discover your created self

Vignette: A Brief Incident, Or a Short Written Description

Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12 RSV)

“You can’t change the music of your soul.” (Katharine Hepburn)

I washed my keys today. What a relief! The last time I wrote a vignette about my keys, I described how I threw my keys into the sea. This time, I was furiously stuffing laundry from the bag into the washer, and didn’t notice the keys tucked inside. I thought I lost them, but I just washed them.

I’ve been trying to write this post for about two days now. While I love living on the boat, there are limitations. And limitations sometimes frustrate me. The internet wasn’t cooperating yesterday. Living outdoors has its own adjustments. And daily chores still have to be done. There are so many things I take for granted living back in suburbia.

But enough griping, I am here to share some vignettes from the past couple of days. I have been processing these brief incidents with words and photos.

I love the descriptive nature of photography. I probably knew that a photo could tell a story, but I hadn’t thought about it much before this trip. I’ve also noticed how these photographs could present a mystery. If I don’t add a caption, the “reader” of the composition could make up their own story of what’s going on, or maybe an image poses a question. I invite you to use the photos as prompts for you own musings.

And now tucked between the photos, I offer a few vignettes.

Message in a Bottle

Usually a favorite past time at the beach is collecting shells. This time, I have been collecting artifacts. Artifacts washed ashore, as a result of the recent hurricane. Bits of Styrofoam from floating docks, egg carton lids, plastic caps, all sizes and colors, empty Chapstick tubes, plastic cigar tips, grocery bag remnants, candy wrappers, unpaired flip flops from child size to adult, water bottles, soda bottles, a crushed Mountain Dew can, and an empty Corona bottle with a rusty cap, which had picked up some passengers; coquina shells with their inhabitants still inside.

I found the unbroken bottle bobbing among the rocks near the shore. My mind whirled, “What if, there is a message inside?” I looked, but it was empty. I picked it up and placed it in my grocery bag.

One can find even more variety, such as fence boards, plastic bucket handles, a paper receipt, Big Gulp cups cracked apart, and a hot dog in its bun that even the wild animals wouldn’t eat. Bits and pieces of life. Whether these items entered the sea from a recycling bin, or a garbage can or some passerby who let it drop to the ground, we will never know.

The ocean churned by high winds, surged and flooded inland, swallowing up everything, and now, redeposits the artifacts on shore. And so, this beachcomber gathers them up, and restores them to the garbage can and recycling can conveniently replaced by the park staff.


I dipped the end of the cigar tip in black acrylic to make these circles.
I brought this quilt for the bed on the boat. Les’ mom made it and gave it to us during our first year of marriage. It has some vignettes to tell. I love how an object can evoke story.
artifacts become art

Kokomo is our reluctant boat dog, her mixed breeding prefers the desert or hunting in the woods, rather than water sport. We appreciate her playing along with us on our adventures. On our last beach adventure, dogs weren’t allowed on the public beach; here she is allowed. Mostly she eats, sleeps, and goes for short walks with one of us. She perks up when she sees, smells or hears another person, dog or car come into our vicinity. Yesterday, I took her to the beach in the evening when no one was there. She sniffed everything, and especially got excited by the seaweed. I decided to let her off her leash, since she hadn’t had freedom in a couple weeks. She ran down the beach in a big circle, I shouted at her because I thought she might run into the street or never come back. She stopped and looked at me, then ran again. And then, I had to go get her. Of course, tonight we took her again, and she came right back to Les. She knows who is boss.

We haven’t taken her swimming again, and she’s not too keen on the waves in the ocean, however she did take a little plunge this morning. We are tied to a fixed dock, which means the boat moves up and down with the tide. We pull the boat toward the dock with a rope to get off. It can be anywhere from 2 to 5 feet away, depending on the wind and the tide. We have been training Kokomo to sit, to stay, to wait and then when the boat is right up against the dock, we tell her to go. This morning she was in a hurry, and didn’t wait for Les’ command. Oops! Wet doggy with a frantic boss fishing her out by her harness, and me standing behind freaking out. Of course, we scolded her and told her that we hope she learned her lesson. We love our Kokomo.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” (Cicero)

growing peppermint on the boat

peppermint on my watermelon salad

Sometimes, I notice things. Like this, a recipe is a vignette. A brief descriptive, incident. For this recipe, I will give you the ingredients, but no measurements, because I usually just wing it. You will need watermelon, a lime, some honey, some olive oil, chopped mint and either mozzarella (I chopped up a cheese stick) or feta cheese. Very light and refreshing salad. Colorful, too!


Last night, we had dinner at Captain’s BBQ and Bait Shop. If you’re in line for bait only, you get to move to the head of the line. We were there for the BBQ, and it was superb. One of my side dishes was beet and feta salad. So fresh!

I see a dessert night in our future.

Take some time to write about a brief incident or take a descriptive photo. I would love to see or read some of your recent vignettes!

One response to “Vignette: A Brief Incident, Or a Short Written Description”

  1. The picture of the little bunny draws me in. I think it is attached to a thermometer. Some young family may have been routed out of their home by Hurricane Matthew and this was in the debris that got washed out of their home.

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About Me

Hi! My name is Kel Rohlf. I am an intuitive mixed-media artist, creative writer and performer. Life is a performance. I often attend.


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