A single eyelash flutters open. Awakening to a raspy voice isn’t exactly the way you’d hope to wake up this morning. “Everyone upstairs, we are entering the bay” demands a muffled PA system. Hands travel slowly down freshly laundered sheets enveloping you, each threaded fibre delicately caressing your body like a bed of feathers. Opening up the covers, you are greeted with near-Siberian temperatures but you somehow manage to slip on faded denim jeans and a worn puffer jacket.

Cold feet ascend the wooden stairway to the right, ancient floorboards creaking with each step. As the upper floor nears,  a vacant room greets you, side door left partly ajar. Walking toward the opening, whiffs of fresh sea air fill an awaiting nose. A stone cold metal door meets your hand, you grasp tightly, pulling against the weight. Through the doorframe, a scene of true beauty. Deciduous greens cover vast landscape sloping down to meet the harsh seashore below. Snow-capped mountain peaks gleam beyond forested hills, ship gliding peacefully through the undisturbed blue. You walk further down the hull, footsteps echo dauntingly as each shoe hits sheet metal below. Reaching the bow, a gust of fresh sea air hits sunburnt cheeks, with it a salty blast of sea spray. The subtle rumbling below starts to dwindle, the gurgle of the engine fades into the blue. Finally, peace. Nostrils flare outwards, inhaling a deep breath. You’d seen the photos, knew exactly what to expect, but it still wasn’t the same. Nothing could prepare you for, or compare to, the beauty before your eyes now.

Soft morning sun beams down upon pristine landscapes, upon an unshielded forehead, upon the shimmering silver hull below. Impossibly steep cliffs house scattered beech trees, protecting delicate undergrowth below from elemental attack. Inconceivably still water creates an almost perfect reflection of mountainous expanse above. The subtle song of an unidentified bird quivers in the distance. Now, finally, it was real. A thin layer of mist hovers above shadowed valley floors, shielding away the harshnesses of the outside world. Deep blue waterfalls seemingly dissipate into thin air, falling the copious distances from their source. To leave this place, this moment, is incomprehensible, but the stunning scene before you is drafted away much faster than desired. As the ship turns silently through the bay, an obtrusive upper cabin envelops distant peaks, withdrawing nature’s picturesque backdrop preceding you. Dreary eyes flicker closed, giving in to the tiredness of a restless 4 hours sleep. Cold shivers run down your back, sea breeze finally penetrating the windproof layer of a down jacket. You draw a whiff of freshly pollinated flowers, nature’s perfume, a welcome addition but no substitute. The low rumble of dual turbine engines breaks silence enjoyed for what felt like hours, but upon a time check, you discover just a few minutes had passed. Previously undisturbed water now undulated and rippled, washing away what was left of mountainous reflection. ‘The sound of silence’, they called it. The sound of nature. And so it was, you were fully immersed as if there was nothing else. At one with nature.

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  1. Joe, well done for leading the reader through this sense of “Being There.” Some very effective vocabulary used to convey your ideas too.
    Key areas to strengthen:
    1) Consider using additional paragraph breaks when you have a shift in focus, place or time.
    2) Watch over-expression. Some of the words that you are using to convey your ideas are not needed. Tighten up your expression so that at times, the ideas are implied and not stated; let the reader make connections. Little words like “as” or “the” are often not needed; look at phrasing- could you jump straight into the image without “leading” into it. E.g. In the corner……As I walk……(These are my examples of “telling” sentences, rather than “showing.”)
    3) Also, remove some of the use of “you.” If you take out the “you” sometimes, the reader will still make the connection that it is their thought, their action, their feeling etc. See how you can strengthen these ideas.
    * The final for this piece is due this Thursday.

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