Week Six of class taught the importance of description applied to world-building. In preparation for the assignment, we were asked to go to any location where we wouldn’t be interrupted and fully immerse ourselves in the intimate details of nature and to write about the experience. I chose the park down the street from us, aptly named, Veterans Memorial Park.
As writers, we need to learn to train ourselves to hone in on the little details, as well as the big ones.
The Sleep Firm’s demise is imminent, and it stands on the corner of Auburn and Park. Around the corner is a modest apartment complex with a charcoal grey trim. The railing is dirty white. Separating the closest apartment is a small trellis with many large X imprints making it stand out. Further down, however, the railing itself is a light brown, while the siding is darker.
Below is a crumpled sidewalk. It gradually curves to the left, but its perpetual fissures takes precedence. In fact, you barely notice the curvature…unless you’re really looking. Instead, the coldness of the sidewalk holds your attention, as well as the sense of it being used up. It feels distant, unfeeling, neglected and abused. Underfoot, the leaves are soft and lack their accustomed crispness of early fall. The wind isn’t fierce enough to blow them far. Their hues are strangely magnetic, varying from an almost blood red orange to muddied browns. The ash green leaves accentuate their family tree like veins. A little closer to Veteran’s Park but still along the crumpled sidewalk lays a puddle of pine needles, roughly two inches in length, all at intersecting angles. They’ve lost their rigidity, too. Light and shadow abounds. in its median is a rough appropriation of a sphere, filled in by the rough spider veins below. The arrangement is captivating, to the extent that it looks prearranged, or happenstance.
Bordering the increasingly veering walkway are miscellaneous trees in various stages of life: some thriving off of the blustery, wet environment while others are dead or dying, and others yet are somewhere in the middle. They’re creeping in, closer and closer, some of the thin, brittle bones stretching out, like vengeful claws. The others hang back, afraid to move.
But my attention returns to the sidewalk. Throughout it are patches of moss. If caressed, the texture would probably feel soft yet dense, porous yet durable and easily defeated. Formidable in the ways they tend to seep into any given location and grow, spreading out and conceiving.
Peering over my broad shoulders, the houses lining the street appear and resonate as if for the first time. Most are shades of whites, browns and greens, and while most are in fairly good condition, there are some that have been condemned and some are sprawling derelicts. Somewhere in the middle is a fenced, immaculate home whose sole blemish consists of large cobwebs along the chain link, festering and infested.
Just ahead is an ill-used Army tank. It looks old enough to have fought in World War Two. Along its rear is a camouflaged metal ledge designed for easy access. Inside the massive agent of war are dual seats which should be uncomfortable, with their hard, metal surface and sharp corners, but which are relatively smooth. The driver and passenger seat are separated by the tank’s long barrel, projected high into the grey, churning sky. The clouds sway to and fro, their movement undetectable, their distinct contours rendered artistic. On the floorboard of the driver’s seat are different forms of casually discarded litter, as if the sacrifices made by our troops every day do not matter. At eye level is the steering apparatus. By design or not, it resembles a semi-circle. Its rotation glides smoothly, seamless really. It usually gives a protesting creak, but today it is appropriately silent.
Impatient, I plop down onto the unforgiving ground and come around to the front of the tank. I marvel at the plaque just below, trying desperately to comprehend the vastness of the dedication: IN HONOR OF VETERANS OF ALL WARS.
I hope you all enjoyed this little exercise. Thank you for reading, I really do appreciate it! If you have any constructive criticism to give, please feel free. I’d be eternally grateful. Even if you don’t, I’ll catch you in the comment section.:)
Also, I was so inspired by the exercise that I wrote a second part. It’s a little different, but still takes place in the park. If you’d like to read it, I’d be more than happy to share. Please let me know?