Monday, October 28, 2013

"Murder In The Bloody Pit" short story is free again this year for Halloween (Learn more about the haunted Hoosac Tunnel - reposting original Oct 13 2012)


The retelling of a Hoosac Tunnel ghost story:  A tale of murder and hauntings in 1866

After years of being envisioned, work on the Hoosac Tunnel finally began in 1852.  By 1873 with 193 deaths tallied, the tunnel was realized.  This was a major accomplishment of the times and was the longest tunnel of the day at 4 ¾ miles long.  Many attribute the success of this great engineering venture to three factors:  the diligent work of the W & F Shanly & Company contractors who revived the project in 1868, the use of pneumatic drills (Burleigh Drill), and a safer nitroglycerin along with electric blasting caps (new explosive Tri-Nitro-Glycerin invented by George M. Mowbray).   The project was sought after by Industrialists of the day, Alvah Crocker a paper manufacturer in Fitchburg, being the most ardent proponent.  There was a long list of Engineers tasked with the design, many experiencing failure before the final success was achieved. 
Many of the deaths were the result of cave-ins experienced, air shafts accidents, explosions and more.  The most devastating was the collapse after an explosion in the center shaft on October 17, 1867.  The frame work above the center air shaft caught fire and collapsed into the shaft, causing an explosion from the built up fumes, and filling the shaft with water.  Thirteen workers were trapped and drowned, if not already killed from the fire.  Their bodies were not fully recovered until a year later.  This brought much speculation about the ‘Bloody Pit’ and slowed the progress of the project. 
Among the long list of victims claimed by the ‘Bloody Pit’ were three men who worked together as a team using nitro to blast the monstrous black rock.  The name Ringo Kelly was never mentioned in the official recorded history of the Hoosac Tunnel.  But in 1865 a blast happened and two of the team ended up buried in rock.  The local gossip claimed Ringo Kelly ignited the blast early, before the others could reach the safety barrier.  Ringo Kelly went missing for a year and a half.  Then he was found murdered in the tunnel.  Now he is mentioned in bizarre folklore surrounding his murder.  Riddled by rumors only, he supposedly was haunted in 1866 by his two friends, his victims, and killed in vengeance
 The official cause of death for Ringo was strangulation.  Still rumors claimed he was chased down by the vengeful ghosts.  He was found dead in almost the same spot his two coworkers were killed.  What really happened to Ringo Kelly? 
Now 146 years later no one knows the real story.  Did he 'accidentally on purpose' kill his friends Ned Brinkman and Billy Nash?  The rumors claim he intentionally set the charge early.  What was the motivation for Ringo to end his friend’s lives? There is no explanation offered.   We do know that it was the first time nitro was being used on a major project of this scope. Nitro is very unstable, and most likely the entire episode was a mere accident.
Unfortunately for Ringo Kelly, the ghosts of Ned and Billy didn't understand.  A year later they found poor Ringo Kelly dead.  What is the real story?  Does anyone really know what happened?   
Here is one theory about this unfortunate happening.  Could this be the real story and reason behind it all….   

MURDER-THE-BLOODY-PIT-ebook - Kindle

Now FREE at Amazon 


and other stores


If you are interested in more information about the Hoosac Tunnel, its history and folklore of hauntings, please go to these sites attached to this post, and/or watch the film documentaries on the Hoosac Tunnel.
Have a ghostly good time.









