Catherine’s Grove

Picking out the family Christmas tree hadn’t been the same since Catherine passed away. She was the best at finding just the right one. Truth be told, he knew he was the muscle of the pair—it was she who had the eye for design. To him, they all looked the same!

That first year, James and Catherine’s son and his family made the trek home from Miami to try to help bring some holiday cheer to the now-quiet home. And he appreciated their effort – but it just wasn’t the same. Robbie picked the first tree he came to and insisted it was the one Mom would have chosen—James knew it was more because his son had become too accustomed to the warm beaches, to stay too long in the Colorado cold.

As the years passed, Robbie’s visits became fewer as his growing family got busier. And James found himself standing alone among the evergreens, hatchet in hand, missing the love of his life. Being in the mountains with Catherine were some of his best memories of their time together. He could almost see her excitedly darting from tree to tree, talking about how many more lights she planned to add to their tree that year.

James wasn’t entirely certain of how much time had passed before he realized it had been snowing. The cold air stung the corners of his eyes, where tears had formed. Blinking and squinting, he didn’t know if he could trust what he was seeing. It looked as if ALL of the trees in front of him were filled with lights.

Catherine had just sent James a gift from heaven. The beauty of the snow-covered trees, filled with more light than he’d felt or seen since Catherine’s death, gave him new inspiration. Instead of his annual trek with a hatchet to take down a tree, he returned to that spot each year with cords and generators and more and more lights, as a gift back to Catherine.




Shared at Flashy Fiction Friday


For Immediate Release!

NEXT Gallery proudly presents…


Title of Show: “100 Days of Summer: An International Photo Exhibit”

Artists: Linda Schmale, Cheryl Chapman, Jill Mustoffa, Jamie Garner, Tamara Andersen, Barbara Gal (Colorado Artists), Esa Mela, Kirtsi Nieemelainen, Mikko Luoto, Heidi Karjalainen, Aini Tolonen (Finland Artists), Inge Tuncer (Denmark), Leena Hanonnen, Catherine Singer, Sirpa Ikonen (California), Sheryl Odza (Florida), Steve Veilleux (Connecticut), and Paula Wanken (poet from Texas)

Exhibition Dates: January 15 – 31, 2016

Reception: Friday, January 15, 6:00-10:00 pm

From June until September of 2014, a group of photographers from many countries shared their creative work within the intense framework of providing one artistic submission per day for 100 days. The project was so popular that we decided to organize a traveling show to share our work with others. Curated by Barbara Gal, NEXT Gallery presents the first exhibition in this traveling project, showing the work of 17 photographers and one poet.

NEXT Gallery
3659 Navajo St.
Denver, Colorado 80211 U.S.A.

Fridays: 6pm – 10pm
Saturdays and Sundays: 12pm – 5pm
Or by appointment.

Fisherman’s House at Varengeville

Fisherman’s House at Varengeville



My mother always loved “Fisherman’s House”. It was a welcome respite from life in town—so quiet and peaceful. We never went fishing when we went there together. That was dad’s pastime—if he ever took a break from minding the store. Instead, we let the sun and the sea fill our lungs, our hearts. We let the shore replenish our thirsty souls, restore our connection to creativity. I would climb down the bluff to my favorite perch, sketching, listening to whatever sweet songs came to Mother’s mind as she sat on the porch overlooking the sea. Our time was always the same—yet never the same. Even as a young boy, that place held a magic that inspired. My visits to the House were few after she passed (my heart broke again with each departure). Now, 26 years since her death, I can paint the place from memory. My memory—and hers.

can be found all around us ~
as well as inside


P. Wanken

Shared at Margo’s Wordgathering