Willard

August 3, 2010
Willard, Washington is like the center of the earth. It is a living, breathing thing. A place anyone can call home. Everything on this earth seems to be living and breathing; even a deserted building or a rock on the bottom of the ocean floor. Willard is the most alive place to which I have ever been.

As one enters Washington, the rain begins to fall endlessly and the rivers run wild. Washington is like a cloud of rain covered by a hood of evergreen trees. Willard is truly a part of Washington.

My mother and I travel in one of her old cars to Willard, our moods bright and the music blaring. The tall trees blur past me out the window and the rain beats hard on the windshield. As we come closer, we begin to see the familiar sights that remind us that Willard is near. The long, lonely highways lined with trees that seem to lead farther and farther into the forest and the known way the sun cascades of the surrounding mountains after the rain has ceased. We drive forever, but it seems as if it only lasts a few short minutes. The towns grow smaller and smaller until we are just another unknown speck, traveling deeper into the depths of the earth.

We have reached Willard, the old logging community. I see the brown sign that reads “Willard, Pop. 42.” As we drive into the little neighborhood, I begin to feel a sense of place and, more importantly, a sense of happiness. I am happy of the way Willard has helped me shape into a better person. I have learned to appreciate the small and often inconspicuous wonders of nature. The slow way the grass grows and the cold and dreary way the rain falls. This is all we have in a place such as Willard; just me and the earth. In Willard, I get the amazing opportunity to listen to the slow, yet miraculous way the world keeps on turning. Willard is simply a place, yet so much more.

Willard is deeper than yet another ancient logging town. It holds memories far within its roots, engraved in the trees and beneath the grass. It is something that pulls the strings attached to feeling and emotion. It is living and breathing. Its heart beats in the middle of Willard in the very house that has been in my family for years; the Willard house, the heart of Willard.

My grandfather’s house is small with chipped tan paint and old brown windows. NASCAR blares on the television and papa sits in his chair, his eyes shifting from the screen to the Sunday paper. There are two blue chairs and an itchy tan couch placed haphazardly around the living room. I have spent many of my days in Willard on that itchy tan couch, looking out the window or reading a book. That’s the thing about Willard. Some days, I have great, grand adventures playing in the forest and getting into trouble, where other days I sit on that couch in that old living room all day and do nothing. And I am content. My worries have escaped me, thanks to my friend Willard.

I glance around and even as I sit at this drab desk in Corbett high school, I can still smell the scent of Willard; the smell of damp earth. Not pollution, salty French fries, or the faint odor of grease emanating from the closest Panda Express. I smell the grass and the old gravel road, the smell of burning wood and rain. I can still remember exactly what I was wearing the last time I was there and I can still hear NASCAR blaring in the background at the Willard house.

When I want to let go and take a few deep breathes, this is where I go. I go to stop existing and start living. To experience what life on earth really is. Everyone needs to pay the earth a visit, and when I do, I go to my favorite place in the world. I go to Willard.





Join the Discussion

This article has 15 comments. Post your own now!

Veta said...
Jan. 9, 2011 at 4:13 am
Hay I can relate to this story, I have lived in Willard for over 35 years. Willard has a life its own smell, feel, it is a way of life. Ayla , you belong here not to many people appricate our way of life.  Come home, visit soon, the white house across the street.
 
Ellawind said...
Jan. 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm
This is beautiful, I feel like I know this place after hearing you describe it so well. I could really tell how you felt abut this place, and the little details helped a lot. Great job!
 
butnotacrime This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 10, 2010 at 7:21 am

I really, really liked this piece.  It was very emotional--I could sense how much you loved that place.  Also, the descriptions were lovely, not too much but not too little, and they almost make the reader themself want to visit Willard.  My only critique is that I think you repeat the name of the city a bit too many times.  I realize it's important to repeat it a certain amount of times, but you might want to switch a few of them for pronouns.

 

This wa... (more »)

 
apocalyptigirl said...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm
:D I love the way you conjure this place so that the reader can care about it as much as you do. The only sentence I didn't like was "Willard is truly a part of Washington." It seemed a bit cliche and not needed; why not show us how it's a part of WA? Well, you do show us--you don't need to tell us. If that makes sense. :) good job! keep writing stuff :)
 
thepreachyteenager said...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm

As a random side note to start this comment, I love how you told your family about your writing :)  That was very brave of you!

Now, down to business.  Obviously, this place is very sentimental to you and your family, and many precious memories lie in this little town of Willard.  Your family loves this piece, and can relate to it; because they have all been there.  However, to an outside read who hasn't, (aka me) this is  nice piece, but doesn't give mu... (more »)

 
Aginger replied...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 9:05 pm
Thank-you for the awesome feedback! It helps a lot! Unfortunately, I do no know if your clothes smell like sunshine when you hang them to dry outside. However, I would love to try that!
 
Gama Viv said...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 12:36 am
Ayla this is Gama vivian and dear sweet child I am so Proud of you and to know you and see that living in Willard has had a positive effect on your life  it has had on mine I love you And keep up the writing you have talent so keep it coming along
 
A. Ginger replied...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Thank-you for all the nice comments! It means a lot to me!
 
Aunt Kelly said...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Great writing Ayla! It certainly takes me back to Willard when you were so young and wanted to know why the sky was blue! Love you and miss you!

Kelly

 
A. Ginger replied...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm
Thank-you for the comment!
 
Grandpa Bob said...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

What a wonderful article.  It reminds or when I was a small boy growing up on my farm in Rockdale Wisconsin, population 150.

It is nice to see that some of the simplest things in life mean the most to us and that you have the creative talent to tell that story to others with such clarity.

Grandpa Bob

 
A. Ginger replied...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 5:28 pm
Thanks for the comments! I really appreciate it!
 
Jimwalls9 said...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 10:59 am
That was a lovely article and as I read I could feel your emotional connection to Willard. Keep writing, don't stop. Keep learning the tools of the trade.
 
lisaoneal said...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 1:11 am
Great article loved it brings back lots of childhood memories of Mill-A and Willard and that Willard house.
 
Ayla B. said...
Aug. 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm
Please comment! I need feedback!
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback