Lasts MAG

February 26, 2018
By ToriHilmanowski BRONZE, Park Rapids, Minnesota
ToriHilmanowski BRONZE, Park Rapids, Minnesota
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I hopped off the bus at Brush Lake, and felt the chilly morning air pinch my skin. This was the school forest I had been coming to for as long as I could remember. I felt strange knowing this would probably be the last time I’d ever come to Brush Lake on a field trip with my classmates, or come to the forest at all. In the sunlight, the dewy grass glistened like diamonds. The forest surrounded me. A state of change. The trees surrounding me had various colors of leaves. The leaves were shades of yellow, green, and brown. Dying plant life slouched toward the wet ground. I was chilled from the frosty morning air and decided to sit in the sunshine while taking in the forest.

There were two paths to take in the forest, but either way, they both ended taking you full circle. I took the left path and wandered around. A sea of leaves lay across the forest floor. On a little trail to the left of the main path was a little circle of sunshine. I decided to sit there and soak in the sun.

As I sat, a leaf fluttered down, landing on my blanket. This caused me to glance up. I noticed a small tree, only about eight or nine feet in height. It was skinny – only about the width of two or three of my fingers. It had little patches of green moss dotting its trunk, from the bottom to the top. At the top were little branches filled with bright leaves. This small tree would eventually grow to reach the height and fullness of the trees surrounding it. It was beginning the process of losing its leaves for the season.

As a senior in high school I will experience several lasts. The things I’ve known forever will slowly start to end, just as the leaves on the little tree will slowly start to fall off.

I smelled the crisp autumn air as it gently blew around me. The musky wood-like scent reminded me that summer has ended, and soon I will face several endings myself. The first of many lasts I will experience are the sports I participate in. They’ve had a significant impact on my life. I’ve spent countless hours practicing and preparing for tennis matches and track meets. Before I know it, I’ll serve my last ball, and cross the finish line of my last race. A huge part of my life will be over. A leaf blew off the little tree and fell to the ground.

I gazed out at the path and smiled to myself, knowing my classmates and I contributed to wearing down the paths over the years.My time spent with my friends will come to a close. In the blink of an eye, the lights on the football field will turn off, and all the cheering alongside my friends and classmates at the Friday night football games will disappear. Time spent sitting in my friends’ bedrooms, laughing, talking, and doing anything but homework will be gone. The smell of bonfire smoke on my clothes after a night with my friends will fade away. Another leaf dropped to the forest floor.

I looked up at the trees towering above me, protecting and giving me shelter, reminding me of my parents. My time spent with them is winding down. Mornings spent eating breakfast together before school, discussing what the week’s agenda holds, slowly slip away as each day passes. Talks and hugs from mom after a tough day, my dad cracking jokes to make me feel better, will soon turn into long-distance phone calls. Another leaf floated to the ground.

I glanced around at all the beautiful colored leaves in the midst of their changing. Once they fall from the tree, nothing will be the same. That exact leaf will never be placed on that tree again. Once I graduate, I’ll never be a student at my high school again. The school will no longer be my tree.

My last day of school will roll around quickly. Gradation will be my biggest last of all. I will sit in my black cap and gown, listening to speeches about the years spent at this school and the life that is only beginning. Once I walk across the stage to receive my diploma, the familiar halls and faces of my teachers and classmates will become a distant memory.

The last leaf fell to the ground.

As I approach all these lasts in my life I will think of the little tree I observed on that chilly fall morning. I know that even though the tree is losing all its leaves, it’s getting ready to grow new ones. It will continue to grow bigger and gain more branches and leaves as the seasons pass. High school ending is only the beginning for me. I have anxiety about these changes. It won’t be easy, but I know the best is yet to come. I won’t forget all the lessons I learned to get to this point. They have helped me grow to where I am now, but it is not the end of my growing. I will go off into the world and meet new people and gain new experiences, just as the little tree will continue to grow bigger and taller, as each year passes.

My time in the forest came to an end. As I walked back toward the bus, I took a fleeting look around the beautiful forest one last time. I no longer saw the forest as dying, but rather as a new beginning. I glanced out the bus window and felt a sense of calm wash over me. The sun shone brightly through the branches as the vibrant leaves gracefully floated to the ground.

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