G. Elizabeth Kretchmer is one of 56 contributors who write about love and the loss of place, innocence, loved ones, and more. Her essay is entitled Song of the Tree Frog. Available through your favorite independent book store or on Amazon.
The congregation of frogs is a family reunion sort of thing. They meet up at the same pond where their forebears have gathered, a place where they feel they belong, a place that’s instinctively secure. The males sing their songs of desire; the females come to the amphibious bedroom. The group assembly raises the local temperature and humidity, for the greater good of all, until new eggs are laid and the adults are free to–or required to–move on. For years I’ve listened to the group’s songs, my heart swelling as though my own children were singing. But now comes the final, bittersweet performance. We are moving, leaving the frogs and the pond, and the high desert I’ve called home for many years.
SLAB, Issue 10, 2015
Roxanne could have had that fresh start she’d been working toward for years, finally walking out of that godforsaken cubicle in the heart of Louisville and heading north by northwest into the teasing sun and climbing into Peggy Sue, her shiny new Class 8 sleeper truck. She could have kept on hauling ass up straight-as-a-ledger-column I-5, with that azure sky overhead and Carrie Underwood on her upgraded sound system. If only she hadn’t hit the doggone bridge.
The New York Times, Motherlode: Adventures in Parenting, August 18, 2013
When my son Dylan was 18, he asked me to accompany him on a Royal Caribbean cruise. But this wasn’t your normal cruise. This one was called 70,000 Tons of Metal, and it featured 42 heavy-metal bands and 2,000 metal fans. I did not like heavy-metal music, and I did not particularly like my son very much those days, either.
Silk Road Review, Volume 7, Issue 2
I took a deep breath and stood poised on this frozen balance beam like the gymnast I never was. John and I were out there, traversing a tilted, glossy path, exposed to everything and protected by nothing. Along with hiking boots we should have had crampons, ice axes, trekking or ski poles. I looked down the slope, fanned out beneath us, perfectly smooth and slick, an angled expanse without a single boulder, shrub or tree. I couldn’t see where it ended, and this I knew meant there was a drop-off down there, several stories tall. A single false move was all it would take; there was nothing to stop a freefall.
The Chaffey Review, Volume 8, September 2012
On Wednesdays, Ron Major would shut down the lumberyard early and lead us over to C.J.’s, across the street from the train station, for a bottle of Johnny Walker Red and an afternoon of liar’s poker. We all went. I had to; it was part of the job. We’d file into the dim bar, paneled in the same dark walnut that decorated my husband’s sanctuary, and take our positions at the old, round table in the middle of the room, waiting to get started like communicants at the altar. Joe, a freckle-faced newlywed with biceps bigger than my thighs, always sat to my left, and next around the table came Bill Spitt and Bill Chew, both of them with pregnant wives and lawns to mow and bills to pay back home. (Spitt and Chew, by the way, were their honest-to-God names; I know because I did the payroll.) Then came Ron, seated on my right, wearing his usual short-sleeved white shirt and clip-on tie, with a cigar in his pocket protector next to the blue ballpoint pens. And of course me, with my back to the door, my silk scarf shoved deep in my pocket, and my top two blouse buttons finally open so I could really breathe.
High Desert Journal, Spring 2009, Issue 9
Auntie had a way of looking through Marisa. It was those black eyes, not blinking, not glancing away like most people would. But not staring either, rather inspecting her in a way that made Marisa feel like her skin didn’t fit right – an itchy, too-tight sweater – a way that made her examine herself: first her appearance – her wavy hair, her skin much paler than other women in the clan – and then deeper into her thoughts, her opinions, her ambitions, like how she spent her days in the air taxi business, escaping from the cars and espresso stands and souvenir shops, through dense fog, between granite cliffs, and above ribbons of ice and rock into the Alaskan sky, and still Auntie looked deeper into the void where there should have been more friends and lovers – and love – but instead were fears, selfishness, and terrifying shame.