Where fiber art, inspiration, and words meet.

Writing Challenge: Nature Part 2

Part 1 and an explanation are here.


Our driveway was dirt, with the attendant divots. When it rained, the divots turned into puddles and if one of the cars had gone out or come back, there would be tracks in the mud to make dams and rivers from. When the puddles froze overnight, air bubbles would get frozen into them so when I stomped on them while waiting for the bus, the iced puddle would crack and a hole would open. Sometimes, there were layers of air trapped, and so there were layers of ice to stomp through. It was more satisfying than popping bubble wrap and a great way to anticipate the frustrations of the school day.

Note: I found out after writing this, by chance and serendipity thanks to twitter, that this kind of ice is called cat-ice.


One morning I was running late. The bus had already turned the corner at the top of the hill before my house when I checked out the window, as I always did. I flew through the living room into the kitchen, grabbing my coat and my school bag, and ran out the door. I ran down the steps and the path to the driveway and realized too late that I was running on ice with a thin layer of water on it. I slipped and went down on my right side, the cold water soaking through my clothes, right in front of an entire bus full of other kids, most of them older. I did get up though, and because I didn’t want to bother my mom to drive me 20 minutes in to school, I slowly and carefully walked across the rest of the driveway, onto the road, crossed to the other side, and boarded the bus, where I curtsied and took the remaining free seat.


The year of the big ice storm, we lost one of the two maple trees in our front yard. The weight of the ice on one substantial branch brought it down, grazing the corner of our porch. It was the branch I always wanted to climb to and sit on, but was never tall enough to reach – not even my father could reach it. It was night when it happened, and there was a very loud crash. We were all in different parts of the house – my mother and brother and I all in our bedrooms, my father in the living room – and all gathered to make sure everyone was okay. We went on the porch and saw how lucky we were, the ice could have easily brought a whole maple down on the house, and also how unlucky we were, losing one of those maples. In the spring, my father cut the rest of it down and the house was never the same again.


5 responses to “Writing Challenge: Nature Part 2”

  1. I have vague memories of ice like that. I walked to grade school, high school and my job after high school and believe I had a few experiences reminiscent of your first story. I was ever so thankful for my “duck” boots that kept the water, snow and ice out. Thank goodness you were all safe when that tree grazed your house. I can imagine it would have been quite a tragedy if it had come straight down on your house.

    1. Duck boots!!!! Those were all the rage when I was in junior high & high school! I thought about getting a pair this year to replace winter boots but ended up with Ugg knockoffs instead – we don’t get that much snow but I have cold feet a lot, and so far it’s working out well.

  2. Beautiful writing, Mandy. I’m enjoying reading about all the details here, and picturing your vivid descriptions. Parts 1 and 2 remind me of all the beauty and precarity of childhood winters (the outside reading-fort sounds like so much fun. And, I applaud you for getting on that bus). Looking forward to reading more. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Shirley!

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