As promised, over the next few weeks we will be posting the three winning stories from OWL’s Story Writing Contest.
Today we’re sharing Arielle’s story called “Breaking Ground.”
My name, Jonquille, is French for daffodil. Daffodils are flowers, and flowers are nature. But so is dirt. And bugs. I hate my name.
Anyways, I’m stressing over my language project. We have to compose a speech about discovering yourself. What does ‘discovering yourself’ even mean?
I turn on the TV, hoping desperately for inspiration, and maybe an escape from my anxiety. What I get is an old rerun of a nature documentary.
As the camera soars over the treetops, something within me soars, too. It was a sensation ever so slight, but it was there. I can’t drive myself to press the channel button. I long to be out there, breathing in the scents of… no. I must be insane! Nature is wet and icky, not… beautiful.
* * *
As I arrive at school, I gaze at the forest bordering school property. That nature show really must be getting to me. My feet seem to be walking themselves over to the trees.
My fingers follow the rough trunk to the lowest branch, and I hoist myself up. Up I climb, higher and higher. It feels almost… natural. Before I realize it, I’m a couple branches up, being sucked into the breathtaking way the sunlight filters through the leaves.
To one side, far below me, are my friends, and my school. They’re engrossed in their iPods. Is that really how we’re supposed to live?
I turn to the forest. It’s so tranquil. The same breath of wind that sways the leaves tosses my hair. I feel so alive here. Like this is where I belong. Truly belong.
I realize now that I’m discovering myself. This is who I am. But it also hits me that I need to get down from this tree.
I glance down. There is no way I can drop from this height. I face the terrifying fact that I’ll have to swing under this branch to the one below it. I clutch the branch with my life, and I let my feet fall.
What used to be terror is replaced by the thrill of it surging through me. I’m fearless, indestructible; yet at the same time, tiny, and insignificant.
I want to do it again, and probably would have if the school bell wasn’t ringing. As I prance over to the school, I pass the garden, and run my fingers through the soil. It’s amazing that something so damp and unpleasant can feel so good.
* * *
Someone must have spotted me up in my tree, because I’ve been hearing “Mud” in place of my name a lot lately. They obviously haven’t experienced what nature really is. Otherwise they’d know the difference between trees and mud. Hopefully my speech will talk some sense into them.
Besides, I’m almost proud of my new nickname. Mud isn’t all bad.
My true name, Jonquille, is French for daffodil. Daffodils are flowers, and flowers are nature. So is dirt. And trees. I love my name.
Great job, Arielle!
Check out more of the winning stories in the coming week. Don’t forget to check out our latest contests here.