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  • Cycles of Seasons and Growth ( + any ideas for last 2 lines, grammar/ clarity)

  • Kayla Oppenheimer

    Member
    May 8, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    Cycles of Seasons and Growth

    A gentle breeze strokes my face. There is a Sunday morning feel to Ocean Parkway. Raucous music bellowing out from one car, a tractor clambers across the road. I notice that the cars wheels create a smooth, softer and more uniform sound on the gleaming black roads. Lull and flow of traffic, stop, start, red, yellow green, traffic glides across in an endless cycle of movement amidst the birds chirping high up in the trees as if they sense it is Sunday too. Spring is peeping out of the crevices, with a smattering of pink flowers, some green leaves on trees, and some totally devoid of any foliage. I watch a bird pecking away at a cast-off pitta bread, beak nipping and dropping the bread, as its beady eyes scan the locale. My eyes wander to another bird that is taking a mid-morning break on the railing that separates the bike path.

    The grassy patch that which was so forlorn in the winter, is now no longer bald, but not quite yet a carpet of green. I notice dandelions. I don’t think I’ve thought of them until I saw clusters of them bobbing in the wind. Funny the way the mind forgets about the blossoms of spring when the spirit is sunk in the darkness of winter.

    A week later and Ocean Parkway has spread out its wings into an array of greenery and pink blossoms, beckoning to people and hopping squirrels to come out of hiding places of bleakness. At last the tooting clarions of summer declare a season of blessings and limitless possibilities.

    The whirring of wheels on the bike path, the power walkers sprint by, and suddenly there is a sense of purpose in the air. Empty park benches are now filled with groups of people, who are soaking up the unusually warmth from a spring sunshine The tootling of bells on children’s scooters, their cries of glee, no coats and baggage to wrap round bodies that want to run, jump and skip unhindered by the layers of the winter. Today, the air is still, a thick mass of humidity that bears down upon my face; even so, a certain stillness permeates despite the shrill, squealing sirens of fire engines bombarding through the peace.
    I notice the cyclical patterns of nature and go inwards.

    Change happens all the time if we dare to embrace it as part of life. What I was yesterday is history, today I am gifted with renewed energy. No place or state of mind stays the same. It’s rare to see a squirrel or a sparrow sitting still for more than a few moments – it’s always flitting around somewhere.

    The changing aspects of the seasons reminds me of migration, of moving from place to place. My mind skims to one fine day (a momentous one in hindsight decades ago) when our parents informed us that in a few weeks Israel would be our destination. I remember the quiver of excitement that flickered through me, of a new beginning, that maybe this time I could blossom and cast of the burdens of a somewhat puzzling and confusing childhood.
    We arrived in Yerushalyim in the fall time, although the first thing I noticed when I stepped out of Lod airport was the intensity of the heat as if it were somehow different from the rainy country we had left. I remember touching the marble tiles in the apartment we had rented, imbibing its coolness. In years to come, when the heat was unbearable and air conditioners were not even dreamt of, I would take my blanket and lie and the ice cold hard tiles to cool down and finally fall asleep.

    There certainly wasn’t much foliage on the hustling streets of Bayit Vegan except for some sandy patches in a small park where strollers, children and adults all blended into the afternoon air, the end of a whirling day of activities, work, and school and beyond.

    And I am back to Ocean Parkway, the memories drift and slide away. Different countries, different weather, different people, different cultures, to absorb and make sense of. And yet there is a uniformity of spirit that unites people, that of our ability to blend into nature and appreciate its vastness. Through the changing seasons, we too, can recognize within ourselves the internal cycles of change and renewed wisdom that we attain in the process We wend our way down winding pathways that lead to growth, and even as we stumble through boulders and thorns, if not for all the struggles, stagnation would reign supreme.

  • Kayla Oppenheimer

    Member
    May 8, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    How do I format with bbc codes for spacing of paragraphs? As it is now, some of the paragraphs are jumbled together.

