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The Struggle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


      As I crossedthe schoolyard's grass, my breath condensed and dissipated into the brisk autumnmorning. Droplets of dew, remnants of the night's fading coolness, were strungalong blades of grass, and a light mist hung in the air. With its simple charms,the pacific landscape was enchanting.

This pristine panorama was rudelyinterrupted by the too-orderly stacks of dank cinder blocks that lined a portionof the lawn. The piles of uniform rectangles were in distinct contrast to theamorphous mist that lingered in the air and the dew-embossed grass. While theydid not detract from the beauty, these reminders of man's presence in this formerwilderness shattered the serenity.

Beyond this conflict of man and naturestood a patch of trees, tall and proud. The rising sun burned fiery gold on theirleaves, and a visual inferno raged on the treetops. As I approached, it becameevident that they were in no way perfect; their rough bark was peeling, and theirroots were twisted around themselves. The chatter of birds flitting in the canopywas the treble to the rooted trees' bass in nature's symphony.

Anunwelcome staccato in this melody was the strident sound of tractor-trailersspeeding by on the expressway, and the horns and wheels of these unnaturalbehemoths. The intruding noise rose from the distance and crested as a roaringcrescendo of diesel-powered fury, finally fading into reverberating oblivion.Never far from mind, though, was the repetition of this movement, as though themad conductor of the concerto refused to turn the page and end thisatrocity.

Despite this attempt of artificiality's behalf to detractfrom my experience of what is real and natural, I focused instead on the crunchof wood chips beneath my feet. There lay crumpled leaves in shades ranging frompale silver-green to vibrant amber and crimson. When I looked up, I saw where thegreen leaves came from, with a fringe the yellow of a midsummer sunset, andgnawed upon by insects. The tree was quite possibly the epitome of all thatnature stands for: perfection in imperfection.

This unassuming tree wasgreen, with a hint of the lightest dusty brown in its bark. The bark was marredby tiny knolls that gave it an uneven texture. The trunk split into serpentinetendrils that wove around themselves, creating a network almost as wide as it wastall. Awkward yet majestic, this oddly proportioned monument to unrefined naturestood proud, despite the near-omnipresence of artificial interference, theartificiality that always values precision and uniformity over freedom andoriginality. The tree was a solitary guard of the old ways of nature, defendingthem against the ravages of man.

This grove of trees I visited is evidencethat man's and nature's differing views of what is right will always bringconflict when they meet. At times nature manages a victory. A single tree,unbothered by the surrounding sights and sounds of "progress,"represents the audacity of nature to hold its own against more powerful outsideforces. Even so, nature is not always successful. Each tree, cloud of mist, andblade of dewy grass remains just as elegant when confronted by man's works, butthe distractions of humans detract from the appearance of the environment.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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