Unfinished Thoughts
Thursday, November 06, 2003
The Ravine
They ran down the rolling hill, down the dusty dirt footpath that wound its way through the birches and poplars that grew tall and leafy in the ravine. Juniper bushes reached out to grab their ankles as they flew past, allowing gravity to just take possession of their bodies as short, skinny legs pounded to keep up. Their steps grew quick and short as they attempted to slow, in order to cross the bump of bare rock that poked up through the dirt path. Once clear on the other side, they were off again, laughing as blonde hair streamed out in their own wind.

Winded and giggling breathlessly, they finally reached the bottom, where the ravine levelled out before diving again to the banks of the creek. Together, they collapsed onto the patch of ardent green grass, flopping onto their backs and sprawling out their limbs to let the gentle breeze play over their salty skin.

The leaves overhead rustled in the gentle gusts of wind, giving them a flickered view of the sunny, clear sky above. Patches of light danced and dappled over their tanned, youthful skin, ankles scratched white where the juniper bushes had left their marks.

Once their breathing and heart rate had returned to normal, Jenna pulled herself up into a sitting position, picking out a twig and a pine needle from her white-blonde hair and tossing them off into the trees with. Idly, she picked up another brown pine needle and played with it, bending it this way and that until it finally snapped in her fingers. Her game over now, she tossed it after the first one.

“I’m glad it’s finally hot,” she remarked quietly, her gaze flickering up to view the sky through the leafy branches.

“Yeah,” Elena agreed simply, now propping herself up on her elbows to look at her best friend.

They lapsed into thoughtful silence for a few moments, before Elena suddenly got to her feet without announcement. “C’mon,” she instructed, jerking her head towards a path to the creek.

Without argument, Jenna got to her feet as well, brushing off her bottom. She nodded, narrowing her eyes slightly to peer off down the darker trail. Returning Jenna’s nod, Elena started off towards the path, gently scuffing her sandals through the dirt, covering her toes with a thick layer of dust.

The path wound its way through the denser foliage. It was down here that the heavy evergreens grew, towering up into the sky. Birch trees stretched up in competition, but could not quite meet the high tips of the conifers, their leafy branches finally giving out in a wide splay that nearly hid the sky above and sunk the whole area into dense shade.

In the branches above, birds sang and squirrels chittered away to each other. The rat-a-tat-tat drumming of a woodpecker could be heard from the corpse of a dead birch. The girls adopted a strange gait, having to stop every two steps to swipe at the mosquitoes stinging their legs.

Soon though, the path opened, and the smell of damp woods was replaced by the smell of the creek. They could hear it now, rushing over the rocks. A few more feet brought them around a sharp bend, and now the creek came into view.

It was muddy brown; opaque although it wasn’t deep. Near the banks, the hull of a rusted shopping cart was poking up, and the basket had snagged some of the litter as it rushed through the metal mesh. The handle still bore the name of the nearby grocery store. The plastic case attached to it was smashed open, the quarter deposit stolen, although the square key still dangled lifelessly from its short chain catching the midday sun. Likely, some kids from the school had crashed it here, after robbing its small hold like cut-rate pirates.

They made their way along the bank, towards the foot-bridge. A black garbage bag had gotten caught there, billowing in the water. Last week, they’d managed to convince Jenna’s little sister that it was a body, and although they’d spun the tall tale themselves, they couldn’t help but eye it warily.
- posted by Deborah @ 7:17 AM

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