On Blowing Rock | Teen Ink

On Blowing Rock MAG

May 19, 2014
By K-Siprelle GOLD, Maryville, Tennessee
K-Siprelle GOLD, Maryville, Tennessee
10 articles 3 photos 7 comments

There’s a photo on my dresser that I’ve often found myself looking at as I begin my last summer at home before college. In it, Cassidy, my friend for more than half my life, and I sit on the edge of a 5,000-foot cliff, both sporting baggy gray sweatshirts, short blonde hair, and the gangly figures of preteens. We were at a place called the Blowing Rock in North Carolina. Despite the mist, we could look out for miles into the surrounding country. There was a cold, buffeting wind that blew up from the gorge below that made you feel as if you were standing on the edge of the world.

While we were at the Blowing Rock, we learned a Native American legend about the place. The story goes that two young lovers found their way there, and the man, caught between his duty to his people and his love for the woman, threw himself off the cliff. But a kind wind blew him back up into the arms of his lover, and it’s been blowing up the gorge ever since.

Cassidy and I grew up together, but in doing so, we also drifted apart; despite this, I know there will always be kind winds to blow us back to each other.

As a child growing up with no siblings in an older neighborhood, I often found myself creating imaginary friends or relying on my pets for company. In short, I was lonely. However, when I turned six, a girl about my age moved into the house just 50 yards from mine. That December, we met each other at the fire hydrant on the corner of North Maple and Caulderwood and exchanged names. And we’ve been friends ever since.

Over the years, she, being the older (by a year and a third), led the way on all our devious adventures. I remember one in particular in which we found a large sewage pipe that led under a highway. We thought it would be an excellent idea to cross through the tunnel to the other side, which we could not see from the opening. Ten feet into the dark, echoing, cobweb-filled tunnel, I backed away. But, intrepid as always, Cassidy crawled in.

She’s been the closest thing I’ve ever had to an older sister, always there to take the lead and hold my hand. It’s even visible in the picture of us. She cut her hair first, and I followed suit. She wore a gray sweatshirt, and so did I. She sat bravely on the edge of a 5,000-foot cliff, and I, in spite of myself, followed.

As a child, sometimes the main reason you become friends with someone is because you live near her – and as you grow and expand your scope in life, your old friendships become smaller in the face of the wider world. When Cassidy and I were little, we were a world within ourselves, fascinated by whatever nature and our imaginations had to offer. But we began to realize that we were standing on the edge of a world much more immense than we were. We couldn’t yet see through the mist that surrounded us, but we knew that there was more out there – more than the 50 yards we were accustomed to.

It was a world full of things that could tear us apart – love, school, responsibilities – and so, into this larger world we threw ourselves off the cliff. As is only natural, we lost each other in the mist; we lost sight of where we had come from.

For me, taking that leap was painful; I lost someone who had kept me rooted for so much of my life. In the flurry of schoolwork and preteen drama, I rarely saw Cassidy. And with so many new stressors, I needed a big sister more than ever. But in growing away and less dependent on her, I learned to take care of myself and plant my feet firmly on the ground. I matured.

Although Cassidy and I have grown up and drifted apart, our friendship never truly deteriorated. I know there will always be a kind wind to deliver me back to her, just as the man was carried back into the arms of his lover. And the same will always be true of Cassidy – when the wilderness becomes too dark and the mist too thick to see, she will always be able to find solace with me on the Blowing Rock, where we left off.

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