Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SEA CHANGE or TREE CHANGE (07/13/17)
TITLE: Wild Taming Wild
By Rachel Rudd
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If this trip didn't solve their problems, then what would?Tempers flared this morning each time a word was uttered. Their two children Joe and Jamie joined the mix throwing out slurs of their own wondering why they had to leave their awesome city for halfway to nowhere. “How in the world would they be able to make it through a week in the middle of the mountains surrounded by nothing but trees and crickets?”
Adam slammed the engine into gear once everyone had found their places. “Everybody buckle up and shut up. It's going to be a long ride.”
Seven hours later the car wound its way up the steep mountainside. Each incline burned the tires and strained the engine, but still they inched higher.
Joe slid open his phone.“Are we lost yet? I don't have a signal anymore.”
“The cabin rental company said that there would probably not be good reception up here.” Tracy unfolded handwritten directions. “We need to turn after this next group of trees. Watch out for the deer!”
The car skidded to a stop a hand’s-breadth from a doe feeding her spotted young. They inched slowly past the sight lost in an eerie silence which lasted about two inches beyond the wonder as Jamie blurted out, “Why didn't we stop so we could take a picture? No one is going to believe we just saw that.”
Her brother poked her leg, “Just because you can't post it online doesn't mean your life is over.”
Thirty minutes later, the cabin finally came out from hiding. Pine trees rose on each side of the driveway like silent sentinels. The wooden guards blended with the wood of the cabin to create the semblance of oneness. Could they find unity here?
“Everybody grab a bag and let’s get this all unloaded.” Adam commanded.
Over the next few hours, each family member found their little corner where they did as they pleased. Jamie disappeared into her favorite book to fall in love with the main character. Car magazines caused Joe to drool while Adam used his new Swiss knife to whitttle a spoon. Tracy straightened the cabin and began to gather firewood when she ran out of items to put in place. No one took time to look up at the fluttering leaves of the hickory or the blossoms of the rhododendrons. No one took time to question the others about their interests. Knives would have been hard pressed to cut the tension seeping through every movement.
Night snuck upon them until a loud crash came from outside.
“Dad, what was that?”
“I don't know, Joe. Can you give me your flashlight?”
He shined the light out into the dark. Two large orbs glowed back at him which were illuminated alongside black fur covered paws.
“Dad, what is it go-o-ing to do?”
The bear answered by clambering towards the light. He slashed at the wood enclosed trash cans until the remains of their dinner were spilled all over the front yard. Tracy clung to Adam’s back and watched the bear devour its nightly feast. It took more than half an hour before it had finished its destruction and lumbered away into the dark forest.
Jamie interrupted the silence again with a plea for solidarity, “Dad, can we all sleep in the living room tonight? I think we need each other.”
The next morning Adam studied the heart-shaped leaves of the basswood tree. He didn't know much about trees, but the guidebook said this one was good for carving. He didn't know much about hearts either, but maybe there was hope for their hearts to be fashioned, too.
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