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 Hidden Path

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PostSubject: Hidden Path   Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:29 pm

“Is this a forest or simply a grove?” You ask yourself as you wander through the thorny underbrush.

A thorn reaches out and connects with your leg. You dab the blood from your new wound and search for the path in front of you. The ground is disguised by the bramble. Fallen leaves form a blanket covering the bushes. The once glorious sun-rays show their battle scars attained in the war with the boughs. The few survivors dapple the fallen leaves. Trees block your view of the outside world from every direction. The path behind you is no clearer; it is swallowed by the forest floor.

“Will the trees never end? Will I never see the sky again?”

Your question breaks the silence and your next step disturbs the stillness. You press onward, because turning back would be futile. You have already been there and you must continue on toward your destination. Only the One who made the trees and the thorns and the sun knows what is at the end of your journey, wherever that may be.

Your reverie is broken as the tree canopy abruptly ends. The brightness of the sun in all her glory enfolds and penetrates you. You try to allow your eyelids time to defend the rest of you against the light, but they fail. And you resist the urge to take a step backwards retreating into the shadows.

When you open your eyes, you notice before you a small pool. You sit on the sandy bank to rest, removing your shoes and socks to relieve your tired soles. The river which feeds the pool flows from the north off a cliff close enough for you to hear the thundering of the waterfall. The moist air gathers around your face and the earth rumbles beneath you, forming a massaging chair.

To the south, the river turns ferocious and crashes against the stones in its path. Directly above the rapids is a bridge, or rather the ghost of one. Instead of standing against the river, it haunts and sneaks and tries to let the river forget it exists. The floor boards are mostly missing and those which have survived have little time left. The river lashes at the side rails, tearing them down, sliver by sliver. Rash is the person who tries to cross the river along this route. So how should you continue? Have you come all this way only to be stopped by this moody obstacle?

Reaching to gather some water in your hand, you drink from the pool. The liquid transfers the sun’s warmth to inside your body, soothing your parched throat. Yearning for the same comfort, your feet scurry to test the water themselves. You stand and find yourself wading into the pool. Farther and farther you venture never getting any deeper than the middle of your calf. The hairs on your legs prickle and pry themselves from the dried scratches. Gently the water flows against your skin, encouraging circulation.

Coming to the place where the river must meet the pool you think, “Concentrate. If you loose your footing, you could be swept downstream and smashed against the rocks.”

Cautiously you continue. All the way across the river you walk to a large rock hanging over the western bank. Beneath the rock, the underwater bridge disappears and the river runs swift and deep. Climbing onto the rock, you sit and wipe the excess water from our legs. You notice how different they look, note that the dirt and sweat have been removed.

"Half the scratches are already healed! If only the pool was deeper, then I think I could handle the rest of the journey, with almost a fresh start.”

You look back at the forest where those scratches were received. Something on the far bank catches your attention. Lying in a heap are your socks and shoes. If the path ahead is anything like the path before, you are going to need those shoes.

Gingerly, you back yourself down off the rock. Your foot finds the edge of the underwater damn and you release your grip on the rock. Back across the river and through the pool you press, reaching your soiled and thorn ridden footwear.

“How can I possibly put these on my freshly cleaned feet?” You moan as you head back to the rock. Midstream you turn upriver, lean forward to balance against the current, and pick up stones to help you clean your socks.

Head first you fall into the river. As your weight brings you deeper, your buoyancy turns your face towards the surface. Your arms and legs stretch out, each skin cell yearning for the water. You open your eyes and find the world looks different from beneath six inches of water. It appears more smooth and rounded, logically organized and separated – sun from sky, sky from trees, trees from rocks. The distance between you and the world grows continually smaller as your body adjusts to floating.

On the upstream side of the underwater damn, the current is barely noticeable. Instead of rushing toward the rocks, the water gently leads you to the pool. Looking around from your reclined position, you notice the sun is now directly above you. It can only be distinguished as the brightest point in a bright sky. The tree line is blurred from your looking at the sun, and simply looks darker than the sky. Closing your eyes, you remember what everything looked like underwater. Though the colors were muted and bluer, each object had a boundary and a place.

