Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)
TITLE: Of Legends and Legacies
By Marlene Bonney
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Lush vegetation was peppered willy-nilly over the hills and wild fruit trees offered a daily smorgasbord for the self-banished Englishman. His hand-tooled fishing equipment had already been dumped on the beach and would provide the means for a balanced diet. Breathtaking scenery fed his insatiable ascetic appetite for nature’s limitless nuances as he spent hours studying, appreciating, and documenting their splendor.
And, he honored the Creator of the universe in uninterrupted praise as he tried to pen the magnificence of it all.
“Why is it that your children refuse to see You? Alas that we are blinded, worshipping the gifts instead of the Giver!”
From the time he first learned to read, Phillip was fascinated by words and the different thoughts they conveyed just by their arrangement in sentences. He loved reading rhyming poetry aloud, its cadences rolling over his tongue as smoothly and effortlessly as water cascading over a cliff.
“Nature is God’s lost manuscript to us, revealed and yet hidden while earthly pursuits take over our lives so that we fail to see it for what it is,” he pondered.
Now that he was uninhibited from society’s pursuits, he could spend hours simply examining a wildflower . . . or gazing at a sunset . . . or closing his eyes and listening to birds’ choruses, leaves rustling through tree branches while dewdrops slid down blades of grass. And these sounds and scenes became to him as literary masterpieces authored and orchestrated by God.
“Father, please help me to translate these verses into the written human languages that will move readers closer to you,” was his daily prayer.
Days, weeks and months blurred together as Phillip continued to write, grasping for exact words like a carousel rider trying to catch the brass ring. Sometimes he caught the very essence he wanted while other times he felt he failed miserably. How could he do justice to the sunlight dappling through the trees, splashing a kaleidoscope of designs and colors across the sky? Or, how could he put into words the hair-raising crashes of a violent thunderstorm accompanied by blinding lightning flashing across the expansive horizon? Or, how could he explain the lingering fragrance in the air after the rains, powerful in its very uniqueness? How was he to verbalize into writing the heart-piercing wonder of the oranges, yellows, reds and purples of a sunrise against the ocean’s borders?
Thus, he pondered and wrote, he examined and penned, he listened and composed, he tried and failed and tried again, until . . .
The piece was finished! He compiled the hand-written notes into a reader’s delight to take home to his publisher. His hiatus completed, he prepared for departure. What an adventure this had been!
“I will never be the same. And, I pray that my readers will be able to capture that same once-in-a-lifetime experience from reading this work.”
Two days before he was to depart from the island on his docked yacht, Phillip was bitten by a malaria-ridden mosquito. Death’s next victim, he developed a high fever and occasionally became delirious. He did not have the strength to rise from his pallet. Crawling over to his manuscript, he purposely wound the pages into cylinder-shaped tubes and stuffed them into a clear glass bottle he had on hand for vegetation samples, sealing it with airtight cork.
“Oh, God, please don’t let my life’s passion be for naught.”
With all the remaining strength in his tortured body, Phillip Thoreau slid the bottle over the boat’s side. Thirty minutes later, he was welcomed into the awaiting arms of Jesus while the lone glass bottle bobbed through the ocean waves . . .
“Look what I found on the last sea-dive!” handing the scarred and scratched seaweed-caked bottle over to the literary expert.
Signed and dated by Philip Thoreau, great-great nephew of Henry David Thoreau, the piece became highly acclaimed as his greatest spiritual work, touching the lives of all who read it.
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