LINKS to more information:


More videos:







Hoosac Tunnel - Engineering Program Audio     This is a great audio
















 







 













Thursday, October 24, 2013

Monsters Are Real - We Fool Ourselves


Human Monsters

The late morning sun was warm on my face, with closed eyes I drifted into rest,
Neighborhood dogs were barking, one trying to outdo the other, sounds growing louder.
The caws of birds and some squeaks in flight, then the buzz, of bees
Working diligently, going from one flower to the next,
Gathering the last of the blossom pollen to make their nectar.
We humans are part of this nature –
 
We too gather and toil away by shear instinct, when we allow.
Often we manifest ourselves with our intellect instead,
That part of us, We think, that ranks us above the rest of nature.
We use it to reason, to excuse and create, but sometimes it is the birthplace for the unthinkable.
It is a ruse, a screen, and a place to hide the hideous things we reason inside.
Our darkest thoughts are raised by it, turned into monsters and then we do the unnatural –
 
We hurt, war, kill and maim in the name of humanity.
We bring our rank down below the natural world; we turn ourselves into the devil.
Can we turn our dark to light, and bring thoughts forward to uplift?
Politicians are not the only users of the screen – we all use the words to hide.
So each day you choose your road – intellect or nature…. Do what is natural,
Be part of the earth, uplift each other and keep the monsters in the closets of the other’s mind.
 
Like an animal, watchful of danger, stay away from the human monsters.
Be an example of the goodness that comes when we follow our nature,
True human nature, which thrives on community and the spirit of friendship,
Creation for its own sake, for beauty to be shared,
And where monsters are make-believe, and
Not dreamt up to explain the horrors done, from man onto man.
 
 
 
 
Photography & Poem Created by Elisabeth Zguta ©
 

Keep reading - Keep writing!



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Great Scary Story (audio) & thoughts on Audio books

It's getting closer to Halloween! 

My favorite time of year because it's acceptable to wear dark clothing, and it's the seasonal d├ęcor to have cobwebs in your house.

No one thinks badly of you for liking horror stories this time of year.  So on with the dark tales.  I was surfing the net and found this wonderful tale.  I wanted to share it - for anyone else out there who appreciates a good tale.

So turn up the volume and listen to this story -   I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Scary Stories : Don't Look Out The Window


Published on Jun 8, 2012    Scary stories to chill your bones. If you wish to see more of these tales in the future than please comment, rate, and subscribe. Illustrations are by Silvina Rinaldi and it is narrated by Kellie Fitzgerald. Stories are written by yours truly (Legends of Fear).

 

 

After hearing this recorded story it made me think more seriously about researching Audio books.

 
 I began my search with LibriVox (public domain audio books) and  audiobooks.org - both sites offer free books, a good place to begin the journey of getting to know the sound of a good story teller.  Then I went to Amazon's acx platform which offers a way for any publisher to offer their book as audio.  They have some good acx help posts for the newbie (like me).  I think the key to a great audio book would be hiring a great storyteller. 
 
Readers audition  for the part in your book.  They get paid by the job, or sometimes they can be offered a slice of your earnings (of course this works better for more seasoned writers with previous sales to back their offers).  This got me to wonder how these readers are trained, so then I surfed the web again and this  'How to become an Audiobook reader' post from eHow was helpful. (more posts on the side tab too)  As usual too many ideas!
 
It is another avenue to use to help create more markets for your book.  There are so many new roads to wander off from this self-publishing path.  As always, do the research, find what works for you, and make a plan.  It's okay for the plan to change, as long as you still keep on your own path towards your own target.
 
I find myself wandering off sometimes and get discouraged, then I remind myself of what my goals are.  Things take time - most writers are not over night success stories.  Remember the important things.


Keep reading - Keep writing!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Curses - Haunted By Them - Or Thrilled?

Labor Day is over, school is back in session, and another autumn is upon us.  The cooler fall evenings get me in the mood to cuddle up with a good horror book, or watch one of the old detective or monster films.

That's right - I am that person.  I love the autumn, love Halloween, and love a good scary story.


That's the reason my first novel BREAKING CURSED BONDS was released for this fall.  Usually it is better to wait until January and avoid being plunged in with the fall glutton of new books on the market, but I really think my story belongs in the darker days of autumn.

The main story begins with an ancient book that tells the tale of how an ancient curse befell the De Gourgues family - back in 1565!  A spiritual ceremony went wrong when an evil element was added to the mix.   A curse was created - causing a history of deadly consequences.

