Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)
TITLE: Crystal Clear
By Debbie Wistrom
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The blue streak continued in full force until I realized I had an audience. An embarrassed throat-clear got my attention. This stretch of road, especially at this early hour, was usually deserted and solitary; it was a lonely drive that I enjoyed, so I was surprised at the presence of another. Well at least this might be someone that could help me change the tire, “Oh noooooo” came wailing from my core when I realized that the spare was still at the shop from last time I met this ever-widening chasm on my daily commute to the city. I meant to stop and retrieve it, but other things had taken priority.
“Do I need two spares, find a different route to work? What more can I do?” beseeching the empty expanse above, I stomped my foot. After my last encounter with the black hole of Old Post Road, I vowed to pay attention to the pavement until the county decided to step up and fix this menace to machinery. Our arctic winter weather when it flirts with early thaws causes the pavement to heave and contract, wreaking all sorts of havoc for unsuspecting vehicles, causing headaches for motorists.
“How about a sled and a team of dogs?” In my renewed fit of rage, I had forgotten that I wasn’t alone. I turned toward my audience, an older woman bundled against the cold who was sitting on the fencepost.
“That might do the trick, but with my luck, I’d forget to feed the dogs and they would go on strike.” Shaking, my head, not sure what my next move was, I crunched over to her. “What brings you out so early on this crisp morning?” Catching a glimpse of her snowshoes, I felt my chance of rescue slip away.
Repositioning her camera and reaching for a thermos, she opened it and filled the cup with steaming liquid, and handed it to me. “I’m trying to capture the elusive pogonip. Actually today is my first day and I’m scouting the area so when the conditions are just right, I’ll know where to go to get the best shots.” Seeing my confusion, she explained, “I’m a photographer on assignment for a new nature magazine. I’m out here to shoot the heavy winter frost that coats trees, well everything else in its path, as the result of a heavy fog. The intense white of the ice crystals clinging to any surface it envelopes when contrasted against a steel gray sky is a fairytale-like vision that my editors want for the debut issue.”
“Well the weather we’ve had lately should make that possible; in fact; we may have had that kind of frost just last week, though I’ve never heard it called that before. Thanks for the coffee and good luck, I’d better get after it.”
“My truck is stashed back at the cabin; I’ll go get it and take you to town. The light is about gone and I was going to town later anyway for groceries. I’ll be back in about fifteen minutes.”
With no other hope in sight, I agreed and waited in the cold confines of my wounded car. Wondering how long she had been eavesdropping, I was embarrassed all over again. After the last incident with the pothole, I committed to work on my self-control but today Old Scratch was at it again and negative thoughts were creeping back in. I put my foot down, one more time. As the old truck approached, it was obvious that I needed help. Repenting for my lack of faith, I offered a prayer of praise God for my rescuer, His Son disguised as a photographer on a crystal-clear morning.
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