January 14, 2009
The things I love most about nature are the forests. As I sat in my dad’s car, I watched as the terrain gradually changed as we went farther north. We were heading to Northern Wisconsin, for a brief break from the summer’s craze. My gaze went steady as the acres of corn and soybeans slowly transformed into endless woods. My dad offered to let me use his computer to watch a movie, but I was content.

We got to our cabin around seven, just as the sun was dropping into the western skies. The sky was clear with some clouds that looked painted into the skyline. The cabin with its peeling crimson paint and Swedish architectural style smelled of mildew. This was the outdoors. I filled my lungs with the musty scent as I sat on an old reclining chair that creaked whenever touched. The yard extended roughly 50 feet until it was full forest. The trees were so beautiful and strong, as if they were making a statement, enticing me to meet them. Standing there, they wore their battle scars so humbly, their test of time. As I looked at the forest, the overwhelming number of trees awed me. I have always wondered how it would be to live a life of a tree, such a peaceful and simple existence, being in harmony with nature. You don’t see trees argue with each other or create conflict.

Without even noticing, I caught myself walking towards my haven. As I walked across the field, a blinding aura came from the evening’s sun, but I would like to think otherwise. As I paced my steps, the grass slowly started to change into a mixture of decaying leaves and pine needles, soil clumps, and twigs. I felt safe. Many different animals take safety in the forests, maybe because they feel the same way.

The trail split off; my feet led me to the denser path of the two. As I walked through the forest seeing all the trees, dead, alive or just beginning, I felt I was witnessing a story or a history of the land. There was a fallen tree blocking my way. It had a deep vertical gash that had apparently been hollowed out through time and became filled with countless pine needles and leaves. Looking closer at the log, I noticed all the shrubs eagerly growing around it, maybe someday even replacing the fallen tree’s place. Then I heard ruffling in the debris to the side of the tree. A squirrel jumped out and hurriedly climbed up a tree. This tree that was dead was the basic foundation of life. Not only did it provide new life, it protected life.

As the forest started getting less visible with the oncoming darkness, the tranquility took over. Only the sounds of my footsteps accompanied me on the way back. As I approached the exit of the forest, I looked back. There was a flash, a flash of life. A deer stood still like a statue only 20 feet away. It stared at me, not with anger or greed, but with contentment. I smirked to myself as I continued to walk slowly back to the cabin.

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