If you like the subject of curses and the spiritual realm, then you may like an interesting website  The Mystica   I discovered.  There is a post explaining curses which listed some of the history about how possession, voodoo mystical spells and the paranormal magic and how
they were used in different cultures.  Of course there is a lot more out there for those who dare dabble with the supernatural.

Soon Halloween will be upon us, and we will watch our thrillers and read about witches and spells - but be warned, there are many out there who believe in supernatural with all the revelry.  So be careful and always keep an open mind.


Keep reading - Keep writing!


TOP TEN HORROR FILM TRAILERS FOR 2013 - Which is your favorite?



Some Classic Reads -


  
                                                                Calamity-Town-Ellery Queen eBook

 
And here is my new book -



Friday, August 23, 2013

Bravo Writing Community - Thank you! For your Enthusiasm & Guidance

Yes the end of the road is near...

Soon the eBook version of BREAKING CURSED BONDS will be released, and...

I would love to take a breather, but where one road ends - another begins!

Once the eBook is available September 1st, then promotion will be needed, as well as finishing up on the paperback formatting which will be released in November 2013.  I am a new author and self-publisher, and all this work to get the story finished has been a new experience with a wide learning curve.  Anyone who has a story to share can do it, and if your tool belt is rusty just ask for help.
 
My previous lines of work did not involve the same tools needed to write and publish.  I had a lot to learn.

I turned to fellow authors in the writing community, many who were happy to share their experiences and knowledge.

While every journey is unique, I was thankful for all the marvelous people who call themselves writers and authors.
 
In many business formats, competition rules, often cut throat competition.  One thing I have noticed in the modern world of independent publishing is that while there is still competition - it is more of a community of sharing, and collaborating.  We sponsor each other with blog hops, we promote each other's books, platforms, blogs, websites, and anything else we create.  It is a wonderful thing to be involved in a community so sharing and open.
 
There are now groups that help self-publishers like AiA (Assoc. of Independent Authors) and ALLi (the Alliance of Independent Authors).  Of course not everything is always rosy, there have been a few who chose to write bad reviews to stack the deck, but it is at a minimum.  They get called out by the community protests with their Facebook posts, tweets and blog posts.  As a writing community they will not let abuse go on without the outcry for moral and civilized actions.  The individual is still respected as an individual with a unique right to freedom of speech, we are all encouraged to act responsibly and with care.

This profession of writing is evolving to face the new challenges in the free world.

Since the wide world web has given access to so much, we are experiencing new trends.  So if anyone can give real sound advice to a newbie like me it has to be something like this -
 "Keep your eyes open, watch and learn, because it changes fast, and we need to swim with the tide." 
The bottom line is to keep writing, tell your story, share with the community and be true to yourself.

Keep reading! - Keep writing!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Connectivity - A Relative Concept - Is Speed the Most Important Aspect? or Freedom

 

Are We Really All Connected?

Another Friday - another week gone by, and still we are all probably working on our same projects.  Sometimes it feels like we are not moving fast enough, especially in this culture of quick impulses and fast connections.  I was astounded when I read a report that the US has very slow internet connectivity speeds. Check it out here at govtech.com .   Hong Kong was the leader for speed.  It's so funny, because not matter how fast the speed gets I still want it faster - how about you?
There are of course other factors to consider.  We may not have the fasted connectivity but we are the biggest users.  Find out more if your interested - Global Internet Users has been changing.
 
I personally hope as we think about our connectivity to others, our access and speed, that we also think about our freedoms and responsibilities.  We cannot take things for granted anymore.  Everyday we are reminded about the shadow of 'Big Brother' watching (and listening & gathering data)  I don't want to live my life monitoring every word out of my mouth afraid of censorship or worse - but at the same time I do realize I need to be responsible and send out inoffensive content because I don't want to be a negative influencer, but a positive part of the society as a hole.  So we all need to KEEP our FREEDOM in mind, and make sure we never lose our most precise asset of the internet connectivity.
 
