TI know she’ll be hungry. She’s inexperienced enough to fire a rifle while standing—on a hillside. She chanced a kill with no way to haul it. I boggle.

I’ve been two days and three nights puzzling. Okay, worrying. If a person has so little experience with the essentials of sustenance, how will she manage her own bandages? Shelter likely is an issue. Does she have something safe to eat?

With the venison smoked at different camps, the tanning of the hide was underway. Always on the move.

“April, I feel compelled to find this girl…woman.”

“You think it wise given her attitude?”

“Her inexperience might take her life.”

“Trying to find her might cost us our lives. If she has access to one gun, she probably has access to more.”

She has a point. I thought it through during the nights of worry. “We’ll have to take that chance.”

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson



QSquint to be certain. Yes, and finally. I am three miles from home. The drought has scattered prey from their usual feeding grounds into lower valleys and higher catch basins. For me, dragging a kill downhill seems more logical than huffing it uphill from the valley.

A bow and full quiver of arrows had become life saving about twelve years ago. My wife and I abandoned to the desperate city folk our little home with its central creek. Property or our lives, or both if we made our presence known. I think we made the right swap. Though we were prepared, it hasn’t been easy becoming nomads.

Does and fawns; no buck in sight. Logic dictates I take a fawn to leave the mature females to breed again. Never bucks. I need to hunt again and bucks were scarce due to the long standing sport of collecting a crown of antlers for someone’s wall, the equivalent of a silverback ape drumming his chest. Besides, a fawn would demand far less energy to transport.

The quiver lay close on the ground, one arrow lighter. To move downhill would be upwind from the group. An uphill shot isn’t my first choice. I have been getting better.

Slow, deep breaths. I exhale and let loose the arrow that is promptly followed by rifle report, which startles the group and me. Firearms were rarely used to hunt. Too valuable and drew too much attention to a person who had something for which most would kill.

The fawn had fallen in the chaos; a clean kill. Another arrow from the quiver as my guts shrivel at the thought of killing a human. A woman rises from the forest brush and turns toward the disappearing herd for another shot—at a moving target.

I will have to wait her out to tow the fawn, if she doesn’t scour the area for a chance kill from the rifle. I am unsure if I can kill a human after so many years of avoidance. I have no love for common humans. She’s stomping about a bit and hissing her Ss, perhaps cursing.

The fawn is now loaded onto the transport board without altercation. It is also nearly dark as I couldn’t risk changing position until dusk.


“I was hoping for venison stew.” Her voice is young but past childhood. “How about you leave that right here and I’ll let you leave.”

“You have the advantage, miss.” My bow and quiver are down the slope where they have been all day. I can’t decide if their location is a good thing. I hear the hammer ease.

I noisily make my way down the hill in a haphazard fashion, flailing at limbs and anything else in range. I finally drop beside the bow and quiver to look back. Struggling uphill, she had slung the rifle cross-body and it rested on her back. She now has my pack and assorted gear; everything I have for hunting is on that transport board, save the items in my hand.

She looks back several times though the darkness conceals me as I nearly walk beside her. She can’t hear past her own ragged breathing and stomping to maintain traction uphill. I aim and release.

Her screams are harrowing; I’ve disabled her arm at the bicep. The board is waiting for me. She cries, growls and kicks while I bandage her arm and set her on her feet. The rifle I take. I know she’ll not make this mistake again. Nor will I.

Now, to make it a fair distance without the scent of the fawn’s blood attracting a different sort of scavenger.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson


PShe was forgettable in a handy way. Quiet, she wore unremarkable clothing in analogous colors. Neutral hair of medium length, neutral skin, no beauty marks or tattoos. Her posture wasn’t open or closed, just demure, accepting. Her eyes were on the path or whatever was just below another person’s clear view of her face.

She was the new kid in high school—a sophomore—in a town of fewer than 500 people. The males were sharks, circling for a couple of weeks before deciding she wasn’t much of a thang. The females seemed not to notice her.

Heaven, though, don’t let her smile. I mean, she had a closed-lip smile that failed to reach open eyes and left her head in the down-nod position. In that sense, she smiled constantly.

The first snowy day of school, everyone took off their shoes at the wide entry hall. What a picture that made! She followed the lead of the more experienced and added her shoes. By this time, the hallway to the classrooms was a riot of bodies run-sliding in their socks. More hilarity than injury.

