Tag Archives: woods

Zinnias, Zinnias Everywhere

As I ran down the dirt path through the wood my sneakers kicked up a slight dirt cloud, creating a simple map for them to follow. I certainly didn’t want them to lose me; after all, they were just children and couldn’t be left unattended in a forest so dense with trees. Plus, I had no clue where I was going – we had never taken this particular path before.

The density of the trees began to thin as I huffed. The backpack of supplies kept thumping against my back with each stride. I was not in shape for such a run, but I could hear the giggles gaining on me as their little feet clomped on the same hard dirt as mine. The sun began to strobe into my eyes, momentarily blinding me for split seconds here and there. The path widened into a field as the brightness of the sun’s rays made it impossible to see. I stopped and put my hands on my knees for support as I panted in an attempt to regain my breath.

As my eyes adjusted and the children gained on me, the random rainbow of colors started to come into focus. Where was I? The field came into focus as my irises adjusted, and I saw a huge field of flowers. Zinnias, zinnias everywhere, zinnias taller than me.

The children caught up and asked for a drink from my backpack. I decided this field, this beautiful, amazing force of nature, was the perfect place for our picnic lunch.

This story was inspired by the phrase “Zinnias, Taller than me” shared with me by my friend Kerri. This comes from a project I started where friends give me random words and phrases, and I write whatever comes out. Hope you like it.

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In Public

“This hill is nice.”

“Told you,” he said, taking a sip of his iced tea.

“You were right. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

“Mhmm.”

“I’d say it’s perfect, considering what we came here to do.”

“Yes. Secluded.”

“Naturey.”

“Romantic.”

“We don’t need it to be romantic for this.”

“We don’t need it to be- naturey, did you say?”

“Mhmm,” she said with a smile.
“Okay, then, should we do it?”

She smiled with a certain curtness that only she could muster.

He handed her purse over, and she began rummaging through it.

“I can’t find them.”

“I put them in there, I know I did.”

“You sure?”

“Would I ever, ever forget something like that?”

“You’re right…probably not.”

“Look harder. Hurry!”

She flipped it and dumped everything out, and they both rummaged through the contents.

“Here they are!” he said with a certain amount of triumph in his voice.

She took one and opened it, and he did the same.

“I love playing with bubbles,” she said with a smile and a wink.

Turn Right, Ahead

“The GPS says to turn here!”

Sure enough, as I scoured the tree-lined side of the road for the turn this robot voice was now telling us about, I could not imagine why we would turn into the woods.

Suddenly as if out of nowhere, a small, wooden bridge appeared in the brush. It looked sturdy enough, but before I could reply either way she turned the wheel and we were on it.

“Um…this isn’t even a road!” Ahead lay nothing but dirt.

“The GPS says it is!”

“I know…but once on Office it told Michael to turn and he read it wrong and ended up driving into a lake.”

She looked at me.

“And I can’t swim.”

I looked up and noticed a rickety sign that said “Road Closed” and under that saw something about the word lake and freaked.

“It said lake, it said lake!”

“Relax!” she said laughing. To be honest, I was laughing too. How could a GPS even know this dirt road existed, let alone that it was closed? We were laughing too hard to even watch where we were going.

“Turn around!” I yelled between laughs.

“Where?” All of a sudden we were driving past a brand new house with a small clearing across from it.

“Really, here?” I asked. Why would anyone choose this spot to build a house?

She laughed more as she turned into the clearing to make a three-point turn. I had my camera out.

“I hope someone comes out!”

“Don’t you dare take a picture of people if they come out! Nobody even knows we’re here!”

“Come on. A house that nice, they’ll probably offer us fresh squeezed lemonade.”

“Do you see any lemon trees around here?”

She had a point, but still.

We laughed hysterically until we came back to the bridge, and all of a sudden the GPS righted itself and the robotic voice said, “Turn right, ahead.”

A Simple Piece of Paper

He woke up that morning and knew, just inexplicably knew he was supposed to get into his car and drive.  So he threw a dirty pair of jeans on over his boxers, an old orange t-shirt, and got into his cherry red Camaro.

He turned the key, revved the engine, and then pulled out, no clue where he was going.  How would he decide?  Would the car know?  Would fate just guide him?  He pulled the car out and a sudden honk made him jump, a passing car with a driver waving a fist at him as it passed.  He would have to be a bit more careful.

He pulled off of his street, and knew there was nothing in this small Pennsylvania town that would draw him out with such mystery and magic, so he headed right for the interstate, somehow fully aware that he had a long way to go, even though he had no real destination.  It was only a few minutes before he was driving on the highway, accompanied by only one other car, a blue Ford truck, about a mile ahead of him.  He drove until even the Ford was gone, and he was alone on the highway, not an oddity for this area at this time of day.  The sun had only been up for moments, and after all, it was a Sunday, most people were still asleep.  He looked up at the sun, wondering when the last time it was that he woke up this early any day of the week let alone a Sunday.

He saw an exit coming up, an unmarked one he’d never noticed before, and decided to turn off the interstate, this particular road made of dirt and pebbles, probably a truck exit or something, he figured.  The sun almost disappeared, the trees were so thick here, and as he continued down the road, if it could even be called that, he was jostled all over the front seat due to its giant potholes and general unevenness.  Something darted out in front of the car, a white blur, and so he slammed on the brakes.

Peeking over the dashboard, he turned off the radio, trying to see what it was that he’d quite possibly killed.  Seeing nothing, he got out and walked around to the front.  Lodged under the front tired was a large piece of paper, a map, most likely, so he got back in, backed the Camaro up a bit, then had to jump out and retrieve the paper as the wind took it again.

He chased it into the woods a bit, finally catching up with it as it was momentarily caught by a tree branch, snatching it up quickly before the wind could take it again.  He gently opened it, since it seemed old, and realized it was covered in writing.

As he read it, he became overwhelmed, spellbound, excited.  He could feel the world spinning, actually sense the movement under him, and he could see and hear every leaf in the woods move, every single little motion, he could hear the thoughts of a nearby bird searching out food for her babies, she seemed so scattered in her thoughts.  He suddenly knew, without a doubt, that down the road was a cabin where a family was just getting up to the smell of bacon and eggs, and farther than that a deer was eating a sapling, and a bit down from that a river ran where a bear was trying to catch a fish, and he was even fully aware that today, that bear would not catch that fish, and the fish would go on to have many children, but that the bear would not.

He couldn’t even fully understand what it was that he was reading, but he could see himself, fifty years down the road, a grandson on his lap, his wife, whom he recognized as a neighbor of his, cooking in the kitchen as his family, and some of hers, prepared for some sort of celebration.  He saw beyond that, wars, famines, tragedies, all in the future, he saw planes fall, men walking on Mars, tidal waves, love, he saw everything that would ever happen, understood it all, and suddenly realized what was happening.  He continued to read, and the longer he read, the more of the world he saw, and he wanted to stop but could not, he wanted to know it all before this moment went away, before whatever was happening stopped, he had to know.  He saw cities grow and change, buildings stretch higher, airplanes bigger, cars smaller, flying machines, floating buildings, crime, weapons beyond anything he ever knew could exist, and then, all of a sudden, he saw nothing.

He startled back to the woods at a nearby sound, and noticed a deer crashing through the woods, the same deer he’d seen eating only a moment, or maybe it was a day, a week, a month ago, he couldn’t tell.  He looked around, remembered where he was, when he was, and headed back to the car.  As he climbed back in, he suddenly remembered the paper in his hand, held it up in the air, and just let it go.  The wind took it off in an instant, and he watched as it floated up into the air, back down, and then into the woods and out of his sight.