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Too many times have I seen the characters in my life walk through the world with an overriding sense of vanity and hastiness. They run life as a race; going through it so fast that they become oblivious to the glorious assets of the earth. They stop in their tracks only to look in the mirror, to see if they’re presentable enough to finish what they started. In the realm of their imagination, every moment they experience is a contradiction; a vital component to the fast track they run, yet passed by without consideration.

As the fresh blanket of snow crunched under my mud-covered boots, I inhaled the fresh scent of early morning dew and smiled. Yesterday’s walk had been tedious and long, the seven hour bus ride exhausting. I felt chilled by the bitter air as I walked briskly to the gleaming campfire surrounded by the rest of my group.

“Namaste!” Our group leader exclaimed joyfully as he poured me a glass of steaming chai.

“Mmmhhhhh” I murmured, still struggling to open my eyes. As much as I loved incomprehensible conversations over chai at 5:30 in the morning, I was ready to crawl back into my sleeping bag and stay there forever. Realizing that I was interchangeable with a member of the living dead, the leader quickly bowed and rushed off to happily pour tea for other people. I groaned and plopped down next to Mr. Kaplan, blatantly aware of the dirt caked under my fingernails. It was only the first day, but I felt like I had been here for years.

Today, according to our guide, was supposedly one of the hardest hikes throughout our trips. Along our trail, we were proposed to encounter steep mountainous terrain, intermittent snowfall, and an absence of water; meaning we would have no choice but to continue until we reached the other side of the mountain. This thought did not give us energy nor lethargy, yet instead sat idle- burning an angry and ferocious hole in the back of our minds.

As we began the hike, the general energy of the group was slowly declining. Backpacks and hearts became heavier; the atmosphere was chilled and silent. Step after step, we marched upwards; looking down at the fragmented pieces of land, crumbled into humble and meager stones left to scatter the world. I struggled up the rugged path, and the snow fell angrily; like a sea of bitter despair urgent to send us home.
“Lunchtime soon man!” Our seemingly intoxicated leader declared in his broken accent, “Once we reach top of hill, its lunchtime man!”
All heads turned simultaneously to look at our final obstacle. The hill…was not a hill. It was a mountain-a very tall, scary looking mountain. As we began to embark on what seemed like the greatest conquest of our lives-our hearts felt heavy. Beads of sweat trickled down over our frowns-a replacement for the tears we could not muster. Step after step, meter after meter, we treaded slowly up to freedom…and food. I remember the feeling of detachment as I took those last paces to the top of the mountain, and I intend to hold it in my heart for as long as possible. The feeling of detachment is one unlike any other. It’s a feeling that engulfs your body in a blanket of comfort and happiness-a blanket that does not permit you to think about deadlines, problems, or insecurities; but rather makes you notice the beautiful things in life. The things that make you wonder if heaven could exist on earth; the things that can only be noticed when you’re the last one to reach the finish line.

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