Landscape – Storybook Switzerland

Date written (finished): October 2nd

Target audience: teens and up

Possible place of publication: a novel for teens or adults; the description of the setting

Inspiration: landscape excerpt written by Jack London

Goal: to describe a landscape with powerful visuals

Storybook switzerland

Grüb, Switzerland. A beautiful sunset stretches across the sky. Forming the backdrop, a palette of pale roses and citrus oranges blend together. They appear to swim around in the sky, like coffee and cream stirred together by a toothpick, and form all sorts of spirals and swirls, blurring to bright gold where the sun just skirts the edge of the cottony and variegated clouds.

These seem to hover in the sky, suspended in the sea of magnificence, nonchalantly loafing about, much like lazy sunbathers in a backyard pool.

A bird – too distant to distinguish what kind – occasionally soars through the array of colors; just a black V gracefully cutting through the sky, bringing out all the vibrance around it with its dark feathers.

Off to one side, the sun peeks out from behind a robust tree, sticking sturdily out of the ground, the light glinting off the leaves and beaming down onto the grass, making it sparkle. This lustrous shine spreads far and wide, illuminating everything, beaming through every fleeting gap between the rustling and shifting leaves, and warming the backs of cats dozing on the Swiss cottage roofs.

These cozy residences dot the entire scene, embedded in the rolling hills like swiss truffles in a velvet box, the very treats this land is so well-known for.

On the ground, blob-shaped lakes lay scattered about, like ink splatters on a page, always looking inviting despite the sometimes chilly temperature. A few families of ducks sit on the surfaces, stilly observing their surroundings with a peace that suggests nothing could possibly go wrong that day. Blades of grass around the lake edges dip in the wind, curving just so to submerge their tips into the clear, wind-rippled water. They rise again with the currents, dancing in the brisk air. The clouds, looking so vastly voluminous from so far below, playfully blow them about, as if it is all a game to them. The grass’ soft spiky surface is ruffled and smoothed by them, a carpet of green blades weaving in and out, in and out, like a school of dolphins jumping through rolling waves.

All around, on the hillsides and smaller mountains, herds of cows slowly march and kick their feet around, lazily swatting away flies with their tails and ears. They plow through the tangled foliage with their heads bowed down, their jaws meticulously masticating the green carpet. Drops of mildew collect around their mouths, accumulated on the grass from the colder temperatures of the night before.

In the middle of the group, one cow, something between a calf and a grown adult, raises its head, ears twitching back. It directs its gaze to one of the rockier, taller mountains a bit farther away, jutting out proudly from the horizon.

Ridges zigzag down the sides almost like scars, yet still add to nature’s beauty, jaggedly descending down into the earth. The cow’s eyes trace the outlines, resting on the few adventurous individuals determined to make it to the top.

A larger group of trekkers is visible on a ridge almost halfway up, pausing for a drink break. A few of the group members tightly wrap their arms around themselves, like ribbons snuggly hugging gift boxes, shivering in the huffy-puffiness of the weather. A younger girl in the group takes a false step, trips over a dead root and tumbles over, falling onto a rock. Her mouth shoots open in a cry that the others around her can surely hear, but one that is lost in the wind just a few meters farther. Her features, barely distinguishable from so far away, distort with pain, as half the group curdles around her and tries to help her to her feet. She holds her ankle with one hand, the other bent around her middle. The tallest individual reaches into a bag and speaks into a walkie talkie; more cries for help disguised by the wind.

The cow observes all this from a distance, it’s deep chocolate-colored eyes unchanged, except for a small glint that passes across them; maybe it is worry. Or is it just the sun doing its habitual tricks? Perhaps it can’t even see as far as the group of trekkers. A second later, it blinks and the glint is gone, but still it keeps its gaze, like its eyes are stuck to the landscape with honey.

A rumble in its tummy finally breaks this enchantment. It blinks and looks around. Its tummy growls again, a reminder that there are more pressing things for a cow to worry about. Reassured that everything is right in its world, it turns its focus back to its most important mission of the day; getting the constituents of any normal cow’s daily meal into its stomach.

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