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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)

TITLE: For a While
By Yvonne Blake


Sammy slouched on the couch, his eyes riveted on the animated figures. With a snap, they disappeared.

“Hey! You said I could watch cartoons today!”

“You’ve been staring at that TV for three hours. I want to you to go outside for a while.” His mom tugged him to his feet and handed him his jacket.

Sammy looked over his shoulder with pleading eyes. “How long is a while?”

“At least a couple hours. Come back before suppertime.”


“Now, go on!” She gave his backside a pat and nudged him out the back door.

Sammy scuffed along the driveway until his toe hit a long stick. So, he picked it up and dragged it behind him, making a satisfying scratching sound and a wiggly line. Then he used the stick to bat some pine cones into the pasture.

He climbed on the fence and stared at Bessie chewing her cud. A chorus of honks overhead drew his attention to a flock of geese heading north. The wavering V got smaller and smaller until it faded into the horizon. A cloud looked like a bucking bronco. Now, it looked like a dragon, with puffs of steam coming from its nostrils. Now, it looked like a row of soldiers marching along. Now… it didn’t look like anything.

Sammy jumped down and plucked a long piece of grass. He whipped it back and forth until he saw a grasshopper. He tried to catch it, but it kept fluttering away. Finally, he captured it between his cupped hands. He peered between his fingers and had a staring contest with it. The grasshopper made a daring escape through an opening.

At the top of the hill, Sammy could see so far it looked like forever. The wind blew at his face. He spread his arms and flew back and forth down the hill until his plane crashed. Then he rolled over and over to the bottom. He lay on his back with his eyes closed – panting and listening to the rushing water. It sounded much louder than usual. He sprang to his feet to investigate.

With the melting snow and recent rains, the creek was quite high – much higher than it had been last summer. He found a branch and threw it into the water. The current carried it downstream on and on until he couldn’t see it anymore. He threw in another and watched it bounce down the rapids. One by one, he sent his fleet down the rushing river to meet the enemy.

He noticed a fallen log across the creek and scrambled along the banks to get a better view. It looked safe enough – as long as he was careful. Just to be sure, he took off his shoes, so he could grip the bark with his toes. He shimmied up on the tree trunk, squatting for a while to get his balance. Then slowly he stood – arms outstretched. Inch by inch, he scooted along the log. At one point, he had to close his eyes to keep from looking at the tumbling waves beneath him. Finally, he reached the upturned roots on the other side. With a cheer of triumph, he pranced about on the mossy bank.

A huge rock jutted into the stream. Sammy scaled to its top and peered over the edge. It had created a sheltered pool behind it. Sammy could see some fish in the quiet waters. He watched them sway back and forth, keeping their position without the slightest effort. When he shifted his position, a pebble rolled down and plopped into the pool, scaring the fish away. When the ripples calmed, he could see his reflection. He dropped another pebble. The ripples grew bigger and bigger until they melted into the grassy edges. He dropped one tiny pebble after another to keep the ripples going and going. Finally, he ran out of pebbles, and the water calmed again.

He noticed some stars in the pool – or maybe they were fireflies. He looked up. The dark purple sky was dotted with a million sparkles. He decided he had better go home. Straddling the fallen log, he scooted across the creek. Grabbing his shoes, he huffed up the steep hill, across the pasture, and under the fence. He burst through the back door.

His mom looked up from doing dishes. “There you are! Do you know what time it is?”

Sammy shrugged. “I forget all about time when I play outside for a while.

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This article has been read 687 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Elisabeth 03/18/11
Masterfully done! Ah, the good old days...thanks for refreshing the memories. So lifelike.
Henry Clemmons03/18/11
Good thing mother sent him outside. I could relate. very well done.
Michael Throne03/18/11
This was a fun train-of-thought story. I was enjoying the ride, but was a little concerned about the lack of tension, right up until when you had the lad climb the fallen log over the creek (what were you thinking!), and then the boulder (you want tension, I’ll give you tension!). This was a well written and thoroughly enjoyable piece.
Allison Egley 03/18/11
Oh, this was good! I was hoping he wouldn't fall into the water, and that it would just be a happy, fun piece. You didn't disappoint.
Charla Diehl 03/18/11
What happened to the moms who made their kids go outside and use their imaginations? I enjoyed this in its entirety. Got a little nervous when you introduced the creek crossing adventure, but all's well that ends well. Your words painted pictures, scene after scene--this would make a great illustrated children's book.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/18/11
This took me back to my childhood when kids could play outside for a while with mothers. although when I think of some of the thing I did- like Sammie crossing the using creek ~ it's a good thing God was watching out for me.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/19/11
You did a wonderful job of painting a picture of a little boy's view of eternity. Excellent writing.
Rachel Phelps03/19/11
What a sweet story. I was also a bit concerned about the lack of tension, but the ride was so much fun, I didn't mind.
Bonnie Bowden 03/20/11
This brought back happy memories for me also. Romps around the woods, trips to watch the ducks at the brook, and sledding down hills in the winter.

I held my breath when the MC went across the log, but I'm glad his adventure ended happily.
Ann Grover03/21/11
Beautifully done--saw each scene, but anticipated a much different, more tragic ending. I was glad his "while" didn't turn into "eternity" through a misadventure.
Noel Mitaxa 03/24/11
What a wonderful collection of action shots here. I was also wondering if some eternal tragic dimeniosn was lurking, but truly time flies when you're having fun - though as Kermit might say "time's fun when you're having flies."