Beach, mountain, forest, or somewhere else entirely?
This is my prompt. That’s it. No question to expand upon favorites, though it seems implied. But, perhaps it just means a place’s effect? No questions to set up a fictions scenario in any of these places. It leaves out indoor spaces, and I find that interesting.
Immediately though, I do not think these questions.
Immediately, I conjure up images and sounds.
First, I see a gray sky, and I hear the waves crashing ashore. Their rhythmic pattern soothing any stress or angst I brought with me. And that image immediately conjures up a combination image of “mountain and forest” back to the days when my husband and would frequent that with Mt. Hood National Forest had to offer. We’re walking, and crunch go our boots along the groomed trails and fallen pine needles I breathe in the cool mountain air. I stop, I listen, and I hear the banging of a stream that is meandering nearby. There is a rush of water falling as a small waterfall is created over a jetty of rocks. We are admist large Doug Firs, and it feels as if we could see a hobbit house nearby. There is a mist settling over the trees, and again, the cool, crisp air infiltrates my lungs.
Second, I am back in the city. On our (new) street, where we live. Luckily, it’s again tree lined and inset from the busy roads nearby. You can still hear the bus rumble by with their diesel engines powering them away every 15-30 minutes, but mostly not. Mostly, I hear our wind chimes on the back porch. The occasional car driving down. And, now, in this life in the city, I imagine myself on that bus, careening down Greeley towards downtown. The bus makes it’s own particular squeaking noises as the engines ramp up and down air brakes doing their job on command. Cars rushing by. The train swooshing. People on the bus chattering, mostly pages turning in books as passengers stare straight ahead weary of eye contact, but not entirely avoidant either.
Third, I am in the office. At work, a normal day. I park my car. My bag swishes over the seat, I pocket my phone in the left and the keys in the right. The door is open and held ajar by my foot. I straighten my bag’s strap and I put one foot (tap) and another (tap) on the hard, cold, damp concrete. Swoosh out of my chair. My wool blended coat straightening around me. Clunk goes the door as I slam it shut. Cha-chunk goes the back door as I open it. Flop goes my backpack over my back. Swoosh goes my lunch bag. Clunk goes the door as I slam it shut. I turn, a few paces ahead and, “Toot,” screams the horn in one short blurb as my popper sets the locks on the car. Small bag in hand, beep goes the card reader, balancing the bags, I open the door with my right hand and ease by. No longer on concrete but new carpet, I shuffle along. Textures switch as we go from carpet to thoroughly painted stairs in their high gloss finish. I see the scrapes I made a week after the job was done with my black shoes. Two flights, to the first floor, where I enter man’s invention: the elevator I’ve opened no less than two doors after the stairs. I depress the elevator buttons. Ding is the noise it makes upon it’s arrival. The 4th floor button illuminates after I firmly instruct it. Ding the elevator announces my arrival. There is barely a noise as I open the door, already co-workers have arrived. Flip the light switches are all on now, and flump as I drop my bags at my desk.
I’m not sure what I am influenced more by – place or sound. But, each have an impact in my day. For respite, I crave the ocean and it’s calming rhythm. When my head is cloudy I want trees. But, the normal every-day is punctuated by cars, carpet, elevators, and mechanical noises guiding me from one task to another.