Thanks for the kind words. Not sure about the movie thing.....
If this piece was fiction, the set-up takes way too long--I agree. But I think for this type of piece, the set-up is vital and helps tie the piece together.
While I am--ahem--on the "other side of the hill," I can only hope my day, as you so aptly put it, stretches on for a long time to come.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Richard..." <icyimeir@...> wrote:
> It's the kind of story that Hollywood could run with any day Carol.
> As usual you make it shine with the rich descriptors you use. A lot of life was packed into the formative years ... I have to think - for a lot of us. Yours was one of those worth dwelling on. And now that we're approaching the end of the day we can't remember the details of what happened 24 hours ago BUT, ask us about our childhood and we could keep a willing ear busy listening to details we'll have till we go to glory.
> The set up seemed to take quite a while but was great once we visited the falls. Good write.
> --- In email@example.com, "Carol C" <carol_emt87@> wrote:
> > Hello friends and fellow writers,
> > I hope everyone is fine and continues putting pen to paper. I have been busy with school these past months. I'm taking Technical Communication (online and that one is over, thank goodness), Shakespeare, Civil War Literature, and my senior English seminar class. The seminar class is entitled "The Geography of Imaginative Literature" which boils down to method of conveying a sense of place through different types of narrative style and also looks at different schools of literary criticism. Great class. We write a "place paper" which tells readers about our most memorable place, the what, where, and why.
> > I send along my most memorable place. Writing about it was very cathartic because only through the process of writing was the true importance revealed. I welcome comments.
> > Go well,
> > Carol
> > That Elemental Place in My Heart
> > As far back as I can remember, water has been a significant element in my life. As a child and adolescent, my summers were spent swimming, camping by lakes and rivers, and canoeing, but I've always been particular drawn to waterfalls. Water tumbling over rocks, whether big or small, sings to my soul.
> > When I started to write about the most memorable place in my life, I was pretty sure I knew why it was important to me, but I was wrong. You see, in addition to being drawn by waterfalls, I know I have always been a writer, a writer that delights in the small and simple wonders of nature, of people, and of the world around me. At first, I believed that my most memorable place, the waterfall at Nankin Mills, was the place that originally inspired me to write about birds or trees or rivers. It turned out to be so much more.
> > In order to understand the significance of this place, I must go back to when I was a little girl. My parents had four children, two boys and two girls; I was the oldest. My father worked three jobs at times to support us, so he did not have a lot of time or energy left over at the end of the day. It seemed like our house was always filled with kids, the four of us and of course, all of our friends. We had a swimming pool and a finished basement, a nice cool place ideal for watching a Detroit Tiger baseball game on a hot, summer night. There wasn't much privacy and little time alone with either one of my parents. But one Saturday a month, Dad would take just me to the waterfall at Nankin Mills along Tonquish Creek.
> > Tonquish Creek was named for Chief Tonquish, the last of southeastern Michigan's Pottawatomie Indian tribal chiefs. A historical marker stands on the gravesite where Tonquish lost his own life trying to save his son. The tribe had been pushed off their homeland and their families were all starving. Tonquish's son was shot stealing apples to feed his family. I can't help wonder if the power of their family spirit touched my life.
> > When I look back over my own childhood, bitter memories soften and good ones sweeten. About a mile from our home at Tonquish Creek, I'd hold hands with Dad as we walked along the path. His steel blue eyes laughed with me as I tripped over an untied shoelace. Sunlight danced between the bleached ribs of maple trees. Green-gold leaves smiled and waved their pointed fingers across the bright blue sky dusted with white feathers. Bulrushes and cattails upholstered the muddy bank while the creek chanted softly between polished pebbles.
> > Along the wooded path next to the pond above the waterfall, we would sometimes stop and skip stones. I remember the how the cool stone felt against my small, warm palm. Our stones bounced across the pond's silver skin, rippling the surface, scattering the minnows from the shallows. In the spring, Jack-in-the pulpits stood under the trees like a row of tenor saxophones waiting for the next parade. Brilliant orioles and scarlet tanagers chased away their rivals, darting between the hickory's and maple's newly hatched leaves and I drank deeply of the dazzling, sweet air.
> > Dad held my hand as we climbed the soft, green hill near the waterfall. Sometimes we'd roll down the hill at full speed, elbows and sky and grass all topsy-turvy around us, and when we stopped, we'd laughed until our sides ached. Sometimes we'd lie on our backs and watch clouds drift by, painting animals and county fair cotton candy with our fingers. Maple trees became castle ramparts between which we'd slay stick dragons, fight dark knights made of bark and walnut shells, and rescue fair maidens from evil fern kings. In the fall, when the leaves fell, we walked along a rich tapestry of crimson, gold, and green. In the winter, we'd sled down the little hill. Mom would watch us and wait nearby with a red plaid thermos of hot chocolate and a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies.
> > As I reflect about this place, I remember the wonder and magic of nature, of discovering secrets hidden under the bark of a tree, an overturned log or stone, or around the next bend in the creek; the sweet song of the waterfall and soft summer breezes. The truth is that Nankin Mills Recreation Area is a watershed flood control area through which Tonquish Creek runs along 18 miles of E. N. Hines Park between Northville and Dearborn, Michigan. The green spaces---grass and trees included---are limited to about 300 yards wide with a two lane blacktop running smack dab down the center. And the waterfall I hold so close to my heart is actually made of concrete and constructed for flood control and the creek drains directly into the Middle Rouge River in Detroit. You make sure you're caught up on your tetanus booster before you wade in the creek. Yet, it is, and probably always will be, my most memorable place. And I'll tell you why.
> > In 1972, when I was thirteen years old, my father died suddenly of a massive heart attack, and the bottom fell out of my world. My father, like so many people, forgot to take care of himself while he was busy taking care of his family. So when he died suddenly at the age of forty, leaving my mother with four young kids, $39,000 worth of life insurance, and $43,000 worth of debt, my family was utterly devastated. But before he died, my dad also taught me a great deal.
> > He taught me about football and baseball, how to play card games like cribbage, pinochle and Euchre; how to play catch and pickle. He taught me how to fish--catch, clean and cook--how to run, how to swim and swim well, to laugh with others and at myself, and to appreciate people for whom they are and not judge them by the color of their skin or their religion, even though he often did. Dad also taught me find delight in the simple joys of life, like maple seed helicopters, hugs, and snowflakes.
> > As a child, my dad was my superhero. Being the oldest, I was luckier than my sister who is six years my junior. I had the opportunity to know my dad as not only a superhero, but also as a person, and I believe that he was a good man.
> > Unfortunately, Dad missed out on most of my life. He never got to see me graduate from high school, get married, or have kids. He wasn't around when I got divorced or had open-heart surgery. He didn't know I would become a poet, a novelist, or a memoir writer. He never got a chance to watch me as a newspaper editor, an English major, an emergency medical technician, or a mom and a grandmother. He just wasn't there because he died.
> > In many ways, my father's life is as much of a contrast as my memory and the reality of the waterfall at Nankin Mills. On the one hand, my dad was loving and gentle, yet he exuded a childlike enthusiasm through a larger-than-life personality. No one could ever say that he missed out on life because he certainly knew how to live. On the other hand, his life was certainly too short, which also taught me to appreciate the time I spent with him, the simple things in life, to live while I have the chance, and to find beauty in everyday places.
> > So when I look back over all the wonderful places I have been and all natural beauty I have seen, the waterfall at Nankin Mills is my most memorable because it is that single, elemental place I spent any time all alone with my dad.