Monday, May 5, 2008

Painting with Words

My writing prompt for today is: Think of one place that is special to you. Paint it in words.

Turn off the hot black asphalt onto a narrow red-dirt road. Feel the vibrations as you cross the first of many cattle guards flanked by rusted barbed wire fences.

Pasture land, green with the new growth of early spring, spreads to the base of the far mesa. Brown and white cows casually watch as you pass by, not at all bothered by the sight of a vehicle crossing their dining table.

The road curves around, becoming gravel. Your car throws up white dust as you pass. The road dips to a low water crossing where a languid stream creeps across the road. There is barely a splash as your tires enter the shallow water.

Pull over here. This is where you spot the first thick cluster of bluebonnets, dancing in the cool breeze funneling down the creek from the far cliffs.

An old farmhouse sits close to the creek, its once white paint grey from many harsh winters. An old rocking chair rocks itself on the sagging porch as the breeze teases a piece of torn screen hanging on the faded green door.

Look up at the creaking windmill, tottering on tired old legs. Those rusty blades once shone bright as they twirled in the Texas wind, proudly pumping fresh water from deep below the ground. Now they whimper in disrepair and neglect.

Red Indian paintbrush mixes with the rich blue of the bluebonnets, their bright colors contrasting with the dull old house they hug. Honeysuckle, not yet in bloom, crawls up the old porch columns, determined to brighten the sadness with its white and yellow fragrant blossoms it will soon put forth.

Continue down the road, through the thick shade of the live oak trees. Movement. A doe, brown and tan, steps out from the brush, followed by two tiny speckled fawns. Stop and let them pass.

Leave the trees behind as you round yet another curve. Catch your breath as sheer red granite cliffs rise above you to the bluest sky in Texas. White dots move along the side of the cliff. Grab your binoculars and watch the daring goats traverse a seemingly impossible path.

The creek meanders along the base of the cliff before turning back towards you. Cross it again and begin the slow climb upward. On either side of the road the bluebonnets blanket the pastures so thickly little green can be seen. Occasional stands of yellow groundsel and red interlopers of Indian paintbrush interrupt the monopoly of blue.

Suddenly the climb upwards becomes quite steep. Your teeth jangle as you cross yet another cattle guard, this one in need of repairs to its loose poles. At the top of the hill, the road curves south. Find a safe place to park and carefully step out to the boulders that line the top of the bluff.

See the waves of blue down in the valley? That lake is not full of water but of Texas bluebonnets. Don't forget to breathe as you take in the magnificence below.

Now turn and look across the road. Look at the boulders, sprinkled with sparkling quartz, running up the face of the hill. Pink primrose and yellow buttercups grow amidst the deceptively barren rocks.

A few more miles and you enter the bustling metropolis of Willow City, Texas. A general store, a post office, a school and a church or two sit within the city limits. Enter the store, its cool dark interior welcome after the bright sunlight. A grape soda and a chocolate bar, rung up by a kindly old woman, and you are on your way to your next adventure.

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