It was one of those new houses without its own face. Two-story, patchy green lawns, white stone, red door… the driveway steeped into the street, parallel to the house across from it. There was only one massive tree on the lot, the others were thin and newly planted. It was as though a breeze would blow and steal them away.

A bird's eye view would show a neighborhood with little character. There were only four basic model homes and one color for the shingles. The "board" said you weren't allowed to stain or paint your fence, so it was all a dull wood. The only thing that differentiated the yard from the others was it's vibrant pink petals planted in the ground.

When I stepped into the house, peach tile first caught my eye, and the white washed walls of the place gave the room a cold feeling. The table in the middle of the room was large enough to seat eight. The chairs were cushioned with a red velvety fabric, but the seat itself was covered with plastic. An armoire sat in the corner- dusty, worn, and old. It went along with the cracked china ware inside.

All the windows were drawn, the curtains pulled back and their blinds up. I looked out and sighed heavily, my breath pushing open the back door with a click.

There was a surprise in the back; A thick orchard of cherry blossoms as far as the eye could see. The ground itself wasn't filled with life, but when a bird flew past, I knew the trees were teeming. A breeze wandered past slowly, dancing along the tops of the trees. There were many paths to choose from, but I simply began my journey with one step forward, hoping to find my own way… to wherever it was I was traveling to. The moment I stepped into the blossom filled forest, the wood was bathed in a the sun's harsh light.

I'd been walking for hours between the trees, when I came upon a silver key. Its handle was decorated with different characters looping and twisting around the hilt; forming into foreign characters I didn't yet understand.

'What a lovely trinket.' I pocketed the key, wonder what poor fool came to this place only to lose a treasure beneath the blind eyes of the tree branches. I wandered past other rows of trees, occasionally admiring the grace of the tree leaves as they fell reluctantly to the ground. A small glass made of crystal hung from one of the branches and I picked it off like a pine cone off an evergreen. It was cool to the touché and I wondered slightly what these objects were doing growing from the branches and sprouting from the ground like flowers. I drifted on, swinging the cup at my side.

There was a lake here in which, it seemed all paths crossed. I found myself mesmerized by its defiance to reality. Drops of water rose from it like rain from a cloud, and the ripples produced ceased to stop.

'If I stepped in it,' I thought, 'where would I fall?'

I approached the lake and sat, distracted, on the balls of my feet. Here, near the edge of the lake, cherry blossoms littered the ground. Lost in thought I hadn't noticed the panda bear emerging from the trees. He moved towards the opposite side of the lake, curiously, and sat opposite of me, a piece of bamboo sticking out from his mouth. I rose my cup in a toast and drank from the lake. The panda tilted his head slightly and nodded, and we sat there for an eternity watching the rising rain.

This was actually just an assignment we had to do for speech class. It was about symbolism.

First, she said, you see a house, describe the house. Specifically the yard.
Second, you're in the dining room, describe the interior. You know, what's on the table, what do the windows look like.
Thirdly, your make you're way to the back yard and you find a forest. Describe it.
Fourthly, you find a key, describe it.
Fifthly, you find a cup, describe it.
Sixthly, you make you're way to a body of water. Describe it.
Seventhly, you're approached by a bear, what happens; what do you do. Describe it.

Then there was something about a wall... but I didn't' catch that, so I ended with the bear.

Supposedly the:
House equals ego
Yard/Trees equals friends
Dining room equals culture
Windows equals personality
Forest equals outlook on life
Key equals knowledge
Cup equals spirituality
Lake equals attitude toward intimacy
Bear equals Reality

It was an interesting exercise. And I got a lovely short story out of it.