With your wounds soothed, your feet cooled and your socks cleaned, you return to the rock. Waiting for your socks to dry, you observe and reflect. Watching the river turn angry at the bridge, you wonder about the poor souls who have tried to cross this river using that route. They faced its wrath when all they needed to do was test the water. They would have found the river warm, inviting, and safe to cross. Then you think about those who had discovered the underwater bridge, crossed the river and simply continued on. Those who were so consumed by their destination that they never realized the river was deep and engulfing.

And what have you discovered? What have you gained from your delay? Not only has your body been refreshed, and your wounds cleansed, but your spirit has been uplifted and your mind offered a new view of the world.

After fully drying and re-clothing your feet, you climb down the rock on its upstream side. You steel yourself against another trek into the overgrown forest. You turn away from the river, and their before you is a path. The trees grow tall and the leaves cover the ground, but a clearly defined road lies between the trees. Flowers grow along the path and in between their taller cousins. The sun shines from slightly behind you and the rays are set to dancing with the shadows by a soft breeze. The smell of fresh clover lifts your whole body as your feet eagerly step forward.

Turning toward the river, you nod your head in thanks. This path is completely hidden from everywhere except this side of the rock. All those who had managed to cross the river and move on, had to struggle through the rest of the forest on their own. But anyone who had allowed the river to lead them to the rock, and use it as a drying place; to them other opportunities were given.

You raise your head and thank the Maker for allowing you to experience His creation in every aspect. You thank Him for the dark forest and its lesson in perseverance, and for ending it. You thank Him for the rock and its solid foundation. You thank Him for the river. The river had seemed to be another insurmountable obstacle, but was actually a helpmate, a comforter and a teacher.

A smile plays across your face. You follow the new path He has made clear and walk on.
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Lora
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PostSubject: Re: Hidden Path   Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:28 pm

I love the allegorical nature of this story. Very nice work. You have a lot of nice crisp descriptions and great moment-by-moment action. Also, using the second person point of view is quite a nice touch. It's not easy to write in second person and I think you pulled it off quite nicely.

The questions I kept asking myself in this story were, Is this person lost?, What caused this person to be out in the middle of the forest?, Was he/she just taking a walk nearby home?


The following sentence is a little confusing. Who are the survivors? Are they green leaves that have fallen to the ground?
The few survivors dapple the fallen leaves.

The second sentence from the following is a little awkward. Consider revising as in the example I provided:

The river which feeds the pool flows from the north off a cliff close enough for you to hear the thundering of the waterfall. The moist air gathers around your face and the earth rumbles beneath you, forming a massaging chair.

The river which feeds the pool flows from the north off a cliff close
enough for you to hear the thundering of the waterfall. Like a messaging chair, the earth rumbles beneath you as the moist air gathers around your face.

Love the personification (the attribution of human characteristics to things, abstract ideas, etc.) that you used here and there in the story, especially in the following sentences. Its a very powerful writing device.
Instead of standing against the river, it haunts and sneaks and tries to let the river forget it exists.
Have you come all this way only to be stopped by this moody obstacle?

I thought the end was especially nice the way you tied together the tramp through the forest and life as a Christian. Nice job.

You raise your head and thank the Maker for allowing you to experience
His creation in every aspect. You thank Him for the dark forest and its
lesson in perseverance, and for ending it. You thank Him for the rock
and its solid foundation. You thank Him for the river. The river had
seemed to be another insurmountable obstacle, but was actually a
helpmate, a comforter and a teacher.

A smile plays across your face. You follow the new path He has made clear and walk on.

Adding a little more inner dialog for the person walking through the forest and giving the reader an understanding of why this person is there will strengthen this story tremendously. The inner dialog will help connect the reader to the person walking through the forest better. Also, giving us the reason why this person is there will sort of establish a point to the story. The reader needs a reason to keep reading, a hook you might say. If the person is lost, it would give it a little tension and spice it up quite a bit.

Well, I hope that helps a little. Many precious blessings to you. I look forward to reading more of your work, and/or helping you further if you make revisions to this one.

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God Bless, Lora  Nice Ta Meet Ya
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http://loraconnor.com http://equippingthesaints.life
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PostSubject: Re: Hidden Path   Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:02 pm

Thanks Lora for taking the time to critic my story. I do like your suggestion of rearranging the description of the waterfall. I will try to make the "lostness" of the character more evident.

The inner dialogue has been difficult. I originally didn't have any, so I'll go through it and check it out some more.

Thanks again.
Kristen
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