“Traveler’s Haven”

This is a short piece I wrote for a class assignment. I’d like to share it with you 🙂

 

I only found it just yesterday, a hidden path coming off the white graveled trail by my house. I jogged past it so many times, hardly ever glancing to my left or right. That’s what happens when you jog; you focus. But all it took was one fleeting glance, a destined turn of the head that found me my most favorite place on earth. I call it Traveler’s Haven. I am not the founder of that name, however; my brother told me about it years ago, a magical place full of green and mist. He called it Traveler’s Haven, and it sounded too perfect to be true. Yet here it was, a path of sun streams through tree branches and fairy dust that floated around you like the particles in the ocean when you plunge under the surface. It’s like I did just that: plunged under the surface of reality and entered an underwater paradise.

I stepped carefully, the crunching of my soles on old crisp leaves resounding like a million miniature drums tapped on by creatures of the underbrush. I didn’t want to disturb a single twig. Everything was in its place, as it should be, and I was intruding. Or was I a guest? There was a welcoming air about the realm, a scent of softness and lavender. I would think the world would not allow the scent of lavender if it did not want a human presence. I touched the chocolate-blackened pillars tipped with grey-green roofs swaying back and forth in the wind and singing a whispering song. They were rough and, all the same, gentle. And there was a groan, a mellowing groan of wood that frightened me but did not deter me. Everything was pure; it was a place where I was convinced nothing evil could happen.

Ever so often a scatter of brush would spin me round, and it happened so much I was practically dancing. That fit well, for it seemed that everything else was dancing already. Then I came upon it: A castle. Or a tree, rather, shaped just so that it was a stairway to heaven. I’ve only climbed one perfect tree before in the past, but that one did not have the thickness and authority that this unvisited monument did. My tennis shoes scratched at the bark as I went up, and my hands groped possessively to the massive arms. It was like I was climbing Atlas as he held up the sky, making him so uncomfortable and so helpless without the ability to shake me off lest he suffer flattening the ground with the clouds. I only went five feet up; my short stature could not reach for the shoulders. I observed this town of fairies from this height, counting the yellow spotlights that turned the land into an understated concert hall. There was music everywhere, leaf whistles and a quartet of strings played in the bushes, cricket bells and bumblebee buzzes. And there were wind chimes. No, wait, that was birds. Their voices tumbled from the glittering sun rooftops and fell onto my ears like the strike of a xylophone. I jumped and bent at the knees. This ground was no trampoline; it was solid, the ground of a hardwood dance floor. A concert hall, a dance studio, a fairy town, an underwater ocean. What else was this place?

It was my favorite place on earth, that was certain. And I left it alone, as much as I could. It liked human presence but didn’t want it all the time.

“Grace? What are you doing?”

My dad’s surest voice came solidly, did not echo, to my ears, and I turned. His face was lit for just a moment, his chestnut hair reflecting like gold, and then the curtain fell. A casting of a cloud turned off the lights; the concert is over.

“Come on, it’ll be dark soon.” He stretched out his hand and I reached for it across the void. Somehow, my fingers intertwined with his. I thought I was far away. No, I was right here, in Traveler’s Haven, a hidden path off the white graveled trail by my house. That’s all it was, at least when it only wanted to be.

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