Parched

Toward a new and beautiful future she steps onto the parched earth. The first flakes of ice beginning to fall on the cracked lips of the desiring earth below. Fractured shards of frozen relief, fill her receding steps as she begins toward the truncated mesquite tree barely visible a short ways away. Dry cracked and filling with ice the earth waits to absorb the torrent of water it knows must come. At the moment the sun crests above the knoll to the east, the temperature rises above freezing for the first time in weeks.  As a crystal begins to melt it grasps the edge of a jagged clay crack refusing to plummet into the unknown. A small finch flaps the tiniest gust loosening the gripped tension of the drop and plunging it down into the depths. A worm beneath gulps the refreshing moisture before a sinuous beak reaches inside extinguishing his newfound ecstasy. By the time these drops find their new homes and the birds find their breakfast, the girl has reached the tree and each left-behind crescent shadow of a footprint is filled to the brim with oases for a metropolis of ravenous worms. She knew she had come to the right place when she sat down on the hard ground and immediately bruised her hip on a unruly root turned up and out of the ground confused which way to grow. She was done sitting in comfortable chairs all day and staring at indeterminate screens. "This is a place for a new life," she said aloud looking out across the increasingly moistened landscape. She let her belongings tumble to the ground as she stood up to survey this place and account for it's potential impact on her past and future. 

She slept 3 days and 3 nights on this very spot determined to understand the tree. Allowing the upturned root to never be without reach even in sleep, she slept uncomfortably wedged between the root and an adjacent rock. Both provided a dully incongruous notch within which she was 2 inches too wide; the abiding discomfort, a consistent reminder of why she had chosen this specific place. She spent the first and second days surveying the root and the tree attached. The mesquite tree reminded her of a time she couldn't remember but somehow it maintained a comforting presence, a looming teacher prepared to scold at any defiance but with an affirming smile prepared for when you've failed . From her worn leather tote she takes her black notebook remembering to first note and dictate initial thoughts regarding the subject and then to sketch first impressions. Beyond the undeniable feasible failings of the root's upturned orientation, by the end of the second day of analysis she has taken note of the shape, tone, color, and temperature of the root as well as the light conditions the root preferred. Early on the second day she had briefly considered tasting the root, but determined that the risk to her own health weighed more heavily on her own priorities. In the beginning twilight of the impending night of the third day, pencil still pressed into the paper she hesitated only once to recall why she was sketching a root, but recovered shaking her head and reasserting the importance of curious and diligent study as a paramount quality in her new place. On the morning of the third day, twisted between the root and the rock she rose, packed her tote and walked back from whence she had come only pausing to briefly study the birds pecking a curiously shaped pool recently sealed by the nighttime cold.

"Welcome back from Screen Break, we hope your time away has been restorative. Please return to your assigned work station, You will receive your missed emails in a few moments."