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The Eclectic Pen - Exposures on a Found Roll of Film

By: Scott W. (Rev)   + 36 more  
Date Submitted: 12/29/2006
Genre: Literature & Fiction » General
Words: 1,708

  1. A large maple tree, apart from groups of trees visible in the background, sits alone in a sunny patch of grassy park land. The leaves glisten in the sun, while the ground beneath it is dark and shaded.

2. Closer to the tree now, the branches beyond the leaves can be seen, the dark brown skeleton twisting beneath the bushy green exterior. Upon closer examination, a bird’s nest can just be seen just off center to the right about halfway up the tree, appearing like a fibrous tumor among the branches and leaves.

3. Under the tree now, the trunk of the tree is almost black against the brightness of the sunny world beyond. The bark can just be made out, wrinkled and stretched by time and the elements.

4. Looking up through the tree, the branches web out in haphazard directions, thick and sturdy near the bottom, but noticeably thinning out as they climb higher with the trunk, which itself becomes more and more slender, until it is barely recognizable from one of its offspring. The shroud of leaves covering this erratic framework seems darker, even heavier. Sunlight twinkles through random holes in the leafy shingles, like misshapen stars.

5. Up close, it can be seen that someone in the past had felt the need to use the weathered skin of this aged beast as a billboard to proclaim to random strangers their heartfelt devotions to someone or something not important enough to be identified by their full name. Undoubtedly carved into the crusty flesh of the tree with some kind of bladed instrument, a crude heart-shaped symbol frames the logo “W.A. + M.C.R.”. About four inches beneath this unpaid advertising space, an acorn cap has somehow managed to wedge itself into the folds of the tree’s wrinkled bark.

6. From above facing down, the view from the opposite angle seems far less grand and foreboding. The trunk doesn’t appear to come out of the ground from this angle, but looks more like it struck the ground and spread out upon impact, the tangling roots looking more like the splattered remains left behind in the aftermath.

7. The barely visible bird’s nest is now merely yards away, nestled in the nook of a splitting branch. The contents within its bowl shape hidden from view, the intricate weaving of twigs, sticks, and what appears to be a pink shoelace manages to give off an aura of mystery and wonder.

8. Up close, the nest is much less miraculous. The indentation in the mass of tangled sticks and twigs, with a pink shoelace wound throughout, holds nothing but a couple of shredded feathers and a leaf that fled the safety of the tree and wound up captive within.

9. Under the tree again, from an angle much closer to the ground, the nest and the branch it was built upon lay on the ground a short distance away, mere feet from the sunlight that the oppressive covering of leaves had thus far protected them from. Slightly closer than the branch is a blue baseball cap, upended and alone on the ground beneath some falling leaves, caught motionless in midair before they could complete their unplanned decent.

10. An inquisitive eye, blue and piercing, peers closely. Though blurry and out of focus, concern can be read in the shape of the eyebrow arched above.

11. A pair of red sneakers rest on a well worn concrete path, their tops hidden by blue jeans covering the legs attached to them. The jeans show signs of recent wear, including grass stains, and one tear below the left knee. The red sneakers are spread apart, and sticking far enough out into the middle of the walkway that their owner must be slouching in the park bench, the edges of which are just barely visible where the jean clad lags end. The left sneaker is untied.

12. A nearby pigeon sits among a forgotten scattering of bread crumbs, his beak searching the ground for an edible portion.

13. Another pigeon has joined in the search now, the two of them ignoring one another as they strut around the vast amount of food spread beneath them, picking here and there like finicky food critics, unwilling to simply settle for the morsels closest to them.

14. Closer now, the two picky pigeons have been joined by an identical third. Together they scavenge the feast left for their benefit.

15. The three pigeons, blurred and deformed by the haste of their departure, flee the concrete path and its free-of-charge smorgasbord. The heel of a rollerblade, also smeared by the existence of movement, is all the evidence left behind of its disturbance.

