Dorothy's Garden

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Set your story in the woods or on a campground. ... view prompt


Adventure Inspirational Fiction

My hair tickles the exposed skin on my back and arms while it dances away from my face. The cue to fill my lungs. Fallen leaves clatter around me as if to dance with my hair. And exhale. The dancing ceases, but the distant songs do not. Chirp. Whistle. Ribbit. I breathe deep and encapsulate the things I can't hear. Pine. Flowers. Moisture. Exhale.

I blink until my eyes decide to work again. It's the golden hour and I'm facing the glorious ball of fire. My skin appears tanner in this light and I fight the urge to take a selfie. "No technology," I remind myself and walk towards the bubbling trickle ahead of me. The trees come to an end and a sea of green stretches out in front of me.

I move forward until I'm close enough to hop in the river. Instead, I lay down my blankets and pin them with my basket, food, and shoes. The water calls for me and I scurry to answer. The velvet chill reaches my shins and I inhale the new scent around me. "I am submerged in the most beautiful work of art," I whisper into the breeze. I spin slowly to enjoy everything in my 360-degree panoramic masterpiece.


My stomach rudely interrupts, reminding me I haven't taken the time to eat. "That's okay," I step out of the river and head for my little pad, "I need to read the next section anyway." I dig into the side pocket of my basket and pull out my grandma's old diary, promptly turning it to the bookmarked page. With her diary in one hand and half a sandwich in the other, I begin reading where I left off in the car.

"The river will be flowing; I'll see to that one way or another. Jeremy says a dam is blocking it about 10 miles north by northwest. Once the river is flowing, the rest will be easy. Father doesn't think so. He's still telling me I'm wasting my time out here. But I cannot stop dreaming about the day I can stand in this ditch and feel the water rushing around my legs! Or the day I walk east and smell more than this dust. I just need water. We just need water. This land and me. I'll find water for both of us. For the love of my Earth -Dorothy"

"You found the water Grandma," I whisper as I smile down at her diary. I turn my gaze to the river and imagine I stood in her dreams. The river connected us, and I can almost sense her watching me as she sleeps. I'm her spitting image. She never would have guessed she was seeing me in her dreams all those nights. My eyes follow up the river for miles, but I doubt I can see ten. "How long did it take you to find the dam, Grandma?"

I study the area between the trees. They are so thick and full of life that I can't imagine a deserted land sitting here. "I must not be in the right place," I reasoned and flipped to the back of the diary to read her directions again. They all matched. I flipped back to the passage I read for a date. April 19, 1972. "Only 50 years? Can that be right?" I flip a few pages and grab the other half of my sandwich. April 22, 1972...

"I'm thrilled about today! Finally, the third annual Earth Day, and I'm going to be a part of it! I've been gathering seeds, Mother and Uncle Rudy bring me everything they find. I don't have a garden at home, so I decided to plant them here- by my river ditch. I woke up early and packed my baskets full! I want to plant these seeds all day to get a head start, and every day I will come back with more seeds to plant. My wagon was made quite useful today, I brought lots of tools and supplies. One day that river will be flowing, and the seeds will be ready to water! For the love of my Earth -Dorothy"

I study the rows of trees. "They're all different," I realized. "Why didn't I notice that before? Oh, Grandma! I'm here! I found it!" I laugh with joy and lay down, half on my blankets, half on the fluffy grass. "So, 50 years was enough to make you seem like you've always been here. I guess we can heal the world after all."

I roll my head to look back at the river. The running water that filled up the ditch and helps give this place life. I give in to the urge building up inside me and jump back into the rushing lifeblood. This time I sit to submerge myself in water only a few inches below my shoulders. I close my eyes and I can feel her arms around me again. "I miss you too, Grandma." I choke out the words and dunk my face to wash away the tears.

I stand to greet a new kind of breeze, now chilled with the dropping sun and the layer of water sliding down my body. My eyes stop on a rusted sign in the distance, barely peeking out of the woods. "That must be it!" I splash up the river until I'm next to the metal posts and plate, and then my heart skips a beat and stops me in my tracks. I stare and then close my eyes. Chirp. Whistle. Ribbit. I breathe deep. Pine. Flowers. Moisture. My heart steadies and I find the strength to step out of the river. The sign appears both a few yards and a few miles away.

"Breathe... run!"

I stop an arm's reach away. Frozen. "Here you are," I murmur to the old sign. I trace my fingers over the carved letters, no river to wash away the tears now. I pull a bag of seeds from my pocket. Tiger Lilies. "Our favorite." I plant them around the base of the sign, pocket the bag, and stand before the relic to trace the letters again. "I have waited my whole life to see you," I whisper. She only says one thing back to me, "Dorothy's Garden."

April 25, 2022 22:42

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Zech S
01:43 Apr 26, 2022

Very awesome premise! That feeling of being surrounded by something you’re reading of it’s inception must be surreal. What a peaceful vibe this story brings!


Laura Stephens
04:35 Apr 26, 2022

Thank you so much! I feel like it's one way to travel back in time. I imagine what things may have looked like ages ago when I travel.


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M. M.
08:36 May 05, 2022

I was asked to read this and found this to be delightful and so good on the prompt; my only critique would be the one word with the periods. I think one has to work that carefully to make it work, I would have liked more description in those sentence structures, but that's me, I am old school, haha. Also pay more attention to the repeat of words like in the first para "dance" was used 3 times. trust your reader to know what fallen leaves feel like. You dont want to bore the reader at the start but grab attention. It has potential for de...


Laura Stephens
09:15 May 09, 2022

Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and giving your feedback!


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