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  1. Sarah says

    Like bullets they shot through the waves, their only purpose…to have fun. Water churned beneath the hulls of the boat, tickling the creatures’ undersides. They responded with a dance that crisscrossed the wakes as their sleek torso’s sliced through the ocean in rhythm with the wind. After hours enduring the hard surface of the catamaran, hiding in the shadows of the main sail—the only protection from the long day’s cruelty upon my skin—the gods had rewarded me. The pain no longer mattered. Nothing mattered. They had arrived. Those mythical mermaids were generously begging to share their playground with us mere mortals. When the leader floated sideways below me, his eye staring up in gleeful wonder as if to say, “Please play with me,” silent tears touched my cheeks. The tears flowed for the years of imagining this moment, for the days of searching the open seas, hoping and praying for a sighting that did not come, for the realization that somewhere deep in my soul I was connected to these prehistoric beings. Long and sleek, glistening in the afternoon sun like tandem bikes in the crystal waters of their home, the dolphins were upon us. And in the innocence of the moment they took my breath away.

    • Tama says

      I, am simple in my writing. What touches my heart gets the most attention on paper.What takes my breath away? Real people.People who have nothing to prove.People with “old fashioned’ values.People who still believe in being nice, speaking a kind word or giving the elderly or handicapped a seat on the bus. Thats what takes my breath away. Do I do it? Yes, indeed!!! Though I am called a rarity by some, I will always want to make a difference, in action word or deed, because it truly takes my breath away when respect comes back to me..

  2. Laurie says

    While many people fly routinely, I’ve only made a single, memorable, round-trip air journey.

    At age twenty-one, my boyfriend’s brother-in-law, an airline pilot, had given us tickets to fly to Denver from Kansas City to visit them at their home. As it was my first flight, I claimed the window seat and could hardly tear my eyes away from all there was to see below; green and brown plots of farms, ribbons of road and water. The curve of the earth.

    From the very first stomach-dropping moment when the airplane lifted from the runway, to the last moments of dizzying speed as the ground came to meet the landing gear, I was riveted. The view of the earth from miles in the air was extraordinary to a young adult who couldn’t see clearly without the help of glasses.

    But the moment that took my breath away came as I was looking down upon enormous, popcorn clouds; in a moment’s time, the Rocky Mountains broke through the clouds, looking close enough to touch. It’s one thing to see the grand majesty of mountains in pictures and movies; it’s quite another to have a live, birds-eye view while rocketing along at a high rate of speed.

    The mountain tops were clothed in snow and clouds. The bare rock eventually gave way to the tree line, and descended in a mix of sharp angles and gentle valleys. I was stunned by Rockies’ magnificence, overwhelmed by its immensity, and enraptured by its beauty.

    Though that flight was over twenty-five years ago, the sight of those mountains stirred within my heart a longing to return. I’ve never forgotten that too-brief moment of unexpected, overwhelming beauty, and have always dreamed of one day of returning to live near those mountains.

  3. Phyllis says

    I was an Air Force Captain stationed at a very small Air Force Station in the middle of nowhere in Iceland. Most people think Iceland is cold and barren and icy all year long. But nothing is further from the truth. In the summertime, Iceland’s green grass feeds the sheep the Icelanders raise for their wool. There are waterfalls so beautiful they will take your breath away.

    But, what took my breath away was the phenomenon called the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights. Each appearance of the Northern Lights is unique. I spent many nights laying in a field of tall green grass, watching one of mother nature’s most breathtaking wonders of the world.

    The Northern Lights is a light show of color lazily playing across the night sky. You can see many colors; greens, purples, pinks, blues, and yellows, just rolling across the sky. I would lay in the long grass with my mouth open in wonder, afraid to blink. Afraid that if I blinked, the beautiful flowing colors would be gone. But they weren’t; they just kept playing across the sky til the dawn’s early light.

    At dawn, I would get up from the field, go to my barracks and take a shower and go to work; only to return again that evening to wait to once again witness one of nature’s true wonders.

  4. Lorna says

    The birth of my son absolutely left me breathless. The first time I held him and gazed into his face, I felt like an all powerful being. I felt like I was the first woman who had achieved the miracle of giving birth to a beautiful perfect human being. Now, I do know that women had been having babies since time immemorial, l but that day, Sunday, October 26, 1975, it was like the first time this had ever happened, and I was the one to do it. So many emotions were jutting up against each other . . . love, awe, power, humility, accomplishment, . . . and absolute fear of being responsible for another human being. But that day, the moment when they laid him in my arms absolutely took my breath away.

    Years later, in 2003, two other events took my breath away . . . gazing at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and being on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

  5. Ann Gila says

    In 1987 I was in private practice, seeing clients in my home office, a room with a window off the front porch of the house. I was married to a kind, good man but had begun to have thoughts of separation. We were probably meant to be friends, not lovers. On a Friday late in May, I was in my office, sitting with a woman who had been a client for several years when I heard a knock at the front door. This rarely happened because friends knew I worked at home and didn’t disturb me during the day. I went to the window to see who might be there and was stunned to see John Firman standing at my door.

