The Shine Journal

Exceptional Flash, Poetry, Art and Photography!






Mel Lees





               How sad it feels. The trees are bare, leaves cover the ground and the stream flows so quietly. Where is all the happy activity of the spring and summer? It becomes so easy to become downhearted and unhappy.


               But wait. Look closely. Open your eyes to your heart and you will see a different story. Look to understand what is occurring all around you. Winter’s activities are as busy as the other seasons. It only takes a bit more effort to discover them.


               Leaves, some still with their vibrant colors, cover the ground. They play with the winds, gentle and rough, singing a joyful crackling verse. They are preparing to return to the soil so the next crop of fresh leaves may appear on the same trees those singing leaves so recently occupied.


               The trees, themselves, are not completely bare. They are just resting and allowing their trunks to make way for the surge of life that yearly flows through them. Look at the branches and twigs. Tiny bumps and swelling interrupt the smoothness of the wood. If you study those swellings and bumps through the winter season, you will be rewarded by witnessing the birth of the new generation of leaves and blossoms. The happiness of the eternal cycle of rest and rebirth must glide from bush to you.


               See the stream. It flows so gently, but it is empty. No small fish, no tadpoles, no skaters disturb the lazy progress its water make on its journey to the sea. No mélange of species struggles for supremacy of the waterway. Instead, the running stream makes its own show. Ripples interrupt the easy descent as it passes by river rocks and boulders. When water overflows those stones, the interruption is hardier and accompanied by delightful music.


               No stillness of winter in this place.  Birds that winter here rather than finding other climates are busy seeking food. Often you can spot them among the shifting fallen leaves and barren trees. There, too, squirrels are hustling to stash a supply to edibles to stock their larders until spring.


               The season will slither upon us and there will be changes. Winter will try its best to make us uncomfortable by  trying to hide all those things we see that make us happy and forward looking. By opening our souls to those wondrous happenings around us every day, winter can be as beautiful as every other season.  Merge yourself with the underlying joy perking beneath the façade of dreariness. The rewards are great.

MEL LEES shares...




MEL LEES has led and continues to live an interesting life. Among his exploits he tells us that he flew 38 combat missions with the Flying Tigers in China, climbed mountains for about 15 years and then competed in international racewalking. Writing came late in life. “I live in a house overlooking a creek and sitting on my veranda gives me many ideas and fantasies. Regular walks along the street in front of my place have supplied numerous topics and inspired one print book,” he says.


MEL tells us that he’s had over 100 articles and stories published in magazines and newspapers. There are three print books to his credit and one e book which was published recently. “I'm 85 years old and writing keeps my mind young and sharp. Who was this Grandma Moses anyway?”


Writing has been a savior for him, MEL says. After retirement from the insurance business, his mind really began to expand and become younger. “Writing and the writers I hang out with keep me fresh and alert. It’s too bad I didn’t come to it 50 years ago."




"In my old age, I have become aware of the almost unseen world around us. As I have observed this world, short pieces just come to me."


Click the pics to meet the members!


Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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