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Monday, February 1, 2010

Assignment 3: Fall Walks in the Woods

Feedback time again.  As y'all know, a few days ago I posted a practice assignment that was an exercise to gear up for my 'turn in' assignment for Assignment 3.  We are supposed to "show" rather than "tell" an event we recall from our childhood.  It is supposed to be written for an audience between middle school and high school.

I'm not sure if I hit that part; I think I did because it is easier to write for older children than younger children.  Though, I find it odd that I think that because typically I enjoy working with younger children.  Which, is why I enjoy teaching the Kinder and First Graders in CCD.

Anyhow, after pondering for weeks I finally came up with something that I felt like writing about, and that I felt I could pretty well show.  So, I wrote about Walks in the woods at my Grandpa's place (now my Daddy's place) up in Arkansas.  It truly is a wonderful experience.

I hope I "showed" that to y'all in my account.  So, please read this and give me your feedback.

Does it read well?  Did you feel like you were in the woods with me?
I think I might have made issue with what tense to use as I wanted to share about walks in general and not just ONE, particular walk.  Though, I did share about an event here or there that happened on a particular walk.

So, please share thoughts, grammatical insight, etc.  Though, I haven't gone back to proof again.  This is what I sat down with (thesaurus in hand, of course) and typed out.  I will be revisiting it several times (taking your advice into account as well) to tweak it to perfection -- okay, to tweak it to the best I can do before I submit it.

I don't write perfection and I'm beginning to realize that.  It is somewhat intimidating but I will dredge on.  That's how we learn and improve, right?



As a young girl, I loved to walk along the old trails in my Grandpa’s woods.  The woods were always peaceful as Fall settled in.  They were checkered with huge, tall oak trees and towering tall pines.  There was an odd silence that was an eerie kind of quiet.  The woods were still, though from time to time the silence would break at the sudden barking chatter of a grey squirrel.

From somewhere above an acorn would crack loose as I wandered my way along the path, shuffling my feet in the blanket of leaves beneath them.  I could almost hear the acorn falling as it sliced through the air on its way down from the top of the piney trees.

My ears perked as the acorn landed with a light thud somewhere along the path up ahead of me.  I was sure the descent snuggled the acorn deep in the damp leaves that covered the forest floor. It was a long fall from the tops of those oak trees.  Their trunks seem to rise forever up, up, up.  An occasional breeze would sway the treetops as if they were shaking hands with the sky.

Everything was changing colors from green to red, to orange, to brown.  I could see Fall handing the season over to Winter almost before my eyes. The timberland enticed the senses, heightening sight, sound, and smell.  Occasionally, a crisp, cool breeze would tickle my nose with the smell of damp dirt and a hint of winter on the way.

Another breeze would blow and the forest would come alive as more leaves broke free from their homes in the trees.  I would watch the leaves as they twirled around riding the air and rocking their way down to rest on the earthy path, blanketing the ground even deeper.

Once a flicker caught my attention as a doe made her way through the trunks of the trees.  I stopped and stood statuesque so as not to alert her.  I watched her nibbling at the acorns on the ground.  I could hear her mandible crushing them as she chewed.  She flickered her ears listening intently for any sign of danger as she went along her way, meandering as if she had no real destination.  She was a beautiful sight; her smooth, brown fur shimmered in a ray of sunlight gleaming in a thin stream from somewhere atop the trees. She carefully and quietly stepped her way through the timberland.  And, then, just as quickly as she had appeared she faded into the darkness of a thicket.

At the end of my walk I would emerge as if from another world, into the pasture behind the old house.  My walks always left me relaxed and clear of mind.  I miss walking in the woods at Fall.

THOUGHTS??  Do share... ;-)



Melissa said...

Good start, but try writing it in present tense so the reader feels there with you in the moment.

"The timberland enticed the senses, heightening sight, sound, and smell."

The changing of fall into winter makes me (personally) think of the acrid smell of woodsmoke, the look of ruddy, chapped cheeks, the crystalline cry of a hawk circling overhead or the muted footfall on damp, pungent earth.

That's immediately what comes to my mind. I think your instructor might advise you not to use subjective words such as "beautiful," and mark you down for the number of adverbs: quickly, carefully, quietly. Also, "There was an odd silence that was an eerie kind of quiet," is repetitive.

"I miss walking in the woods at fall," sounds like you are an adult reminiscing about the past (which you are, but you need to write it from a middle grade perspective - that's why I suggested present tense).

Those are just my initial thoughts at a glance . . .

Like I said, good start!

CarolynM said...

I'm no editor so take anything I say with a grain of salt.
I think I'd reconsider the word statuesque. It has so many connotations to beauty and you're meaning statue-like, maybe motionless?
or rooted to the ground like the oaks around you?
What fun to write for pleasure I wish I had that kind of gift...