16. Up close, the bread crumbs hold no real power of the viewer. Randomly scattered bits of stale bread. Without the crowd of devoted fans, they are merely unwanted debris. Litter clogging the path.

17. It is a sunny day, and many people are taking advantage of the nice weather. In the wide expanses of the park that stretch out into the distance, couples and groups can be seen both cavorting and relaxing in the glow of the afternoon.

18. A family gathers among a blanket spread out on the naked grass. The older members of the pack devote their attention to a newborn placed in the middle of the blanket like a picnic dinner set piece, while the youngsters scatter about the grounds around the blanket, playing a game in which the object is to avoid any and all human contact, and therefore prevent themselves from becoming “it”.

19. An elderly couple sits on a park bench in the distance. They appear to have nothing to do with each other, and would not be identifiable as belonging to one another if they were not, despite their apparent lack of mutual interest, holding hands.

20. A young couple has picked a shady spot beneath a cluster of trees, in the distance beyond the lonely maple and its newly amputated branch. The girl sits beneath the boy’s legs, her slim hand holding the strong arms that hold her close to him as they recline as one against the trunk of their current shade provider.

21. A man and his dog stand at opposite ends of a barren expanse of grassy field. Both are paused in mid-action, and between them hovers a day-glow yellow plastic disc. It is almost impossible, at this exact point, to tell which direction the Frisbee is traveling, or whether the dog or its owner is happier about its current flight plan.

22. The sky, bright and brilliant, is barely visible against the backdrop of itself.

23. Down the concrete path, sitting by herself, a young woman reclines in a park bench, four identical benches away, attention drawn to a book grasped loosely in her hand.

24. The girl, still reading the book as she sits three benches down the concrete path, crosses the legs beneath her knee length red skirt as her glasses catch a glint from the sun as it watches over her.

25. The book, unidentifiable except for the yellow dust jacket and the black book mark sticking out of the top from somewhere further in the novel’s narrative, still holds the attention of the raven haired girl as she continues to read from her park bench two benches away.

26. The girl with the stunning green eyes sitting at the next bench over has forgotten about her book, as her attention has now been drawn in this direction. The title of the book appears to have the word ‘insect’ in it, and the frown that forms from her perfect lips betrays the subtle beauty of her high cheekbones and slightly pointed jaw.

27. The girl with the book motions in this direction, but instead of the smile and wave that one would hope to receive from a fetching beauty of her kind, the motivation of her attention is expressed instead with a scowl and a single middle finger.

28. An empty park bench sits beside a winding concrete path. A black bookmark with some kind of symbol or picture, indistinguishable from this distance, lies abandoned on the path.

29. Dog, man, and Frisbee have now all been reunited, and they join for a well deserved and fully enjoyed group hug.

30. The elderly couple still appears to be ignoring each other. But they still hold hands. And they seem to be sitting a bit closer to each other.

31. Now, with roles reversed, the younger members of the family outing gather around the sacred newborn, as the parental and maternal figures frolic around the blanketed ground, trying their hardest to make contact with one another.

32. The young couple beneath the trees is no longer fully visible. Only their tangled legs appear, jutting out from behind the protection of their adopted oak guardian. Their legs say more than they had ever intended to convey.

33. Two red sneakers sit beside each other on the concrete path in front of a barely visible park bench. The right shoelace is untied.

34. Scattered breadcrumbs remain scattered and unwanted in the distance, waiting for the arrival of future winged rodents with the manners of impartial gourmets.

35. In the palm of a hand, lying limp and defeated is the filthy and tattered remains of a pink shoelace.

36. The lone maple tree sits in the same sunny patch of park land. Alone. And thriving.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Scott W. (Rev)

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Comments 1 to 2 of 2
Kenjii H. (Daalmonette) - , - 1/15/2008 1:46 PM ET
Each line tells its own story. I liked that.
Hayley S. - 7/21/2012 11:23 PM ET
I don't get this.
Comments 1 to 2 of 2