1000 Words Wausau – Four 250 word prompted writing pieces
written and performed by Dawn Anderson in November of 2014.
Prompted words and phrases are italicized
“Say hola to paradise,” Aunt Cappi rang out as I dragged my baggage into the airport turnstile. “They speak English in Kauai,” I mumbled like a ventriloquist. I should have been grateful to the inimitable Aunt Cappi for funding my graduation gift of escape, a direct flight out of bumble-dodge, nowheresville, my hometown of 18 tedious years.
Kauai was greener than a field of snap peas, bluer than looking up from a haystack listening to the swhooshing interstate. I wriggled my toes feeling the grains of beach sand. Palm trees swept waves of fern-like shade over my closed eyes. The sand under my body felt cooler and cooler. I slammed my arms against my sides for warmth and tightly squeezed my eyes shut. “Paradise, paradise,” I repeated like a mantra but the building roar of the surf drowned out my words.
I felt myself being shaken by warm hands but refused to give up the image of perfect paradise, paradise where nothing goes wrong, no pouring rain, no biting bugs, no nagging chores, no boring Friday nights. “Miss, we have to evacuate, right now!” found its way to my ears over the howling wind. I opened my eyes to the angry sea gobbling up my image of escape with the urgency of hurricane promise. My feet fumbled beneath me. I fell and looked back into the jaws of a huge wave. But,…I could only picture Dad plopping me on his knee, riding the tractor home from the fields.
Darkness came suddenly like a shade drawn against a peeping neighbor. The still black lit up the night creatures. Their silent wings beat the thick night returning clouds of rabbit fur settling against the forest floor even after the prey no longer struggled. Haunting coyote song reverberated against the old Oak. The hulking tree hid Burla. She found comfort in the night. For God knows where you are in the dark.
She heard the voice again, calling for her. It was deep and muffled from the distance. Burla shivered and slunk back into the crook of the Oak. A flying squirrel landed above her, and a round porcupine ambled by turning his head of slicked-back quills to look at the small girl.
The voice grew louder and sharper. The hounds too started their greedy hoarse barking. Burla took a deep inhale to calm her ragged breathing and closed her eyes, picturing herself melting into the old Oak torso. The raised hair on her arms relaxed and grew into thick sheets of molted brown. As the voice came closer, she drew her knees to her chest, tightening into a ball. She felt the Oak’s soft grain against her curled spine. The Oak’s rings reached around her form, enveloping her into the night.
The hounds reached the tree circling it, confused. Heavy boots sunk into the mulch, then moved away, scolding sharply the wandering hounds. The voice faded to nothingness, now, replaced by the hushed sound of wind in the leaves.
The fabric of her dress hinted at the shape of her knees as she worked the pedals of the spinning wheel. Sanctity sweetly sang a lullaby as the spindle gobbled up soft woolen fibers. Asmodeus watched her, burning, yearning. “If only she knew me, she would love me,” he assured himself. “She’s meant to me mine.”
Sanctity padded barefoot off the porch and into the garden. She knelt and cupped a white lily in her small hands. Drawing her nose near its milky petals, she breathed deep into the whorl of the lily. She sat back in the sunlit silence letting the chickadees light on her toes.
Asmodeus crept up behind Sanctity as she reclined in the mint patch. He stood over her blocking out the sun. “I love you my angel. Come with me. I will make you happy with a hundred things you have not dreamed of. When she shook her head and backed away, he became surly stepping on the lace of her skirt, grinding it into the dirt. “You are mine Sanctity, I love you!” he shouted. Sanctity scrambled to gain her footing but fell as her dress held fast under his boot, hitting her head against a garden urn. A scarlet rivulet ran down her pale cheek. As she closed her eyes, the wind gusted knocking Asmodeus off his feet tumbling him over the garden fence and tossing him onto the road. He stood, brushed himself off, and staggered away without even a backward glance.
Spinning wheel = fate
Spindle = phallic symbol
Sanctity = sacred, saintly, holy
Asmodeus = demon of lust
Lily = purity
Chickadee = purity of soul
Mint = virtue
Urn = mourning, earthy remains
Scarlet = Color worn by Cardinals. Blood of Christ, sacrifice, martyrdom.
horrible winds = In Dante’s inferno the winds in the second circle of hell punish those who are controlled by the sin of lust.
It must have been about 5000 feet above ground level when the trees ran out. At alpine tundra, it finally looks like mountain. Hard, angular edges, fields of scree, rock bits jettisoned from the crumbling up-thrust saddled crag of a mountain. 4000 feet more to the summit of Diamond peak. Time to engage Mother Nature. She’s boss you know, and she’s finicky like a cat with attitude. Hopefully, today she allows us to sidle up her flanks for a view of Oregon’s cathedral forest in an impressive spread of pioneer quality wilderness and snow scraped peaks.
We climb up further and further placing each step carefully. Keep drinking water. Altitude has a way of playing with your stomach and your mind. Narrow ledge. Careful. Slow. Slow. Breathe.
Closer now. The sun is sharper yet the air is cool and smells of old snow. Mother Nature is shining on us. Coaxing us up the tectonic pile. “Come along tiny hikers, I will show you my marvels so you may realize the grandeur of life.”
One last scramble on shaky legs. Chancing a gander above the ledge of summit, the rocks are illuminated in an angelic star of light.
Summit gained! Stand up tall. Gasp a whole-lung breath. Arms wide. Spinning 360 degrees. On the top of the world, a feeling of privilege, a feeling of your smallness. Your immortality in the cycle of the innumerable trees and moving rocks and rain and sun. “The hills are alive,” and so am I!