A Nature Walk This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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We were just a cluster, not knowing what to expect, when we came upon a gravel road, not across our path, but alongside it. You never realize how much noise you're making or how tightly your eyes were shut until a herd of deer catches your eye, bringing a hushed reverence.

We stood, still a cluster, on one side of that gravel road. If the deer saw us, they pretended not to. They couldn't let us know for sure that they were real, or that we were. We stood in stillness, even as we moved. A few whispered or slowly opened notebooks, but none dared breach the gravel road, for fear that they would disappear. So we stood.

They saw no intruders, even as we peered into their gathering. It was a communion of sorts as they stood and ate leaves from the branches, taking their time because they knew they had it. After a few moments they moved on, and so did we. The road stretched out, and all of us had places to travel.

When the road became narrow, we walked in a line, some of us carrying packs, most only pens and paper. Like the silent crowds who lined up every Sunday to share in what they couldn't understand, like pilgrims treading with worn feet upon an ancient road, here we were, sharing in a private quest, in search of the sacred.

What others found, I cannot imagine, and what I found, I can barely explain. I saw light slanting through trees, which may not be symbolic, but it can still be called poetry. Farther along the road I saw a leaning stump of dark, rich, rotting wood, and in its depths I saw a tiny green sprig. The forest was as still as death yet teeming with life, with things we could only imagine. Something moved behind a tree, perhaps the tree. I turned to find a skinny little sapling and I swore it breathed. Some nameless creature was watching me, and I smiled and kept walking.

The rich, spongy earth gave way to a gray paved road, but in leaving my sanctuary I entered it again. We were walking a road, always walking a road, deep earth and pavement and gravel and even concrete. We walked among trees and air that smelled like the lake and leaf-shadows and puppies and each other. And even when we loaded ourselves into vans and drove back to air-conditioned classrooms, when we spread ourselves across our respective highways and walked the paths to our homes, and when the summer lost its sweetness and we sat and watched autumn out the window, the road never ended and the road never ends.

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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guitargirl said...
Jul. 31, 2010 at 3:13 pm
That was an incredible piece of work!  I could really see how much nature inspires you, and the metaphors were spot on. Great article =)
 
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