Now and Then.


Morning and afternoon on private land in front of my house.



The rough underbelly of my shoe brushes against the tips of the pebbles as I make my way across them. They do not move to make a path for me, only sit, still as stone, waiting for their crushing fate. I continue on, past the cold, dull stone chair, iced as if it’s a cake with crispy moss and roots. As my feet reach the edge of the patio, I pause, taking in harsh breaths of freezing air that nips cruelly at my naked ankles. They are left, tingling, blushing a deep red, embarrassed by all the attention. Moving on, I step out onto the white strectch of the recoiling blades of trimmed grass. It suffocates it, blocking all light, a net of white, crisp covering which forms over the hours of darkness before. Their fine blades fail to pierce the coat of white which drapes across the ocean of green. I glance around, previously oblivious to the gentle giants which stand, cowering down at me. They are covered by a layer of frost, much like the grass which I crossed before. Crimson pointed ovals shade the light, and as I walk further, glances of bright yellow flicker across my eyes and face. Blinded, I stumble over the roots that snake beneath me. Sharp sticks grab out at me, but I swat at them and they shrink back into the piles of decaying life on the side of the path. I am suddenly distracted by the plume of mist floating out in front of me, joined by another and another. Desperate swirls of breath fight their way out into the world, escaping my body. My face has gone numb, a timid stream of liquid creeps out of my nostrils. As my hair scrapes on my forehead, I feel so calm. Smells are unable to reach my nose, the air is thin, the sky stretches above me, infinitely still.  


The pebbles still lay, awaiting me. Only now they are covered in a thin sheet of clear water. They shimmer in the dark, dusty light. Small sections catch my attention as I pass by, beaming a stream of color across me. I pass the same chair as I did only hours before, and it now rests, its true colors coming through the mass of vibrant moss and roots. Pockets of different grays peek through like nervous eyes, cautiously surveying the outside world. Past that, the ocean of green now stands tall, no longer cowering under a sheet of darkness. Each blade has joyously extended their length to the sky. Droplets of the former coating struggle to stay as the heat of the day targets them. Those left, balance delicately on their own chosen blade. In only a matter of hours, the force has switched sides to that of the grass. Once again I carry on, the same giants gather around me, but they are accompanied by smell this time. An early fire has been lit, the smog drifts into the trees, mixing with the damp smell of rotting leaves at my feet. The Giants, enlivened by the sunlight, stand much taller, looming over me with ambition. The elegant ovals descend down towards me, brushing and dislodging others as they continue their desent towards the ground. My footsteps are now accompanied by an oozing sludge of fallen leaves. I trek through, dredging up the deep, dark depths of mixed dirt and sticks. The forest is so full of smells and sights, damp smoke creeps up my body and into my nostrils, filling my head, my throat becomes itchy and the coughs tumble out. My skin is on edge, body alive, trees point towards the sky, now with multiple clouds draping across its expanse, infinitely moving. 


2 thoughts on “Now and Then.”

  1. Hi Sir,
    Im just wondering if my piece satisfies the sensory description and careful selection of detail required in the task. Also is the theme of place strong enough throughout the piece.

  2. Hi Otto,

    This piece certainly uses a wide range of detailed description. The discriminating points will be selection of detail and the degree to which the imagery and figurative language sphere to deliver a specific message.

    Examples of where I might question this are the combination of the idea of an abyss with that of your dancing breath. The query is – if you’re trying to evoke a sense of doom or vast tragedy through describing the grass in terms of a frozen seascape, what place does the more whimsical idea of ‘dancing’ have in this?

    You only need to satisfy yourself, but the essence of my criticism is to suggest that some of your description is in conflict with itself. Do speak to me if you feel I’ve missed the point.


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