An aging humanist hanging on to the idea that there is hope for humankind — against all current indications.

My library of published stories

Things I have written, things I have made, things I am thinking about — all in one place.

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Firebird, oil on wood panel (detail), Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

We love all types

Things have been going smashingly at Florilegium — the publication, not the archive. Yes, there are two Florilegiums. Our multitudinous followers (20 fine folks) enjoy an occasional newsletter like this one, see our posts first, and are invited to submit writing that meets our (sort of) strict requirements (quirky, creative, homeless). The other Florilegium is just an archive into which the editor (me) tosses everything he has written on Medium. You can probably ignore that one.

You should not ignore our latest offerings. Only an ogre would be so cruel. …

Managing my senior moments

My Geriatic Journal #19

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Photo of the author by Lisa Davila

I am somewhat disoriented. Or maybe disoccidented. That should be no surprise to my often-neglected journal or to the select few who read it. After eight decades of existence, I am not sure who I am and what I am supposed to be doing.

It has a little to do with these strange times in which we are all living. After all, who among us has ever experienced a pandemic? (You’d have to be more than 100 years old to remember the Spanish Flu or be immortal to remember the Black Death — mid-14th century.)

And, to my knowledge, none of us has ever lived in a country where a mad demagogue has descended from reality television to create an alternate reality as president of a presumed democratic republic. …

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Whatever turns you on

For me, there is something rather rude about the family of plants that my wife has been cultivating on the enclosed terraces of our home in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Not entirely in jest, I once published a selection of my photos of them on Flicker. The title was, I believe, “The Secret Sex Lives of Flowers.” They are the Anthurium, a genus of about 1000 species of flowering plants of the arum family, Araceae.

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Spying on nature

It is probably a good thing that I have no neighbors — at least none close enough to see me crawling around the property with my camera spying on bugs. My mission? Create a photograph of a beautiful moment in their brief little lives (the bugs’, not the neighbors’) to share with you.

Not everyone is a fan of spiders, caterpillars, moths, and bees. But as Confucious is reported to have said: “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” I went looking for it and — mostly — I saw it. I do have my reservations about spiders. …

How the moon follows the sun

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Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park, Ponce, PR ©2005 Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

Borikén/Puerto Rico 1508

Inaru sat uneasily on the stone duho in the shaman’s hut. The shaman will be pleased to see the main ceremonial bench occupied by the mother of the Great Sun, Agüeybaná I, the Chief of Guaynia, their village. But her son may not.

She had news she had to share, serious news from the shore. The short walk from the sea to the village had been difficult. She had been on the earth as long as the shaman; with knowledge comes pain. She did not rise when the men arrived.

Agüebaná’s form was framed in the hut’s narrow opening. Rays of light broke though; for a moment he seemed to glow in their golden beams. Black slashes of ritual paint marked his forehead, chest and shoulders — his only adornment as he was among equals. As he entered, almost imperceptibly he lowered his head in silent greeting. Inaru returned the gesture, then watched him as he scanned the hut, his black eyes once as bright as those of the raptor guaraguao now hooded like a hoary buho.

The new quixotic literary publication, Florilegium, has launched to huge acclaim (slight exaggeration — it has nine followers and four writers to date). It isn’t the number of writers that counts, of course, but the content of the stories and the quality of the readers. On those counts, the publication is indeed a huge success!

As in real life, giving a home to an orphan — even one orphan — is an act of love. We love orphan stories and the people who write them (myself included — you have read all those Medium posts about the importance of self-love, right?). …

A night to remember

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Taino ©2016 R. C. Flores-Gunkle

When you walk through a storm
keep your head up high
and don’t be afraid of the dark

There were only seven guests in the house for the affair. The hostess, Matilde María López y León, had been late in extending invitations for her usual parties of 12. As a result, two couples couldn’t make it before the rain and wind began.

She blamed Dr. Worthington, the American meteorologist who usually alerted Puerto Rico of the approach of a hurricane. …

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Photo taken by the author in Little Rock, Arkansas

Glorying in a Regal Hue

Most everyone knows that purple is the color of royalty. Queen Elizabeth I forbade anyone but her family to wear it. In antiquity it took thousands of a certain seashell to yield enough purple dye for a single garment. I could go on, but you get the point: it was expensive and it was rare, so only the 1% got to parade around in it.

Colors mean different things in different cultures. I once had a deep purple Polo shirt that I happened to wear when visiting with an Italian friend in Torino. He asked me (carefully and politely) if I was in mourning: that is what purple signified in his country. …

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