First Prints – Introduction & Chapter 1

Hello, everyone. If you’ve read my recent series of posts, you most likely think I created this site to document my progress in upgrading/renovating a Costa Rican cabin belonging to my girlfriend’s family. While that’s certainly a large project and the focus of much of my time and effort, I created this space to share with you every journey on which I embark.

I have always loved to write. Anyone who feels the same can surely understand the unique and powerful sensation of taking an unlimited amount of time to formulate your thoughts and translate them to written language. We all recall moments in which we wish we had expressed themselves differently. How many times have you replayed an argument in your mind, formulating the brilliant counterpoint which, in the heat of the moment, you were unable to turn into words? How many times have you looked into the eyes of someone special and yearned for your mouth to form the syllables that convey the sensations you feel towards them? When I write, I possess a perfect landscape on which I can paint, mold, color, and sculpt my every thought and idea–All of it fluid. All of it malleable.

The following is the first chapter in what I hope to be my first short story:

Henri’s dreams were certifiably unremarkable. That’s not a figure of speech—at age 21 he took part in a sleep & dream study which monitored his brain activity over the course of seven nights’ sleep. A few weeks later, Henri was emailed a PDF of his results and sitting right there, in the bottom-right of the page, were printed the words “unremarkable dreamer”. This was not news to Henri, as he rarely remembered his dreams. When he did, they were at best himself siting on a sunny beach reading a newspaper. Usually he just dreamed himself through mock days of school or work. All this considered, it is understandable that Henri did not expend much thought or contemplation toward his dreams.

On Monday morning, Henri awoke from a restful, dreamless sleep. He stretched, showered, made some coffee, and got ready for the 15-minute walk to university. As he stepped out the front door of his third-floor apartment, his face was assaulted with an icy blast of winter air.

Now, if you’ve read this far, you’re likely of the notion that our Henri was a shallow and simple young man. This was not the case. While his dreamscape was anything but noteworthy, his mind’s eye, during waking hours, was categorically magnificent. The slightest external stimuli could trigger the most intense reliving of any given moment of Henri’s life. So, when he stepped out of his apartment on that Monday morning and was hit with winter’s breath, he was neither surprised nor alarmed when he found himself suddenly surrounded by a thick blanket of snow. Despite the general lack of landscape, save for a spattering of tall pines 50 meters to his right and the line of his footprints behind him, Henri knew exactly where he was. His uncle’s remote cabin, nestled in the foothills of the Wyoming Rockies, had been a favorite destination of his as a young boy. The snowmobiles, ATV’s, and other implements of rural transportation were an obvious favorite, but as a child from a bustling metropolis, he appreciated the simplicity and silence of the wide, open space. This particular memory was one he had relived many times. It was from a holiday visit when he was six years old. He’d woken up early Christmas morning on account of the burning anticipation that most every six-year-old feels for that day. Although it was the desire for new toys that drove him from bed, one glance out the window wiped all thoughts of material gain from his young head. The night had brought down a delicate white sheet upon the Earth and Henri now had the chance to make first prints.

First prints were of great importance to young Henri, as he found that once the adults and their cars trampled and rearranged the snow, it took on a deflated and beaten appearance that made him quite sad. So, with the prospect of first prints on the line, Henri shot out of the loft in which he and the cousins slept, flew down the stairs, and made a sharp left toward the back door. He slid his bare feet into his snow boots, opened the redwood door, and took his first step into the ankle-deep snow. Henri, out of respect for first prints, was set on walking in as perfectly straight a line out the back door as was possible. He thought that the perpendicular aesthetic this created would be the most satisfying on this tranquil morning. After ten minutes of calculated trudging, Henri stopped, took a deep breath, and did an about-face to inspect his work. He was pleased to find a perfectly straight line of child-sized boot prints leading exactly to where he was standing. He was proud of the beauty he had created and stood there, gazing with reverence, for at least ten minutes.

Henri was once again standing in the open doorway of his 3rd floor apartment. The serenity of that favorite memory pushed to the background as he suddenly registered his roommate yelling at him to stop letting the frigid air into the apartment. He glanced back, muttered an apology, and shut the door behind him as he started off toward school.

Published by CamDaly

In May of 2020, I graduated college with a degree in classical trombone and no plan of what to do with myself. I had made plans, of course, but we all know what’s gone down since March. I now find myself in constant pursuit of the big idea and/or inspiring moment that will open the next chapter of my life.

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