She picked up her backpack and stepped away from the door onto the heated floor. Her chin lifted to share surprised green eyes, and her smile bloomed. Transformed, transfixed, she hadn’t even noticed I was watching. I was always watching, curious.

Her toes wriggled inside her socks. The building was heated from below. Her brightness spontaneously spilled at random times during that first snow day.

As much as she wished, she couldn’t return fully to the periphery of attention. What is seen cannot be unseen, much to my delight.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Author’s note: This is my fourth attempt at the letter P for the April A to Z writing prompt. Certainly not because I was displeased with the writing of the first three; however, each of the three became too intense to post.


Love Without Fear

LIt isn’t Valentine’s Day; breathe easy.

No matter what we hear about “unconditional love,” it is a myth. There are always conditions even if they are extreme.

If you enter into an intimate relationship and you can see the end at the start, there is little point in giving only part of yourself and holding back the deeper self. You’re robbing yourself and the other individual(s).

This isn’t a passing friendship; friendships have different levels. If it is mutually understood to be a short term intimate relationship, then you can edit what you share. Important part: mutually understood.

You have no accountability to anyone but yourself, of course.

A deep relationship is love without fear. You don’t start out on day one pouring out your soul to someone, anyone. When you discover you’re looking for a long term commitment, be sure you’re clear. No hints. Put it out there in plain language. You want to have the other person(s) opt out if that is what they will do later when they eventually understand your implied intention.

Once the destination of your relationship is set at long term, hold nothing back. Love without fear. If you do, the other person(s) will.

Try not expect others, even friends, to love you the way you want to be loved. Again, be to the point if the relationship you have with anyone important to you. Even family. Even chosen family.

There are no guarantees. No promise is fail-proof. Yet you can love without fear through directness and honesty with yourself and other people you care about.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

The Matter of Trust

Today I read a post that pegged me and fostered self-examination. So of course I have to try it out on you. The post is Trust.

Ritual abuse, the sort that is in the name of religion and cult, is quite real and I am relieved to be informed without having to have had first-hand experience.

When I was young, I trusted everyone I met with everything about me. Frightening, isn’t it? As an abused child, I wasn’t a discerning adult; I wanted and craved close relationships instead of superficial ones and silence.

I’m still learning to trust and how to trust, not just whom to trust. After a particularly disastrous choice to trust, I no longer trusted my own judgment. I began eliminating friends, family, co-workers and anything that appeared to be an attempt at a relationship. I did well and soon had no one to which I could turn—or hurt or be hurt by.

After seven years of isolation, I am relearning the skills of small talk, which I despise. My counselor and I discussed having a group of friends to meet with and laugh with; this is foreign, intimidating. It was my brother who put it into perspective: Start with “hello” to the checkout clerk and “thank you” to someone who guided you in some small way. When you meet someone for the third, fourth, fifth time, it is okay to ask how their day is going.

There is an older gentleman who works at a national chain store near me. I see him nearly every time I enter the store. He speaks to everyone and I used to just nod. Then I began to respond quickly as I pushed my cart past him. One day he wasn’t in uniform; he was hanging out at the store on his day off. I immediately recognized he was lonely. He said he was checking his schedule—while standing in the middle of a main isle of the store. I had an actual conversation while waiting for my husband to join me.

No commitment there for me, and he appreciated the recognition that he was a part of the store’s culture.

I’m no master, and I’m learning.

Come to Rest

Dish towels rolled neatly, with dish cloths folded.

There was a time in my life where beauty found its space. I could look around a tidy room and consider what might be missing, just a touch of texture or color.

Money was an issue, of course. Whether single or married, thrift and frugality were my attitudes and beliefs. Thrift is easier when you, or someone you know who lives with/near you, have handy skills for repair and touch-up.

Some ideas took no money at all.

I began to roll my towels because they were in an open-faced cupboard. The towels didn’t match; that wasn’t the point. Rolled often takes up less space and takes the same time as folding. Always, I matched which ends faced out—and rotated stock (more on my stock-rotation rationale elsewhere).

When I was young, Continue reading

Intimacy, Trust, Transparency

Is it trust that’s impossible? Or is it the expectation of intimacy to the degree of thought and behavior? Is there anyone, including me, who is able to be fully transparent to another person? Not to everyone, but to just one other person? Do we ever trust ourselves enough to be open to that degree, let alone be open with another person to that degree?

©2008 Sandra Davidson