The Write on Wednesday Spark - The nature of place Write On Wednesday
Think about a place in nature that feels special to you. Perhaps it is somewhere you visited as a child. Or maybe you share a special outdoor space with your own children. This place, this space will be your prompt for this week's writing exercise. Write about a particular natural geography, a natural place or space close to your heart. Tell us about the weather, the landform , the creatures who live there, what the place means to you and why. You can write prose fiction, poetry, non-fiction and/or a photographic narrative. You might mix the landscape with a personal story. Wherever the prompt take you...Let us peek into your place.
We always departed on the eve of Christmas Eve. It was always hot. Four kids, two adults and one large dog in a minivan, in the midst of summer, on a four hour journey west. In my mind, there were four legs to this journey and they were all defined by the passing scenery. The constantly moving view framed by a sticker laden window. The first leg was the most arduous. I had named it the ‘Urban Escape’. There was the ever constant musings of Richie Benaud in the background, horns having their say, three siblings nattering. My inner voice expressed the sadness of the cramped houses with cramped gardens, all of us screaming out for some breathing space. As we neared the second leg of the journey the houses started to shrink in comparison to their gardens and the trees were cheering at the extra space they had to spread their limbs. It was still hot.
The second leg was not fun. It was motion sickness holy ground, named ‘The Ascent’. We wound around the twisty roads, my tummy churning at the constant tree shadows flashing across the road, somewhat reminiscent of torture. The distant cliff faces seemed to be laughing at us, bearing all their bush rock teeth as the sun began to darken their features, making them appear sinister.
The sunset always marked the third leg of the journey, the ‘Bush Retreat’. The sun shed enough light to fill the sky with a fruit bowl of colours. The oranges, lemons, berries and plums peeked through the thick brush of trees, bush and grasses. There was a sense of calm that moved over the van. The radio reception was long gone, replaced with the balmy wind whistling, and the splat of misguided bugs on the windscreen. It was still hot.
The headlights shining on high beam was the final leg of the journey. The ‘The Gate’ leg was a battle of the minds. The headlights accentuated the creepy surrounds. The gnarly old trees embraced the road, forming a cave. They concealed a menagerie of wildlife that glared at us with their glowing eyes. Occasionally, a mighty old kangaroo would challenge us to pass, standing upright at the side of the road, glowering. Finally, I could see the light of the full moon at the end of the cave. My excitement would build, but I didn’t want to stir the others. The clink of the indicator blinking seemed so loud. There was no other movement in the van. Yes! I had outlasted my siblings, I was the winner in the gate opening stakes. As I slid the van door open, I was accosted with the scent that brought back every memory of every Christmas growing up. I opened my nostrils and drew in the biggest whiff of the fresh cut grass and cow dung that hung in the still, dry air. The chirping crickets stopped momentarily as the creaky wire gate swang open. We had arrived at the farm. It was still hot.