Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Thicket

Once there was a very curious child, full of adventure. She'd go on long hikes in the forest surrounding her home. She'd follow animal paths alongside creeks eating huckleberries along the way. No matter how far she hiked in the forest, she always wanted to go a little further. Unconsciously it seemed she was looking for a something in the forest. Every day she'd set out and she'd take a different path than the day before, trying to see where it might lead her.

One day she came upon a clearing in the forest with an abandoned strawberry patch. She recognized the field had been planted by a human because the few remaining strawberry plants were growing in a row. However, there was no sign of human habitation other than the strawberries. She remembered this place and sometimes she would go back there to pick strawberries if she became hungry when she was wandering in the forest. Each time she went to the clearing she thought there must be something in the clearing she had missed, but she never discovered anything other than the strawberries.

She had other favorite places in the forest too. One of her favorite places was a creek crossing where a huge tree had fallen, bridging a creek. The tree had fallen in such a way that the highest point happened to be over the deepest part of the creek. She always wondered if she would make it across the creek while she was walking on the fallen tree. She knew if she fell no one would ever find her so deep in the forest. That didn't seem to matter, though, because she continued to walk on the tree crossing the creek many, many times, always wandering further into the forest.

Every once in a while she would loose her way in the forest, perhaps the path would dead end or the path was too overgrown to get through. At these times she would either crawl on the ground to go under the brambles or perhaps take a stick to beat down the brush so she could make it through. Many of the thickets were very frustrating because they became even more impenetrable the further she would go into them. Then she would have to turn around and go back the way she came. This would always make her angry for she felt she was loosing time going back over her own footsteps.

One day she found herself in the middle of one of these thickets and thought she would never find her way out. She began to think this particular thicket was going to be one of those where she would have to go back the way she came. She decided she wasn't going to go back this time. She decided she would push her way through to the end. Covered with scratches, she kept pushing and pushing, further and further into the thicket, trying to see an end to the thicket or a hidden way out.

When she felt she couldn't go any further, she rested for a while and tried to decide what to do. Standing in the middle of the thicket she felt trapped with all the branches and brush surrounding her and she desperately wanted to break free. She wanted to run to escape but she knew she couldn't run in a thicket. She knew she had to get out of the thicket soon because her frustration was becoming unbearable. But then she thought there had to be an end to the thicket very shortly, because she had gone so deep into the thicket this time, so she decided to go just a little bit further.

She pulled a branch back and found herself looking straight into the eye of a wood thrush sitting in it's nest. She stopped instantly and held her breath, she was less than a foot away from the bird. She could have reached out and touched the thrush. She was afraid to move or even blink. At any moment she thought the bird would fly away, but the bird didn't move at all, and neither did she. She peered down ever so slightly, afraid to move even her eyes, and she could see eggs underneath the bird's feathers. For what seemed like an eternity she stood still and she gazed into the eye of the bird and she marveled at it's closeness. Finally, every so slowly, she stepped quietly backwards, step by step going back in the direction she had come, and she crept out of the thicket.

Creative Commons License
The Thicket by Linda Starr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at


  1. Ahhhh when you pack up the Studio, you can fall back on creative talented you are!

  2. Thanks Meredith, I was hoping you would like it.

    Hi Mary, I am hoping I can write a few travelouges along the way and submit them to pay my bills and way for a while till I settle down, thanks so much.

  3. Spellbinding! I think I was holding my breath most of the way through. Loved the combination of the black and white photos and the text. Now, was that child in the forest you?

    Thanks for your comments on my site, they were much appreciated, I have updated the sequence of photos of me throwing a pot slightly by adding two more photos and added some captions.

  4. A lovely little story and I like the B & W picks too, it makes everything so time warped. You got to get hold of a copy of the Childrens Book you will go MAD with is just like this!

    Still stormy here.

  5. Very well done and you had me hooked. I'm hoping it was you so I know you made it out OK. I got a bit claustrophobic there. Great photos.

  6. Hi Peter, thanks so much. I hope you would like the story which is based on fact. I had planned to tell the story with an historical aspect, but I couldn't get the research done quick enough so that will come with a future story. I have more stories I'll be writing with this same theme, but will be fiction. I had just joined a writers group here recently but never got to a meeting as I got word we sold our home so have pulled out. I want to continue writing as we travel. Gary and I both are going to write some travelogues and hope to submit some to magazines to help pay our way as we travel.

    Peter, thanks ever so much for adding to your post, I will go back and read again.

    Hi Kitty, thanks so much, I have had this story within my mind for a very long time and I am glad I have finally set it to words. I wanted to do drawings or illustrations to go along with the story, but I just couldn't get them to look the way I wanted that evening, so I decided on the black and white photos - to make the story as if looking into the past and also because black and white photos often seem more mysterious as one has to look a bit closer at them to decifer the details. I can't wait for the book to come out here and look forward to it, I now find myself on another path in addition to clay - that of writing and will have much to read and research for my writings. Gary and I had thought about writing quite some time ago while traveling but never made the time - now I think we must make the time.

    Kitty, you really are getting the storms there. Is that unusual for your location? We had a threat of a light rain here, but nothing more so far, still hot as hades.

    Hi Patti, thanks so much, yes in this story the girl was I. I am so glad you felt claustraphobic; I was hoping to convey that feeling to the reader, the feeling of being trapped and wanting to run. I wanted to do some illustrations to go along with this story but my drawing isn't quite good enough as yet, I must practice. I see now late in life I have much more to learn than I ever thought possible or thought I might need or want - isn't that the way of life though?

  7. Linda, I could see this story developing into a children's book. I was imagining words and large, graphic images or illustrations on every page! The thicket sounded like such a magical place where anything was possible :o)

  8. Hi Cindy, so glad you liked the thicket and your feeling that it was a magical place where anything was possible. I like that - and truly the forest in Bainbridge Maryland was that for me when I lived there in the fourth grade. The other day after I wrote this I was discussing the story with Gary and he and I were talking along the same lines. I just need to get out from under my responsibilities here and then hopefully I will have more time. Thanks for all your encouragement.

  9. Wonderful, such joy in a story, the image in my mind became as vived as being there.

  10. Hi Ron, thanks, I never forgot that bird I saw 50 years ago. Geez can that be true - 50 years. I'm old and yet I'm young again, Ha!


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment