Edie suggested we highlight a favorite writing assignment from a class taken or taught for this cycle of posts. My choices are limited. I've taken two writing classes and have taught none. My very first assignment was easy for a newbie—just write from memory for about 5–10 minutes every day for a week. There was no goal stated, so this was more about process. I'm sure you know what I learned during that time, that ideas and connections develop as you go. The process itself is magic. Below is my first little ditty:
Seed of the stone
At the tiptop of our hill I planted corn. Stairs, built from railroad ties Daddy hauled in the Studebaker, zigzagged to an area he leveled mid-way up the slope. Flanking the stairs and bordering our half-acre were stonewalls he pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. No two stones were alike, and every last one of them came from the old quarry in Rockport on our weekly trips to Grammy’s. Tailgate down, Daddy would lift and bend, lift and bend, unloading his boyhood home to ours.
Up we went with a trowel, seeds, and a watering can. Hen-and-chicks peeked out between rocks on either side of the steps. The flowers, shrubs and trees Daddy planted were on the lower half of the hill. Everything above the flat grassy area was wild. There were no more stairs to make the climbing easy, so by the time we reached my spot we were out of breath.
From this height we could see every yard along Russell Street. The school bus driver said ours was his favorite. Across the street, to our left and right were woods. Behind us was bulldozed land, still undeveloped.
I chipped away at the dry earth making a small hole. My seeds were bright and hopeful against the dull brown dirt. I placed them carefully, covered them over and patted them. All tucked in! After watering we headed back down the hill. All summer long we repeated this climb. We must have forgotten a few times because the corn didn’t grow nearly as high as stalks by the roadside stands.
August was a good month to pick corn. That was when we made our harvest trip. A lone short stalk grew with one little ear. Silky threads hung like hair. Eagerly I peeled back the ribbed green husks. The corn was not like any I’d seen. No tidy rows of uniform kernels. Zigzagged and irregular, mine was a golden stonewall.