Today’s piece of writing continues the story of the man first introduced in my short story for Day 2 of this writing challenge.
It’s as if Hideaway Fall have turned to my personal list of favourite words. First ‘susurrous’, and now ‘petrichor’. Not only do I love the word, but I love the smell too – that fresh, earthy scent following the first rainfall after a dry spell.
His life had changed dramatically since he purchased his beloved Underwood Model 12 typewriter. It had been almost a year since that autumnal walk through the city where he discovered and purchased the beautiful antique. When he returned home, he stayed up all night writing, the clacking of the strike bars punctuating the silence. He finally slumped into bed as dawn cast out its first rays of light. After only a few hours, he was awake again, sitting at his desk with a steaming mug coffee at hand. And there, in his comfiest tracksuit bottoms and a baggy tee-shirt, he sat typing, barely stopping for sustenance or comfort breaks. By the end of the fleeting weekend, he knew he could not return to his job. His heart was no longer there. It may be a risk, but writing was something he knew he had to pursue. And that is exactly what he did, handing in his resignation and never looking back.
From that moment onwards, he wrote. And he wrote. And he wrote. Nothing filled him with so much joy. He quickly had a book completed, and in the hands of a publisher. Never in his wildest dreams had he imagined he would have a book deal. Two more books to make a trilogy, with the full backing of a publisher and their ability to get his work into the hands of readers far and wide. But he needed a change of scenery.
The city had grown to be too busy and chaotic for him to work at his best. He sold his home of eight years and purchased a cabin in the forest. Constructed of logs, patinated with moss, and rain and age, it was beautiful. Off the beaten tracks, nobody would find it if they weren’t looking for it. He had to cut wood to heat it, pump water from a well to cook, drink and shower. It had electricity and internet, but otherwise, he was cut off. From the front window,s he could sit and watch all manner of birds flitting here and there amongst the trees. Deer, foxes and all manner of ground dwellers skittered around day and night. Around the back, a deck with a rusted corrugated tin roof offered views between the trees down to a vast lake. It was bliss.
Or it was until he was supposed to be well underway with the third book in his series. The first two had come easily to him. The words flowed from brain to page with no filter in their way, a sheer stream of consciousness appearing before him. But now, the weight of expectation weighed heavily on his shoulders. He stared at the top edge of a blank sheet of paper. Not even a title, bold black letters forming it, marred its pristine surface. Keys remained silent, the carriage return, unmoving. Nothing. The stresses he thought he had left behind in the city came flooding back.
He picked up the old Underwood and lugged it out to the back deck, placing it on the table. And there he sat. Staring. Staring at nothing. Until something caught his eye. A brilliant fork of lightning, far beyond the far bank of the lake. It had been a long, hot summer punctuated by oppressive humidity. The early days of autumn had cooled a little but had done nothing to break the heavy, humid air. But it looked like that may change. Thunder rumbled its protest, heralding the end of summer. Thick, grey clouds drifted across the water, blotting the blue sky above him. More rumbles, closer, louder, marked the first autumnal storm.
He stood, enjoying the fresh breeze loosening the first leaves from the trees. And then he heard it. The rhythmic drumbeat of big, fat raindrops on the corrugated tin porch. He bolted from the deck, as the storm built, pouring rain over the forest. He turned his face to the sky, basking in the refreshing rainfall. And the smell. That wondrous, earthy smell that always followed the first rainfall after a dry spell. It was magical. Fresh, earthy, comforting. Nothing invigorated him more than inhaling deep lungfuls of petrichor. Soaked to the skin, his glasses misted, clothes stuck to his skin. He returned to his typewriter, refreshed, renewed. Dripping all over the deck, the Underwood and the pristine white paper he typed. And there he remained until long after nightfall, the words and stories pouring from him. Just like the rain poured from the clouds in that first, late summer storm.