Opening of a new manuscript I'm in the middle of.

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1860

__________

 

 

The boy flew across the ground faster than he had ever run before.  He raced out from the trees and started across the meadow. As he approached the spring branch rolling down from the canyon above, he could hear the swishing and burbling of the water and it was a song to the meadow, saying "See this boy!  See how fast he runs!  He must be a bird for he is truly the fastest thing alive!"  The boy stretched out his arms like wings and with one great leap, flew across to the other side of the spring branch, turned and looked back. The other two boys were just coming out from the trees and starting across the meadow. "Aaaeeeyaa!" the boy cried out. "You will not catch me!  I am Mahiwo, the eagle!" He turned and began to run again, down the slope through the wild grass that reached up to his knees, a golden soft ocean of green that rippled in waves to the ebb and flow of the breeze rolling in from the sea. It had been a wet winter, so the spring branch was full to overflowing. Patches of wildflowers painted the hillsides in bright yellows, reds and blues. The boy disappeared into the stand of willows on the far side of the meadow as the other two stopped to catch their breath. Within the stand of trees, the boy continued to run over rocks and fallen tree trunks and a small thicket of brambles and wild roses. He ran, not to win a race but because it was spring and running made him happy.

The boy's people were the Chumash, and they lived in a village along the coastline called Humaliwo, or Malibu, just west of Point Dume. His father was a fisherman.

The boy stopped running and closed his eyes to hear better. His father had taught him that the trees will tell you things but you have to listen closely, not just with the ears,  but also with the heart. With the ears of the heart. That the heart is our first and greatest teacher. He turned his face into the breeze. The air was moist now and he could smell the sea. The trees whispered a familiar sound and the boy knew all was well. 

            Now he could hear the other two boys as they began to make their way into the stand of willows. He started to backtrack, placing his feet into the marks he had made coming. When he drew near a tree, he grabbed hold of a low limb, swung up into it and waited.  Shortly, the two boys came hurrying along, studying the tracks as they passed directly beneath the tree where the boy was hiding and continued on to where the tracks stopped. The boy did his best to keep from laughing out loud as his two friends argued back and forth over which direction they should follow, then finally heading off to the right. The boy dropped down out of the tree and headed off to the left, toward the ocean.  Toward his secret place.  His father had once told him that even he had a secret place. That every man has one. A place to go to be alone, to think or pray. Only that with some, the place was somewhere in their head and that was why you would see some men walking around as if their minds had been left in another spot.

Comments

I'm glad you were able to post this, I knew Richard would help you...you're in good hands here. This is lovely...I read it last night, and came back today to read it one more time (I like to let things settle over time.) "...a golden soft ocean of green..." Overall it has the spirit of Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, there's a sense of wonder that is enjoyable...looking forward to reading more.
Thanks Laura. Actually, this is different writing from the "Joe's Treasure" I'm still trying to post. I'm waiting for further instructions from Richard on that. Meanwhile, I thought I might just grab and paste a paragraph or two from this new story. It's a complicated piece, with two story-lines, one taking place in 1860, the other in 1991. Chapters alternate between the two story-lines and then converge, toward the last of the book. One of the difficulties is maintaining the different "sound" of each. One is the story of an Indian boy, living with his family and tribe along the coast of Malibu. The other, a successful, contemporary architect/designer, also living in Malibu. The drama is how they turn out to be linked, in the end.
This is really nice! I agree with Laura J. W. Ryan in saying that it is reminiscent of Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. I am also reminded of Island of the Blue Dolphins (perhaps for content more than prose). The one criticism I would make is a problem with the following lines: "The boy's people were the Chumash, and they lived in a village along the coastline called Humaliwo, or Malibu, just west of Point Dume. His father was a fisherman." This is inserted rather invasively into a lovely descriptive flow. It is factual information and does not harmonize with the poetic description that precedes and follows from it. This information is surely important to your story, but I would suggest bringing it in elsewhere, later. As it stands this is such a delightful opening to read, it should not be interrupted prematurely with background info. That said, this is very good work and I look forward to reading more!
Good observation, Iain. Thank you. I'll look to see if there might be a better place for that.
I will second Iain's recommendation, I did stub my mental toe there for a moment...background is one of those necessary things that needs to be addressed, but could find a home later in it's own time.