Write About a Place

Maybe it’s foolish (it is April 1st). But I’ll be foolhardy. Maybe it’s cheating. But I’m the one making the rules here, anyway.

After completing the first week of my online writing course, I’ve found myself both inspired and challenged with my daily assignments of 300 words in response to a prompt provided by our instructor. I’m not used to reigning in my topic, and I’ve grown accustomed to writing as many, or as little, words as I like.

What’s arisen from the framework of these assignments has been curious to me. Enough so, that I feel I might as well share the work, here on the Archives. If the premise of For the Archives is to chronicle the everyday, then these pieces are reflective of what I’ve been crafting these past days.

Below is prose in response to the prompt to write about a place.

I stepped off the ferry, with a fresh scar, one ovary, and a backpack. I was twenty-three years old, and seeking healing, in my lace up boots and floor-length, velvet skirt.

I arrived in winter to an island that was just a speck in a smattering of islands in British Columbia’s Georgia Strait. It was the sleepy season. Days were cold and misty in the quiet village, slowing to the simmer of borscht soup.

The Raven’s Nest coffee shop was warm with locals in knee-high gumboots, huddling in worn chairs, and swapping stories over steaming mugs. Next door, the post office was just large enough to fit a counter and a shelf of recycled magazines, while the postmistress listened to Blues in the back.

 Morningside road led away from the village, tracing the edge of an ocean that lapped lake-like, no waves. The sea, so clear and still, reflected bright purple starfish sucking to rocks on the bottom.

Further up the lane, black crows squawked atop thick tree branches in filtered sunlight. Shingled cottages with smoking chimneys leaned in to old growth Cedar trunks. In the air, was the warm scent of burning wood. In the earth, the rich loam of humus releasing beneath my boots. Smoke and salt air. Moss and mushrooms.

If a fairyland existed, this was it. And as if to prove the point, a waterfall poured forth from under Morningside road, spilling into the ocean in storybook perfection. White swans, gathered at the gush in graceful groups, floating in the blue-gray sea.

I spent a winter walking that curative path, gazing long into the water beside me. On a lucky day, I may have seen the shining obsidian of an Orca’s tail, slicing straight up through the surface. Maybe even hear the bellow of whale breath, exhaling a puff into the cold air. Ancient and humongous. Humbling.

courtesy of David Stanley
courtesy of David Stanley