 
I will be going on a short vacation next week, to see some of my family, and I will not be as active online.  My travels will lead me into the rolling Berkshire Hills where there is often a spot without any connectivity to be had :(  but the scenery is worth it!  Some may not check FB or tweet at all when on vacation, but I am not so sure I can manage that for ten days.  Still there will be days my hand is forced because there will be no internet access, so it will be an experiment as I walk along and say 'Can YOU hear me now' - here is a short clip about someone's plan to leave - although he intends to never come back!  I will return :)
 
Keep reading - Keep writing!
 
 
See you in the Shire :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tips To Help Shape Up Your Manuscript

This is some of the hardest work any writer confronts - Rewriting and Editing, but there are some methods you can use to help you stay focused and work through with a continuous hand.  First off, I am not a teacher or a paid professional coach, I just know what works best for me, and used advise I was given from various sources.

Most of us do free writing on the first draft.  This is when we let our imagination go wild, and we let our 'muse' do its best.  Many writers use NaNoWriMo for this first draft, and it helps to keep focused on result.  You can do this yourself anytime, by setting up word count objectives each day.

After we finish the first draft we have a mess of jumbled up ideas.  You can at this point go to an editor to make sure your story thread rings true, but you still have to do the rework yourself.

Now pull up your sleeves and work through your draft.  If you went to an editor consider all their points as you rewrite.  Don't be afraid to delete where appropriate, and add where more information is needed.
Here are some steps I try to follow:
  • Read your entire manuscript through once without stopping, and then set aside for it to incubate a day or so.
  • Go back and make a complete outline of each character - know who they are and how they react, what they like, dislike, do and say.  If you did this already with the draft's outline, revisit to make sure you caught everything.  Some things may have developed as you wrote the draft, and need to be added.
  • Go back to manuscript and read it out loud, one chapter at a time, to make sure it sounds correct, especially when it comes to dialog, and fix wherever needed so your true character rings through.  Make notes where you need to change things.
  • Go back again, and make sure each chapter has the correct tension, using a set goal with actions that lead to a disaster or some form of hook to keep the reader wanting more.
  • If you do not use Scrivener or some form of software with outline capabilities, use the board approach for this part.  If not, then consider creating an excel sheet to track each scene, and list the main idea for each scene - by doing this you can see how the entire piece works and flows.
  • When you have the scenes outlined by goal - reactions - disaster/hook, look it over and see where you might need to add tension or details to keep the flow smooth, and the tension correct.
Go back to manuscript again, this time looking for offenses some of us (including me) most often have scattered throughout:
  • Watch out for head hopping (jumping from one person's thoughts to another) and make sure the POV for each scene is only one person.
  • Correct verb tenses, make sure everything is consistent.  This gets tricky if you are using flashbacks etc.
  • If you have used a spell checker in your document, go through again manually.  Sometimes a word is spelled correct but its the wrong word, (like of instead of off).  Some say this works best if you go backwards and start at end - I think you just need to proceed slowly and don't read, just look.
This so far has gotten you to a pretty good place, and you hopefully have read through your manuscript at least half a dozen times by now.  - This is the point where your may want to go to an editor again.  Put it aside for awhile - and then after a week or so.

YOU GUESSED IT - go back and read your manuscript again, this time with a highlighter and pencil, if you have it printed.  I like to do a quick conversion to an eBook format, and then I read in my reader and use the highlight feature of my kindle or Ipad.  (anyone can do this with Calibre or similar software)  Highlight anything that sounds out of sorts, make notes (you won't remember).  Then go back to your manuscript and make the changes.  For this part I like to do it chapter by chapter...

By the time you have finished editing you should have gone through the story at least half a dozen times, but most likely closer to over a dozen.  The last part, I actually repeat many times over.  Maybe some can get this all done in one sweep, but I know for myself, I read my manuscript at least fifty times (I lost count).

