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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Walk (07/20/06)

TITLE: Welcome to Fern Springs
By Amy Michelle Wiley


Come, walk with me and I will show you Fern Springs, the childhood home of a burgeoning author. It was here that love and friendship was cultured. Here that scope was given for the imagination to soar beyond the treetops that touch the clouds. To investigate the mysteries that lie beneath the soil. To spot the secrets that dance across the surface of the pond.

See, here is the sprawling neighborhood, where mothers still watched out for each other’s children. Where kids played together outdoors, not bothered with computer games or X-boxes.

Do not mind the weeds in the flowerbeds of the front yard. Notice instead the green lawn that still rings with the shouts of tag. If you hold quite still you can feel the mist of the sprinkler, and see the rainbow as a young girl passes through the spray from one world to another of imagined delights.

Look closely beyond these houses, and see the ghosts of times past, when the land was a field scattered with trees. Smell the swamp that grew so tightly with reeds that a child could walk right on top of the water without so much as getting her feet wet. Listen and hear the frogs, and the creek that gurgles merrily, yet holds a hint of danger in the poacher’s trap that lies hidden beneath the surface.

Now step up on the covered front porch, where the swing creaks in the wind. See the fancy dresses swirling as the princess flees her duties? Or the solemn judges, presiding over court? Listen, do you hear the clack of the rails, as the porch turns into a train?

Open the door, and be careful not to slip on the wood floor that still shows signs of practiced figure skating twirls. Pass the stairs, worn with marks that tell of sleeping bag bobsleds and dangerous mountain climbing experiences, and come into the kitchen. Here is where laughter and games are found. A bubble still rises from the sink where a little girl scrubs dishes. Over the clank of the glasses, you can hear the melody and harmony of children singing while they work.

Hurry and step out the backdoor before the sun dips below the horizon. Watch as the sunset casts a golden hue over the wooded hill. See how it sparkles on the tiny winding creek? Squint against the glare and find the silhouette of children, bending over the water with long sticks, guiding boats through the reeds. The boats are unusual--only raw chunks of wood from a construction site, yet painted with bright splashes of color, and names carefully lettered on the sides.

Pass the swing set now, and let the place of gymnasts and ship captains fall behind us as we cross the big bridge with sturdy railings just right for playing Pooh Sticks. The wide path on your left is still rutted from wagon trains nearing their final Western home, and the perfect launching place for a leap to the bank of the creek below. The rusted cages in the hutch beyond have wisps of long Angora rabbit hair still fluttering in the breeze.

Watch your step here, on the hill where a business visitor tripped and became “The Funny Guy Who Fell Down the Hill.” Oh! Did you see the flash of color in the pond? The Coi fish, Beaker, is waiting to show you his tricks. He will drink brine shrimp out of a baby bottle, or suck gently on your finger.

We have no time to linger; dusk is coming quickly. The trail is steep here, as we climb Mossy Way. Beware of Indian maidens rushing down the path on prancing steeds, or FBI agents intent on their prey. Do not trample the tiny plastic lion cub, nestled in a child-dug cave beside the way.

Ah, here we are, to the most delightful place of all! One last steep scramble and we step out on Moonlit Way. Do you feel the childish thrill as you spot the Up-Down Cherry Tree just ahead? Grasp this branch and swing down into the shadows of the path below. Be careful! Do not touch the quicksand, but let the branch swing you right back up here. Whoo hooo! Yes, just like that!

Now come a little higher and sit in the grass. Soon the moon will peek through the trees and bath us in its light. Stay quiet here. Listen, and let the memories whisper.

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This article has been read 1436 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Craig07/27/06
Wow, I feel like I walked and lived your childhood. What a way with words, so descriptive of a childs world. Awesome, way to use the topic. Hats off. I absolutely loved this.
Debbie Sickler07/27/06
Great job giving us a tour of your world. Wish I'd grown up there. :)
Kaylee Blake 07/27/06
WOW! That is awesome! I loved it. I could see, hear, almost feel what was going on around me. Gosh, I'm gonna hire you for a tour guide and tote you with me wherever I go.
Brandi Roberts07/27/06
A beautiful tribute to childhood! I really liked this 'walk through time'.
Lori Othouse 07/28/06
Loved the last line of this! It really does take you back. I really got lost in this, which is what great writing can do. Terrific piece!
Lynda Lee Schab 07/29/06
I love this entry - you've written a beautiful piece of poetic prose. Since you're in Masters, I'm going to interject my opinion. I think it might have worked better if written in a more active voice, not as if you're talking to the reader, but experiencing the memory yourself. For example, what I mean is, instead of:
Now step up on the covered front porch, where the swing creaks in the wind. See the fancy dresses swirling as the princess flees her duties? Or the solemn judges, presiding over court? Listen, do you hear the clack of the rails, as the porch turns into a train?
then, this:
"I step up on the covered front porch. The swing creaks in the wind. Fancy dresses are swirling as the princess flees her duties, the solemn judge presides over court. I hear the clack of the rails as the porch turns into a train."
This would make me see your memories more clearly and - I think - make the walk more interesting because I'm getting into your head.
Regardless, it's a wonderful entry, filled with beautiful descriptions and flowing prose. Well done!
Marilyn Schnepp 07/30/06
Beautiful walk through Memory Lane. Every Writer has their own style, so if you were to change any part of your story to somebody else's style - it wouldn't be You; a writer can even be recognized by his or her style of writing; like Paul or David in their writing styles in the Bible; so keep your style "AS IS" - It is YOU! A great job, On topic, and very nicely done!
Sue Dent07/30/06
Nooooo! Where were the fireflies! You didn't stay out long enough. We needed fireflies and running around in the dark playing "My Daddy killed the booger bear" while adults conversed inside. . . oh, wait, you only had 750 words. And what a marvelous 750 words they were. I'm going outside tongight with my kids to play "My Daddy Killed the Booger Bear!" Thank-you so much for this beutiful reminder of how things can still be!!!
Jesus Puppy 08/01/06
Nothing is more touching than the imagination of a child's heart.. I could just see the fun of said child, floating a boat on a creek and believing it was an ocean cruse..

Well done Kiddo..
Karen Ward08/01/06
These happy childhood memories were priceless, well written, and nicely tied into the topic. My favorite was the sprinkler mist and the rainbow. Beautifully done!
Joanne Sher 08/01/06
You have painted a masterpiece with words here. This BEGS to be illustrated by a master. I SO want to be in Fern Springs!
Pat Guy 08/01/06
I was going to pick out a few favorite passages but there were too many to choose from.

You kept the voice true and strong throughout - as well as the concept with delightful words of penmanship magic.

It truly reads like a magical place of discovery. *sigh* How beautiful.
Ann FitzHenry08/01/06
It's absolutely beautiful! It makes me want to call my mom. :-)

Beautiful and precious memories. Fabulous writing!!!
Shari Armstrong 08/01/06
Delightful -as I told you before :)
Virginia Gorg08/05/06
I like the way you write with such descriptions. this is quite good! Thanks for sharing.