From the house she could barely see the store and motel through the cloud of dust whipping across the deserted highway. She looked at the lawn covered with a fine layer of grit. It had died along with the flowers. Nothing was growing thanks to the hot wind and dust. The only color in this part of the valley was in the dress she was wearing.

Life had been good here once. Before they built the new road on the other side of town and everybody left. That changed everything. Like an evil wind had blown through cursing everything.

Now the store, once overflowing with beautifully colored produce, and the motel, with it’s sparkling pool a welcome oasis for hot and weary travelers, were being swallowed up by the dust and dirt Broken signs and shuttered windows creaked and rattled in the wind. There were no laughing shoppers, no visitors, no color, and nothing to stop the moving wind and dust.

She squinted through the haze looking back at the highway. Yesterday something had gone wrong with her grandfather. Old and worn down by life, he had slipped into a new world, one she didn’t understand. She’d tried to talk to him but he wouldn’t answer. He just sat there looking straight ahead when she called the church for help.

After the doctor left, the people from church told her she was going to have to go to another home. They were taking him to the hospital. She didn’t think he knew her when she’d hugged and kissed him goodbye.

The wind still whipped and swirled as she stood with her bag and waited. A tear ran down her cheek, she was afraid. She didn’t know how to act around strangers. She looked at her dress. The only one she owned. She didn’t even know if it was pretty or not. The life she’d known didn’t have fashion or frolic in it It was plain and simple. Day in and day out there was the wind and dust but inside her house and at church it had always been quiet and safe.

But they had told her she had to get out of the wind and dust to grow. Like a flower she needed nourishment and care. She needed help in her young life. Now, since there was no place for her here anymore, they had found somebody that would take her in and she was coming to get her.

She prayed it was someone who was gentle and kind. Maybe from a life that had color and beauty and happy people. She felt a stab of fear and excitement as she saw a car slow down and turn off the highway onto the dirt driveway. She knew it had to be her, no one else would be coming.

But she didn’t know that the woman driving knew this place all too well. She had lived with the winds and dust. They had blown through her life and changed it’s course forever. It was her mother.


Rick Schultze

A few years ago at a writers conference held in the central Oregon coast town of Yachats, where I live, I listened to the late Ken Kesey, a frequent visitor to the area, tell a writer that this could be a hard place to write. “If you think you can sit there staring at the ocean for inspiration you’re wrong, it’s not out there, it’s in your head!” He was right; it is beautiful here in Lincoln County, the kind of beauty that makes concentrating on anything else tough and since hearing that insight, I’ve written at a desk facing a wall, no windows opening onto a ocean view, although I have one, but it’s worked. I’ve done, and do, different kinds of writing. As a freelance writer I’ve been a observational columnist, a humor columnist, a book and music reviewer for newspapers, magazines, and online. However, as a creative writer, my heart belongs to fiction. In that genre I do short stories, road adventure stories, musical adventure tales, and in current production, are three small novels. So really the purpose of this web site is to give you a glance of some of the things I’ve done, a preview of what’s coming, and hopefully, a view of what it’s like to be a writer living in a small town on the Oregon coast!