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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Eric on May 17, 2010
"What is man against the natural world?"


It is a place of still greenery and human warmth. The hazy hands of maple leaves fold upon each other whilst a glitter of sunlight trickles gently through, like a ballerina dancing before a captive audience. The air around is still, silent, and it stands over the armies of grasses and regiments of dirt with a watchful eye. Ferns scattered here and there like shells on a beach are still wet with the droplets of morning rain, as are the trees of incredible height and dark black bark which reach up to the sky as if in search of an epiphany, of the meaning of life. Past the rapid croaks and resonant ripples of life, past the sounds of a stream lapping against a bank and the whispers of the trees, the figure of a man and his dog exist as dark silhouettes against the regular irregularities of the forest.

The man stands, and nothing save the slim outline of an athletic figure can be seen. He does not move when he hears a song ripple through the forest, but the dog’s ears and hairs stand up seemingly almost as straight and as tall as the trees surrounding them. The song has the voice of a human melody, but it is sung in a language that is sibilant and is mingled with the sounds of the forest so as to become unintelligible, yet strangely tantalizing. This song stops, and the figure of the man begins to move into the forest, unwillingly, but carried by a flow of nature which He, in all his intelligence and superiority, does not command.

His feet trample across piles of ominous dead leaves and damp earth, and the floor crunches as if to criticize the man’s lack of respect. The dog moves silently. The two travel deeper into the apparently random network of trees, grasses and vines, and the influence of humanity passes and fades, becoming little more than a forgotten dream and a sullen desire. Rapid croaks, tuneful chirps and the near silent hissing of the wind all seem nearly physical in their existence. They penetrate deep throughout the forest and are as grave as warnings, but the man continues walking, seemingly oblivious to what is happening around. The greenery shakes, his head throbs, yet the man is calm when the forest is not.

He loses all track of time, and the sun fades until the oranges become purples and the purples become black. The grass no longer dances, and the green shivers of the weeping trees, the rattle of the wind as it flutters through bushes, the brush of leaves along the floor is no more. But there is a certain beauty to the darkness, and the man still walks, and is still a silhouette against the impenetrable blackness of the night.

Water falls from somewhere and the sound of dripping water is solitary and peaceful. The man is tired, and he lays his body down with a certain balance between wisdom and youth. The incessant song of hurrying streams, the constant rattle as rain begins to fall through layers of leaves and the swish of the wind as it cuts through greenery is more a benefit than a detriment to the man. Despite the rain, a bird sings a lone tune somewhere. Soon, it is truly dark, the rain has stopped, and if the man were to open its eyes, he would not have noticed a difference. But these dark hours of the night pass quickly, and a golden quiver of sunlight, mixed with the speech of the forest’s animals, heralds the beginning of a new morn.

But the new morn of today is not the same new morn of yesterday. It is more alive, and less profound. The man awakes and once more his dog follows alongside as he walks deeper into the forest. As he walks, the song and heart of the forest sigh and become silent. Time passes, and the man stops walking for the first time in hours. The noonday sun is high in the air and the man begins to realize that he had come to the edge of a rock cliff without knowing. He stands, still, and can see only a massive area where the forest all around is as ancient as the mountains which loom up like phantoms through the mist. The entire expanse is littered with the specks of colour and the outline of trees that wave their orange leaves like frail, beckoning hands, as if to lure and tempt the man. There is total silence for a while before a sonorous Note is heard. The forest does not begin breathing; the Note simply continues. It is not human or alien, and it is accompanied by only the cries of a melancholy poignancy. The Note builds and carries on, and the cries dissipate. And the man stands still at the cliff and watches.

All of a sudden, there is emotion sparked within him, and he becomes roused to something akin to anger. His face can not be seen against the forest, but it would have been expressionless. He is silent, and his dog is not there. Gone. The Note continues, singing a song like a sweet violin played as the wind wearily sighs in the grass and performing a tune of hurrying rivers with the tone of a mouse’s shrill dying cry. The forest is darker now, even though the sun is still up in the sky.

The man realizes he is lost, but this is not necessarily bad. He welcomes and considers the notion, and accepts it. He is still. Man is not alone. He is lost, but not alone. The Note continues, and the man does not move from his place. Even though much time has passed, he waits, listens and watches. He is angry, but he does not feel it, for the birds have start singing once more, and he can hear them and their song is not terrible. The birds’s song is not beautiful, however, so man tries to sing. A sad, tenebrous tune is heard, but the continuing Note drowns it out. The birds’ songs sound like insecurities and the man is like he was before, still, silent and accepting.

The Note suddenly stops. Then starts. It is weaker, and the forest has become less profound and more green. As the Note dies, it casts an assaulting cry over the rest of the forest, and all is completely silent. The birds start singing again, and this music is not abhorrent. The voice of the stream is heard once more, and this too has its own rhythm to it. Grasses begin moving again, the leaves of the big trees begin to dance and flickers of sunlight flit along the forest’s floor. Somewhere, not far but not near, the sound of a single bell is heard against the medley of the forest, and a gong, and as the man walked once again, the dog was next to him and he was calm and relaxed.


A child stands up, into his mother’s caring hand, and there is laughter and movement around. The tune of a popular song rings through the air, and cars drive by. There are croaks here, and there, and there are also voices. I cannot tell you what they are, but do know that they are tuneful, chaotic and repetitive, the sounds of a place which is not of the forest. They are soft and irrational, and exist as a vague jumble of confusing impressions. They are meticulously muddled, a product of humanity. They are lively. They are simple. They wake the mind and soothe the soul. A voice, a human voice is heard. The pulse of the bells and pipes, and the bounce of the drum and the wave of human voice is cyclic, but not calming. The song is human, unnatural and entertaining. But eventually this song and all of man’s songs will stop, and the human tune, with its chaos and precision, will fade into the sound of a running stream singing with its lips to the pebbles, and this will continue on forever.

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