With my eyes blindfolded I let my classmate Lilly-ann lead me to the tree. My foot caught a root, I almost went down, but she held me up. I smiled my thanks in her direction. I couldn’t see her smile back, but I sensed it, as if the sun was just a bit brighter.
Beneath my feet, the ground was a mixture of hard and soft where the grass ended and the hardened mud began. Lilly-ann stopped, I followed suit. She took my hands and placed them on the rough, rigged trunk of the tree. I heard her step back, leaving me alone with the tree. Then it was just me and the tree. I let myself believe nobody would care when I slipped my arms around the tree, clasping my hands tightly on the other side, and leaned in real close.
In complete darkness, I took in the moment. I prayed there were no aunts or flies near my face while I breathed in deep, the scent of the musky bark filling my nostrils.
Keeping my head rested on the rough edges of the bark, I took in the sounds around me. Above me the wind rustled among the leaves while to my left, the creek rippled gently over rocks. A bird called to its mate from a branch nearby. A squirrel scurried along in the leaves, hopping, stopping, calling to its friends, and then scurrying away when I moved my foot.
Somewhere nearby the teacher’s whistle sounded. It was time for my partner and I to switch places. Lilly-ann untied the blindfold and handed it to me. I took a moment to let my eyes readjust to the brightness of the sun, then tied the blindfold over Lilly-ann’s eyes, being careful not to get her tight black curls twisted into the knot at the back of her head.
Linking my arm through hers, I led Lilly-ann to my favorite willow tree. I held back the curtain of leaves and led her to the center of the willow’s green canopy. I untangled my arm from hers and placed her hands on the tree. Then I stepped back and let her experience the world through her senses, minus sight. I thought about how I would write about my experience when we got back to class. I wondered how Lilly-ann would write about hers.
Written in response to John Smolens writing exercise. I imagined myself as one of his students doing the activity he would have his students do.