Saturday, July 14, 2012

Greener Pastures

This prompt is about long-term love; perhaps suffering a mid-life or 7 year itch crisis. The couple recognizes it is time for a change; but how drastic does the change need to be to rekindle the relationship? Who wants the change; husband, wife, mutual? Who would suffer the most from either a break up, or from the status quo?

This is a special challenge, so it has special guidelines:

To be in the judging for Featured Writer, you must be a member (sign up on the thumbnail linky) and follow these guidelines:

  • Word limit is 600 words
  • Any POV - first, second, third person
  • Prose/prosetry
  • Judging will be based on the FIRST WRITING ONLY; meaning, if you edit or revise based on initial feedback, the re-write will be disqualified. Only the original will be entered into the competition. Once the link is up, it is the final submission version. It is fine to improve your piece for publication elsewhere, but for judging for FW just leave your original post up.
Check out the youtube video for further inspiration...

I'm a little late posting this week and I had debated on posting at all.  We just returned from vacation yesterday.  My post this week gives a different view of Greener Pastures.  Here it goes:

I couldn’t wait to get out of Florida.  The summers down here are almost unbearable unless you sit in the air conditioning.  I was ready for a change in scenery and a break from reality.

I needed a vacation.  It wasn’t a desire, it was a necessity.  On the verge of a mental breakdown I felt completely empty.  It was time for a refill, a recharge.

In the days before I felt a mixture of anxiousness, nervousness and excitement. 

As we drove up the familiar roads, excitement built.  It was an annual tradition to come up to the North Carolina mountains. The crisp mountain air smelling of various summer blooms, the lush greenery of the trees, and the rivers running off the winters’ snow seemed to do wonders for the soul.

It felt like home, except for the last turn.  Where we usually make a left to go to the familiar river, hiking trails and campground, this year we made a right.  Winding up higher and higher the excitement turned to anxiety and nerves.
I am not comfortable to say the least on those winding roads up the mountains.  I felt as if I was going to fall off at every turn.  My heart pounded and I felt every muscle tighten as the car seemed to go in circles.  I felt myself getting hot, not from the heat but from the fear. 

As we drove up through the fog, it became even more of a challenge to continue breathing.  I didn’t know which was worse – not being able to see off the mountain or looking down at the drop thousands of feet below.  My head began to pound from the increased elevation too, not something to be concerned with in Florida. 

Pulling into the campground, it was nothing like we had pictured.  The site itself was typical, but all I could think was “I can’t see the forest for the trees”.  The lake and the park that were supposedly here were only accessible by car and the river was barely noticeable behind all the trees.  So much for fishing in the evenings.

Driving into town, the roads were lined with fancy restaurants and fancier shops.  Where were we?  What are we doing here?  Get me off this mountain!

I started to feel as if we should’ve made that left instead of a right.  That left always took us to familiar places full of adventure and like people.  The right seemed to take us to a reminder of everything that was wrong with the world.  Greed and judgment filled the beautiful mountain air.  I wished I could turn around right then and there.

For the next week, I felt trapped at the top of the mountain, the only escape leading down the same winding road that sent me over the edge (almost) coming up.  No matter what I tried, I couldn’t escape.  I didn’t realize that such a beautiful place could be changed so much by people.  People who didn’t care at all about the land, but boasted about the elevation in a place where they could spend their money and be waited on hand and foot.

This was not the change that I was looking for.  Maybe next time, I should have made that left or simply be thankful for what I already have. 

It is nice to be back home.  Although it wasn’t the vacation I was hoping for, it was good to get away and be reminded that sometimes the greener pastures aren’t always so green.

588 words/FCA


  1. I also would get very nervous driving through the mountains. I remember praying, and holding on for dear life when we drove up Pikes Peak many years ago. I really enjoyed your Greener Pastures story, and wish you the best of luck in the contest! Julie

  2. Dear Friend,
    Interesting story. I agree with you in the last paragraph.

  3. So I am wondering if this story is a metaphor. I, myself usually make a left when there is a fork in the road. And yes, the grass that seems greener often turns out to be artificial turf.

    1. Yes, this story does have a double meaning of sorts. Artificial turf sums it up perfectly!

  4. I too loved the last paragraph!! And no, the grass isn't always greener on the other side... That reminds me of a song by clay walker.. called "Then What." I'm almost tempted to burst out in random singing and dancing but I'll save it for some other time. I loved this! Well done Heather!!

  5. Why is that so many thing the grass is always greener in other places? I don't know, but you story made the point perfectly:)

    1. Thanks! I think we just need to be reminded of what we have once in a while

  6. lol; change is not always a good thing :) Sometimes the status quo is just what is needed.

    I hope your next vacation turns out better Heather :)


  7. Heather, if this is auto biographical, you won't be feeling very rested. You'll need another vacation to get over this one. Definitely, often the grass only seems to be greener on the other side, or the other mountain camp, lol! I like the philosophy in the last paragraph.

    Thanks for posting. You must be exhausted.


  8. I too am very bad with heights and had a similar experience driving on some French mountains a few years ago. Makes me go all goosebumpy thinking about it actually! Atmospheric story, I could really picture it and you are quite right, the grass isn't always greener but we still aspire to that notion - human nature maybe.

    Welcome back and take care.

  9. It's interesting to see there are several comments about being fearful of driving mountainous roads. Me, too! Passed out is about the only way I can get through winding, high roads.

    Wonderful story, and I bet you're glad to be home!

  10. Fabulous, Heather. This is such a refreshing and personal take on the greener pastures. I'm glad you shared it for RFW.

  11. Hi Heather, nice to meet you via Alex's guest post on my blog. Interesting post. I enjoyed reading it :)

  12. Interesting spin on the challenge's theme...the road not taken! Nicely done.
    Some Dark Romantic

  13. Beyond the thinning air, I felt the suffocation from all the people in a place that was supposed to be nature's majesty. Very nice piece. :)

  14. Lovely descriptions and poetic prose about your journey.