November 3, 2019 at 12:02 pm #6621
John S AltyParticipant
OK, I realise there is other stuff going on to occupy you, so let’s keep this simple, and seasonal:
About 400 words on “Falling Leaves”
Have fun!November 14, 2019 at 11:58 am #6700
A Coat of Many Colours
Her debut frock had been remarkable enough. Clouds upon clouds of fragrant petals laced together with birdsong; an ode to spring. Dressed for the occasion, she rose from her slumbers to a reveille of golden trumpets, gathered in bands around her heels, and coloured the air with fragrance … though the show soon moved on.
She changed into a gown of green, lush and velvet and rich. This was her best attire, many thought, and captured her beauty in so many pictures. The gown dripped with diamonds in the sunshine following warm showers. On brighter days, bold rays passed through her rippling folds and set them alight like fairy lamps. The progressing pageant was glorious – unbeatable – until autumn arrived.
In honour of the maturing sun, she and her sisters wore their best ribboned coats, each slowly changing from greens into mustards, to crimsons and so to rich russets, rippling and swaying in the strengthening winds. They stood whispering, nonchalant, while small creatures raided their jewels: polished chestnuts, spilled acorns, and berry-laden pendants: a larder of riches selflessly shared.
As her floral minions had come and gone, so she must return her gowns to the earth, each shred of them falling like coins; payment for the splendour mother nature bestowed. Knowing her show to be over, she weeps to the last, each tear curling crisp and brown, adding to thickening rivulets which ran down banks and along kerbs. Gleeful children kicked through the rivulets and crunched them underfoot, uncaring of her decline. Mothers and fathers no longer raised their cameras to capture her beauty, presuming the skeletal lady dead.
But look closer; tread gently over her tattered rug, and you will discover that this is not death, but sleep: a pregnant promise that spring will return. See her fingers, studded with buds: embryos, tucked up tightly, safely, while shifts of hoar-frost are draped and shed. Beneath her winter coats, the buds fatten, ready for the next show to begin. It is only a pity that the best comes at the end; not in the rise, but in the fall.
November 16, 2019 at 2:35 pm #6709
- This reply was modified 3 days, 20 hours ago by Janette.
Steps of passing ghosts
‘Trees are at their best when they’re turned into timber,’ said Norman as he picked the large golden leaf from his decking, crushing it in his hand. He had searched for ages to find this house with no trees in sight. There had been a spruce in the garden when he moved in, that the previous owner said had been a Christmas tree, ‘from when my children were tiny.’ Norman cut it down and dug out every scrap of root, burning the lot with satisfaction.
On Tuesday morning, he looked through his patio doors at the light sprinkling of leaves. He frowned. Somebody was playing silly devils. The leaves were gathered up and after some thought, fed into the waste disposal.
On Wednesday, there was a substantial pile, spilling from the decking onto the lawn. This was going to take some time to clear away and he walked suspiciously all the way around his house. Not a tree anywhere, not even on the horizon. The gravel drive was freshly raked as he had left it. No sign of a trailer or a truck being driven up.
That evening, instead of heading up to bed, he turned his reclining chair to face the garden and settled down under a quilt.
His Thursday began just after five when he awoke, cold and stiff. It was dark and when he switched on the light next to his chair, he couldn’t quite work out what he was seeing. The room was reflected in the glass doors, but there was a mottled pattern rising about a foot from the floor. He rubbed his eyes. Leaves! There were leaves piled against the doors.
At eight o’clock he telephoned the police – who were unsympathetic. ‘You have leaves on your decking?’ they said, and, ‘You’re aware that it’s November?’
It took him most of the day to rake and sweep the leaves up and feed them into a bonfire.
Sleep came hard and was fitful when it arrived.
On Friday morning he couldn’t open the patio doors and light trickled in through a thin strip at the top. Norman ignored the leaves. He would hire a contractor – in a day or so.
He was woken by rumbling and creaking in the night, but pulled the covers over his head. Eventually when the LED lights of his clock read nine thirty, he stared blankly across the bedroom and shivered. It was dark behind his curtains. Leaves. Downstairs he ignored the garden altogether and opened the front door. There was a solid mass that he could not push through with all the weight of his body. As he scrabbled with his hands more leaves replaced those he scooped away.
A year or so later, a postman cycled past the copse on his way between the town and Coopers’ farm. The shade in summer and the splash of gold in autumn was a welcome contrast to the bleak landscape. He couldn’t remember a time when it hadn’t been there.
(A number of words, possibly within the concept of ‘about 400’ but if not, well, never mind)November 16, 2019 at 3:24 pm #6710
Patience undoubtedly a virtue (308 words)
In the same way that Christmas cards seem each year to embrace a different theme – last year it was robins, the year before gold-embossed letters and musical notes – this year’s trend in ‘In sympathy’ cards appeared to be fallen leaves. Drifts of them, beneath trees, along kerb edges, gold and yellow scatterings, bloody acres of them. And before they got to landing, whole trees with half-bare branches, illustrating the aridity of a part-denuded life.
Less depressing in colour (especially – even – when autumnal) but they tended to be outnumbered by a preponderance of black and white. Etchings, lino-cuts or skillful pen and ink. Tasteful litters of them, deemed more in keeping with mourning, no doubt. Certainly hit the message home.
As did, even harder – for where the appeal to other senses? – the soft and spineless sympathy, mournful pigeon-tones of verbal ones, left on the phone? Took me right back to the music my grandmother sang along to – all those saccharine, mooing ballads, repetitive heavy-rhyming ‘moon’ and ‘June’ and ‘soon’ doom-laden words. And I’m sure there were falling leaves there, too, sung by Tony Bennett or some such plastic-faced crooner.
(And, yeah, ‘rock’ and ‘clock’ no less heavy, and just as ubiquitous, but at least they had life!)
Which he no longer had.
And, it seemed, neither was I supposed to, from now on.
Except. Except the life I lived with him had never been the life I’d choose were I alone. (Or with another, I suppose. But that dependent on who.) And had I declined his effortfully-romantic proposal – you guessed: moon and June and wine and roses – I’d no certainty of having the money I have now.
Money always comes in useful.
And by the time leaves fall on that recently-dug patch in the depths of the wood where we did our courting, mourning will be well and truly broken.
- This reply was modified 3 days, 2 hours ago by Sandra.
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