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From William’s Writing Workshop, #68: Sense of Place

The Writing Challenge: Describe a place or a setting in which a story will take place from the point of view of a character.

Arctic Winter

Cold, howling wind whipped through my fur, blowing endlessly. The deep snow crunched under my paws, stretching as far as my keen blue eyes could see. Snow-covered mounds that were once gray cliffs rose out of the white sea, not a hint of rock visible on them. Farther beyond the once-cliffs were the towering mountains, also covered in snow that was continuously piling higher and higher. The streams that ran and pulled in spring were now completely frozen over with ice. Everything was beautiful.

But like many things, the looks of the tundra didn’t say much about the tundra. I couldn’t see or smell any other animals except the six other wolves in my pack, all of them my relatives. The prey, even the caribou, had disappeared, like all the other animals, having hidden in their snow-covered burrows or migrated south. To make it even worse, the falling snow prevented me from seeing far. I was an Arctic wolf living in my Arctic habitat with a thick winter coat, but I was still shivering. The snow, though beautiful, covered up all of the hares’ burrows, and even rocks that I could fall and hurt myself on. Hunger, as ruthless as ever, gnawed at my stomach. But I had survived one cruel Arctic winter before and could live through another, even if I wasn’t thriving.

“Taiga!” my cousin Icicle called, standing on top of one of the snow mounds, clearly trying to find prey like me and the rest of my pack. But, unlike me and the pack, he wasn’t a good hunter. At all.

“Leave her alone, Icicle! She’s a much better hunter than you,” Icicle’s mother and my father’s younger sister, Snowclaw, growled.

Icicle bowed his small head and padded down from the mound he was standing on. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He was still young, with plenty of room to improve his hunting skills, and Snowclaw didn’t seem to like him at all.

Smelling a wisp of deeply buried hare, I started digging into the endless sea of snow. The smell grew stronger, more vivid, as I dug. Crackly brown grass started to appear, a hole in the middle of it. Lighting up, I started digging in the hole.

Surprised yellow eyes glared at me. The snowshoe hare leaped up and started sprinting away from me, but he was tired from his hibernation and wasn’t used to running in such deep snow. My paws pattered on the ground, barely touching the snow before they lifted up. The howling wind was even louder and stronger as I ran, flurries snaking down faster. Suddenly I wasn’t cold anymore. Suddenly the Arctic winter wasn’t as menacing anymore.

You can read the rest of Pearl’s piece at https://stonesoup.com/stone-soup-writing-workshop/.

 About the Stone Soup Blog

The Stone Soup Writing Workshop began in March 2020 during the COVID-19-related school closures. In every session, a Stone Soup team member gives a short presentation and then we all spend half an hour writing something inspired by the week’s topic or theme. We leave our sound on so we feel as though we are in a virtual café, writing together in companionable semi-silence! Then, participants are invited to read their work to the group and afterward submit what they wrote to a special Writing Workshop submissions category. Those submissions are published as part of the workshop report on our blog every week. You can read more workshop pieces, and find information on how to register and join the workshop, at https://stonesoup.com/stone-soup-writing-workshop.