Friday, October 7, 2011

Turkey Creek

This week we asked you to take us somewhere. Where was up to you -fiction or creative nonfiction- but we asked you to use your words to paint the setting as vividly as possible. In 200 words.

    Just off of Aravaipa in south-central Arizona is a cool, fragrant canyon. It's a gash in the desert, shaded from the harsh reality of the arid, rocky, cactus-ridden challenge above. Sheer rock walls angle over the canyon floor. Cottonwood and Sycamore trees filter the sunlight. In the autumn, those trees drop colorful, oval leaves and turn the blue granite boulders into mosaics of color.
    A lazy creek wanders from one side of the canyon wall to the other, ambling back and forth like a child chasing a butterfly. Coatis run amok in the canyon, a gang of noisy delinquents. I don't speak Coati, but if I did, I bet I'd be shocked at the names they call each other. Canyon Wrens stay above the fray and let their liquid songs fill the canyon. Dainty prints of whitetailed deer in the mud tell me that the little gray ghosts stopped to drink, before darting back up to the desert hills above. Black bears amble back and forth between canyon and desert, eating whatever looks good on nature's salad bar.
     It's a quiet place, ancient and delicate. If you listen carefully, you can hear the echoes of the ones who walked here before: Hohokams, Mogollons, Saladoans, settlers and ranchers and Basque sheep herders. The sounds of the bawling cattle, bleating sheep and even the sounds of a massacre have faded away to a whisper....a whisper of a road less traveled.


Always, feel free to comment! Trish in AZ

10 comments:

  1. I had a whirlwind drive through northern New Mexico nearly a decade ago... and I've always wanted to get back to the Southwest.

    This looks like a Georgia O'Keeffe painting, but the bird calls and prints and ambling stream bring it to vibrant life!

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  2. Lovely images. It is the stuff of good science writing.

    A suggestion: Now that this is done and out of your mind for a few days, go back and edit. Look for places to tighten up the writing. For example, "In the autumn, those trees drop colorful, oval leaves and turn the blue granite boulders into mosaics of color." could become, "In the autumn, those trees drop colorful, oval leaves which turn the blue granite boulders a mosaic of colors."

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  3. Oh, Trish, I love this: "It's a gash in the desert, shaded from the harsh reality of the arid, rocky, cactus-ridden challenge above." Perfect word choice!

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  4. Thanks for your comments! Latitudes of a Day: good suggestion...thank you so much!

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  5. What a gorgeously described road!

    That last paragraph is especially magical!

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  6. This is a beautiful ode to a mysterious canyon almost hidden away from the eyes of modern man. I could feel the history as you described it.

    The beginning line: It's a gash in the desert, shaded from the harsh reality of the arid, rocky, cactus-ridden challenge above

    Love it

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  7. I love the images, and I love the comparing and contrast. You have a gift. I am glad to have found your journal:)

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  8. You set this up beautifully in the first two paragraphs, but the last one captured me by the very thought of who came before. It's something I often think of as I drive through the country or even on the freeway and look up or down a hill, thinking of the peoples that were here before all the infrastructure and technology. I can get lost in thoughts like that. :>

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  9. I enjoyed reading this. My husband is fascinated with the southwest, and this made me willing to try it out (on vacation of course!)

    I like how you highlighted some of the animals and then contrasted that with it being a quiet place. There was a sense of picturesque serenity here.

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