Willard | Teen Ink


August 3, 2010
By Aginger GOLD, Bingen, Washington
Aginger GOLD, Bingen, Washington
11 articles 0 photos 46 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Why are you so busy trying to fit in when you were born to stand out?"

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.

The author's comments:
I was given an assignment in school to write about a very special place in my life. This is the result. Through this writing, I also want to send a message to care more about the world appreciate small and often overlooked aspects of nature.

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This article has 15 comments.

Veta said...
on 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.

on Jan. 3 2011 at 10:40 pm
Ellawind PLATINUM, Seattle, Washington
40 articles 0 photos 77 comments

Favorite Quote:
What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

Dream like you will live forever, live like you will die today.

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!

on Oct. 10 2010 at 7:21 am
OfficialApprover PLATINUM, Orefield, Pennsylvania
48 articles 0 photos 1752 comments

Favorite Quote:
Grab life by the balls. -Slobberknocker
We cannot change the cards we're dealt just how we play the hand
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted
It's pretty easy to be smart when you're parroting smart people
-Randy Pausch

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 was an excellent piece.  Keep writing:)

on Oct. 9 2010 at 9:43 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

: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 :)

Aginger GOLD said...
on Oct. 9 2010 at 9:05 pm
Aginger GOLD, Bingen, Washington
11 articles 0 photos 46 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Why are you so busy trying to fit in when you were born to stand out?"

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!

on Oct. 9 2010 at 8:39 pm
NeverCaredForKool-Aid GOLD, Elkridge, Maryland
13 articles 0 photos 531 comments

Favorite Quote:
I don't believe in hell but I believe in my parent's couch-- Watsky

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 much in the way of an image.

The assest to writing about a small rural town is the nature surrounding it.  Which, you did talk about, a little bit.  I'd get more into that, so someone who hasn't been to Willard can see Willard, in a sense.  Add details such as what kind of trees are in the forest there, their smell, the look of the night sky through their branhces, when there are no ity lights to eclipse the star's glory.  How about that old brown "willard pop. 52" sign?  It's old and brown, yes, but can you see the character wood rot on that old carved sign?  Or is it a metal one that has rusted through its many years?  I loved how you said you were 'content' there.  Add more to that!  Describe what makes you content.  Breathing the freshest air on earth, feeling the sun hit your face directly, not after cutting through layers of smog.

Anyway, I liked this pretty well, keep writng!  I know I suggested a lot of change, but that's my way of saying, this piece was worth the time it took me to read and review it.

PS:  I don't know if you can answer this question, but I've heard if you leave your sheets out to dry on a clothes in a rural area, they smell like sunshine once they're done.  Now, because Willard is in Washington, you might not be doing that al that often, but I just wanted to know if it was true.

A. Ginger said...
on Aug. 21 2010 at 3:11 pm
Thank-you for all the nice comments! It means a lot to me!

Gama Viv said...
on 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 said...
on Aug. 20 2010 at 11:09 pm
Thank-you for the comment!

Aunt Kelly said...
on 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!


A. Ginger said...
on Aug. 20 2010 at 5:28 pm
Thanks for the comments! I really appreciate it!

Grandpa Bob said...
on 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

Jimwalls9 said...
on 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...
on 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.

Aginger GOLD said...
on Aug. 6 2010 at 3:13 pm
Aginger GOLD, Bingen, Washington
11 articles 0 photos 46 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Why are you so busy trying to fit in when you were born to stand out?"

Please comment! I need feedback!