Plain and Calm

February 8, 2008
By Justin Dean, Warrenton, MO

The emptiness of the vast plains is scarcely interrupted by squeaks of rodents, caws of hawks, and windswept grass and weeds. With nothing else to observe, the unobservable appears before your very own eyes. It is barren and dull like Central Park in the wintertime; where it is too cold to stroll along the beaten paths there, it is too lifeless to spend time here. The wind that sweeps through the plains engulfs you as you stand in the constant solitude of the region. It seems as windy as the streets of Chicago because there is not enough noise to mask the otherwise unnoticed sound of the breeze. Every once in a while, a bird will sweep down upon a measly field mouse like a Christmas eve shopper will hurry to grab the last Tickle Me Elmo.

Why do my dreams lead me here? I am a social ghost while conscious, and my dreams lead me to places where I am even more isolated and alone. Maybe my dreams aren’t unrelated from the dull, airy plains. They can both be pure. The plains not littered with city; not littered with tall buildings and bustling people, no trash cans, filth, can be related to the easy, lethargic sense of my dreams.

The bustle of the streets awoke me. Our apartment sits three floors up from the streets, and sidewalks, and hot dog vendors, and magazine dealers. Hard studies and long, grueling lessons prove that I’m not as energetic as I once was. It seems I always pass out while doing my homework. I wish my naps lasted a little longer.

“Oh, the smell of spaghetti can really wake one up!” chuckled Mom.
“It does smell delightful Mom, but it was the usual 5 o’clock noise that woke me up.”
“I’m sorry you couldn’t sleep longer. Do you miss the country?”
“Don’t get me wrong Mom. I love the excitement of the city but I miss hearing the crickets, and catching lightning bugs, and seeing my friends. Most of all, I miss the quiet.”
“Oh honey, it will be okay. Now eat up! I didn’t make your favorite dinner for nothing. Oh yeah! Nice report card. Straight A’s again!”
“Ah, it was nothing. Thank you Mom. I love you.”
“I love you too.”

I always lie in my bed and reflect upon the day. School was okay. I gave a good speech in public speaking. It was about the great war heroes of the Revolutionary War. I even got extra credit for taking the time to abandon my usual apparel for a day and dress as George Washington. Although the color of our hair was different and my bun wasn’t as tight, I resembled him quite well. I got my report card today. I got straight A’s. It was a lot of work, but it’ll pay off. My senior year is flying by. My weekends are filled with the constant hassle of filling out scholarships and college applications. As I drift into sleep, I hear the swift, cool breeze of the plains brush against my cheeks.

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