Exercise: Write about a place and use Dominant Impression. Notice in the story below how Dominant Impression is used in the opening, body and closing. What is the Dominant Impression for this story?
By Dawn M. Hamsher
By Dawn M. Hamsher
The little unassuming 3'x20' garden sits in my narrow backyard. Its raised bed contained by weathered landscape timbers. The blanket of rich brown soil has waited two seasons to be tended to; has waited to be nurtured by loving hands, by my hands.
It is early spring. The snow has melted and my shovel makes “chhut” sounds in the heavy dirt as I mix in compost . I stop and pick up a handful of the dirt that I helped make. Chunks of eggs shells and bits of shredded paper mix with the unseen coffee grounds, orange rinds, banana peels; kitchen scraps that will feed worms and new plants. I feel connected to the dirt and to the cycle of life.
Later, I sit on the double-stacked timbers and lean in to breath in the smell of damp, fertile earth. I rake one tiny 1” furrow at a time with my rubber-gloved finger. Then I remove the glove and delicately take the tiny seeds in my cupped hand, a few at a time, and pinch several along the row, laying them to bed and then covering them up with soil. There will be lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, onions and snap peas.
Two and a half months later, little green heads emerge through the dirt and the ground looks like a baby’s bald head, just starting to grow hair. I notice a surprise amongst my carefully planted rows. Fuzzy shoots, that I did not plant, are reaching out curling tendrils. I had brought in extra compost from my father-in-law’s garden and rogue seeds were growing. They looked so young and healthy; I didn’t have the heart to pluck them out, so I left them to grow behind and between the tomatoes, in a space that could not support the babies that would come. Would they be melons, squash, or cukes? I was hoping for the latter. Since there was no room on the ground for their future sprawl, I decided they would have to grow up. I lugged in a steel grid and leaned it between the plants and the fence. Then weekly, I carefully tied the vines to the frame with strips of pantyhose. Cucumbers were ruled out, as round fruit began to grow. I worried over them. Would they grow too heavy and rip right off their umbilical cords? I had to save them. I wrapped each one comfortably in a tan fabric pouch and fixed it securely to the steel.
At the end of summer, I took a break from harvesting and sat by the garden with a freshly sliced cantaloupe. Its tangerine-colored juice dripped down my cheeks and hands. Beside me, in the grass, a large bowl full of tomatoes and onions sat. The onions still clung to dirt they were birthed from. I licked my fingers before washing them off in the rain barrel. Then I looked at the garden and smiled. I loved this garden, in all its stages of life, like a mother loves her children. I smiled again as I picked up the bowl. I would take my children inside. It was time for their baths.