by A.M. Tamburo
Contest Round 3 Entry
Contest Round 3: Setting Description
The Maine Woods – Specifically the wooded area that more or less surrounds the fictional island town of Caroline’s Falls, Maine.
The woods on the island are thick with towering white pine; interspersed with spruce, hemlock and, toward the middle part of the island, red maple and red pine.
High above the forest floor the trees form a canopy, shielding the forest from the worst of the elements; accounting for thickets of lush underbrush made up of coarse grass, ferns, small saplings, scrub pine, and various vining and ground cover plant species; dappled with a spattering of polka dots of sunlight and broken up now and then by a shaft of light illuminating a small clearing or jumble of rocks.
The plants and trees contribute their thick, green smell to that of damp earth, tinged with salt air and the pungent scent of the tide flats carrying a swirl of scents to the wind that leave a tinge of salt on skin and tongue.
Lending their voice are the animals that make their home in the woods there. Chipmunks and squirrels are always to be heard chattering away at each other, gossiping about their day. Meanwhile, rabbits can be found hopping merrily about amongst the thickets gathering their greens for dinner.
High above in the canopy of trees, a chorus of birdsong accompanies the merry whooshing of the tree limbs swaying in the breeze, the crashing drums of the surf and the high screech of the seabirds affording Caroline’s Fall’s their beloved symphony creating a mimosa of scent and sound that those who call the Island home refer to as Caroline’s Calling.
Until the sun goes down.
With the setting of the sun, the smells that seemed so welcoming and earthy take on sinister new scents, those of decay and desolation.
The wind that had been so cool and refreshing now cuts to the bone and moans and howls through the trees that lend their limbs to shade and protection, those same limbs that now block out the light, leaving the forest floor below with its dense thickets, tangled brambles and scratching twigs, a labyrinth of fear and pain.
The rustle of the bushes that had once been the capering of woodland animals becomes the approach of danger, and the calling of the night bird chills to the bone.
This too is Caroline’s Calling.