    I turned back to my client, “There is someone at my door who I haven’t seen in nine years. Excuse me. I will be back in just a minute.” I went into the hallway and opened the door.

    “Hi, Ann Russell. How are you?” A big, impish and oh-so-lovely smile.

    I don’t remember what I said. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. There was a sense that if I did he would disappear. I was so excited to see him. Over the years I had dreamed of him and would force myself to let go of the longing that lingered after those dreams.

    “I’m with a client but will be free in thirty minutes. Can you wait for me in the park across the street and I will come over as soon as I am done?”

    “Sure.” Again, that smile that lovingly held me and was to come to hold me for many years afterward.

    I went back to my client and began to resume the session when she said, “Let’s stop for today. It’s fine with me.”

    “Are you sure? I am fine to continue.”

    She laughed and said she was sure.

    After she left, I walked across the street, scanning the park for John, and found him lying on the grass.

    “What are you doing here?”

    “Well, I was driving down 101 on my way home to southern California, saw the exit sign for Palo Alto, and said to myself ‘I’m going to go drop in on Ann Russell. See what she’s up to.’ So here I am. And here’s Ann Russell!”

    • says

      This sounds like the beginning of a marvelous love story and the way you tell it makes me want to read more! Thanks for posting Ann. I look forward to hearing many more of your words!

  6. Tempered Ashes (my current "nomme de plume") says

    Hmmm. Here we go again, Temper… Waiting to write pen to page and hoping for a time when the light would go away. I guess it’s time again… for the writing fairy to strike. Ramble on, my dear.. ramble on.

    The last 10 years of my life have taken my breath away (that’s a lot of breath to take!) And, I am, my dear, at this point in my life speechless. Speechless at how it could have all gotten so bad. Speechless at how it could have all gotten so good. What I thought was good is now “bad” and what I thought was bad is now “good.” Oh how GOOD my life has been these last 10 years! Serious depression, insomnia, self-hatred, self-loathing, self-injury, self self self. Many selves in these last 10 years… All of them very very hurt, upset, angry. Many of them wanting to lash back, take revenge, take the low-down route and hurt as I have hurt.

    And for a time I did. Boy did I hurt! I don’t know though, I guess I see now how toxic hurt is. Not just the kind that you feel, but particularly the kind you inflict. You may hurt another temporarily, or maybe if you’re lucky for a long, long time. You may hurt them with words, with actions, with hate and with love. You may hurt like the dog-necked thunder that steals your soul. You may hurt only because you forgot how to love. You may hurt because the fields within you that were once gray, have now turned blue. All the colors of the rainbow may have presented themselves to you, and yet you still hurt others as if only grey were born. It’s time, my dear, it’s finally time.
    To turn that hate and that visciousness into love. You may have resisted it for a while. But it’s finally time. And Boy, is it scary! Now that I’m learning love and learning about all of its little intricacies, and sidelines, and hopefulness, I am also learning that love is SO MUCH EASIER to do than HATE! Lord it takes a lot of energy to HATE! You must wad up a tight piece of paper, only to throw it to the wall and hope for it to stick– and it doesn’t! So you pick up that damn piece of paper, wad it up some more, and throw it even harder– this time it ricochets off and sticks to you! Even angrier, you pick it up– again and again and again– until finally you realize: paper does not stick to walls– nothing does– except love. With love, you take the paper, open it up, smooth out the crinkles and then paint a beautiful picture on it. You get some tape and hang it on a wall– and—voila… instant beauty!

    So Love my children, Love. that is all we have in this world… love.

  7. Ann Volkov says

    Weaving through towering pines, wetlands filled with birds of many varieties, rolling hills dotted with row upon row of grapevines, farmland with cattle, sheep, and llamas. This is the diverse landscape one gets to enjoy when meandering through Oregon’s coastal region.

    When my husband and I took this trip one year, we were in awe of the beauty surrounding us. Winding through the trees upon a towering cliff we turned a corner only to come upon the expanse of the beautiful, blue Pacific Ocean below. We literally sucked in our breath at the vision presented to us of Oregon’s rugged coastline. Foamy white waves were interrupted by huge jagged rocks protruding out of the sea, then rolling past to land upon the sandy beach. The lighter blue of the sky with white cotton clouds were the backdrop creating a perfect painting with God’s paintbrush and vivid palette.

  8. mary kennedy says

    I was sitting closely with my soon-to-be eight-year-old daughter. We were peapodded together in a cozy, private moment – a lot like the moments I had as a girl with my best girlfriends at sleepovers.

    We were in my daughter’s bedroom. Our legs were crisscrossed. Our heads tilted towards each other and we were talking. We were talking about dinosaurs or hieroglyphics or some other mysterious topic that keeps her interest these days.

    When she began to share her ideas, I casually looked at her, ready for the usual child hypotheses and questions and it happened. In that very normal, comfortable moment, I saw my daughter is in a different way than I ever had before. I recognized her face – her eyes like small versions of my own, her mouth like her dad’s and her nose dusted with little freckles, but I saw more.

