Majorie Kinnan Rawlings’s Cross Creek

Contemplations

Marjorie Rawlings loved to sit and write on her front porch near Cross Creek in northern Florida. Do you have a porch where you can sit and observe? Perhaps a good spot to observe when it’s raining, experiment with sitting on a porch to write your nature journal.

Literary Connection

The road goes west out of the village, past open pine woods and gallberry flats. An eagle’s nest is a ragged cluster of sticks in a tall tree, and one of the eagles is usually black and silver against the sky. The other perches near the nest, hunched and proud, like a griffon. There is no magic here except the eagles. Yet the four miles to the Creek are stirring, like the bleak, portentous beginning of a good tale. The road curves sharply, the vegetation thickens, and around the bend masses into a dense hammock. The hammock breaks, is pushed back on either side of the road, and set down in its brooding heart is the orange grove.

Any grove or any wood is a fine thing to see. But the magic here, strangely, is not apparent from the road. It is necessary to leave the impersonal highway, to step inside the rusty gate and close it behind. By this, an act of faith is committed, though which one accepts blindly the communion cup of beauty. One is now inside the grove, out of one world and in the mysterious heart of another. Enchantment lies in different things for each of us. For me, it is in this: to step out of the bright sunlight into the shade of orange trees, to walk under the arched canopy of their jadelike leaves, to see the long aisles of lichened trunks stretch ahead in a geometric rhythm; to feel the mystery of seclusion that yet has shafts of light striking through it. This is the essence of an ancient and secret magic.

A metaphor is a figure of speech that is comparison between two things that are unrelated. Here, Rawlings compares the eagles to magic. The term “extended metaphor” refers to a comparison between two unlike things that continues throughout a series of sentences in a paragraph, or lines in a poem. It is often comprised of more than one sentence, and sometimes consists of a full paragraph. Rawlings extends the comparison of “magic” to her description of the orange grove.

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