South by Southwest

16 Sep


100 words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below courtesy of David Stewart.

South by Southwest

(Copyright David Stewart)


The gate swings slowly shut. I look back a final time and see in places my handiwork, all that remains of a quarter century of love, surrendered to weeds.

What did I give? How hard did I strive? Where is my love buried?

Only I will ever know.

Call on God, it is said, but row away from the rocks.

I place a note between the gate and jamb for friends who might wish to find me. In time, it, too, will fall and fade, but such is the way of the world. Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat.

And I row.







53 Responses to “South by Southwest”

  1. rochellewisoff September 16, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    The words fade but the heart endures. As always tomorrow is like yesterday. Layer upon layer, deep calls to deep, stunning writing.

    Kia Ora,


    • dmmacilroy September 16, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

      Dear Rochelle,

      Thank you for your friendship.

      Love and Aloha,


  2. Sandra September 16, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    This was unutterably sad; it brought tears to my eyes. They do indeed all wound, but only the last one kills. The problem is identifying which one is the last one. Such a joy to see you on here Doug, and I love your cryptic pictures. Watching for you on the river.

    • dmmacilroy September 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

      Dear Sandra,

      Dodging that last hour, making it have to look to find me….yeah, that’s the ticket. The pictures are the note in the jamb for discerning souls like you. When you do see me on the lock, I will be smiling.



  3. Rosey Pinkerton September 16, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    What sad words. The Latin phrase you closed with is so fitting – I last saw it on our town hall clock.

    • dmmacilroy September 16, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

      Dear Rosey,

      Sundial makers love it, too. For good reason. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  4. patrickprinsloo September 16, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    Time to stop looking back – but avoid finding that ‘last hour’.
    Where would we writers be without the concept of time?

    • dmmacilroy September 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

      Dear Patrick,

      We’d be sitting, poised at our keyboards and waiting….

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  5. ansumani September 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    ‘All good things must come to an end” the cliche goes…so does the bad and the hurt. Poignant and touching piece.

    • dmmacilroy September 16, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

      Dear Ansumani,

      Or, ‘This too shall pass’, right. Wise words. Thanks for reading.



  6. September 16, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    Thanks for leaving a note in the gate and on the page.

    • dmmacilroy September 16, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

      Dear Tracey,

      Thanks for reading the note and for being one of those for whom it was intended.



  7. k rawson September 16, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

    Such a moving piece. Bravo!

    • dmmacilroy September 16, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

      Dear Karen,

      Thank you for your kind words re my story. i appreciate them very much.



  8. Honie Briggs September 17, 2015 at 1:50 am #

    Until next time – peace. My heart to yours.

    • dmmacilroy September 17, 2015 at 10:30 am #

      Dear Honie,

      And from mine to yours, with deepest gratitude…thank you.



  9. valeriedavies September 17, 2015 at 3:05 am #

    You have only to ask and you shall receive…
    Yes, it is a subtle and beautiful take on your past life, and I guarantee there will be no more wounds tomorrow… ‘
    and there is also a promise of ‘ the peace that passes understanding’ – from an old antipodean blessing….

    • dmmacilroy September 17, 2015 at 10:32 am #

      Dearest Valerie,

      It has been too long since I last saw you here. Thank you so much for stopping by to leave such a beautiful comment. I will ask.



  10. Joy Pixley September 17, 2015 at 3:13 am #

    That last line really got me — gazing at the destruction of what was once filled with hope and is now a ruin, what has become the rocks he risks being dashed against..

    “And I row.”

    Wow, nicely done.

    • dmmacilroy September 17, 2015 at 10:29 am #

      Dear Joy,

      We either row or we drift…or we smash into the rocks. I’ve never been a drifter and I will not run aground willingly. Thank you for your stirring comments on my story. I appreciate them very much.



  11. lingeringvisions by Dawn September 17, 2015 at 4:05 am #

    Your story washed a feeling of peacefulness over me, somber peacefulness.

    • dmmacilroy September 17, 2015 at 10:27 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      I’m happy to know that you found some peace in my story. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  12. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist September 17, 2015 at 7:49 am #

    Beautifully written. I have such vivid pictures floating in my head now. Love the last line.

    • dmmacilroy September 17, 2015 at 10:26 am #

      Dear Irene,

      Thank you. In this hour I am buoyed by your comments.



  13. Suzanne Joshi September 17, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    Yesterday has passed away and tomorrow is only a dream. We live in the moment. Like a person, a place no one loves anymore gradually falls into ruin. Well written as always, Doug. —- Suzanne

    • dmmacilroy September 17, 2015 at 10:25 am #

      Dear Suzanne,

      Thank you very much for your kind comments. As ever, I live and die by them.



