Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Journey Up the Avocado Tree - by Clara


I pass through an abundance of wild flowers and tufts of grass. My shoes feel soggy, like a bowl of cereal left uneaten.The tree looks like a jungle balancing on a tiny tree trunk, the leaves are a rich dark green and the branches are the shade of chocolate. The branches of the huge towering avocado tree are so close to the ground that, to get to the tree trunk, I have to brush them aside.  Once I enter, I feel like I have entered a different realm.  It is dark and shady under the tree, with the sunlight peeking through the branches.  I hoist myself up with some difficulty, and from there, I can begin my journey to the top. 
I place my feet in the crook of the branches as I slowly climb up the tree, focusing on not losing my balance and falling. My stomach muscles tighten as I climb higher and higher up the tree. Beads of sweat form on my forehead, and the small branches of the tree seem to be trying to keep me away from my secret spot. They slap me in the face, and the knobby tips scratch my skin and get caught in my hair. But the sweet and fresh smell of the dewy air around me urges me to continue my battle of climbing up the tree.The branches finally give up their fight and I gallantly emerge from the branches of the tree.
But just as I continue to move toward my secret spot, the branches seem to have changed their mind.They tangle themselves in my pony tail, and leave my hair sticking out at odd angles.I shout at them and tell them to stop. They seem to understand me because they don't get tangled in my hair anymore.Then I come across an opening in the branches, where I can see all around me, but nobody can see my face. The view is very striking at sunset, and the trees around me look so mysterious bathed in pink light. A smile spreads across my face.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This Sorry Looking Orange - Freewrite by Clara

This sorry looking orange is very scarred and looks as if it went into battle, with strange claw marks all over its orange body.  There is one gash so deep that you can imagine the juice is about to burst from it!

Its skin is blistered and dry in some parts, and in others it is very moist with lots of jolly dimples.  In some areas it is a dank yellow with brown scars and a very faint green, but in other parts it is a very dark orange.  In one spot, there is a very large gash in the shape of a humming bird.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

On Stalking My Kid


"Clara, we're going to The Lake. Put your socks on. Eva, you too.  We gotta move cause the sun's going down and we want to see her."

I gather our equipment - the compact camera with the long zoom lens - and we swing by my parents' place and choose the best of the three sets of binoculars my Mother uses for bird watching.

We take the direct route to The Lake and stride briskly down to the water's edge, plop our things on a picnic table, and scan the scene first with our naked eyes: the inky stretch of water about a quarter of a mile from bank to bank, the long swathe of mottled yellow, red, and green above, and to our left, what look like giant futuristic spiders with gleaming silver legs flanking the water.  Perhaps the generated electricity is pulsing through the approaching teams?

There are several boats - long, flat javelins with some specks of color gleaming in the sun, dark tooth picks stuck to their sides, moving in unison in and out of the water.  Clara estimated they were going about a knot ("Oh, I like the boating term, Clara", Lucia says when later we make our confession). It would be hard to know except for the coaches' speed boats, leading the way with their megaphones, trees moving fast, I'm almost dizzy -

"Don't wash out, ladies.  Keep the blade in from catch to release."

This is no Sunday afternoon fishing expedition - these people are on a war path.

The Lawrenceville boys, to our left, have their "swing" down - forward, pull, forward, pull, in perfect unison. They whoop their victory war cry, even though there's no opponent that I can see, and by the time I put the binoculars down to rest my eyes they're out of my field of vision.

We scan to the right, slowly focus the binoculars on an approaching boat, an eight, and catch the colored t-shirts.  Male? Female? Female!  I steady my grip and look at each girl. She's wearing dark glasses, hair pulled back in a pony tail with a white Nike headband beneath it, lavender jacket, hands gripping an oar, forward, pull, forward, pull.

"Clara, there's Lucia! There she is!"

We switch back and forth so that we can both get a look but I beg Clara not to take too long. We're just little ants with spyglasses on shore.  The sun is making its descent; I wrap each side of my wind breaker firmly across my chest as the wind has picked up speed, gather our gear, and head to the car, satisfied that we have fulfilled our mission.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jim Thorpe

Long homeschool days, earaches, headaches and noreasters heading our way.  So here's my little escape hatch - think  about that getaway weekend Claudio and I went on about a month ago.

His dream was to take me camping to a gem of a town he discovered through a friend of ours in rural Pennsylvania called Jim Thorpe. In the end, as you may guess, we compromised.  Check out the final photo to see what I mean :)