Someone I follow on Twitter throws out occasional writing prompts. Sometimes it’s “In six words or fewer write about…” Sometimes it’s, set a timer and, in 10 minutes write something that begins with…” Today’s prompt was, “In 10 minutes or less, write something that begins with, “She jumped…” Here’s what I wrote.
She jumped up and ran to the ringing telephone. Snatching it up she said, “Hello?” with a question in her voice. The question was feigned. She knew who it was. The talking caller ID had announced the number she knew only too well. It was Jim, the love of her life.
How had this love affair started? It began when he pulled down a branch of black cherry for her to identify during a class project. Everyone else in the class, The Dynamics of Blindness, had to don a blindfold and do a recreational activity. Afterwards, they were to write about the experience. She had to choose an activity that she hadn’t done since becoming blind. One of the activities on the list was tree identification. She had taken botany and forestry classes in college and thought she knew trees pretty well. But she hadn’t tried this since becoming blind.
Taking the branch in her hands she examined a leaf. It was spatulate in shape, felt slightly papery, and had serated edges. She checked the leaves and found them to be alternating. She felt the buds. “Is this in the rose family?” she whispered, more to herself than to the man who stood beside her, waiting for her to identify the tree. “Yes,” rose family,” she whispered again. Then she scratched the twig and brought it to her nose. The aroma of almond filled her senses. Turning to him she said, “Black cherry.”
“Yeah,” he said, sounding amazed and impressed. They walked on, deeper and deeper into the forest, stopping to examine the trees as they went.
That had been the beginning of a love affair. No, it had been the beginning of two love affairs. One was a love affair between the man and the woman. The other was a love affair with nature.
Twenty eight years later, they sit in their rocking chairs on the front [porch, gently rocking in unison. There’s no need for words. They sit together and listen to the sounds of nature around them. The house is in the middle of eighteen wooded acres and the sounds of nature are all they can hear. The view of the forest, the birds, the wind bringing down the autumn leaves, he can see these things. She cannot. “What’s that bird?” he asks.
It’s a brown cowbird,” she says, without hesitation.
“Odd sounding bird,” he murmurs.
They’re silent again. The wind blows, the leaves fall, the birds call.