Treacherous Ground


March SOLC–Day 27

We took a walk yesterday and the silence hung heavy between us. We left the road, turning onto an unpaved drive, heavily rutted with churned dirt. The drive was some sort of access road, leading into the woods. Thin, endangered icebergs floated within the deeper water-filled ruts. We stepped carefully, unsure where the ground was firm and where it might give way to submerge an unwary foot. We trod on treacherous ground.

In the shady woods, the chilly temperature dropped a bit more. Small patches of snow lingered in the deeper shadows. We walked on, hands stuffed deep in pockets, sniffing from the cold. Separate.  Off to my right I saw a flash of white and two deer bounded through far off trees, their white tails flagging. Look!  We watched them gracefully leap through scrub and brush until they were out of sight.

As we moved further into the woods our steps shuffled through a carpet of dead oak leaves. A distant rush of water translated into a small, but potent waterfall. Sheets of water poured over a smooth rock face then twisted and turned amidst boulders, following the time-carved path of the stream. The turbulent water pulled at me. I yearned to sit on a cold boulder by its side and lose myself in the hypnotism of falling, rushing water and its dull roar.

We walked for a while longer. Over dead leaves, around ruts. Seeing a glint in the grit at my feet, I stopped and picked up a large, clear piece of mica. I ran my fingers over it. It cleaved smoothly in my hands, splitting into layers.  “They used to use mica in stove windows,”  he said. “It wouldn’t shatter like glass would from the extreme temperatures.” I looked at my blurred fingers through its thin, opaque sheets. Shadow fingers. Ghost fingers.

Along the road sections of old stone walls were visible through the winter-bare trees, marking land borders. Whose land were we walking on now in this unfamiliar terrain? I didn’t know. I didn’t ask. We kept moving step by step. Mostly silent.

11 thoughts on “Treacherous Ground

  1. Clare says:

    I loved your use of action in this slice. So often we use words and thinking to bring a scene to life. The quiet really enhanced the writing and added layers of meaning to your writing. Something I need to try. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Even with the beautiful description in this piece, there is so much tension. It invites readers to read closely, to try to figure out what’s going on between the walkers. It’s a piece you could incorporate into a novel one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lynnedorfman says:

    I keep returning to the heavy silence and want to know more about the relationship between the two hikers. This walk was described in rich details and senses. I really felt like I was there, too. I could also be pulled by those waters and want to spend time on a boulder, almost in a trance listening to the gurgling sounds. The cold, the ice, the shadows, the silence….I must read this piece again. It sounds like it is part of a larger work – a YA novel, perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      This was a slice of my day yesterday, Lynne, though I was purposefully vague about the identity of the walkers. Who knows though, maybe I will use it somewhere else sometime…Thanks for reading and for commenting.


  4. I could feel the tension as you walked together in silence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda Baie says:

    You gave us quiet this morning, a moment of your life in nature that’s shown beautifully, stepping carefully, the deer, the mica. I was there too, and enjoyed the time with you.


  6. carriegelson says:

    There is so much here that is powerful and personal. I love all that is said and all that is unsaid. My slice today was “vague” and set in nature, so I connected here all the more.


  7. showgem says:

    Your writing pulled me in because the mood of your piece was so powerful. The last part where you were looking at the mica,and the shadow fingers, connects with the silent walk.


  8. Melanie Roy says:

    I could feel the tension and yet the juxtaposition of the peacefulness of the natural surroundings. The mica fact felt like a peace offering.


  9. Amy says:

    There was definitely a lot of treacherous ground and mystery in your post, which made it enjoyable to read-the flash of white and two deer, the large clear piece of mica, and the silence. So much in your post that leaves me wondering. That is what a good author does!


  10. I love how the description of the setting adds to the tension between the walkers, like the title suggests…


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