Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)
- TITLE: Nemesis
By Jill Fisher
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Night was reaching into dusk with long, dark tendrils and further on down the block the streetlights hummed into life. The air felt crisp. Not the stinging slap of deep winter, but the chill that cools noses and heats cheeks to a warm pink. The stroller wheels crunched over the first of the leaves to give up the fight against the cold dark. Signs of impending fall were all around us.
We continued our quiet march to the park when…what was that? I peered at a patch of sidewalk highlighted by a shaft of streetlight and groaned. It was a frog. I picked up the pace, hoping that maybe a fast tiptoe would prevent Grant from notic—too late. The night air was rent with a piercing squeal of delight and a chubby finger emerged from the stroller to point me to my fate. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I can do this, I thought to myself. I’ve watched Matt do this for him a hundred times. Internal pep talk over, I nodded to myself and marched with grim resolution to the frog.
As frogs went, this one didn’t seem too scary. Actually, he was smaller than my pinky finger. Confidence welled up inside me as I reached down to scoop him up to present to my waiting baby. Sensing danger, the frog leapt into the nearby grass, nearly upending himself on the tiny blades. With back legs wriggling futilely at the air he presented me with the perfect catching opportunity! My hands swept in sure and fast with the precision of a laser-guided missile. My triumphant shout turned to a gag of revulsion as warm, slimy legs rubbed against my palm. I backed away and looked quickly at Grant. Blue eyes loaded with censure returned my gaze.
“I’m sorry, son,” I whispered. “I just couldn’t…..”
Autumn scenery that a moment before had been cool and enchanting was stained dark by my melancholy mood. I felt ashamed and inadequate. With a heavy heart and heavier feet, I gripped the handles and pushed forward. The stroller squeaked to a start and began a rhythmic thump, thump over the joints in the sidewalk.
Gloom surrounded me and in exasperation I looked up to the sky in wordless question. The dark was broken by the warm glow of the street light above my head. Epiphany struck as I gazed at that light. There will always be light above the gloom. Above is He who sees potential in the midst of failure; beauty in the midst of adversity; the dormant miracle of the future spring in the chilly fall night.
I smiled as I turned the stroller toward home. Waiting for me in our warm house was Matt. I couldn’t wait to tell him the news. I had gotten closer to catching a frog than ever before! It might even happen next time. In the interim, faith moved Grant and I forward.
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