My Emersonian Moment

February 22, 2012
I stood, rigid, at the edge of a waterfall, the stones at my feet glowing wet with moon rays. I could taste the water basin far beneath me, motionless and immovable. Watching the infinite skyline twirl and the mountains below, covered in mist, I knew I had surpassed the mundane world, stumbling upon something much more perfect. I inhaled a musky earth scent. The air smelled clean, like bundled up linens.

Everything made sense.

I was so grateful for sweet, untroubled silence. I howled at the moon, my cries disappearing in huge breaths of wind. Gravity pinned me down, as atoms swirled about their task. I wanted to jump into the heavenly whorls at that second and feel them support my body, yet I stood still, exactly where I was for a little longer. I felt my potential energy, my stance high above everything else.

The moment before I jumped, I counted seven shades of green. It was the greenest canopy I had ever witnessed. There was a pause more dynamic than motion that then accompanied me, like a photograph fixed in time. I took a slow breath. Then, weightless, I dove into the sky. My leap was an impulse of nature, a movement I could not question, alter, or implore.

Last August, I planned a five-night camping trip in West Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park with a group of my closest friends. Hiking 100 miles, exploring uncharted trail, and sleeping (every other night), we roamed free—simply, impossibly, and inexhaustibly free. It was the happiest few days of my life. On the fourth night, when all of my friends were in their tents, I stood at the crest of that roaring waterfall, thinking, observing, and howling. Walking those trails last summer, absorbing the sunshine, and enjoying my friends, I felt like I was wandering in an alien world—for the sake of adventure, of pushing my limits, and of contemplating infinity. As I stood above the stream of water, pouring down the mountainside, I was at peace, not bound by my surroundings, but boundless. Limitless. For all my life, I felt like a fish in a fish bowl, eyes open wide, but always hitting the glass. My fate felt fixed, confined by set conditions: one tall, bulky asymptote. In that moment, I propelled myself beyond my fish bowl, surmounted my enclosures, and made myself see things as they really are—not a warped reality seen through a sheet of glass. Whether I was diving off of cascading water, trekking through Appalachia, or contemplating the infinite skyline, I knew my boundaries were a colossal hoax, and that the universe has no asymptotes. Truly, all values approach infinity.

I used to see my life as a puddle, stagnant, murky, and confined. Now I see its splash, sporadic, vibrant, and immeasurable. I will never settle for stagnancy in life. I will always crave the glorious dynamism of my potential—of reaching for infinity in my pursuit of knowledge. My plunge off of that waterfall represents my life’s splash: my genuine readiness to enter this next stage of my education, and continue my quest to discover that perfect, infinite place. A limitless place.

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IntrepidRose This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Nicely written. Nice vocabulary. I like how you wrote this.

"A limitless place . . ."


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