- Length: 1217 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
Standing in the corner of the park, a giant stands watch over everything and everyone. Cars can be seen, smelt, and mostly heard as they rush by trying to get somewhere in time. The air here seems to be the purest possible, until another old car screams by showing a fraction of the impurities present. There is a swarm of insects in the opposite corner from the giant, racing around at insane speeds. All the while, a lone crow watches, waiting for a chance to try out his wits against the bugs. There is grass covering most of the park except for some bare spots.
In a corner of the park a giant tree stands watch. Like a plate of armor, the thick gray skin flows over her whole body. Except for a few places, where there is an invisible force holding it at bay, grayness masks her essence completely. Only close to the ground does this alligator armor fail to cover her entire body. It is as if she had been abused for the first few years of life, leaving open scars for everyone to see and places for the insects to feed on her. Some blades of grass are taking advantage of this absence of protection, growing in the holes between her skin. Around these scars, her skin folds down onto itself letting you see how thick the armor really is (maybe an inch or so). Farther from the ground her skin starts to show a pattern: diamonds repeating over and over again.
Right at the base she is split, not like someone or something is responsible, but more like the seed split right after it sprouted. What is left can be described as Siamese twins, still connected but leaving two different entities, each one going its separate way. A little further from the ground both once again decide they don’t like who they have become. Unlike a human, she has the choice to let part of her go one way and part go another. So both split again, losing size as they reach for the sky.
At this point, smaller arms begin to appear, except these arms aren’t reaching for the sky, they are reaching parallel to the ground. These arms split numerous times as well, as if they can’t decide which direction they want to grow. They support hundreds of little green hands, each one doing its small part to support the bigger being.
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Park Taking Advantage Armor Insects Corner Heard Blades Scars Bugs Again
Cars rush by one side of the park. A low humming can be heard, first soft, then louder, louder, softer, softer, until you can’t hear it anymore. This sound repeats itself thousands of times a day, each one varying from the other in pitch, or by some other sound intertwined with the low rumble. Sometimes this will be a loud shriek or a soft continuous clunking. Not one of the sounds is the same as the previous. Like a fingerprint, at first glance they all seem the same until you take a closer look. Then, you will notice that not one is ever the same as the one you examined previously.
The air is as clear as the purest pane of glass, not an impurity to be seen, until the rays of the sun appear. Only then does the realization come. The air is only as pure as the pond that cows loiter around and drink from on a hot summer day. At first the water seems to be crystal clear and as blue as the sky, there are no impurities to be seen. This view is shattered when a rock is picked up of the ground and lobed into the pond. All the black specks of water bugs that no one knew were there disperse. The pond is no longer clear, a cloud of brown smoke rises from where the rock hit and disperses through the pond until it looks crystal clear again. Never again is the water looked at as if it were pure. The same goes for the seemingly crystal clear air, clouds of smoke occasionally float through the park when a car rushes by and slowly dissipate into the distance.
Small black flecks invade the sky, yet only where the sun is shining can these impurities be seen. These flecks circle around some strange object that can’t be seen or heard. Maybe this central object is an aura or perhaps a scent that only these small, flying insects can detect. They move in unison as if some force from another world is controlling their every action. At mind- boggling speed, these insects weave around and around each other, as if racing to complete the most circles flown in a single lifetime. The more there are, the more will come, trying in vain to win this foolish race.
An unusually loud hum can be heard in the distance; it grows louder and louder as it gets nearer. Maybe one day people will stop throwing rocks in the pond. As the hum reaches its vertex and then resides into the distance, a small cloud crosses the path of the insects, scattering them, as if the race had to be postponed. But this only lasts for a few seconds until their master realizes what has happened, and quickly regains control, putting every last one in its previous position in the race.
Blacker than the night itself, the crow is perched on a patch of green grass. It is sitting perfectly still like a gargoyle watching the flies run their race. It shows some of the same characteristics as the flies it is hunting. It is so black it would be virtually invisible to the human eye on a dark night. Its legs bend backward at the knees it looks painful but if it were to look at a human it would probably say the same thing.
The grass grows in patches, some greener than the nicest day in Ireland, others struggling for the slightest green hue. A few end up a yellow-brown, like the color of aspens changing in fall, about to lose all their leaves. Other places in the park are bare, almost as if the ground didn’t have enough nutrients to support grass. In still other places the blades are bending over, genuflecting almost as if they are kneeling before some great entity. Telling a story of earlier in the day or even the week when heavy objects were place over the blades forcing them into groveling. These objects that were presumably tents had very recently been removed. Other blades stand straight up as if to reach for the heavens in thanks for not being smashed. This creates what looks like the famous crop circles of England, except for the fact that the kneeling grass is more in the shape of rectangles and squares rather than circles.
Once again the low rumble starts off in the distance, except this time the rumble is higher pitched, like someone beating on a drum faster and faster, until the sound is almost deafening, consuming everything in its path. Closer and closer it comes until the crow flees and the insect race is once again impeded with foul black smoke. Makes one wonder why we still throw rocks in the pond. All is quiet and engulfed in darkness.
Photography credits (in order of appearance)
Laurisilva forest, Laurus azorica among other trees and geraniums, Garajonay National Park, Spain (credit: Wild Wonders of Europe / Relanzó / naturepl.com).
Morning mist clears to reveal the sea of sand surrounding Mount Bromo, Java (credit: BBC / Paul Williams).
Archers, dogs and a hoofed animal, cave painting, Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria (credit: De Agostini / C. Marchelli / Getty).
Spider's web with dew droplets, spread between grasses covered in frost (credit: Guy Edwardes / 2020VISION / naturepl.com)
Wapiti (or elk) bull in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA (credit: Daniel J Cox / Getty).
Lion on savannah (credit: BBC / Tom Hugh-Jones).
Scots pine trees (Pinus sylvestris) in evening sunlight (credit: Sandra Bartocha / naturepl.com).
Sapa, Vietnam (credit: sarawut / Getty).
Walnut (Juglans regia) in field of ripe barley before a storm, France (credit: Pascal Tordeux / Nature Picture Library / Alamy).
Vehicle tracks through a field of green barley, Germany (credit: Sandra Bartocha / naturepl.com).
Thousands of gilt-head bream (Sparus aurata) inside a sea cage used for aquaculture, Italy (credit: Franco Banfi / naturepl.com).
Waves of Baltic Sea washing over and polishing coloured pebbles, Germany (credit: Sandra Bartocha / naturepl.com).
Three bottle-nosed dolphins (credit: Yukimasa Hirota / Getty).
Bluebells in beech wood abstract, Scotland, UK (credit: Pete Cairns / naturepl.com).
Forest ‘Missed and Loved’ (credit: bob van den berg photography / Getty).
Vibrant autumn colour (credit: ooyoo / Getty).
Moonrise over misty bog, Estonia (credit: Sven Zacek / naturepl.com).
European Lynx (Lynx lynx) adult female peering out from behind tree in winter birch forest, Norway (credit: Pete Cairns / naturepl.com).
Common reeds (Phragmites australis), Fürstenseer Lake at Müritz National Park, Germany (credit: Sandra Bartocha / naturepl.com).