I've been wanting to get more in touch with my creative side. To dig my imagination out and use it again. I've started spending time working on creative pieces. This is a piece I wrote a few months ago. I've reworked it and gotten it to a good place. There are no pictures. I want those to be in your mind, to be what you imagine them to be.
We’re always running, her and I, through the woods and the mud. It always seems like eternity, taking the biggest steps possibly in those heavy boots. Mud, grass and hay encrusted on the edges. She wears the same white, cracked straw hat with the bow, clutches the same pink notebook with the ballet slipper on it. The pages are twice their size, swollen with water, the ink running into each other like trickling streams to a river. A copy of Moby Dick tucked into the folds of her long skirt. It’s how she always travels, her hat, her books, her skirt and her friends. I just tag along, trying to keep up.
Down in the trees, the world slips away. Looking up, the blue-gray Oregon sky peeks through leaves that are clumped together with mosses and dead sticks. Our boots sink farther into the muddy banks of the creek as she navigates the waters with her memory. Up the creek to the left, we’d have to wind our way over the tree roots, through the brambles, to the waterfall, where the waters are brown and dangerous. Wandering straight ahead, we would maneuver over the log bridge that was once a tree hanging its head over the creek. After climbing the embankment, we could turn and survey the land below, being able to see almost everything we have. Our last option is following the creek towards to bark boat.
Picking our way down a small but steep path would bring us to the biggest piece of tree bark, so large she swore to me it was once a pirate boat. The far edge is still outlined with a bit of tree hanging onto its ship, not wanting to give it away. Old bottles, tins and wilting flowers sporadically dot the small crevices and natural shelves on the boat. Its here she’ll sit and pull out her journal, probably to complete a work of fiction or an illustration.
Her hours are spent in this valley, in this cool, dark valley, where the world outside flies by. She spends her time with the friends she creates there; the fairies that live in the knots in the trees, the pixies that reside up the slope in the thick part of the forest, somewhere she cannot go alone. Winds move branches, giving the brush around her so much life.
After tying up some lose end in her novel, she ventures off into the water, not afraid of a few inches of brown muddy water when her rubber boots will save her! We pick our way up the creek, ducking under overlying tree branches and cobwebs. The air cools dramatically once we are crouched over the water. Small water bugs skim the surface of pools gathering in tree roots and embankments. She trails her hands through the water, searching for any small treasure, an old, broken bottle, or an old tin can. Anything she finds can spur another day of adventure.
As time passes and the shadows rearrange themselves on the creek floor, the light starts to fade. I find myself back at the top of the embankment, the waterfall, the boat, the fairies all in the forest below. She’s a few steps down the way, right hand on a moss-covered tree looking back up at me. Her white hat in her hand, she waves. She’s weaved a few pretty leaves into the bow on her hat, a few fall out as her hat slaps her legs. She turns and, in a few fluid motions, she’s back down in the trees, only her faint outline in the darkening night air is left.
I feel my heart beating as I come back to life, glass of wine in my hand, panting dogs to my side, a family waiting for me to finish walking the dogs before dinner. I find myself staring into the woods, a part of my heart longing to throw it all away and run back to the world among the trees. I blink hard and take one last look for her. But she is gone now, maybe to resurface at another time. She waits for me, you know, deep in the hidden places of my mind. She’ll always be ready to take me on an adventure, to pull me out of life and back into my mind. It’s easy to lose myself for a while, to lose my childlike inspiration for life, but I know she’ll find me and bring it all flooding back.