The thing is, as you set your work aside and incubate, you may come up with some new ideas to add.  If you do - go for it.  This is how we get the extra twists and turns, the symbolism, the ideas that are threaded throughout.  These writing techniques don't just happen with our original idea, they take time to turn over.

One more suggestion I very strongly believe you should use - Beta readers.  Get feedback from others, even if you use an editor.  The feedback will be enlightening.  When someone else who is objective reads your work, they will see things you missed.  Listen with an open ear, and consider their points.  This will make for a better story overall.

So you say "This is a lot of work!"  Yes it is.  This is the meat that makes up writing.  These steps are crucial to any manuscript.  Bottom line, it takes a lot of time, patience, and reworking, to have a manuscript turn into a novel.  Don't get overwhelmed - but instead take it step by step, one section at a time.  Your work will reveal a well written story for others to enjoy, and that is the goal.

Keep reading - Keep writing!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Our Basic Need To Be Heard - Writing Is Therapeutic


The past few weeks I shared Part One of a story I was developing.  That is back on my desk to edit and rewrite.  In the meantime, I wanted to touch upon a few other thoughts concerning writing.

There are many people who consider themselves writers, and many who don't and probably should.
We have been trained to think that writers are authors who get published in books -
Well I never liked being told what to think or do!
So if you please, JUMP out of that box with me for a moment.

Yes authors are writers, but there are more.  Being a writer is more than that...you are a writer if you write to express yourself or an idea, and if you
  • you write everyday in a journal
  • you are part of a team at work that summarizes projects
  • you blog 
  • or any other type of consistent writing platform
Then you are a writer - YOU write to express yourself or an idea.
In our society writers tend to be the people who seek out:
  • organization
  • making sense of the world around them
  • need for balance 
  • seek the finish line -
  • they can envision the end goal in their mind

Anyone can pick up the pen, pencil, keyboard - and start writing.  If you are disabled there are other software out there to assist, so no excuses.
Everyone can benefit from writing, and here are a few benefits already recognized.

WRITING is therapeutic. 
  • proven helpful for patients with PTS (Post Traumatic Stress)
  • therapy for children who suffered from abuse or traumatic events
  • growing pains in general 
  • writing love letters have saved marriages
  • writing diaries have helped individuals discover themselves

Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing.
Guidelines for writing therapy

The physical act of writing out our thoughts, our fears, anxieties, and situations we are struggling with, helps to heal us inside.

One of the most human of all needs is the NEED TO BE HEARD.  We seek out self expression in many ways, but writing is one of the most expressive and healing of all.

The act of writing connects the two parts of the brain at the same time.  While we are immersed in the physical, it connects with our conceptual side, bringing them together to make one final harmonious thought.  What could be more beautiful than that? 

 http://www.amazon.com/Diary of Anne Frank

This July there are many people out there who are participating in the NaNoWriMo July event.  Check it out for the next round, and challenge yourself to some robust writing.
http://nanowrimo.org/   

It just may help you discover something new about yourself, or the world around you.

Keep reading - keep writing!  and have a great weekend.

 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What I Live For - Freedom


Friday May 10th  I'm taking part in 'What I Live For', an online event organised by author Satya Robyn

People like me all over the world will be sharing what gives their lives meaning

In Satya Robyn's novel 'Thaw', Ruth gives herself three months to decide whether she can find a reason to carry on living. There's 75% off the kindle version today (99p / $1.49) - read more here: http://www.satyarobyn.com/?page_id=56

Please join in with your own art describing 'What I Live For' - visit the event  and post a thought, a picture, or a blog post  https://www.facebook.com/events/530335293684273/


Here are my thoughts....
What I Live For
 
For years I have been living for my family, my four children and husband.  The day began with making meals, breakfasts and bagged lunches, preparing dinners, washing clothes, cleaning the house, yard work, gardening, fixing scratched knees and broken hearts, and then hours of guilt when I was away, working at an hourly job.

