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A Joyous Harmony This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Jubilant that the long, boring school year was over, I quickly made a list of what I wanted to do over the summer. I was happy and thought nothing could ruin it. I planned on going swimming, riding my bike, and, of course, waking up late. I went to bed dreaming of the fun I was going to have.

My parents, on the other hand, thought it was the perfect time for us to visit my aunt in Arkansas. They told me the plan the next morning as I was enjoying breakfast; I was sick hearing the unexpected news. My fun had been trampled. We would leave the following morning, so I packed, thinking of how dull the summer would be.

***

We were five hours into the trip, and it seemed like days. The car was noisy and kept me awake. I was no longer mad, just curious. As I looked outside, I noticed the earth was bare. There were no large gray buildings, just green grass and trees. I remembered that my aunt lived in a commune.

Fear now possessed me. I had to meet dozens of people! I wondered what they would be like and what they would think of me. I wondered why people would want to live on a farm. The thought of being around strangers made my stomach flip.

***

Finally we turned onto a dirt road. A tornado of dust surrounded our car and the road looked like a never-ending ribbon. Butterflies multiplied in my stomach. We reached a rusty sign that pointed the way. Cows and homes dotted the green hills.

As we approached what my mother called “the main house,” a young lady rang a massive bell. People started coming out of their homes. Dressed in ankle-length skirts, women stood at the driveway. A couple of men appeared and removed their sun-faded hats.

We came to a sluggish halt. As I stared out the window, many eyes stared back. Slowly I opened the squeaky door. Some smiling people came forward and shook my hand. The conservatively dressed strangers welcomed us and introduced themselves.

I took in the scenery that was like a canvas. A pond glittered as the sun rays dove into the water. Birds chirped, and the trees swayed with the movement of the puffy clouds.

We spent the night at my aunt’s house, which was small and comfortable but somewhat bare. Our room had white walls and brown furniture. I fell asleep wondering what this hidden farm had to offer.

The next morning I ate breakfast with the entire community in the main house. Never had I seen so many people eat together like a large family without a dispute. Then I was asked to go with the men to the field.

The sun was scorching, and the field was muddy. Buckets were placed at the end of each row of corn; I didn’t understand why they were so far away. The boys and men stood between the rows. They counted down and all started quickly ripping corn off the stalks. They threw the corn into their buckets, and I realized that this was a race. Soon I was caught up in the excitement. Everybody worked together.

After the picking was done, we took the corn to the main house where some of the men cooked it on a large iron grill. Then we all sat in the shade of a great tree, and ate. Somebody started humming, and someone else joined in. Soon, everyone was singing and dancing. The ambiance was of joy and praise.

The next morning, I joined the men in the barn. I learned a lot about cows and the milking process. We also fed the horses while someone told a story. The men listened intently and worked together. I admired how much they knew.

***

A whole month had passed, but it seemed like just a few days. Each day had been carefree and exciting. To my mother’s surprise, I did not want to go home. I wanted to stay and take part in their work, singing, stories, their lives, their joy. They were no longer strangers, but had become friends.

On the way home I reminisced about the trip. I had worked hard but had fun. I was away from home but felt at home. I learned that people can live in unison like a sweet chord in a song. I learned a new way of life, a life of union, happiness, and joyous harmony.

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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