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The thin two-lane road stretches on for miles. To the left is another two-lane strip of road running the opposite direction, separated by a consistent barrier of dead, unkempt grasses. The roads run along a vast, barren land of dirt and dry crops. They are the veins of life that run through this lonely, dead land.

The road goes on forever in a straight path with nothing to divert it. There is nothing. Gently it rolls across the Ozark land. Rising and falling like the waves of the ocean. The road carries on through sleepy town after town, droning on like a forced, boring conversation. A lone turkey scurries across the dry land and disappears into a patch of trees. Now and again, harshly cut cliffs line the sides of the road. They disappear as quickly as they appear.

Reaching a crest of road, tufts of an abundant forest are visible across miles of rolling land. The trees are a beautiful sea of green with tinges of orange and red mottled amongst them. Fall is approaching. As beautiful as the trees are now, the dry lifeless land surrounding them foreshadows what will soon become of them. The air is dry, unlike summer days, and the sky is blue and cloudless, the sun beating down upon the life below. The change in season is tangible.

A small concrete bridge crosses over a creek risen from the recent rains. A heron lowers its head into the murky water in hopes of finding a small fish to satisfy his hunger. Dusk falls. The sun dips lower and lower until it looks like a big ball of fire burning on the horizon. The sky is a watercolor of oranges and reds, beginning to fade to purple and blue. The setting sun gives way to cool crisp air and an eerie breeze. Everything is silent and still and dark. The night sky is a deep, dark, velvety blue, cluttered with millions of stars. The moon casts a serene glow upon the land and lights the path ahead. Lights can be seen from miles away against the dark landscape, signifying there is still civilization about. It is easy to feel as though there is nothing out there in the darkness. A trucker passes by, quickly humming along, breaking the silence and reawakening the senses. The mood all around is hypnotizing; it is too peaceful.

After what seems a lifetime of straight and calm, the road forks. It leads up, winding through city after city, weaving back and forth. Up it continues to go, rarely remaining straight for an extended time. When the road finally reaches its peak and plateaus, it looks down upon the beautiful rolling hills covered with lush trees and patches of farmland. The glow of the moon casts down on all and it is one of the most beautiful sights. What seemed to be a land of death now ­appears full of beauty and life.

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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