So many hours were spent with thoughts of them in my head - their faces always in my vision, even when they were off living their lives and growing, they were close to me in my heart.  I cherished every flower painting given as a gift, each story bound into a homemade book, every award and contest, the fun filled Halloween costumes, and I enjoyed the soccer games and the chorus concerts.

Now my children are all grown - wonderful young men and woman.  I am proud of them all.  My children have become wonderful stewards of the world, keeping in their heart love of the land, simplicity in life and cherishing friendships.  I am proud of each, for their own persona and soul.  They will always be what I live for, even though I know the best for them now, is for us, my husband and myself, to let them go - so they can be free to find their own path and become who they were meant to be.

Now I turn a page and begin another career with writing.  I use  the love of my family as my muse.  I try to breath life into my words, with the underlying message - everyone deserves to be free.  We all struggle, and that journey is the only way to happiness.

Through the years I have had many blessings, and happy moments I will forever cherish.  I have known troubles too, and have made mistakes.  Lessons in humility, and understanding of others, have replaced the once boldness of my youth.  Now I hope to pass along a message, to everyone that I connect with, that they too can become who they want to be - grow into themselves, and be free.  This is what I still live for - freedom.





Monday, March 25, 2013

A Thought for a story... BY THE SEA



She was standing at the water’s edge, her feet rubbing against the rocky shoreline, cutting small nooks into her callouses, but the pain never registered.  She looked out at the raging waves that rolled in with a thunderous rhythm.  She wondered where he was right now.  Was he even still alive?  He left weeks ago with his crew.  They went out into the sea wanting to hook the catch of the season.  Her life hardened expression does not suite her finer structure, but this was the kind of life that aged a soul early.  She was destined to wait in pain, knowing her loved one may never return again to her arms.  The waves kicked up spray that left a gentle mist over her face; they blended with her tears, making them vanish to the eye.  If only she had the strength to stay away from him…. But alas, she was here, waiting for her man to return home.  She prayed that her heart would not be broken.  God speed, my love.


 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A vignette about a trolley ride by Elisabeth Zguta

Watching Black Birds From An Old Trolley
 
A short story by Elisabeth Zguta


A breeze whipped across the empty street causing the noise and clatter of paper and debris, as it hit the sidewalk’s edge, following its wake.  I felt the briskness of the wind hit my cheeks, and I knew from the stinging that my face was red from the weather.  I was standing at the curb, under the roof of the trolley stop platform.  I reached up and pulled my hat tighter trying to stay warm and crushed my long curled strands in the process.  I needed to catch the trolley to cross town and had been standing here waiting for the next train.  Minutes went by as I leveraged my weight from one foot to another, and kicked my tall leather boots together as I tried to keep the chill out of my bones.  Then I heard the ting ting of the trolley.  The wheels rubbed against the iron rails and the rolling rumble sounded soothing to my ears.  A deep vibration was felt by my cold feet as the old vintage trolley stopped in front of me.

The trolley screeched to a halt and I stepped up, holding onto the brass railing for balance.  The dollar I had been tightly holding in my hand was fed into the meter and I watched as it crunched the money into the slot.  The wooden slatted seats were mostly empty, so I maneuvered up to the front and sat behind the driver.  He was dressed in a dark blue uniform and matching jacket, and he spilled over the confines of his seat.  He wore a hat like security men wear, and then I noticed his eyes and his face which was lit up like stars, reflecting light on his sweating brow. There was one other man already seated up front.  He was young, his dark hair slicked back away from his face, and then curled at the ends.  The style exposed his sculpted facial features.  He was handsome, with a darker skin tone and a pleasant shade of hazel eyes.  His face was cordial and smiling.  He wore casual clothes, not expensive but trendy.  A camera hung around his neck by a thick leather strap, and he bobbed his head from side to side, watching the street as if looking for something.

