The grandfathers were whalers, and according to historians, they were yeoman farmers. I wonder, what were the grandmothers doing? And how were the grandfathers, out at sea harpooning whales, managing their farms? Rebecca Corson, one of the grandmothers, is said to have fired a cannon scaring off the British as they approached shore during the revolutionary war. My guess would be that the women were spending less time on widow walks wringing their hands watching for the whalers to return than they spent in the fields tilling, in the woods hunting, and behind the cannon doing what they must.
Let’s be very clear: Strong men – men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. – Michelle Obama
When Jane’s children left she expected to mourn. Motherhood had been her chosen vocation. Come spring robins delivered a revelation. Jane heard them before she saw them, a nest full of open mouths, demanding. Their mother nervously tried to appease. From ground to nest, from nest to ground she flitted, worm after worm delivered. Jane remembered days like that, every move aimed to assuage another’s insistent hunger. She smiled. She did not envy that robin. She pushed her canoe into the lake, paddling in a direction she could change at will, without explanation to little mouths open and wanting.
In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman’s heart until she bows down to it no longer.
Joanna hated witnessing the doe-eyed trophies suspended inverted from a scaffold at the end of the harbor, their purple tongues pointing toward the bloodied ground. She hated watching fish with gaping gills flop to death on the bottom of her family’s boat. She loathed the mounted antlered head above the fireplace and the bearskin rug in front of the hearth. Harpooned whales may have sustained her ancestors, but they haunted her dreams. Joanna understood the hunted heart. She didn’t see the point in hurting innocents and ached for the day when she’d no longer be her papa’s favored prey.
Written for Charli’s 99 word April 26 Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge:
“I have survivor skills. Some of that is superficial – what I present to people outwardly – but what makes people resilient is the ability to find humour and irony in situations that would otherwise overpower you.” – Amy Tan
Life is placid outside Joy’s woodland cabin as she takes her morning walk. Nuthatches seem unthreatened by nuclear missiles. Chickadees show no interest in crime or collusion. Blue jays apparently don’t know the job market is shrinking. Woodpeckers aren’t worried that stocks plummet and robins aren’t fretting about local or national scandals. This verdant world teems with new life. Leaf buds swell on the tips of tree branches. A spotted fawn appears in a bed of wildflowers. Joy bathes in the misty forest, cleansing her heart of clutter, strengthening herself to resist for one more day humanly created chaos.
Written in response to Charli’s April 19 Carrot Ranch 99 word fast fiction challenge: forest bathing
“Every single day we sit down to eat, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and at our table we have food that was planted, picked, or harvested by a farm worker. Why is it that the people who do the most sacred work in our nation are the most oppressed, the most exploited?” – Dolores Huerta