A New Face of the Moon This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

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     Warming my sleeping bag, the sun peered through the window. I lay on the top bunk while Hildur, my friend, slept soundly on the bottom. I was visiting her and her family on their farm in Iceland, the land of the moon. Years ago volcanoes erupted, covering the land with black rocks so that now it resembles the moon.

Hildur and I crawled out of bed early that cold summer morning. We scavenged around the kitchen for food for Kopu, her horse with a coat almost as dark as the midnight sky. Hiding in one of the cabinets was a small bag of stale bread. We buttoned our jackets and headed for the pasture. Kopur raised his head excitedly and galloped to us. I ran around the pasture with Kopur following my every step. Friskily, he ate the bread from my hand.

A flock of black arctic terns soared over our heads, cawing in warning that we were near their nest. Hildur and I were scared they might bite so we nervously covered our heads as the birds swooped close enough to scalp us.

Later, Hildur, her sister Kristin, their parents, Numi, their energetic white bichon frise, and I hiked to the lake at the top of the mountain to go fishing. We shoved bananas and chocolate cookies into our pockets, and brought pear water and fishing rods.

Hildur and I decided to take a steep route up the mountain and through tall berry bushes. I tripped every few steps, getting stuck in the low branches but eventually we rejoined the rest of the group. Together, we crossed mountains and waterfalls until we reached the pristine lake, which looked like it had been untouched for centuries.

Hildur and her dad followed the shoreline until they reached a flock of birds, a harbinger of food in the water, maybe even fish. They threw their lines toward the center, hoping the birds had not eaten all the fish. Numi sprinted and barked on the bank, causing the fish to swim away.

It was late afternoon, and I had not eaten lunch. I dove into our snacks, and even though the banana felt like mashed potatoes, it was the best I had ever eaten. Later, I tried to fish. Hildur showed me how to throw out the fishing line, but after many tries, I was disappointed that I still had no success.

The six of us left the lake the same way we came, but got lost, forgetting how many little mountains we had crossed. A treacherous-looking mountain stood in our path, ready to throw any prisoners who dared to climb it. Hildur put her mind to climbing and I watched as she went higher. She recovered nicely after slipping on a loose rock and soon she stood at the top, ruler of the earth! I climbed the less steep side and could see the whole valley and beyond. Hildur's farm lay in the middle with a little black spot, Kopur, in a field. Next was another farm with hundreds of horses. In the distance, the whaling and fishing town of Snaefellness separated the island from the vast ocean.

When we arrived down at the barbed fence, wild sheep ran through the open gate and began to tear at the summer grass. Sheep are not allowed to eat the vegetation that is vital to the horses' survival in winter, so Hildur and I chased them away. They kept charging back to steal more grass, but Numi galloped over like a sheep dog, and his aggressiveness scared them away.

Back at the farm, Hildur and I went to fetch rhubarb. I had never seen rhubarb plants as big as me. I could not pull out the tallest, reddest stalks, which were the sweetest, out of the rocky soil; Hildur and I had to work together to get the stalks that were just half our size. In the house, we cut it into small rings and threw them into boiling water and sugar. Meanwhile, Hildur's dad was busy grilling. We ate lamb and salad for dinner, but then came the real treat: rhubarb porridge splattered with cold milk. I loved the contrast between the boiling sweet rhubarb and the cold milk.

After, Hildur and I walked to our favorite spot on the farm, the roof of the shed. We pulled ourselves onto a water pipe of the centuries-old shed, climbed up onto the roof, and walked to the hen house. We sat past midnight, sharing stories while staring toward the end of the valley at the donkey-shaped mountains.

As we tiptoed back, I noticed that it was just past midnight. Even at that hour, the sky was lit with a beautiful sunset and a pastel rainbow.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the September 2004 Teen Ink Nonfiction Contest.






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