A Project—And Its Beginning

Normally, I confess, an idea for a Project would inspire me to plan for two days—or weeks, depending on the enormity of such a project.  I would certainly give you more than a few hours’ notice before asking if you wanted to join me in such a Project.  Unfortunately for all involved, this particular idea only occurred to me this morning, and I thought it most suited to this month given the brevity of February and that I will be celebrating seven years of Writership tomorrow thanks to a similar Project.

Every day for the month of February, I (and anyone who cares to join me) will be writing Something for ten to fifteen minutes.  This Something will have only two requirements: it must be fictional prose, and it must in some way include whatever the Dictionary.com Word of the Day is—preferably within the first sentence.  Beyond that, it can be anything: a story, a bit of description, a character sketch.

If you care to join me, post your creation in the comments each day.  There will be no big prize at the end; there is no incentive, except to have a way to consistently write without having to undertake a big project.  Take it or leave it.

Today’s Word of the Day is this:

ataraxia

noun

a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquility.

Here goes:

It’s not a place as much as it is an emotion.  Far more important than any landscape is the feeling of sudden and total calmness and safety: pure ataraxia.

A breeze whispers by, and the tall, dry grasses laugh along with it at some private joke.  There’s running water somewhere—a brook, maybe, because this is exactly the sort of place that would have a brook—and it’s singing softly while the flowers dance.  There’s a tiny bridge in the distance, the only sign that mankind has ever touched this place.  Maybe there used to be a path leading to it, but it’s gone now.

The horizon is years away; the sky—bluer than the world ever knew anything could be, arching, expansive and aloof—looks like it doesn’t know the ground exists.  Feather-soft clouds slip across the atmosphere like they’ve somewhere to be.

There are trees speckled here and there across the landscape:  Tall and proud, their leaves hang heavy with the burden of centuries.

Here, the sheer enormity of peace makes man simultaneously insignificant and immense, as though the lone observer is the sole focus of God and Nature.

Cara Kennaway

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2 thoughts on “A Project—And Its Beginning

  1. Does the sky ever mourn ataraxia?

    When the clouds come in, boiling across the heavens, whorls of crushing darkness shot through with lightning, does the atmosphere know it’s lost its peace? Does it wonder where it’s gone? Does it cower behind the wildly grieving storm and despair of ever being able to shine forth again, bright and blue and clean and wonderful?

    The sky may not mourn so.

    But the lone traveler, lost out on the moors and far from any shelter, may.

    It must be frightening (it is frightening), to be out-of-doors as the wind picks up, as the sky turns black hours before sunset, as the pressure builds in one’s ears and chest until it hurts to breathe, as the rain crashes down stinging like tears, blinding as an allegory. Yet still the storming without (or within) increases, violent and uncontrollable, and suddenly it is no longer clear whether the sky is screaming…

    …or you are.

    But the storm, like all madness, is cyclical, and eventually peters out, leaving behind it only vestiges of electricity and whispers of angst; the promise that it will return.

    And me, exhausted and dizzy in the light of this new, still mourning… longing for ataraxia.

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