  14. Bastet September 17, 2015 at 10:22 am #

    It was wise to leave a note … friends will surely come to see what has happened to their friend!

    • dmmacilroy September 17, 2015 at 10:25 am #

      Dear Bastet,

      You know where to find me, right? Thanks for reading and commenting. You are ever more precious to me now.

      Mahalo and Aloha,


      • Bastet September 17, 2015 at 10:35 am #

        Dear Doug … a warm hug to you and I will always look for you. Ciao, Georgia.

  15. rgayer55 September 17, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    Got your note, but had a hard time finding the right pub. I stopped at five or six then lost count and forgot who I was looking for. Will start fresh tomorrow and try again.

    • dmmacilroy September 18, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      I followed you around town last night, always sitting on your left shoulder and whispering in your ear to counter the angelic nonsense of the one on your right shoulder. You did well.

      Thanks for reading and commenting (and looking).



  16. The Writer's Village September 18, 2015 at 1:21 am #

    Time heals all wounds, too – at least, we want to believe this.
    It’s one oar in front of the other.
    and row we must.

    • dmmacilroy September 18, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

      Dear Randy,

      At all times, in fair weather or foul, I must always keep in mind the words of your comment. Thanks for writing it so well.



  17. David Stewart September 18, 2015 at 1:50 am #

    Doug, you’ve woven quite a stunning atmosphere of loss and sadness here. Beautiful last line; it really puts the perfect ending on it. Isn’t that life? Interestingly enough, this picture faces almost exactly southwest from where I took it.

    • dmmacilroy September 18, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

      Dear David,

      Thank you for such a kind comment and for the information about the orientation of the picture, which was a subtle and beautiful one that evoked many good stories this week. I appreciate you stopping by to read and share your thoughts and I especially loved your story this week.



  18. draliman September 18, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    Lovely piece, quite melancholy. I admit I had to Google the Latin – it’s been a long time since school 🙂

    • dmmacilroy September 18, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

      Dear Draliman,

      Latin lives somewhere deep in many of our hearts, I think. I never learned it, but learn from it often. Thanks for reading and Googling.



  19. gahlearner September 18, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    A perfectly written piece of sadness and struggle. However, I think in rowing and not giving up also lies hope. And some hours don’t only wound but also heal.

    • dmmacilroy September 18, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

      Dear Gahlearner,

      There is wisdom in your words, and encouragement. Thank you.



  20. Jan Brown September 18, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    Found your note. Does this mean you’re in New Zealand, or am I being too literal?

    Wishing you fair sailing,


    • dmmacilroy September 18, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

      Dear Jan,

      Oh, you’re good, you are. Still rowing. Still on course.

      Thank you for reading and commenting and being onboard with your keen eyes. I can always use a good lookout.



  21. Dawn Quyle Landau September 18, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

    SO great to have you here, Doug; I miss you when you’re gone. Such a melancholy piece, that struck at my heart. The words tumble one after another poetically, like time.

    Love the photos… clues to where you are? Be safe and enjoy the adventure!

  22. sustainabilitea September 18, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

    Doug, I was happy to see your link this week and reading your story only deepened that happiness. Always a pleasure, even when sad. 🙂 Safe travels.


    • dmmacilroy September 18, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

      Dear Janet,

      All roads lead back to our friends. Thanks for being one of them.



      • sustainabilitea September 18, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

        That’s a comment I treasure, Doug.

  23. helenmidgley September 18, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    It conjoures such emotion in so few words, beautifully done 🙂

  24. plaridel September 18, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

    the sentiments expressed are truly felt. very nice.

  25. Amy Reese September 19, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    Thanks for leaving a note. I will be looking. Safe travels, my friend. Time is tricky, but tomorrow is fresh territory. Beautiful piece, Doug.

  26. erinleary September 19, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    Cryptic and haunting. Keep rowing, Doug. And keep writing. Your words are always a welcome respite.

  27. justjoyfulness September 21, 2015 at 3:12 am #

    Deep and meaningful and a trifle sad. Safe rowing!

  28. wildbilbo September 21, 2015 at 7:10 am #

    Some delicious wording here – the quote (Hunter S?) and the latin were superb. A sense of melancholy and acceptance. Lovely.

  29. Dee September 21, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Dear Doug

    This was so sad yet beautifully written, as always.

    We were recently in Malta and visited St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta. The guide told us that the eulogies and memento mori sculpted in the funerary monuments and tombstones are meant to remind passers-by of their mortality and that they should prepare for the inevitable. The quote you give was on one of them.

    Thank you for leaving a note – I should hate not knowing how to find you.

    Keep rowing


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