Again and Again This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 15, 2012
Life can overwhelm us with activities and work clamoring for our attention. As time rushes by like a raging current, I often forget to slow down and appreciate life for what it is: a gift from God. But every summer, as my family and I drive through the entrance to my favorite vacation spot, a family retreat center on the Chesapeake Bay called Sandy Cove, a feeling of happiness and anticipation envelops me. Fun and games will fill the week ahead. I also know that I will have time to slow down, relax, and simply enjoy the beauty of God’s world. Sandy Cove promises excitement and adventure, but also peace, and it is a place I will visit over and over.

When my family arrived at Sandy Cove for the first time, my heart pumped with excitement. I raced into the picturesque log cabin where we would stay, and a tantalizing, sweet, warm scent of fresh pine wood filled my nose. Running my fingers over the rough wood, I smiled in delight. What a thrill to stay in a real log cabin such as a cabin in which the pioneers would have lived. I pulled back the calico curtains and beheld fluffy white clouds and a marsh as smooth as glass From that moment on, Sandy Cove held surprises, wonder, and joy as I met new friends, bounced up and down on a mottled brown pony named Jiminy Cricket, and sped through the icy water on a banana boat behind a deafening motor boat. That first year held fun and excitement for my family and me.

When we went to Sandy Cove the second year, a surprising new adventure awaited. Sandy Cove had added a trapeze, which quickly became my favorite activity. Examining the ropes and poles and net that made up the trapeze, I had the impression of gazing up at the top of a skyscraper high in the air, reaching up to the clouds. I felt eager to try this terrifying yet exciting new challenge. As I waited in a line that seemed to go on forever, I could hear the shrill squeals of the daredevils. Hurtling off the board, they reminded me of the chaos of rocks tumbling and crashing down a mountainside. All too soon, my turn came. Pulling myself hand over hand up the ladder, I felt a rush of adrenaline pound through my body. My arms pulled myself higher and higher and higher into the air, up the tower of doom. They stretched out for another smooth, cold rung, and felt blank air. Relief rushed through me like an electrical current; I had made it to the top. That first time I reached out and took the bar in my hands, terror gripped my heart like a vise, and yet, despite the fear that I would not make it out alive, exhilaration pounded through me. With a fluttery feeling in the pit of my stomach, like marbles rolling and clashing around, I jumped. Warm air pushed past me as I swung out, and for a moment I believed I was flying. No longer did fear batter me; I was hooked. When the day ended, I made my way through the pungent pine trees to the cabin. Sprawling out in bed, with the moonlight casting its silvery rays onto my pillow, I again flew dizzyingly through the air as I relived the day’s big adventure.

Sandy Cove provides time to jump and run and play, but it also offers time to rest and enjoy the peaceful beauty of God’s world. Every morning my family gathers at the main building for worship. As the worship music surrounds me on the outside, a feeling of peace encircles my heart. Around me, other families and friends lift their hands in praise to God as smiles spread across their faces. Listening to the throbbing beat of the drums, the strumming rhythmn of a guitar, and the lilting melody of the piano, I can feel God’s presence pour over me like cool, sweet water. Family worship is not the only time that I see the hand of God. When evening comes, the sky puts on a stunning display. The sky changes into a rich tapestry of colors against a gauzy blue backdrop. With the vibrant orange light stretching out behind the delicate pink clouds, the color fading into a light purple and then into darker blue, this glorious sight reminds me of God’s artistry and craftsmanship. In contrast to the dazzling sunset, the light reveals soft reflections in the water like shimmering diamonds bobbing and dancing on the surface of the marsh.

My family and other families gather together for a campfire during this time of day. We roast marshmallows and hotdogs over the fire as heat wafts up into our faces and we bask in the comfort of the crackling flames. Once I cook a marshmallow, I devour it, letting the sticky, sweet flavor melt in my mouth. After we finish, all of the kids’ faces are covered in a gooey, chocolaty mess, and each one wears a smile.

Journalist Syndey J. Harris said, “Happiness is a direction, not a place.” I agree with Mr. Harris, but for me, happiness is also a place: Sandy Cove. When I am there, I delight in worshipping God as I enjoy both exciting adventures and peaceful moments with my family and friends. This represents time well spent, and I will remember my visits for years to come. I love being at Sandy Cove, and I know I will return again and again.

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guardianofthestars This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm
I loved how you described Sandy Cove from a child's point of veiw. It really added magic to the description you gave.
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