The mourning of a scene

Man, is it hard to kill the darlings!

I’ve been dancing around it for days, trying to figure out how I can work a scene into my novel. At some point I wrote it, obviously thinking it had a home. I don’t know what happened since then, but, at this point, it truly is a gypsy, wandering through my manuscript searching for a nice place to tuck in for the night. I keep moving it hither and yon, trying it on different characters and different situations for size, but it was not written for those moments. If it is ever to find a niche, things will need to be reworked, and to be honest, I don’t know if it is worth it. To be painfully honest, I don’t think it fits anymore. I think it is a precious that I may need to let go of.


I have not given up hope completely. I’m not doing anything rash like deleting the whole thing to insure it doesn’t plague me anymore. But I am setting it aside and acknowledging that, though it is beautiful, and though I love it, and it loves me (I am sure), we may not be right for each other anymore. We may have to part ways. For both of us.

So I thought tonight, after a lengthy (and fruitless) session of pin-the-scene-on-the-novel,  that maybe if I give it a little limelight via another venue, maybe, just maybe the thing will leave me alone long enough to get this blasted book done. Maybe all the attention out there in the world will bring it back to me a changed scene, ready to cooperate and submit to something greater than itself. Maybe it won’t. Either way, I’m letting it go for now.

October faded into the distance, taking with it the bright colors of the mountains and leaving only dull greens and browns to adorn the horizon. Every hidden glade and thicket was laid open for inspection. The tired sun shone through to the forest floor, only to meet with a blanket of snow reflecting back its meek energies. The warmth of a mild autumn turned quickly to the blustery winds of the coming winter, and each home in the Notch became a glowing oasis in the lengthening darkness. Chimneys offered up wisps of incense on behalf of their inhabitants as birds flocked to the feeders, willing to be domesticated for the snow-covered months.

Caleb, struggling through some difficult physics equations, suddenly awoke from his work to hear the tinkly scrabble of the birds outside. He shoved off of his desk and rolled across the room to join their convention. Chickadees and titmice swarmed around the red plastic barn hanging below his bedroom window. They inhaled the sunflower seeds faster than seemed possible by such small creatures. The downy and hairy woodpeckers stood by, politely nudging in every now and again for a beakful of black gold, while the drab-for-winter goldfinches stormed in like blind paratroopers. Chickadees fluttered to the ground, tossed aside by the bully finches, chirped their opinions, and jumped back up into the fray. The soft sounds of their daily grind somehow brightened the winter silence. But as always, the jeer of an incoming blue jay halted every other sound as the others scattered to the four winds, waiting impatiently from safe branches for the enemy to retreat. Even when he departed, Caleb knew that they would return slowly, with whispered hesitation. And even with their full numbers back at the trough, the fearful hush would remain. It would be several minutes before the birdbrains would forget all about the oversized bully that tormented them and recover their joyous cacophony.

With a sigh, Caleb’s eyes left the barren scene and drifted up and through the transparent woods to Jacob’s Creek. It still burbled excitedly over the riffles and ridges of the mountain, unwilling to be held captive by the snow and ice.

He needed to be that water, flowing against all odds. He felt the warmth of the sun, and the joy of the birds, and the momentum of gravity helping him along, but he could feel the ice creeping in from the edges just as clearly. He could feel his heart freezing over.

If you love something, set it free, right? Life will go on for both of us, I’m sure.

Preparing the sackloth,

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