Mentone, Alabama

May 20, 2008
By Madeleine Harris, Marietta, GA

Mentone, Alabama

My favorite place is a place that is alive with wildlife. A place that’s near civilization yet seems so far away. A place where sun and shadow blend together and create dapples of light. For me, this place is Mentone, Alabama.

All of Mentone, Alabama is spectacularly beautiful, but there is one special place that I absolutely love. There is a little clearing by the lake not far from the cabin I’m staying in. The sun smiles down on me and warms my skin. The birds sing happy songs and the fish swim freely in the warm water. The breeze plays with my hair, and the water in the lake shines brilliantly before me. I find a huge rock that lets me sit and take it all in. A tree, which grows on the slick, muddy soil right on the edge of the water, bends down over the water and provides me perfect shade. The breeze picks up, and little diamonds of sun dance across the water. An ant slowly makes its way up the rock and walks past me towards the water, as if it was enjoying the beautiful day, too.

I close my eyes and breathe in. The smell of fresh air, nature, and flowers greet my happy nose, which usual smells car exhaust and pollution. The sound of nature surround me: calls of birds, rustling leaves in the breeze, and the soft sound of splashing water. All my thoughts and worries float out of my head and up to the sky. In a place like this, it’s hard to think about anything. Every frustration, worry, or anger just evaporates.

The sound of canoes and splashing water, talk and laughter fill the air. A family in two canoes passes by, smiling and waving. I smile and wave back from my rock.

I think of how much fun it would be to ride on the soft, gentle waves in a canoe, squinting through the bright sun while you paddle down to one end of the lake. The breeze would fly through your hair and the greatness of nature would consume you before you knew it, all the while spending time with family or friends.
But I also think of how I love it here, in the little clearing. From the rock, I can watch the people pass by in the canoes, feel the breeze and the warmth from the sun mix together to create absolutely perfect weather, and just sit here, enjoying nature at it’s best. Everything I have to remember, everything I’ve got to do, everything can just wait. It can all happen later. It seems I always have things to do, places to be. For now, everything can slow down and relax for a while.
My deep thoughts, the ones that have gone away because I’m normally too busy to really think about them, come out of hiding. This is my chance to ponder. About what, I don’t know. Ponder about anything, everything. Deep thoughts cross my mind, along with other thoughts, too. One of my thoughts might be, “What would be the consequences of going back in time, possibly seeing yourself, and changing the whole future?” While my other thought says, “What am I having for dinner tonight?” That’s just how my mind works sometimes. In a calm, peaceful place like this, all sorts of thoughts like these wander around my head as possible topics for thinking.
Going to the country means nature can take you in and show you some of the things it’s most proud of. In my opinion, the country has everything the city covers up. With all the business and people in the city, you run into about a million buildings before you finally hit nature. On the countryside, everything is wide open, and sometimes fields and tall grass greet you to play in. Other times the cool water of a lake hugs your ankles and feet.
What kind of place would the world be, if there were no thinking places in nature, no peaceful lake views or enormous mountains? For me, it wouldn’t be natural. Saying that there are no peaceful places in nature is almost like saying there is no nature. Nature itself is most always so naturally quiet and tranquil, yet so amazing sometimes. If I could stay by the lake forever, I would. I love having a little place of my own to do anything. It’s so easy to lie back, close your eyes, and float away to the clouds.

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