Violet of the Palouse

I wrote this piece a while ago, but I was motivated to touch it up and present it to you after reading a fantastic post over at A Word or More by Rebecca T. Dickinson.  I really recommend checking her blog out, and the specific post I’m referring to is When Location Should Matter.

This short piece was inspired by my current place of residence, an area in Eastern Washington State/Northern Idaho called the Palouse.  Here’s a great gallery of pictures from the area, if you’re interested.  As always, I’d love to hear feedback from you guys, what you liked or didn’t like about my writing, and advice for improvement.


Streaks of flaming orange clouds stretched across the sky.  They struck like lightning before a crystal blue backdrop,  highlighting the rolling green hills.  The massacred rainbow across the horizon contradicted the serene peace it brought to Violet.

She sat atop one of the giant green hills, her face illuminated by the sunset.  Eyes closed, arms outstretched, she welcomed the land.  Gusts of wind embraced her in return.  The circling air carried the fresh scent of wheat and barley across the rising and descending fields.  Violet inhaled deeply.

In that moment she was completely at peace.  It was the only place she could truly escape to.  There was life everywhere, but it didn’t smother her.  It was a place of solitude without making her feel alone.  It was a special spot.  And yet, she never claimed it as her own.  Rather, it was the land that owned her.  The wind, the hills, and the striking skies refused to leave Violet alone.  She was at the mercy of nature, answering the calls of tempestuous sunsets, golden summer days, and white-out winter mornings.

Exhaling, Violet slowly lowered her arms.  She opened her eyes to the view.  The darkening green sea of mounds seemed to stretch out infinitely before her.   The rolling fields told her their stories in untamed waves.  Violet took it all in, memorizing the curves, slopes, and shadows.  She read the hills, willingly soaking up what the land offered her.

They told her of  peace and tranquility.  They spoke about existing wild and free.  They taught her how to just be.  The land existed, if for no other reason than to share its wisdom with the world.  It had called out to Violet, yearning to be heard.  But it was in silence that the land spoke to her.  And she listened, stopped in time as the world moved around her.

The fading light hailed her attention upwards.  She sat down and quietly watched as the bright colors seeped out of the clouds.  It started slowly, almost timidly.  But it soon picked up the pace, like a butterfly realizing how close it was to breaking free of its cocoon.  The clouds swiftly succumbed to dark greys, blues, and purples.  The world’s transition from day to night was almost at an end.  Just like Violet’s time there.

Cold air lashed through her sweatshirt as a whip of wind hit her.  She shivered, momentarily distracted from her reverie.  Violet grabbed the blanket beside her and wrapped herself within it.  She gingerly laid down on the rough earth.  Her thoughts softened as she stared up at the wild blue yonder.  Stars slowly started to emerge, twinkling in the inky sky.  They greeted her as an old friend.

Her eyes darted to the side, barely catching a shooting star.  A sad smile graced her face.  Violet closed her eyes and blew her wish into the lilting wind.  She pictured it flowing around the hills, swirling and blanketing the fields.  In the morning, her wish would be the frost glittering on the stalks.  Through spidery roots it would seep into the land.  It would enrich the soil, growing, spreading, living.  If she ever came to this hilltop again, the land would remember her and that wish.

Bittersweet blue eyes opened.  A sigh escaped pale lips.  The stars blinked in uneasiness to Violet, her thoughts having reached even the farthest corners of existence.  There was no hiding her leaving now.  She knew it was time.

Violet stood up, the wind no longer embracing her.  The air was still, silencing the night.  She quickly folded her blanket, disliking drawn out good-byes.  Violet turned in a full circle, trying her hardest to commit the starlit countryside to memory.  It was in vain.  Only a shadow of the landscape would remain with her, unless she returned.

“I wish that I will see you again, my friend,” Violet whispered, letting the words float like feathers to the ground.  She took one last, long look before walking away from the place that called her its own.


About Aly Hughes
Unprofessional, unedited, unpublished. Aly is out to make a name for herself by blogging, twittering, facebooking, and general internet-ing. Be warned: She may not know what she's talking about.

3 Responses to Violet of the Palouse

  1. rtd14 says:

    I cannot thank you enough! How kind of you to mention my post! I’m glad it inspired you. Your writing is so beautiful. I love the “massacred rainbow” and “streaks of flaming orange.” I always look forward to reading your posts. You have a wonderful gift. I hope you share more of your own writing.

    Isn’t it amazing that all a writer needs is a landscape and one character to write a scene or even a story? I think the landscape, if we let it, molds a part of who we are as people and our characters. I want to go there now.

    Thank you again.

    • Aly Hughes says:

      If I hadn’t read your post, I probably wouldn’t have revisited this piece and put it up. I had to add a link! 🙂
      Thank you for the nice comments. It means a lot to me that you enjoy my writing! I know I missed last week, but generally I’m aiming for posting a short creative writing piece once a week.

      I agree that landscapes help mold us! I even thought while re-writing about the landscape speaking to Violet, that if I had written about mountains they would tell her to be steadfast and determined. Trees from a forest would tell her to never stop growing, never stop reaching for the light. A desert would say to be patient, the sweet taste of rain comes to those who wait. Gosh, maybe I should start travelling everywhere and write down what the land tells me to. It’d be an interesting compilation! 🙂

  2. Pingback: How Place Shapes Us « A Word or More

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