  • B’WRITE

    Member
    May 10, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    kayla, your writing is WONDERFUL! you painted a vivid picture, literally transporting me to the parkway benches! i love the way you carefully portrayed the minute details that make the account so alive. i found this to be so easy to read.. and so relaxing! awesome work!

  • Kayla Oppenheimer

    Member
    May 11, 2020 at 1:03 am

    Thank you B’WRITE, for your insightful comments. Glad you liked it. I wrote part of this, whilst sitting on the parkway benches, early spring 2018.

  • Word Warrior

    Member
    May 11, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    i love your work 🙂 This is really soothing and i love how you explore different times and spaces. Passing on one piece of feedback that I recently received at a writing workshop- try to get to the action quickly to draw the reader in.

    I wonder if you can start with this sentence, which I think was really powerful: “We arrived in Yerushalyim in the fall time, although the first thing I noticed when I stepped out of Lod airport was the intensity of the heat as if it were somehow different from the rainy country we had left. ”

    and then when you go to the flashback, really take the reader along with you in the descriptive scene from the top.

     

    Thoughts?

  • Kayla Oppenheimer

    Member
    May 11, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Thank you, Word Warrior, for your thoughtful and insightful comments and observations. Regarding your idea to hook the reader in with:

    We arrived in Yerushalyim in the fall time, although the first thing I noticed when I stepped out of Lod airport was the intensity of the heat as if it were somehow different from the rainy country we had left.” 

    it certainly would be a good hook sentence. What you are saying is to start from that point and move to the present where I’m sitting on the bench in the current country I reside in and then flash back to the Israel scene.  Your suggestion has peeked my interest to experiment  with this slightly different focus. I’ll keep you posted how your suggestion can be incorporated into the writing. You’ve got me thinking.

  • Esti G

    Member
    May 20, 2020 at 1:52 am

    Beautifully written! Arouses the senses more than just sight. Thanks for sharing!

    A fellow nature lover

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    May 21, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    Thank you Esti, I, too am a nature lover and the prompt for this essay was to find a place and describe it through all the senses, hence the plethora of sensory detail. It’s amazing what one hears or sees when the mind is in a relaxed state. I’ve never heard the tread of wheels on the parkway before and watching the sparrow pecking at the pita bread was fascinating too.

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    May 21, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    And I am back to Ocean Parkway, the memories drift and slide away. Different countries, different weather, different people, different cultures, to absorb and make sense of. And yet there is a uniformity of spirit that unites people, that of our ability to blend into nature and appreciate its vastness. Through the changing seasons, we too, can recognize within ourselves the internal cycles of change and renewed wisdom that we attain in the process We wend our way down winding pathways that lead to growth, and even as we stumble through boulders and thorns, if not for all the struggles, stagnation would reign supreme.

     

    Funny to read about fall, as some of the trees here in the American midwest are still struggling to blossom.

    Would you consider a colon in the third sentence: And yet there is a uniformity of spirit that unites people: that of our ability to blend in, etc. (Maybe it’s just me ;-D)

    And at the expense of adding more words (sorry, Riva), what is the imagery of stumbling through boulders?

    I decided to do what your thread title asked as the format was pretty clean by the time I’m reading this.

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    May 22, 2020 at 2:44 am

     

     

     

    And I am back to Ocean Parkway, the memories drift and slide away. Different countries, different weather, different people, different cultures, to absorb and make sense of. And yet there is a uniformity of spirit that unites people:  our ability to blend into nature and appreciate its vastness. Through the changing seasons, we too, can recognize within ourselves the internal cycles of change and renewed wisdom that we attain in the process We wend our way down winding pathways that lead to growth, and even as we stumble through boulders and thorns, if not for all the struggles, stagnation would reign supreme.

    Yes I totally agree that a colon would work better and I could also take out the words “that of” which are unnecessary. Thanks for rewording the last two sentences for more clarity. I have this habit of never finishing my sentences. I know I need to go through the whole piece and tighten it up and take out extra words and more importantly shorten some of the longer sentences.

