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A Walk in the Woods

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Last weekend, I had gone to Mark’s house for a little get-together. While I was sitting down on his sofa next to him and Cody, he asked me, “Hey Thoran, have you ever been to the secret spot?” Before I could even finish saying no, Cody and Mark were already at the door with their jackets on. Mark picked up a couple of pocket knifes which they wouldn’t tell me the reason for, and we headed out into the woods.

We walked through the woods where a natural path was made by a small creek. About 150 feet away from Mark’s house there was a medium sized clearing in the woods with random pieces of junk scattered at either end. When I asked about it, I was told that it was a paintball arena, and was built from scratch from broken doors to stacked tires. Mark happened to love “paintballing” and would go out every once in a while. I stopped to tie my shoes, and then we continued deeper into the trees.

About a few minutes of walking, Mark suddenly stopped and by instinct I stopped as well. He looked down at the ground and asked me, “Are you wearing any good shoes?”
“No,” I replied, scared for the reason he asked. “Why do you ask?” I questioned.
Mark replied, “Its about to get very muddy, very quickly.” About two days ago it had rained and apparently, since the trees blocked the sun, the ground wasn’t able to evaporate the excess moisture. So in certain parts of the forest, there were huge mud spots.

“Hey! What are you guys doing?” someone exclaimed. Mark and Cody’s eyes immediately widened, and without a word they started sprinting into the woods, through the mud hole. I had no choice but to follow them, and getting my Nikes marinated in mud in the process. We probably ran for a good five to seven minutes before Mark and Cody slowed down. I waited a minute to catch my breath, and asked, “Who was that?”
Mark replied, “The most annoying neighbor ever. If he caught up to us, there’s no telling what could happen.” I left it at that and kept walking. After a few more minutes, we entered a clearing about the size of a baseball field.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. It was just stunning. In the middle of the clearing ran a clear water stream, gushing over rocks with a slight gurgling sound. A fallen tree trunk about four feet in diameter lay down on one side of the river, leaning up against a tall tree. The tree trunk was slanted, with its highest point about fifteen feet in the air. The tree was covered in graffiti and carvings, as were most of the skinny trees around it. The air smelled fresh of moss and leaves, which were the color of fire, a golden red with a slight tinge of yellow.

Cody and Mark said that they had dropped a knife while running, and they went back to retrace their steps. They gave me the remaining knife, and told me to carve my name onto a tree. They were gone for a while, so I had managed to carve several words. The first was on the giant trunk, on which I wrote my name with the year 2010 next to it. On a thinner tree I carved my initials with the year, and on another tree I carved just my initials. Right when I finished putting some final touches on the third carving, Mark and Cody showed up.

All three of us found a rock on the stream that was wide and wouldn’t touch the water, and we all sat on it. We sat for about five minutes, observing the flow of the water, the songs of the birds, the whisper of the wind, and rustle of the leaves, and the sighing of our breaths. It felt like life, like this is what people should be doing everyday to get away from the stress of work and school. For those few minutes, I forgot all my homework, all my Facebook posts. Everything. I might not even have answered to my name. All I thought about was the serenity and silence surrounding me.

After a little bit, we started to head back. We grabbed all of our stuff and went back the way we came. We walked back very quietly like as if each one of us was still lost in the peace of the woods. When we got to Mark’s house it was around 7:30 PM, and getting dark. Mark set a fire in a pit in his backyard and all three of us sat around it thinking. I just stared into the burning red fire and observed.
The fire is not destruction like many think, to me it is a sign of life. It is the representation of creation. A fire can burn down everything in an old forest, but it doesn’t completely kill it, as new saplings begin to grow almost immediately. Soon the saplings will turn into trees, and the trees will grow old, and there will be another fire. It is the “circle of life”. A simple experience with nature can really reveal things. Today, when I look back on that magical time, it feels as if I had taken a time-out from the hustle and bustle of the world.



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This article has 195 comments. Post your own!

excel said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 9:04 am:
Reading this reminded me to slow down and appreciate the beautiful things around me. Thanks!
 
TGundala replied...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 8:08 pm :
Thanks for your encouragement!
 
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Sudhir said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 9:03 am:
Excellent,Keep it up
 
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Priyank said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 8:59 am:
Very nicely articulated! It is amazing that you can narrate your experience with so much clarity and depth. Nature can indeed reveal so much about life. And it is always good to see someone can appreciate it at such a young age.
 
TGundala replied...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm :
Thanks for your encouragement! I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the walk too.
 
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newme said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 8:56 am:
This was a very good read!
 
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MistyEye said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 8:54 am:
Very Nice! Your thoughts and words flowed so well :-)
 
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Srini said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 8:18 am:
Excellent use of words, good flow of the story. Interesting.
 
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James said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 8:04 am:
great piece of article. beautifully narrated. thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Keep up the good work. I am sure this will inspire many.
 
TGundala replied...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:51 pm :
Thanks for your encouragement, this inspires me to write.
 
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EdwinMadari said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 8:01 am:
From an 9th grader in the article “A Walk in the Woods” the observations of a) the effect of serenity on one’s life, b) that there is more than one side to everything , like fire, and neighbor, and c) the greatest pleasures of simple acts like carving ones name in a tree bark, is wonderful.
 
TGundala replied...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:52 pm :
Thanks for your encouragement! I appreciate it.
 
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Srima said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:58 am:
Excellent Job.
 
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mamta said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:44 am:
Awesome job!
 
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Vishal Singh said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:40 am:
Nice piece of writing!
 
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ckumar said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 6:55 am:

Nice article and keep the momentum start till the end. The description of nature and the scenic surrounding is smart. bring back my schoolday memories. Good job!!!

 

 
TGundala replied...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:53 pm :
Thanks for your encouragement!
 
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syamal said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 6:48 am:
Very well thought and expressed what nature can do to heal.
 
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Dave said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 6:44 am:
Awesome! Just felt like I came out from a walk in the woods, feeling refreshed.
 
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Katy said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 6:42 am:
Very good description of the circle of life. Vivid descriptions!
 
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Nina said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 6:34 am:
Wonderful writing! Yet again you have proved yourself as a gifted writer. I like how you call fire the sign of life. Very well said. Impressive!
 
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