The Feel of Peace

September 9, 2008
By Ellie Dulring, Chevy Chase, MD

She is running, skipping, jumping, falling, tumbling down that steep wall of sand. Sand sticking to her sweaty back, her eyes ogling the massive, sparkling body of water in front of her, Lake Michigan.She is sprinting, faster, faster, to the water’s edge. The sun beating down upon her head… she registers it, but all that matters is that clear, dazzling, luscious lake. She can taste the sweat, salty, tangy, on her upper lip. Her Muscles, her tendons, are sore from the hike. Her surroundings are empty besides her family, following behind. She feels as if her legs just aren’t going fast enough. She reaches water’s edge, dancing gingerly over rocks, laughing as the shock-- pleasant, but still electric, runs through her at the touch of the lapping waves. They are stroking her tired, sandy feet like so many pairs of cool hands. She leaps, graceful in her mind, if not in reality, into the gentle waves. Her thirsty skin sighs in relief…
She has never felt more alive. She can hear her pulse race. The silent world frees her mind. She opens her eyes. She sees her underwater world vaguely, hazily. She longs to just be able to swim forever, to only feel the kicking of her legs, only hear silence, only think, “Perfection,” but her lungs sting and beg for oxygen. She breaks through the surface. The world overwhelms her. She can see nothing but mountain high sand dunes, the immense blue abyss above her head, resting upon her, almost like a crown. She hears her fellow hikers, her sister, her brother, her mother, splash to meet her. A grin breaks across her face. She has never felt so singularly happy, so liberated. Nothing can touch her here. She is free to dash and prance. She knows her fellow swimmers won’t mind. She floats on the surface, the bridge between two worlds, separating the sky above her from the water beneath her. She imagines how it would feel to fall into the sky—to just glide into infinity. She inhales, tasting the sunshine. She feels the wind embrace her, cradle her like a newborn.
Never can she remember experiencing this kind of freedom. This kind of peace.

The author's comments:
Though this individual moment is fictional, it is based on my experiences in Northern Michigan.

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