Prompt: A Room with a View. If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?
Twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.
This is a difficult task for me because I struggle with descriptive writing, but I will give it my best attempt.
I grew up in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, where I spent a good part of my teen years living in my grandfather’s house. I was the only female living in a houseful of men: my father, my brother, my grandfather, & my uncle.
Before I moved into that house, I had lived with my mother in Alberta. My mother had given me many freedoms – as long as I followed basic guidelines like calling to tell her where I was on any given day, and with whom – and when I moved into my grandfather’s house, my father tried to reign me in. You can imagine how well that worked with a 15 year old girl, I’m sure.
I fought a lot with the men in the house. My grandfather is very old-fashioned, as grandfathers tend to be; my uncle came across as a pompous know-it-all to me (may he rest in peace); my father was a controlling ass (I was 15, remember?); and my brother, well, that’s another story for another day. Naturally, I tried to leave the house to get away from them as often as I could. The problem with that is that we lived on a mountain, in the country, and the nearest town was a good hour and a half walk away.
About a five minute walk down the road from my grandfather’s house was a foot path. This foot path, flanked on one side by a river and on the other by mossy cliffs, whose floor was covered in gnarled tree roots, leaves of all shapes and colors, and various creepy crawlies, quickly became the route to my personal sanctuary.
When I became frustrated with the men in the house, that path was my escape.
Walking the path was therapy for me. The wind sang the song only it knows as it blew through the trees and cooled me from the Summer heat (it was usually much too slippery to go down there in the Winter). Shadows danced on the ground in a lazy ballet as the branches swayed in the breeze. Looking down, as I walked, I loved to see what kind of creatures I could spot. A spider scurrying quickly away to avoid meeting the demise of my falling feet. A green-scaled snake slithering slowly through the leaves looking for lunch. Ants carrying untold treasures to their home. Look up, and in the trees there were birds feeding their young in well-hidden nests and squirrels playing with one another as they leaped from branch to branch in a game of catch-me-if-you-can. Listen closely, and you could hear the “sploosh” of river as a fish descended from a jump. That soul-soothing path led to a foot bridge.
When I was little, I can remember the old bridge being made of wooden planks and rope, giving it the moniker of The Swinging Bridge. Then, sometime in my tween years, the old bridge was replaced with a more modern steel bridge. It was still known as The Swinging Bridge though, and I swear that when you walk across it you can feel it softly swaying in the wind like a ghost of days past.
When I first began my forays down the path, I would sit on the bridge and feel it swaying beneath me. Closing my eyes, I would hear the rush of the river running over the rocks in a flood. Almost magickally, I would be cleansed of any negativity I was experiencing at the time. As I went there more often, I started to bring things with me to write journal entries or draw. I would sit there for hours and just be. Sometimes I would be interrupted by someone passing through, but for the most part it was just me and nature.
When I finally left my sanctuary, I would go home much more at ease and in a better mood than when I left. If I was lucky, I would stay that way for awhile. But more often than not (again, melodramatic 15 year old girl), I would end up back on the bridge again within a few hours.
Several years ago I returned home from another jaunt out West and was told that the-powers-that-be had decided it was too dangerous for people to go back on the foot path, so now it is fenced off from public access.
Some days I would give almost anything to return to that bridge. On days when Gavin and I are doing nothing but fighting because he won’t clean his room or he is being mean to his sister, days it feels like the bills are piling up and there’s no escape from the financial burden, days when I can’t be bothered to get dressed because depression pulls me down into its icy depths again, or on days when it all just feels like too much.
Most of all it breaks my heart that my children will never get to experience the majesty of my favorite place in the whole world.