My lungs ache just a little as I step out of my office building and take a deep breath of city air. I hate working here in the dirty city, every street crammed with cars. There’s always a haze in the air, thanks to the factory three blocks away. I can’t even enjoy a walk on my lunch break, thanks to the construction crew tearing down an abandoned McDonald’s. 

I’m glad it’s quitting time for the weekend. I can’t wait to get away from this place, and I’m even more excited to not come back for three days. As the rest of my coworkers head off to the parking garage, I grab my bicycle from the rack and head to the bus stop. It’s a half-hour ride to my stop, where I have a 20-minute bike ride. I wouldn’t take my commute any other way. 

The bus drops me off at a dirt road on the edge of town. It’s not an actual stop, but the driver always stops anyway, when I’m on board. I take my bike from the rack and wait until the bus pulls away to take a deep breath, this time enjoying the clean air, safe from the city’s pollutants. With the sunshine on my back, I head down the dirt path, peddling hard enough to enjoy a breeze. 

The trail ends at my house, an ancient farmhouse with nothing but forest behind it. I’ve explored every inch of those woods, and I head there now, following familiar trails under the canopy of dappled sunshine. Today I make my way to a small meadow among the woods, dappled with dandelions and a single, young weeping willow, which my father helped me plant when I was a young girl. This is my favorite place to come after a long work week. The air is the cleanest here, with so many plants to churn out fresh oxygen. More than that, when I’m sitting under the willow’s shade, I can forget the outside world even exists. Here is my balance between peace and pollution. 

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    5 months ago

    Simple, but quite effective. The smooth writing effectively takes us from the frenzied, polluted city to the peace of the weekend retreat. The description of the forest trail with its meadow “dappled with dandelions” brought a smile to our reading.

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    Reply to  Voice-Team
    4 months ago

    Congratulations on being a runner-up, Rebecca. Lovely beginning to your writing for Voice.Club! In fact congratulations on your double win!

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    5 months ago

    Rebecca, you paint a vividly strong contrast between city and country life. Well done.
    Welcome to Voice.Club.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    5 months ago

    Hello and welcome to, Rebecca. I really enjoyed reading your story and felt as though I was with you every step of your journey enjoying that sun-soaked meadow at the end. Nicely done.

    5 months ago

    I could smell the crisp clean air under the willow tree, thank you.

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    5 months ago

    Welcome to Voice.Club, Rebecca. I like your story and followed your trip by bus and bike, from the busy city and out to the countryside with great interest.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    5 months ago

    Like your protagonist, I also hate living and working in the dirty city. That is why I choose to live at the foot of the mountain, dirt road, and an ancient farmhouse with nothing but forest behind it. So peaceful and relaxing and has the cleanest air. Well done, Rebecca. I truly enjoyed reading it. Keep on writing. 

    A warm welcome to the voice club. 

    5 months ago

    I enjoyed this story very much, Rebecca. I’ve recently read that “miniature forests” are being planted in major cities, particularly in Europe. Perhaps people will be able to leave their office jobs and quickly walk to a nearby forest very soon. I remember many years ago a pink-blooming crabapple tree that I could see on my way walking to work. It saved my emotional life on many occasions, even after it finished… Read more »

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    4 months ago

    Hello, Rebecca. A huge congratulations on your double win.

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