Wednesday, 22 October 2008

They're still just kids...

Earth Science Camp, Episode 2:

Day 2 found us at ‘The Pinnacles’, a collection of strange and wonderful limestone rocks standing in the dunes. We’d arrived at nearby Cervantes the night before, much later than we’d expected, but the kids had still managed to laugh and talk quite happily until after midnight (the girls unaware that I could hear every word through the paper-thin walls of the backpacker hostel). Breakfast had been a muesli bar and a piece of fruit on the bus while we drove to our first destination for the day to arrive before 7am.

Rather than bore you with the details, I’m going to reprint a piece of flash 'fiction' I wrote for a writing site I belong to. It gives the general gist of events...


The monoliths stood, stone soldiers guarding the dunes. A gentle breeze from the sea teased and whispered softly at the plants that struggled to take root at their bases. Suddenly the peace was broken. Long shadows fell over them as a group of teenagers trudged after their teacher. They hugged clipboards to their chests and surveyed the standing rocks with wary eyes.

The teacher held up his hand. “We’ll stop here,” he said. “Remember to take notes in your booklets.”

For half-an-hour he lectured about ancient superstition, archaeological discovery and geological development. Some of the students pretended to take notes. Others stared at the ground, or gazed longingly into the distance. When at last he finished, they looked at him with hopeful faces.

“Off you go,” he ordered.

Immediately they broke into groups of two and three, leaving footprints in the sand where the ancient ones once trod, taking photos and making discoveries, playing at being serious students of geology. Their freedom was all too short. They gathered again, looking disconsolate as the teacher discussed their findings.

At last he stopped.“Any questions?”

A hand went up at the back of the group. A tall boy with a shock of blond hair looked slightly embarrassed.

“Yeah, sir... can we play Hide and Seek?”

© K S

Facts about teenagers - No.2: Pop music played on a bus must be loud enough to make the bus bounce along the road in time to the beat. Furthermore, though the speakers on the bus are situated at the front, those who like the music must be seated as far to the rear as possible.


Kelly said...

Ha! Teenagers are still kids aren't they?!
What a very cool field trip for them...they will appreciate it more when they are older and look back!
Love the Flashfiction!

Rena said...

I loved the story too. The pictures are awesome.

Luc2 said...

Very nice, Kate. I hope there are many more episodes left. Reminds me of my youth.
Ah, nostalgia isn't what it used to be, as Simone Signoret once said.

C.R. Evers said...

Awesome story!!! Love how you captured the kids!

Gosh~ I'm still gushing over how much I'd love to go on a trip like this (perhaps minus the bouncing bus)


Anonymous said...

That looks a lot like the shoreline near Canyon Beach in Oregon. I'll see if I can dredge up some pics (and get the hubby's permission to post).


Kate said...

Kelly, I did suggest to them at one stage, when they were complaining about how far they had to go in the bus, that they'd look back on it when they were in their forties and think 'That was a great trip'. Their reaction? Who'd want to be in their forties?

Rena, thanks. I was really pleased with the way the photos turned out.

Luc, good quote. It was definitely a nostalgia trip for me.

Christy, I still can't believe that I was lucky enough to be asked - or that I said yes!

Anonymous, it would be interesting to see similar features from elsewhere. They're quite spectacular, especially in the early morning. I think there are parts where there's no vegetation at all.