The trolley moved forward and we both jerked a little as the tugging of the motor hedged forward.  Ting ting, again the bell was heard as the trolley passed through perpendicular streets and warned the pedestrians.  The windows were shut and the inside of the car had welcomed warmth.  The young man started to talk with the driver and they chatted about the downtown area.  Their conversation was friendly, peppered with distinct drawls and accents of the local area.  The driver was a big man, with a very friendly voice, and a content smile rose all the way up to his eyes.  He seemed to enjoy talking about the buildings we passed, and I too found myself listening to his guided tour.


In the first part of our journey we passed trendy cafes and sushi bars.  This was a newly remodeled area of Main Street, which attracted the younger crowd.  There were some art galleries and custom furniture stores too.  Then after Union Street we passed tall skyscrapers filled with office spaces.  The exterior walls were mostly art deco with prominent embellished details around the doorways and window jams.  There was one older building from the 1800's with a federal style, sporting long windows and scrolled edging.  Then we passed a few newer constructions, one a hotel that replaced an old torn down forgotten edifice.  This building had a newer modern twist to the design, with a chain store kind of appearance.  It could have been in any city's downtown, the same as in any other place, with nothing original to give it character.

Again some more clatter, ting ting, as we crossed another major intersection.  Then we changed direction and began to run down tracks leading us towards the city's river front.  The driver pointed out rubble of an archaic building, and he told us about how that was the place where slaves used to be sold.  A shiver ran down my spine as I thought of all the misery that had inhabited that space.  It was like looking at hallows of an old prison, with visions of death and injustice.  Now it was just cracked stone, and fallen crumbling walls, a reminder of an evil that once prevailed here.  Ting ting, we kept rolling along.

 
Finally the young man sat up and began tugging at the window.  This trolley was old, with wooden framed windows that had swelled through the years of humidity.  He tugged at the swollen frame until he gained purchase and pulled the window down to free his view.  Out came the camera and he snapped away at the scenes around the river front.  There were old steam boats in a distance, and some small islands off the shore, filling the middle of the wide river with a diversion, and breaking the view of the shores from the other side.  The bridge leading out of the city was high above us, it spanned across the wide river with rounded arches that looked like wings, and the young man snapped a few shots of that too.

 
The driver stopped at a light and we waited until it turned green.  I noticed a flock of blackbirds squawking away as they lay covering the lawn of the riverside park.  Their sound was heard through the open window, they were eerily loud.  Chirps and squawks filled the air; there must have been thousands of the birds all gathering together making a ruckus.  A few louder caws of larger birds overshot the others’ sounds and then suddenly, as if given a cue, the flock started to ascend in synchronized waves into the perches of nearby trees.  The branches were barren of leaves and stood stark against the blue sky in its backdrop.  The birds flapped their wings and in a smooth rhythm, moved from the ground to the branches, and then in one final swoop, from the tree to the sky they soared.  They took off, fleeting by each other and rising in a large cloud of fluttering black wings and squawks of ear piercing high pitched noise.

 
The light changed and the trolley tugged and jerked as it moved forward.  The birds flew swiftly and were gone, out of sight.  The camera man was snapping at the river front, and then sat back down on the bench seat after he quenched his curiosity.  He smiled, revealing deep dimples.  He was pleased with his shots and progress, and I was happy he found what he desired.  The driver smiled too, as he pressed on towards the bluffs.

I sat there wondering when the spring would be here.  I wanted the empty tree branches to be filled with greenery, enough so the birds were hidden in the bright colored camouflage.  I wanted to hear the birds sing songs to each other instead of flocking as a mad group that was migrating.  I wanted a southern wind to be warm against my face, and kiss my cheeks with sunshine and color, instead of a stinging frozen bite.  I longed for spring, the rebirth of warmth.

The trolley stopped, tinging its bell again.  This was my stop.  I got up, bent my head towards the men in recognition and left the trolley.  Hanging onto the handrail, I stepped down into the bitterness still hanging in the air.  Elusive spring, where are you?