The following is a scene where the heroine of my forthcoming novel tries to explain to her sister the rural folks she has met along Pinkham Creek.
“It’s just up there.” Arianne pointed through a mass of tall fir and larch. “The red cedar grove is along the creek up ahead. She strode through wet brush overhanging the trail. The wide leaves of thimbleberry sprung back into place as soon as she stepped forward.
Fighting through branches, following tight on Arianne’s heels, Ruth puffed the rest of the way. Her mouth gaped in surprise when they rounded a bend. “I can’t believe it,” she yelled over the thundering noise. High above them frothy water plummeted from enormous rock ledges into a deep pool, then rushed over a snarl of logs and into the creek bed.
They sat in complete silence, letting the cascading roar fill their souls with its heartbeat. They watched where ice clung in thin strips, fighting off Pinkham’s swift center current. The textures of varying shades of green, rust, gold, browns and slate cast an aura of magic over them. It seemed a make believe place, filled with moss, bark, and ferns. Spider webs laced among the fronds, caddis fly larva were visible clinging to rocks in the clear water and minnows fed near the bank.
Ruth chewed at her lip. “You answered sometimes when I asked if you were happy here. Tell me the other side of sometimes.” She hunched forward, closing her eyes.
Arianne rubbed the denim covering her knees as she gathered her thoughts. She gazed at a twig fighting the swift current. It spun crazily and bobbed away. “See that twig spinning away? Sometimes, I feel like I’ve spun away from the present and am living in a gentler time, sometime in the past. Time seems to stand still here. Part of it is the people. They’re different somehow, maybe remote is the right word.”
“Have you met any of them?”
“I’ve tried. The people nod or smile, but never is there any chitchat. There’s one young lady from up my road, who is friendly. Her name is Kendra and she’s also a newcomer. Her house got shot at.”
Ruth jerked upright. “What?”
“Someone shot at it with a rifle. Then last Sunday after the church service Karen got into an argument with Granny Ferrell about who shot her house. From what I overheard, Granny accused Karen’s husband of beating her great-grandson.”
“Child beating and a Granny. Who is she?”
“She’s a fixture in this county. When I met her, I thought I was in the Ozarks. She has quite an accent. Karen told me she’s an old witch. Scared her nephews by threatening to hex them.” Arianne laughed.
“I don’t think I’d laugh about that.”
“Oh poof, I figure the boys had it coming. Granny seems a nice old lady, just different. When she and Karen got into the argument, it was quite a scene.”
“I knew you moved to the wilds, but I thought it was the landscape, not the people.”
“They’re not wild. In fact, I think they’re very decent in their own way.”