    She was speaking and I was hurled into the reality that here she was – completely and wholly her own person. Her self was so real and sure and absolutely awesome that I couldn’t respond or think clearly. My heart filled warmly with pink, motherly, soft love and my breath was taken away.

    Thanks for reading my first post….

  9. Jean West says

    Let me make this perfectly clear: I’m not fond of heights. That having been said I love to travel to new places and especially visit sites that are meaningful in history and literature. I’ve exerted matter over mind and made myself scale various Italian belltowers, ride elevators up skyscrapers, and corkscrew my way up the local lighthouse more times than I can count. Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland is an extinct volcanic remnant that some people have argued could have inspired the Round Table. That made it a double draw since I love a nice volcano, particularly of the extinct variety. My daughter had been giving it longing glances since our arrival in Edinburgh and discovery that our hotel window positively framed it. We’d walked halfway down the Royal Mile and had spent the morning at Holyrood Palace during a light drizzle. But after having a bite of lunch, the sky was clearing. The heights beckoned like a lamp to a moth. “Want to have a go at Arthur’s Seat?” I heard myself asking. “I never figured you’d be willing to do it!” Jennifer declared as she took me up on the offer. We walked along the Salisbury Crags, buying a Flake 99 ice cream as fortification for the climb, and then started our ascent. It seemed easy enough, gentle slope, paved. That’s how they sucker you in. Pretty soon it’s just a hiking path formed by lots of feet. The morning moisture had left the grass a bit slick, but my half-gazelle daughter didn’t have any problems. I took my breaks; at the age of fifty-five, I figured I was entitled to take the climb at a pace that was not grueling. Then, a border collie went streaking past. He returned, lapped us a couple more times, but I could see his owner was catching up. Turned out they hiked it daily to keep the dog properly exercised. In that brief span, we bonded…Harvey, the border collie…and I. He kept coming back to me through the 832 feet of the climb. I handled the “edge” looking in the green basin of the ancient cone without getting dizzy, as Harvey sure-footedly led the way. When we’d think we’d lost the path, Harvey would pop up and show us the way. The last bit was dicey. At the summit it’s very rocky. I took care in placing my feet, only to be humiliated by being passed by an eighty-year-old man. That was fine. He’d lived a long life; I wasn’t going to get there if I killed myself on the rocks. At the very summit, there was a breeze…and you had to get up onto a boulder to get to the altitude marker. I wasn’t sure, but Harvey bounded up to the marker. With a final effort, I half crawled to the top and then rose from a crouch to my feet. The wind hit me and my old nemesis, vertigo, too. I well and truly had my breath taken away. But, I had done it—and Harvey and Jennifer had grins that were only slightly smaller than my own!

  10. Beverly Boyd says

    Slipping Under

    It would be so much easier to start this writing for this prompt if I chose one of the many sunsets I have seen; the filigree of ice covered sage, pink tinged in the Nevada dawn; holding my five-hour-old granddaughter in the middle of the night, a holy child fresh from a sacred space. Yes, there are many of these wonderful breathtaking moments I would love to write about.
    What presses on my mind is a recent experience that evoked momentary terror as I slipped into wakefulness one morning from a very deep place on the other side of the sleep curtain. I had apparently not moved and I awakened in the position I always start the night so that morning will not find me in spine cracking pain from sleeping too long on my side. Lying on my back, my head falling back from the pillow roll that cradled my neck, at first felt deliciously like floating on my back until I realized I needed to take a breath before my head slipped too far under the water. The breath would not come. I tried harder. I tried to tilt my head up or change my position. I was paralyzed. A few more attempts without success. The thought of not struggling, of letting myself quietly and peacefully slip backward into the water was so tempting. Did that mean I would die? Would I really die if I did that? Would my family find me there and have no idea what had happened? I didn’t “have my affairs well enough in order”. I hadn’t finished even one of the seven books I have been working on for years. I had too much still to do and good health to do it with. I was definitely not ready to take the chance that I might actually die! I tried lifting my chin up. The paralysis only allowed slight movement. The tiny sip of air I took would not last. I will not die! I will not die this way! I bought every bit of energy I could muster in my body and with great effort pushed off at my elbows. I suddenly sat bolt upright. Oh, thank, God!
    Still half drugged from slumber I wanted desperately to lie down again. Even lying on my side seemed too risky. What had happened? I’ve had sleep paralysis before, but only briefly and never like this. I didn’t have any of those sensations I have heard others talk about: something pressing me down, odors, noises; just the helpless feeling of not being able to move even with great effort. After a few days I was able to start the night again on my back, careful not to tilt my head too far.
    A couple of days later when this prompt came up the memory was still too fresh and frightening.I am choosing to write about this now because I want to know: Has anyone else out there had this experience? Do you have any answers to my questions?

    • Beverly Boyd says

      I am grateful for a place to share with with others. Sorry for taking so long to post this!

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