SCENIC DRIVE & WHY I WRITE
By Natalie Bright
The ‘Scenic” ranch road dissects our East Pasture. It takes a fairly steep grade towards the creek bottom, descending next to a tree lined canyon. At the lowest point you drive through a dense thicket of plum bushes, a china berry grove, and wild grape-vines. Towering cottonwood trees, decades old, casts shadows on the peaceful creek beds. The land remains as it was hundreds of years ago when Native Americans camped near the natural springs, leaving flecks of flint. If you take a rest on an uprooted tree, you’ll feel miles away from a modern world.
Following a long drought, too much of a glorious rain caused two creeks to converge in the middle of the Scenic Drive road. The force of the water formed a whirlpool that washed out a five foot hole making it impassable. And now, just two years later, we’ve never graded the road to fill the hole and it is barely navigable by four-wheeler.
Our Scenic Drive is now covered in soft sand and cow prints, and if you look really close, tracks from deer, wild turkey, quail, and bobcat too. The steep grade is terraced in uneven ledges, while other places have deep trenches washed out by running water. There is a shadow of evidence that this was once a path for modern vehicles. The mighty forces of nature have a way of erasing human presence.
Finding What to Write
I wish I could take you all on a drive in the four-wheeler along our Scenic Road. Of course I can’t, but I can write about it. This place and these people, both past and present, ignites my brain with ideas.
Helpful friends are always making suggestions as to what I should write. It was pointed out to me at a writer’s conference that kids living in city apartments aren’t interested in reading stories about the Wild West. They can’t relate to such places. Do I create trendy stories based on what seems to be selling in the market, or do I write the stories in my head? By the time we can craft a story on what’s hot, that trend is usually over saturated. The answer, I think, is to write the story that burns inside of you.
Is there a particular place or time period that inspires your work?
Feed that fire in your gut and WRITE ON!