Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Life.  That single word filled her mind as they left the gloom of the woods and broke into the clearing.  The vitality of the green ached in her eyes and the air was heavy with the smell of growth.  The grass grew as high as a man's knees and the reeds on the other side of the river would reach to his chest.  The knobby bark trunks of the trees grew straight and true, their bases thickening to draw more life from the river.  The river itself was a sea of green, the water obscured by the plants growing on the surface.  It was so lush a faithful man might even be able to walk on water here.  It was a wild place, a primal place, a living place, the perfect place for their ceremony.
Copyright © 2010 Denise Duggan

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lake in Autumn

The sunlight glowed on the trees, laying their long shadows in the placid water of the lake.  The hill behind the island was filled with the branches reaching for the sky like an old woman’s arthritic fingers, but the trees on the island still got enough sun so they were just now basking in the full glory of their autumn attire.  Three evergreens stood straight, tall and green on the left of the island, but it was the golds and umbers of the other side of the island that arrested her attention.  The colors popped from the gray background and raged against their coming demise.  The cool air was scented with their struggle, the deep smokey smell of autumn filling her senses as much as the bacon frying on the campfire behind her.  When Steven emerged from the tent, sleepily rubbing his face, she pounced on him.  “Let’s take the canoe over to the island!” she exclaimed, then drew back, knowing what a bear he could be after his nightly hibernation.

Copyright © 2010 Denise Duggan

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Lighthouse

Quinn stood at the corner of the fence and looked out over the sea, thinking about how the lighthouse clung on the edge of two worlds in more ways than one.  In front of her she could see the sea pounding at the base of the massive rocks the gods arranged to hold back the land from merging with the sea.  Both the water and the sky were the same murky, misty blue, so dark it looked almost purple.  If she concentrated, Quinn could see where sea met sky, but only if she really concentrated.  As she savored the salt the light mist laid on her face, she turned to face the lighthouse.  The thick, dark forest behind it came right up to the lighthouse as if it were trying to push the structure over the the ledge of land to which it clung to the rocks below.  Quinn watched the forest get darker as the light faded, turning the grey-blueness of the sea and sky to the mysterious deep black only found on the ocean.

As Quinn turned back to gaze out over the sea, she made her decision.  The way ahead of her loomed as unknown and unnavigable as the cove would be without the light from her grandfather's lighthouse.  The path of her life until now crowded in on her as dark and treacherous as the forest.  She watched the light from the tower flash rhythmically on the ocean and thanked God again for her grandfather.  His example flashed on her own life like the light guiding ships, slow and periodic, leaving the navigation to her but providing a beacon, a direction, a warning.  No longer did she worry about losing her grip on the slim ledge of sanity she clung to like the lighthouse clung to the edge of land.  She could feel herself edging closer to stepping off into the unknown darkness of the sea of her own life and wondered if she could avoid the rocks as she made the transition.

Copyright © 2010 Denise Duggan

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The View

As Jackie rounded the bend in the trail, she stopped suddenly short, her breath literally taken by the view.  The golden red trees growing below the highland trail framed a vista that looked upon eternity.  Between the upreached branches of the fall-splashed foliage she could see the impossibly deep greens of the firs in the valley.  But where the autumn leaves themselves where chaotically aligned, framing the scene without guiding the attention, the evergreens directed homage to the blue-white mass dominating the picture.  Rising from the bed of evergreens framed in fall she could feel the power of the mountain run down her spine like the touch of a lover.  The valley’s master also dominated the light-bathed sky, caressing it gently the way the view caressed Jackie’s soul and stole her breath.

Copyright © 2010 Denise Duggan

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Building

The dawn sun shone bright and cold on the building that stood sentinel in the square, highlighting the cream colored brick of one side and throwing the rest into cold, deep shadow.  The building reached for the hazy white and blue cotton of the skies and dominated the trees, who reached vainly for a mere touch with branches like the bony fingers of an ancient grandmother.  As was appropriate for a building that represented the people, it balanced the angular masculinity of its cube center with the curving femininity of the domes set on the top and wings.  The three-story doric columns of the front of the building clashed and melded with the large windows of the second floor and the tiny ones of the third floor.  The juxtapositions of the architecture gave the overall effect of secrets barely hidden behind the facade of gentility, of treasures for which men could search, perhaps in vain.  The building was inviting and imposing, public and private, demanding and docile.  As Matt and Sarah approached the front entrance, he wondered how their visit would reorient them, for the secrets of a building like this would no doubt point them in a different direction, and which way they would be facing when they left.

Copyright © 2010 Denise Duggan

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Path

The path opened up around the statue, allowing folks to step back and observe without impeding the traffic of those too busy to stop and appreciate the art.  The Father of our Country stood upon a oversized pedestal.  The large, chunky pedestal dwarfed the statue and the juxtaposition reminded the viewer that before he became a Father, he was a merely a man.  Had the subject been a figure from the early 19th century one might believe the Charlestonian artist wished to minimize the figure’s importance, but even Charleston respected Washington, the man, if not the city.  More likely the artist wished to remind visitors that they could also aspire to achievement though they were but men.  The path continued past the statue through the low branches that hung like a curtain obscuring all but a low, tantalizing glimpse of the rest of the park.  A bench sat to the side of the path, offering a more complete view to those who lowered their eyes to sitting level.  The summer sun glinted on another bench, farther along the path past the curtain of trees.  The light played on the wood of the further bench enticingly, gently coaxing walkers to continue beyond the curtain of trees to discover more.

Copyright © 2010 Denise Duggan


Okay, so I'm trying something new here.  Once a day I will write.  Something.  Sometimes it will absolutely bite but maybe every now and again I'll get lucky and it will be rather enjoyable to read.  A lot of what I'm going to do at first is take a random picture of the day (thanks Google, for the "this America" widget) and try to paint the same picture in words.  I'll include a link to or copy of the original picture for comparison.  I'd very much like it if you would let me know how close you think I got.

And there will be other things.  What other things?  Don't know that yet.  I don't even know how long I'll keep at this.  I guess it will unfold like the rest of life -- sometimes shadowed, sometimes brilliant, but always a surprise.