To all who have been reading this blog I’m not sure if this is what you expected. It certainly didn’t turn out the way I expected. If you were along for my European ride you know that my writing took on a much different shape back then. What started as an outlet for regurgitating my thoughts and feelings quickly became a journalistic endeavor, documenting all of my travels and experiences. It was raw, it was exciting, and it was something that evoked long dormant whims.
What it lacked was imagination. It didn’t portray or convey through imagery, but rather it told stories through facts, dates, and details. It was writing that I found I had talent in. But, soon it lost its luster for me, becoming boring, meaningless, and empty, which is understandably problematic for a writer.
When I started this road trip with Jac, I thought I would continue writing in this style. I would travel around America from National Park to city to National Park, and then I would describe them through my writing. These destinations engorged with history and natural beauty would provide the perfect fodder. I would do my best to portray these landscapes with words for those who couldn’t be there with me. Thus was my goal.
The difficulty became how I would outline my writing. Would I do an entry per region? Per national park? Per state? No matter which route I settled on, a problem always arose: there was simply too much to discuss. Even with a singular National Park or city I could write thousands of words purely describing what I was seeing. This wouldn’t even include the feelings or thoughts I had whilst soaking up the grandeur. I would write and get lost in the reality that I had too much raw material to mold.
My first entry was an overview of our plan. It was necessary to set the stage. My second entry was similar to my writings abroad. It was journalistic, based on the recounting of events. I wrote it hastily due to another problem that arose: finding places to sit down and write. I was so disappointed with that second entry that I threw out the old design.
For my third entry, I relied on the imagery. I looked for specific feelings and events that I could describe with more clarity and specificity. I took my reader on a journey. My writing began to evoke images and feelings, not just describe scenery outright. I wanted the reader to know what it was like to be there, to stand where I stood, and hopefully compel them to find new footing of their own.
I continued to work on my writing, and from these practices was brought forth my most recent piece. It was abstract, with a story that twisted in on itself. My writing was used images to provoke thought and had an underlying, metaphorical message that I hoped wasn’t lost. It was something that I was more satisfied with because it wasn’t done hastily, and it wasn’t just a recap.
It didn’t live up to any expectations, as I had few to start with, but it became more than I ever thought it could be. It has truly inspired me to write on a more consistent basis. With that, here is an anecdote about Jacki’s first experience apple-picking:
The sun filtered golden through the leaves, beginning it’s descent across the cloudless sky. Her eyes widened as her gaze found its way across the orchard. Boundless, it seemed as trees stretched out in rows over the crown of a small hill. The orchard sat in a ring of towering pines and mighty oaks with leaves that had begun to turn: yellow, orange, and red of the brightest hues, with their browned and wrinkled counterparts littering the ground beneath. Against this backdrop, little white tags could be seen flitting around silently, trying to escape the branch upon which they had been taken captive. “Cortland” they read, “Northern Spy,” “Greenings.” The gnarled branches twisted up and out, extending over her head covered with gleaming fruit, tantalizingly out of reach. Upon the ground were the decomposing shells of the fruit that had passed their prime, but not their use. These would be harvested and pressed into a delicious, amber liquid that is most refreshing on a crisp fall afternoon.
She ran up the first latter that she saw, poised on the top rung, grabbing as many of the gleaming fruit as possible. With one hand she filled half the bag, her other hand occupied with a single apple with a large bite taken out, exposing its bright white inside. With each subsequent bite of the delicious fruit, she would stop and smile.
She made her way through the orchard; there was no order to her wandering. Moving from tree to tree, she ran to the next one that caught her eye, indulging in it’s fruit and then filling her brown, paper bag. She raced ahead, back to a tree who’s apples had tasted the most pleasing to her unique buds. It was shorter, and slightly bent under the weight of the fruit. The apples were of the deepest red, nearly purple in their coloring. When I finally caught up to her, she was lying beneath it, gazing up at the sky that had failed to produce a single cloud.
A soft breeze lazily wound through the the orchard, knocking a few leaves down from the branches of the trees that ringed the hill. Dancing around us and our bulging bag of apples, they swirled in undefined patterns of joy as a band of rebels celbrating a victory round a large fire. We laid out on the ground as time stood still around us. The sun stopped its setting, the apples would never pass their ripest point. They would never drop to the ground, they would hang, gleaming and juicy for all of time. And like the apples, we would never age. The clean air in that space would prevent us from growing old as long as our lungs were filled with it. We would simply live on in this orchard, eating the fruit of the earth, in an eternal autumn that would never become winter.
As we passed through the gates, leaving the orchard behind, the sun finally began to set, and life resumed. But the memory lived on.