The Palisadian-Post is running a series of stories from the Pacific Palisades Library Association Summer Writing Contest, which all feature the theme Palisades Tales: From the Mountains to the Sea. This is the first-place story in the Scrawlers category, written by Audrey Smith.
A bove the clouds soared a bright, blue swallow. She glided above the Palisades Village and dived towards a sycamore tree. The tree was home to numerous animals and the swallow was one of them. The top branch was her favorite; up there she could see everything from the mountains to the sea.
It was a lovely spring morning. The sun rose above a glittering ocean and rays of light pierced the sky creating a beautiful gold and violet sunrise. The air was filled with the chirps of birds and the whistling of the wind.
A breeze ruffled her feathers and the light of the sun on the sea seemed to call to her. “Come. Fly across the sea.” The swallow turned away. One day she would see what lay beyond the horizon. Today she would fly to the mountains.
The swallow spread her wings and hopped off the branch, catching the wind on her wings as she swooped. A fly buzzed near a telephone pole. It would soon be her breakfast. The swallow darted towards the fly and swallowed it.
The sky was now azure and dotted with puffy white clouds that drifted across the sky in the shape of butterflies and horses. The swallow soared and swooped. Flying always gave her an incredible sensation. The sky seemed endless and her wings freed her to go wherever she wanted.
Before long, she could see the mountains. They rose up against the sky, massive and majestic. The swallow landed on a bench near a hiking path snaking around the mountain. A couple of minutes later, a rabbit hopped across the path. He paused when he saw the swallow and looked up at her with dark, curious eyes. The swallow chirped in greeting but the rabbit was not interested in making friends. He quickly scampered into the bushes.
The swallow was disappointed and turned her attention to the sea. She saw several white sailboats in the ocean and waves crashing onto the shore. A jet ski left a trail of white foam in its wake. The Santa Monica Pier jutted out into the water and the swallow could see the enormous Ferris wheel spinning around.
The swallow noticed a sprightly red robin on a tree branch and flew towards her. The robin’s friendly whistle made the swallow feel better. When the robin flew away, the swallow wondered whether she would ever see her again.
Nearby, bees buzzed, collecting pollen from the yellow mustard flowers and white wildflowers. Trees and cactuses towered above the nearby bushes. Spiky succulents grew alongside the trail and snakes slithered under the brush.
The day was coming to an end. The warm glow of the sun faded into the water and the sky turned to a smoky lavender. Streaks of pinks and oranges remained where the sun used to be. Pacific Palisades spread before her like a blanket. She loved the town; it had been her home for so long.
Stars twinkled in the sky and it was a rather magical night. The sparrow could see the reflection of the full moon in the ocean. The swallow was reminded of her wish to one day fly across the ocean and explore the world beyond her home. She had never made it past the beach. She would think about how vast the ocean seemed and feel frightened to fly where she longed to go.
This night, however, was different. She knew she would miss the Palisades and think of it often, but that night, she would follow her heart. The swallow took a deep breath and said goodbye to her home. Then, she jumped off the tree branch and soared towards the moonlit horizon where the sky met the sea.
In the moonlight, as far as she could see in every direction, was a brilliant deep, blue. Like the currents in the ocean, she knew she had to keep moving and her new-found confidence would carry her to places she had only dared to dream of going.