Yesterday my 6th graders embarked on their first creative writing assignment. They read a really COLD story and now they are to write a really HOT descriptive paragraph. To write descriptively is a hard task. How can you make your readers see, hear, feel, taste, etc? As I walked home I started writing paragraphs of my own. But instead of HOT, I chose cool FALL morning to write about.
On my way to school as a Child in Seattle:
The sidewalk was wet. Multicolored leaves layered my path like an unfinished decoupage project. I was wearing the wrong coat. My quilted jacked was heavy from the rain. I had no umbrella to hide beneath. I slipped. Under foot I saw the remnants of a slug, smeared and deflated by a previous wanderer’s steps. The wisps of grey clouds clung to the mountains with fingers reaching here and there. My toes were numb from the cold, but soon they would be warming by the fire. As I turned up my quiet street the smell of wood smoke comforted me.
On my way to school as a Teenager in Seattle:
I turned the heat on for the first time that fall. As the fan turned its first cycle, tiny leaves the shape of small feathers blasted through the vents. Instead of feeling the warmth of my car’s engine, I felt the horror of a fashion conscious teen covered in muck and soon to be late for class. I dusted myself off the best I could. Water and leaves from the neighbor’s maple tree were blocking my view so I hit the wipers to see clearly. I pulled out from the driveway, rolled my window down an inch, and lit a cigarette. Will my father’s colleagues smell the smoke on my clothes?
On my way to Graduate School in Eastern Washington:
The sun was up, but it was hard to tell in the canyon. Fog lingered in pools along the pastures. I had my coffee, packed my bag for the day, and got in the car. I rolled down the window to wipe away the dew and felt the chilled musky air on my face. I made a “tlick tlick” at the draft horses in the paddock. Their ears turned toward my direction, but their bodies remained unmoved. The sky was pink, now. And as I traveled down the farm road I knew I would be late to class. The whistles of a herder and clang of the bells on his sheep relayed the warning: Traffic jam on Manastash road. Sheep have the right of way. I slowed to a stop and turned off my engine. I was sucked into a sea of bleating black and white. I felt as though the car was undulating on the waves. And then I was free; back to shore I continued my journey.
On my way to school as an Adult in Central Germany:
At some point I stop avoiding the acorns. Crunch, Munch, CRACK! My shoes roll and twist. I stay upright, but feel off-balance. The nuts blanket the path in green, orange and brown. Like rain, they fill the cracks and crevices of the ancient sidewalk. Some are in tact, some are hatless, some are fractured and broken, some are wrapped in the blanket of other leaves. Students coming and going, running and walking are grinding down the bounty of the season. Where are all the squirrels?
What are your recollections of fall? Any specific moments come to mind?
Categories: English Literature