I thought I had escaped the traffic.

Oh, I remember those morning walks down city roads thickly layered with dirty dew. Every morning I paced to the beat of angry horns and whirring tires, drivers slapping the hindquarters of their Chevy’s, rushing against a dark deadline.

But then I moved into a bucolic cottage by the sea.

Surely things will be different here I mused as I laced up my walking shoes on a bright, spring morning. The sun winked over the edge of the marsh, and the distant spindrift sparkled over ocean crests.

But then it happened. Traffic! I live on a dirt road that hits a farm field. How can it be?

I braced myself, holding tightly to the porch rail high above the terrain. I saw them coming, but I noticed at once that the frenzy was missing. It almost seemed as if they weren’t going anywhere in particular. They didn’t stick to the road at all. In fact, they avoided the road. How odd, I thought.

There were six, no, wait, make that eight. The does were the most playful darting in between pine trees and over little puddles from the night’s rain. There was no destination. Just going. Playing. Loving.

And then just as I was getting to know the deer, along came waves of small swallows from on high. They seemed to enjoy darting toward me and then with a last minute feather dip, bouncing off a wave and shooting high into the sky with the others that called the space beneath my porch home.

Wait. What’s this? Bobbing along in the slow lane, a little cadre of plump guinea hens is tiptoeing past my front porch in their speckled nightgowns clucking their hellos, laughing at me.

I thought I had escaped the traffic.
I’m glad I didn’t.

David R. Denny




The ladies stood impatiently. So many things to do; so little time.

They cast furtive glances here and there, up and down the long line as if body language would move the line faster.

It didn’t.

I didn’t see what the fuss was all about. I liked long hair and didn’t see any reason why each client was in such a rush for trimming this or slashing that. What’s wrong with a few long curls anyway?

But they didn’t see it that way. The big spring dance was just a few days away, and there was a particular social protocol that demanded swift and daring action.

I was merely a disinterested passerby, but curiosity got the better of me, and so I approached one of the ladies with an honest question. “Why?”

“Why?” she retorted rolling her eyes at the other women in line as if I was some social outcast. Her face contorted into utter disdain for the question as if the obvious needed no further small talk.

I couldn’t resist having a little fun. I kept up my questioning pretending to be some expert. “Women should never cut their hair short,” I said. “It’s the length that creates a certain mystery.” (I was picturing Goldilocks with her head stuck out of some castle window high above a flowered valley praying for a dashing prince to come along).

Suddenly the line shifted, and the stylist summoned her. She left me standing there like I was mere chaff in the wind.

My eyes wandered to the lady just leaving. She had a small pocket mirror out and was preening her cleanly shaven scalp. Her smile of deep satisfaction said it all.

I didn’t see it. Such a shame I muttered.

David R. Denny


Ghost on Blue Heron Street

Ghost on Blue Heron Street

He wasn’t a real ghost, for he had substance and form.

He waited for me each morning at the intersection of Sea Breeze and Blue Heron. He waited, but he never spoke.

He was a tragedy in silence. Whenever I neared the intersection on a morning walk, I always slowed and nodded. He stared through me unable to share a deep, stifling grief I did not understand.


The only thing left of the house was a broken cinderblock outline worn to a nub by time and ravenous winds and rising tides. Each morning as I walked past him with my head at half-mast sharing his grief, I often peered at the home’s skeleton and wondered.

Was there laughter here once? Did he hold a sweetheart tightly each night long ago beneath a marsh moon in this house beside the sea? Did they share dreams? Did she kiss him longingly beneath golden sunsets?

He never spoke of these matters, but I read the sadness in his expressions. Nothing would cheer him. He had lost the will to continue, and all that was left was this lonely loyalty at the intersection of Blue Heron and Sea Breeze where he stood each day staring at the ruins of his house.

Version 2One night, driving home in a battering rain with the tides rising and panic in the wind, my headlights hit him full face. He never budged or acknowledged the interruption. Dripping beneath heaven’s deluge, he stood alone, moss dripping off his limbs.

“Please! Come home with me for one night. Rest and dry your clothes,” I implored, but he resisted. Perhaps, he thought, she might return on this very night. He could not leave. He would not leave.

He wasn’t a real ghost, for he had substance and form.

Still, I still greet him to this day on my morning walks. But I fear that loneliness has forever calcified his heart.

And so it does to us all.
And so it does to us all.

David R. Denny