    Where is the mid-west? Sorry about my ignorance. I’m British, although have been living here for sixteen years or so. So my mental map of the US  has gaps in it.

    I wrote this two years ago, at the time it was spring. The first Sunday I sat at Ocean Parkway, the air was crisp and chilly. The week later, it really was hot and nobody was wearing coats.

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    May 24, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    The US and NY to boot. That’s a transition.

    If you would look at a map, the middle of the western third of the continental US should be, Idk, Denver. Instead it’s something like Ohio – Minnesota, and all points south till Mexico. (Maybe not. No one thinks Texas when they say the midwest.)

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    May 25, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    Kayla, this is a stunning and reflective piece with vivid imagery.  However, I agree with Word Warrior about changing the beginning.  Even though this piece is contemplative and leisure is nature, you don’t want to risk losing your reader at the first sentence (I’m really bad like that ?).  Starting with a gentle breeze strokes my face is a great selection of words, yet doesn’t offer much insight into what’s about to happen.  I find it best to keep the opening sentence short yet gripping.  For example, the first sentence for one of my short stories is:  I thought of you before I died.  This sentence piques the reader’s curiosity.  Who did the protagonist think about?  Did he/she die?  Why and how did it happen?  Is he/she alive now?  If not, how is it possible for he/she to tell the tale if he/she is dead?  Etc.

  • Anagrammer

    Member
    May 26, 2020 at 4:56 am

    Fiction Fangirl, you’ve got me hooked with that one sentence 😉

    Kayla, this is a gorgeous piece! It really draws you in… Gotta agree with the restructuring Word Warrior brought up. Gives your story more volume, and also opens it in a more gripping way as Fiction Fangirl said.

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    May 26, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you Fiction Fangirl, for your insightful critique concurring with Word Warrior’s suggestion on how to hook the reader with the first sentence. I see now what you both mean by the example of one of your stories on how to engage the reader straight away. The prompt for Cycle of Seasons and Growth was different but I would need to slightly rework the essay, change around the chronology. Really appreciate your comments and glad you like the piece. I do so love the nature and the spring the year I wrote it was beautiful in terms of the array of color on the trees.

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    May 26, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you  Anagrammer, for your critique and with three members urging me to change the first sentence, well, that’s an impetus for me to rework this piece. Thanks for your kind comments.

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    May 26, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you Fiction Fangirl, for your insightful critique concurring with Word Warrior’s suggestion on how to hook the reader with the first sentence. I see now what you both mean by the example of one of your stories on how to engage the reader straight away. The prompt for Cycle of Seasons and Growth was different but I would need to slightly rework the essay, change around the chronology. Really appreciate your comments and glad you like the piece. I do so love the nature and the spring the year I wrote it was beautiful in terms of the array of color on the trees.

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    May 26, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    As a reader, I could feel your passion pull through the piece.  It’s a languid and pleasureful read.  Thank you for sharing!

  • Chaya F.

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 12:31 am

    You’re a great writer! I love the vivid imagery and all the little details! You really bring the reader into your world. I love nature and I can feel your compassion towards it too! Thanks for sharing!

  • Rachel T

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 3:11 am

    hi i’m new here and this is the first post i opened- and WOW Kayla your writing is so beautiful, your words brought me to Ocean parkway (which is only a few short blocks from my house 🙂  i felt and relate to the energy of a new spring that you so vividly described.  Great job!

     

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 4:35 am

    Thank you @Chaya F, for your lovely comments on my writing. Where I live happens to be beautiful, particularly in the spring, summer and fall. The original prompt for this essay was sitting somewhere and using all the senses, describe what you feel. Hence there is a lot of sensory detail, but the actual essay, as I wrote it, went in all different directions.  Yes, I’m a nature lover too, it’s my favorite setting to relax in.

     

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 4:37 am

    Thank you @Rachel T. I’m honored that you opened my post first. Spring seems such a long time ago, well three months, what with KOVID-19, one loses one’s sense of time.  Thank you for your lovely comments.  Ocean Parkway happens to look glorious particularly in the spring, summer and fall.

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