Linda's Challenge: The Country Road Beckons
A friend of mine on HubPages, Linda, or Carb Diva as she is known, recently issued a challenge. I’ll let her tell you about it.
“Your prompt is this photograph of a country road. Perhaps you have walked this path many times; do the colors, sights, and sounds of the autumn woods bring you peace and contentment? Or, is this a place you have never been before; what lies beyond the bend in the road?
I think that’s all you’ll need to get started. Let your imagination take you down the path, and start writing.”
She goes on to say there are no rules. This is a woman after my writer’s heart. No rules is a fastball in my wheelhouse.
So, here is the photo and here is my response to Linda’s challenge. Oh, by the way, you can find her article by following the link to the right.
Let’s do it!
- A Writing Challenge
Join me in a new creative writing challenge.
It was meant for me to be here, at this place, in this time.
All roads led me here.
All previous actions and decisions, inactions and indecisions, brought me here.
Millions of Earth’s creatures follow a migratory path each year, the route imprinted on their DNA. It is not a conscious decision on their part to travel thousands of miles to reach their final destination. They must do what they must do. It’s really as simple as that. So why should it be surprising that we humans do the same thing.
I was meant to be here, at this place, in this time.
A simple country road, but there is great complexity in its simplicity.
Such is life.
In the words of John Denver, take me home, country road.
The leaves, once a vibrant green, now change as the temperatures drop and the sunlight fades. They are now fire-bursts, the night sky on the Fourth of July, a kaleidoscope of in-your-face boldness demanding your attention. The route is a simple one to remember. Follow the orange and take a right at the red. Go a ways and then hang another right at the yellow. See them, embrace them, allow them to make love to you, be a willing lover, caress them, kiss them, brush them with your lips and open your pores as they infiltrate your very being as all good lovers do.
These are not colors. To say they are is to diminish them. They are living, breathing sensations, capable of resurrecting long-forgotten memories of childhood romps, walking hand-in-hand with a loving partner, moments of quiet contemplation about the vagaries of life. They are nostalgic remembrances on the big screen of our minds, a longed-for kiss under the maples, tossing the football to friends, Friday nights under the lights at the local high school, caramel apples, spider webs, hot apple cider and tricks or treats.
Listen carefully. Close your ears to the sounds of commerce, to the bustling to and fro of human beings, little worker-ants, the cars and the doors, the shouts and the jacked-up music, and allow the sounds of this path to embrace you.
The chickering of squirrels as they prepare for winter; the screech of hawks overhead; the rustling of dry leaves in the wind; the snapping of limbs breaking as creatures scurry to and fro in the diminishing sunlight. Close your eyes and shut out visual distractions. Just listen. Listen as the leaves crunch underfoot. Listen as a sigh escapes your lips, propelled by a calmness that overcomes you. Listen to the chill air approaching from the north. Listen to the years passing and opportunities fading as others arise.
Burnt leaves ride the breeze. Flowers and crops begin their long winter’s nap, burrowing back to the ground from which they came, decaying, enriching, filling the air with a signal of transition, the eternal cycle of life playing out and captured by our senses. All around us life decays, life brays, and life relays, out with the old and in with the new, and the smell of that changing-of-guard is there to notice if we are receptive to it.
Is it possible to smell change? Is it possible to smell the passing of the years, so many joys and heartaches, triumphs and failures, all transmitting their own odor, the odor of a life well-lived, well-celebrated, with dignity and love.
Reach out and touch them. The leaves, once supple and filled with life, now brittle and crumbling, their journey done for this year, their job completed, perfect metaphors for our lives. The first kiss with a budding beauty so many years ago, flash forward, the final kiss goodbye as that budding beauty breathes her last. Feel the young lips, so inviting, so hungry, now old, the hunger gone, the desire a distant memory.
Our skin tingles as the temperature drops, millions of receptors sending millions of signals to our brains, the retractions commence and hibernation begins its process. If aging had a “feel” it would be sandpaper in the fall of our lives, hardened by the years, capable of softening harsh edges and making difficulties and worries, frets and concerns, smoother. Life now feels mellow, mellow yellow, mellow oranges and reds, how strange that dynamic colors would feel so peaceful and yet, they do.
Raindrops on your tongue, quenching your physical thirst and revitalizing your spirit. We know the dead of winter is ahead of us, the coldness, the numbness, the shutting down of all systems, but before it arrives we taste joy and satisfaction, contentment and relaxation, for this path leads to the final path, where once again we will return home, our final resting place or perhaps, just perhaps, the beginning of a new journey.
Taste a life well-lived. Taste the sweet melancholy and the unbridled joys. A pinch of this, a dash of that, mix and match ingredients until the perfect dish of life cooks at three-fifty and is released and savored. Close your eyes once again and enjoy the taste of your first dance, your first making of love, your first childbirth, your first paycheck, award, the first time you saw your baby smile, the first time you comforted the sick, lifted up the needy, gave of yourself in an unselfish way and tasted the joy of compassion.
The Road Leads To…….
And that’s the thing now, isn’t it? We have no idea. We plan like busy little beavers, guard for contingency one, prepare for door number two, what if this happens and that happens, do this, don’t do that, take this emergency exit and stay to the right, move along, move along, start to finish, all mapped out and in the end it’s out of our hands as life always, and I mean always, has the last say and the final laugh.
So I say to you ride the wind. I say to you set your sails on full and capture every mile per hour of breeze and let it propel you onwards, full-speed ahead, breakneck speed, damn the torpedoes and tell caution to kiss your ass as you light your tail-feathers on fire and scream like a defiled banshee. I say gather every friggin’ memory you can, and hold onto it dearly, never let it go, squeeze it, drain it, distill it in your mind, file it away, and when you really need it, pull it out and watch it again and I promise you, I make this solemn vow, that you’ll remember it all, in living color, the tastes, the smells, the feel, the sound, all so real, as real as the path you are now on, at this time, in this place.
The road of your life. You were meant to be there.
All roads led you here.
Thank You Linda
That was great fun. My thanks to Linda for the challenge, and my thanks to all of you for walking this path with me.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)