Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Writing Adventure Group

Nixy Valentine has started a writing group for anyone who would like to join. She hopes to build a community of writers intent on improving their observational and writing skills. This is actually the 2nd week and the 2nd challenge. I was too immersed in family dramas last week to meet the deadline. But this week, I am offering up my contribution

To get full details regarding the Writing Adventure Group and see last weeks efforts, just click on the title of this post. I will also provide links to the participants on the Liar.

In the meantime, here are the instructions to this week's challenge: ... go outside, and sit for a minute. (This can be in your yard or garden, on a city street, in a park, in a shopping centre, where ever you choose!) Soak in everything you see, hear, smell, etc, for a moment, and then describe something that you did not notice at first. This can be anything! Just make it something that you overlooked when you first arrived. Keep your descriptions as concrete as possible!

And here is my entry:

I’ve promised myself that next weekend, rain or shine, I dig in dirt. I can hardly wait.

This weekend, I was content to appreciate the results of dirt-digging done last fall. Hundreds of daffodils, planted in mass, cutting wide swaths of yellow, pink and cream across my still winter-brown yard. Dependable, consistent, harbingers of spring.

Sitting on a retaining wall, admiring the fruits of my autumnal labor, I felt the immense satisfaction that comes to those who make things grow.

As I surveyed the proof that spring was settling in, my eye was caught by a flutter of pale peach and creamy white, waving eagerly to catch my attention. A single, Salomé Daffodil in the middle of the new herb bed I laid out and tilled last fall. Twenty feet from the nearest grouping of it’s relatives. Certainly not where I planted it. Definitely not where it was supposed to be.

Whether I accidentally moved the bulb as I was transferring dirt and compost or dropped it as I was planting bulbs last fall, I’ll never know. It might have been the handiwork of an industrious squirrel or the dig-happy dog next door.

I stared at the lone daffodil that mocked my attempt at organized landscape design. I was so put out by the bloom’s temerity I walked over to my herb bed, fully intending to pull it up, bulb and all. By the time the bloom was in reach I realized the silliness of my reaction. I decided to cut the flower and appreciate it indoors and in a vase.

Bending to snip the stem of the flower, I paused to admire its charm. Looking at my massed plantings, I had not realized the depth of the color of the cup, an almost rose-pink where the cup attaches to the petals, gradually fading out to a soft, translucent peach. I also noticed that each cream colored petal bulged in the middle, so the widest part of the petal was not at its base, but midpoint between the base and tip. Another detail lost to the eye when it wasn’t focusing on a single flower. Stepping away from the lone bloom, I granted it a reprieve.

At that point I came to two, specific conclusions. First, beauty often gets lost in a crowd. Sometimes you need to see it standing separately, on its own, in order to appreciate the sight. And second, I was spending way too much time thinking about one damn flower.


Nixy Valentine said...

Really lovely! I like the whole feel of the piece. Well done, and welcome to the Writing Adventure Group!

Jackie said...

I enjoyed this SO much! And I was rooting for that daffodil from the moment you saw it, thinking what a wonderful occurence -- to have nature interrupt your hard work with something beautiful and serendipitous, reminding you that things don't have to be perfectly symmetrical to be beautiful. Go daffodil!

Iain Martin said...

You did John Muir proud, Lulu. The daffodil radiated unabashedly the "Unbearable Lightness of Being" in your description.

Anonymous said...

Lovely, and I am glad the daffodil got to stay where it can be appreciated far from the rest of the crowd

J. M. Strother said...

Ah, seeing the tree for the forest. That's great. My money is on the squirrel. They are always moving things around.

I liked this piece a lot. Nice feel to it. Great mood. Loved the whimsy at the end.

Also, love your blog's name. We have some really great names in this group.

AuntSally said...

Very well written. I can easily identify with the piece as I, too, am a gardener. And I never know what might come up, or where. Some seasons the birds drop sunflower seeds that other neighbors put out for them and I end up with a giant sunflower in the most unexpected place in my garden. Keep up the good work.