A writer, teacher, traveler, and long-distance hiker in pursuit of a life that blends them all. Read trail dispatches and adventure stories at my website.
- Runner-Up in Tall Tail Challenge
The First Day of the Festival
Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky. The regularity of this nebulous ritual did not deter the townspeople from beholding the spectacle. Rather the opposite: the weeklong phenomenon, which occurred at approximately the same time in mid April every year, typically drew crowds in the hundreds, if not thousands.
The water is colder than she expects. Not that she thought it would be boiling—not even this burning cerulean could offset her sense of realism—but somehow she expected... hot. It's not cold, not really, not even cool, sort of like bath water that had perhaps an ice cube or two dropped daintily in as an afterthought. The ocean comes slipping up in a thin plane along the sloping shore and laps over her toes, nails unpolished, the bubbles leaving a tickling line across her metatarsals, and retreats again, a mollusk into its blue porcelain shell, a tentative hand reaching, pulling back, reaching.
Last night at Kathryn’s party, we talked about books and movies that make us cry. Kody threw out The Art of Racing in the Rain. “It’s narrated by a dog!” A collective groan. Dog books. Emily mentioned The Goldfinch. “It’s a coming of age story,” Kathryn explained to the rest of the group who had not read the tome. “It’s in my top seven best books ever,” I added. I had my hands up and was waving them frantically, the way I do when someone is talking about something I love. I was thinking about the Mauritshuis museum in the Hague and remembering, after reading the book, that I had seen the little painting when I was there. Windy January, flag whipping in the wind outside in the plaza, dreading the inevitable day when I would have to go to Schiphol airport in the rain and leave the Netherlands and go back home.