Circle Of Life

January 24, 2011
Death: a chilling monster created long ago by some evil master whose one and only mission is to rip apart the hearts of everyone in its path. It will do anything and everything to bring misery into the lives of the innocent. It snickers at every tear that falls upon the earth. It is scarier than anything that can be found in a closet or under the bed. It is a black hole and seeks to suck in every ounce of happiness. It is darker than a cloudy night in a forest. And most of all, it is my personal nightmare.

My grandfather-I called him Papa-was my best friend. I spent almost every day with him. I would go over to my grandparent’s house in the mornings, always prepared for a day of fun. I would sit down at the light brown colored table and eat a bowl of freshly poured Cheerios. I would always slurp down the left over milk and Papa would always say, “Atta’ boy. That’s the right way to eat a bowl of cereal.” Then he would chuckle and clear my place for me. After that I would go watch some cartoons while my mom had a conversation with her parents before she went off to work. Around lunch time, we would make some pizza bagels and take them into the basement where the big TV was. We would watch my favorite movie, The Lion King, as we wolfed down our delicious treat. Papa would always cuddle me when it got to the scary parts. No matter how many times I saw it, the fight at the end made me shiver. My mom would always show up just when the movie ended, and I would go home and get ready for the next day with Papa.

I was four years old when he died. I remember sitting there in the white bedroom with the flower-pattern blanket on the king sized bed, staring at his lifeless body. I didn’t understand how he could be fine one day and gone the next. I figured they had made a mistake and that he was just sleeping. I touched him and tried to wake him up. When nothing happened I began to yell, “Papa, Papa!” Still, nothing happened. That’s when the tears began flowing and the monsters laugh began booming in my ear.

His funeral was five days after his death. I would describe what it was like but to be honest I don’t have any memory of it after stepping into the room where his casket was placed. I do remember that night, however. I could not fall asleep amongst the darkness that was in the air. I’m not talking about a lack of light, but the feeling of anger and sadness that consumed the atmosphere. I tried to shut everything out and just relax but it was no use. I couldn’t fight it. Death had won.

I woke up the next morning, the tracks of my tears fresh on my face. I didn’t want to leave my bed. I knew if I actually got up I would snap out of my half-asleep, dream-like state and I would breathe in the poisoned air and feel the sadness again. Unfortunately, my mom had other plans. She came in and told me to get dressed and go play outside. I don’t know why she made me go outside. Maybe she didn’t want me to see her being defeated by the monster or if she wanted me to try and escape it or if she just thought it was a nice day to play outside. I put up a little bit of a fight but after a few minutes I found myself sitting upon the cement porch staring out in the deep green field that lay before me. I didn’t want to play anything. I didn’t want to adventure. I didn’t want to do anything.

I wandered out to the grouping of trees where there was a hammock. I clambered up into the netting and lay down. For a moment, the tears began to drip out again. But the sadness that was fueling them slowly turned into anger. The tears stopped and my breathing got really heavy. I felt a surge of energy and I jumped up, out of the hammock, and started running around in a circle. I probably would still be doing that now had I not tripped on a rock. After flailing to the ground, I hunted down the rock, picked it up, and chucked it into the branches that sat above me. I heard the sound of wings flapping about and a couple chirps. I maneuvered about the trees until I could see the source of the sound. Up in the biggest of the trees, the mighty maple, there was a nest complete with a mother bird, a father bird, and two speckled, blue eggs.

I sat there, staring at the nest for what seemed like hours. Then something extraordinary happened. There was a slight cracking noise. I looked really closely at the nest and saw one of the eggs starting to break apart. A couple more cracks and finally, a chirp. It was a small, ugly chirp, but it was a chirp. The sky blue baby bird hobbled out and started searching for its mom, who came up to him as fast as lightning. I climbed back into the hammock to lie down and admire the scene before me. It was like nothing I had ever seen. There, only ten feet above my head, was a mother taking care of her newborn chick. The darkness that had been following me so intensely began to disappear.

I started to look at the nature that surrounded me. The sea of green leaves, the dark brown bark, the bright blue sky, the puffy white clouds. I started to feel a sense of peace. The beauty of the setting around me inspired emotions strong enough to defeat the misery created by the monster. I sat up and tried to search the grass for other things to admire. There were various little things; dandelions, scurrying chipmunks, pretty rocks, patches of chocolate colored dirt. All of it was nice. I was about to lay down again and try going to sleep when I noticed a black blob laying near the roots of an oak tree. I hopped off the netting and went over to observe it. Once I got close enough to see what it was, I froze.

There, three feet in front of me, lay a dying bird.

I fell to my knees. I felt the darkness enter my system and I heard the monster’s laugh once again. He just would not give up until the world was consumed in misery. The bird stopped moving. I could feel the tears charging into my eyes, trying to break free. I wouldn’t let them though. If death wasn’t going to give up, neither would I. I went back to the maple tree and stared up at the nest. The little chick was still hopping around and chirping its song. It was so happy to be alive. I sat down and thought. I thought more than I had ever thought and more than any four year old should think. After a long while of this intense pondering I had come to an understanding.

After seeing a life come into the world and seeing one leave it, I realized that life is a cycle. Life is a circle of things being born and things dying. It is a natural process. There was no escaping it. All things come to an end. I stood up and flopped on to the hammock. I was exhausted and I needed a nap. I glanced up at the happy little chick and I quickly drifted away.

Death: an experience that every living creature has to go through. It has been a part of nature since the beginning of time. It will do anything and everything to keep the world balanced. It can be a scary thing to think about and sometimes it can cause a great amount of sadness. It can be black hole but it can also be a ray of light. And most of all, it is something that I am able to deal with. Because death is just another step in the circle of life.

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