First Five Fragments for Friday – End of January

Your weekly offering of writing/art prompts.

The end of January is not just about the Super Bowl. For those of you outside the U.S., this is the time of year when our biggest football game of the season enjoys unlimited publicity that brings along with it a barrage of recipes for truly unhealthy (but yummy) snacks, beer sales, football fan gear, another opportunity for a party. Me? I tend to watch the commercials during the game because that is some of the most clever advertising of the entire year. And I do like beer.

But I digress. I was about to say that the end of January is more than that. For the Celts, Christians, and Pagans among us, St. Brigid’s Day looms. She is the patron saint of poets and was Irish, so I kind of like her. There is the renewed hope of spring, the view toward melting snow and awakening earth. There is Valentine’s Day, for the love-struck. The end of January is a shift toward warmth.

That is not to say that, in Minnesota, we are done with winter. There is still plenty of time here for quiet at-home time while snows continue to pile up, ice still blankets our lakes, and nights by the fire are still what feels good.

Here are this week’s prompts:

January images

1. The way smoke rises slowly as if reluctant to leave the chimney

2. The paleness of sunrise against snow and bare trees as if fire, too, slumbers

3. In the so-called dead of winter, critters are alive and well and on the move, as evidenced by the clear snow trails created by squirrels, rabbits, crows, and other creatures

4. Plumes of snow that fly over banks too tall to show the humans and machines that create those plumes, while the sound of snowblowers is harsh in the cold air

5. Small birds who visit empty snow-laden bird feeders, hopeful as they bob their heads at the bird feeder openings until they give up and fly away

Happy Friday. Go fill some bird feeders.

Geranium reaching toward the sun. (kcmickelson 2014)


  1. But wait….Renee Fleming, opera star of the highest order, will sing the National Anthem @ halftime @ the Super Bowl. Unprecedented in history. I'll be there, at my HD TV with my camera.


  2. St. Brigid was one of those saints whose story I kept returning to in my “Lives of the Saints” book when I was a kid. Glad you liked the photo! I have another of that geranium on my Tumblr blog that shows the flower bud I just discovered last week.


  3. I love coming out of the house in the morning to a fresh dusting of snow, and finding bird tracks all over the porch. Of course if I haven't filled the feeders yet I wonder if they were trying to ring the bell!
    “The service at this joint stinks! More suet, more suet!”


  4. I believe our birds might think we've vacated the premises since I haven't filled the feeders because I can't get over the snowbanks to get to them! We had another 6 inches of snow on Thursday. So, so glad we have a snowblower. I suppose we could blow out a path to the feeders….


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