here on the Central Coast. So pretty. My grandmother who passed last year at the age of 103 was a bird watcher. When I used to go to Colorado to visit her, I’d look through her Audubon Society books. This reminds me of her. Oh, “halcyon days….suffused with warm radiance”…I feel them already, and I’m enamored with this line! (And, I live by the town Halcyon, which is so fitting of its name.) XOXO-Kasey

  9. helenmidgley April 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    The line “and into the hot-blooded heart of a lone scissor-tailed-flycatcher” was divine 🙂

  10. santoshwriter April 9, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

    What an uplifting story!

  11. Claire Fuller April 9, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    So, so beautiful Doug. Poetic and lovely. Well done!

  12. Jan Brown April 9, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    That is the most sublimely beautiful description of nature’s imperative. I can feel the vibration of his tiny bones in flight. Bravo!

  13. junkersfictioncorner April 9, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

    That was an absolute joy to read. So beautifully written. Really, seriously enjoyed it.

  14. aliciajamtaas April 9, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    Well, everyone else said it all so I will just say, “Thank you for making my day a little brighter with your words.”

  15. MythRider April 9, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    Sometimes, you got to do what you got to do and then fly.
    I like your new Gavatar. I almost didn’t recognize you.


  16. Tracey@WhatsforDinnerDoc.com April 9, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    “Gather your strength, spread your wings.” Words to live by. It’s a hopeful piece. Summer always returns.

  17. rochellewisoff April 9, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    Your hot-blooded-scissor-tailed-flycatcher story reads like poetry. I swear if there had been a tiny leaf stuck to the underside of the car you would have found it and written something wonderful. You-made-my-heart-soar.



  18. Amy Reese April 10, 2015 at 12:15 am #

    It’s all in what you see. My, I did not see the little bird. Oh, I can just its little tiny bones swoop down from there and fly with the wind. This is great, Doug. Well done.

  19. Ellespeth April 10, 2015 at 4:35 am #

    Beautiful writing, Doug.

  20. Suzanne Joshi April 10, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    Lovely rather misses the mark with this piece, Doug. It’s above and beyond in description and form. It’s absolutely poetic. We’re truly the caretakers of every other life form. If not us, who would it be? In it’s proper place, everything has a use, even many of the plants we think of as weeds are often medicinal. We’ve forgotten the ancient teachings about such things. It’s been said, “Nature doesn’t need mankind, mankind needs nature.” Well written as always. — Suzanne

  21. draliman April 10, 2015 at 8:01 am #

    Nice, beautiful descriptions. I didn’t even spot the bird!

  22. rgayer55 April 10, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    What a clever bird. Instead of flapping his wings and exerting all that energy, he simply catches a southbound freight. Once the ducks and geese catch on, the railroad will start selling tickets for “prime seating” on top of the cars.

  23. sustainabilitea April 10, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    A glorious paean to the seasons and that urging in birds that causes them to respond. But it could just as well apply to us.


  24. mjlstories April 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    May you find your green forest and may your own halcyon days be suffused with radiance.

  25. plaridel April 10, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

    this is deep. but beautiful. well done.

  26. amiewrites74 April 11, 2015 at 1:45 am #

    This is absolutely beautiful and poetic. I love the line “halcyon days are suffused with warm radiance.”

  27. Margaret Leggatt April 11, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    Wonderful. The tone and pace and imagery of this are just perfect. I love it – powerful thoughts.

  28. adamjasonp April 11, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    Don’t notice the bird. But this is beautiful.

  29. Dee April 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    Dear Doug

    Once again your sharp eye sees something most of us lesser mortals missed completely, proving that we look but mostly don’t ‘see’.

    A lovely flowing poetic piece, that is, for me, just perfect.

    Best wishes


  30. Lynda April 11, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    I never saw that little lump of feather and bone atop the tanker, but I’m glad that you did! That second line was shear genius. An awesome piece.


  31. Amy Reese April 11, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

    Can I send you an email? I have a question related to Hawaii to ask you. Thanks!

  32. subroto April 11, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

    “Gather your strength. Spread your wings.

    Take flight.”
    Beautifully expressed, this was indeed a poetic piece of writing.

  33. Cheryl McCullough April 12, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    Loved this. The writing, so we’ll done I seemed to absorb the words rather than read them. Beautifully done Doug!

  34. The Writer's Village April 12, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    grind on, dear Doug, grind on…
    I say this of your writing, not for the essence of this story (though quite intensely descriptive) hoping that this is not a parable for those who can not hear or see of the days to come….


  35. erinleary April 12, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    You spotted something I completely missed and made it the star. Beautifully done, by the way. I felt the pull toward flight myself.

  36. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) April 13, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    I have to say that the smart bird would hop on the train going south instead of flying.. but so very good of you to catch that bird in the image…

  37. talesfromthemotherland April 14, 2015 at 4:26 am #

    Doug, this is exquisite, and speaks to me in a very profound and personal way right now. “Gather your strength. Spread your wings. Take flight.” That, right there is what I aim to do! Glorious!

  38. Sarah Potter Writes April 14, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    That is absolutely beautiful. I almost took off myself, while reading those words of yours. The instinct for migration is, indeed, one of Nature’s great wonders.

    All best wishes

  39. Snow's Fissures and Fractures April 14, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    Beautifully captured essence of desired freedom, expresses in such a poetic way.

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