Scribble (3-21-16): “A Brush With Spring”

Each month we’ll offer a low-stakes, writing prompt applicable to all genres. This month, enjoy “A Brush With Spring”—a prompt meant to help us celebrate this wondrous season. Upon completing the prompt, send your piece (500 words or less please) to for potential publication here on the website and in an upcoming newsletter!

Without further adieu, “A Brush With Spring”

Take a walk in your backyard. What has revealed itself after the thaw? Dead grass? Pine needles? The remnants of a toy from the previous summer? Use your close observations to begin a poem, story, or essay related to the shift of the seasons. Let your reader see the beauty in renewal.

And congrats to last month’s winner, Delaney Green, whose piece can be found below:

Colfax, Wisconsin, 1972

If I knew then what I know now…

I would have peeled a bit of speckled white bark from one of the birch trees to press into a book. A woodpecker would have chittered from the top of the tree, allowing the theft but insisting that I move along. 

I would have saved a tiny phial of sand to remember the sand pies I and my cousins made when we were little, and our parents made before us when their hands were young and plump, each pie decorated with twigs or white pebbles or red honeysuckle berries, every single pie too pretty to eat. 

I would have stoppered autumn air scented with leaves and swamp and manure in a bottle and allowed myself a quick nip when my nose was full of car exhaust and cement dust but Grandma’s house was thousands of miles away. I would have run out of air before the first snowfall. 

If I knew then what I know now…

I would have taken up pen and ink to draw Grandma’s sandy driveway, to etch the shadows of trees and swamp grass and the barbed wire fence. I would have lingered on an outline of my sister, gone now these eight years, but walking then with the setting sun shimmering in her long hair.  

I would have bought fabric just that shade of blue and just that shade of gold—striped, maybe, with barn red—and I would have cut and sewed a pair of curtains to hang in my bedroom on Fourteenth Street. One night, I would have pushed them aside when the drunks in the alley five flights down argued over cardboard boxes and, two blocks away, ambulances poured into the night, screaming city, city, city.