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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Bloom (11/22/12)

TITLE: A Winters Bloom
By Shellie Bailey


A Winters Bloom

The last three weeks I have not seen the sun. I have only been witness to the color gray, which has settled upon the land blanketing every square inch. My name is Betsy Campbell, and I have called the town of Tisdale my home for twenty-seven years. In all of my fifty-three years I never laid my eyes upon the depression that has enveloped the people. They say that those who live in cold, damp, and dark climates are more depressed than those in the tropical locals—they call it SAD, and I always suspected it didn’t take much studying to figure that one out. Before this month—before this year, one would never have heard depression uttered from my lips. The people of Tisdale, no matter the weather, were always a joyous bunch. There seemed to be something in the fog that has cast itself on us that is hindering us, binding us to a desolate attitude, and into a world with no hope. I wouldn’t have thought such a thing would be possible—until now.
“I didn’t take it!”
“I know you did! Now give it back or I’ll…I’lll,”
“You’ll what?”
I drew back the beige and green stripped curtains in the living room to see who is out front yelling. There through the panes of glass I lay eyes upon Thomas Tucker and Danny Silver. This sight is the new normal for us. There is constant fighting and bickering over the pettiest things that could be found to argue about. Only last week Darwin Campbell, the high-school principal, threw a rock through Jenna Jacobs window because her son had called him a name at school. Seems we are reverting back to school-yard children—all of us.
I let the curtain fall back into place and slipped on my boots. The cool air kissed my checks as I stepped out of the warm house.
“What is going on out here?” I called.
“Tom took my newspaper.” Danny shouted.
“Newspaper. All of this over a newspaper.” I replied.
Danny kicked the ground and huffed, “It is my newspaper.”
I exhaled, “I understand, but is it worth shouting out in my front yard over?”
Thomas eyed Danny, “I didn’t take it. Did you call and make sure they delivered it. Maybe you didn’t pay your bill.”
Danny lunged forward, “What are you implying?”
“I’m not implying anything!”
“Boys, can we be civil. Danny did you call Drew and make sure he delivered this morning. I don’t see my paper either.”
“Why don’t you go call and then we can go from there.”
“Fine, but I know he is going to say he did, and then me and you ol’ Danny boy have a real problem.”
I watched as they departed into their homes, huffing and growling with each step like two buffalos in the wild. Danny and Tom have always been good neighbors and close. I can’t fathom how a simple little newspaper has brought them to this.
I shook my head and prayed that our town could be brought out of this darkness it is in. I prayed the sun would shine through the murk and bring us back.

Ten more days passed and still no sun. I never heard what happened with the newspaper. I hoped it had worked itself out. The land was dead and dying outside. Everything is gray—the people, and the land. I prayed once again that we would be bathed in the light of the sun and washed off this filth.
As I stood washing dishes I glanced into the backyard. Dead rose bushes, dead lawn, and that misty gray is all that graced my sight. But then out-of-the corner of my eye I saw it, a light yellow bloom shining through the gray. It glistened and harmonized all at once. Could I be dreaming, no this is real, this is what I had longed for. Out in the corner of the yard, past the old maple, a glimmer of light broke through the gray and shone down on a yellow spring flower. It seemed to glow like a golden rod freshly polished. Yes, it is just a weed, but it is also a symbol—a symbol of hope.
Tears streamed down my checks dropping into the sudsy waters below. God had heard me and this one lone little weed is His response. No matter how dark it becomes His light can break through.

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This article has been read 281 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Christina Banks 12/01/12
Isn't it amazing how the weather can affect us? This summer we went through a month where it rained everyday. I found that my mood, unless checked, was a gray as the sky. I like how, in your story, hope was shown in a common weed.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/02/12
I really enjoyed this piece. You did such a great job of painting a picture. I could feel the gloom emanating through the computer screen as I leaned forward eager to read more.

I did notice you switched tenses a couple of times from the past to present and then past again. A good critique group or challenge buddy might help you catch little things like that. You can check on the message boards or you can PM me and I'll try to help.

I think this is a brilliant take on the topic. You approached it in a reverse psychology type way which really drove the message home. I love it when I see the first dandelion of the year. To many it may be just a weed but to me it is so much more. You showed that in your MC as well. It ended on a high note leaving the reader to ponder the gloom in my own life and how to go about making a dandelion bloom inside of me. This is just spot on and a thought-provoking and powerful piece.
C D Swanson 12/04/12
This was clever and well done. I really loved the way you approached the topic in a fresh way. Thank you!
God bless~
C D Swanson 12/06/12
Congrats! God bless~