I wrote an essay for an English class a few weeks back, as a reader response to one of the works we read in class. It brought up some old memories of a place I used to spend a lot of time at when I was younger.
When I made the transition from middle school to high school things were a lot different. New school, much bigger school, more kids, new classes, new times, more serious sports. High school, I feel, is not really an easy time for anyone. It's a real transition period from the laid back fun of middle school to the pressure of the work world closing in on you. High school, after all, is where you make the decision of where to go to college, and even more importantly whether or not to go to college. For me it was never a choice of whether or not to go. Though it crossed my mind to go straight into the military, I knew what my parents wanted. Needless to say I chose a school. That's not to say that I regret that decision. I'm just saying. But anyways, that decision in high school of where to go to college sets you up for the rest of your life. Quite a scary thought.
I've always been a pretty thoughtful person, and I've experimented with various outlets (this being one of them). But one of the most helpful that I found was to simply sit in silence. But being in the town I was in, there was never a free moment.
One day I was hanging at my friend John's place, and we took a walk through his neighborhood, eventually stumbling upon some dirt paths that led into the woods. We went all through it and through the various places that it led to. The woods was not large, as there is not much space left in my town unless it's on a golf course... but it was enough to separate you from the monstrous houses and constant rushing of the cars. It was here that I found one of the most meaningful places of serenity that I have ever encountered.
At the very center, where all the paths converged, was a small creek. The water happily babbled along the rocks, yielding to gravity without a fight. Leaves floated down the water, unknowing as to where they would end up. And a small wooden bridge stretched across the river. There was something about the way you could lie down on the bridge and let the sunshine dance across your face through the canopy of the leaves that was intoxicating. Here I felt like I could just be myself and do whatever I wanted and no one would care.
Though I rarely ever went back there with John, I often came by myself, whether I was walking or biking. I'd see one of the paths and just travel back to that special little place where I could just be, and not worry about anything else, but simply exist. I really miss that place, and I wonder often what it would look like through the passing seasons; I only ever really went in the summer.
Despite the fact I haven't been in years, it was a great place to just lay down and close my eyes to escape for a moment, if only for a moment. Do any of you guys have that one place that was just the perfect place to go to hide from the world?
Unfortunately it was ruined for me one day, and I'm not sure if I can ever return to it and have it be in the same sacred state that it was in. I was filming in there once, making a music video, when some boisterous kids approached on the path, obviously drunk or something. I packed up everything and ran. Haven't been back since...
Since then I have simple enjoyed the thought of the place, though it no longer carries the purity it once did. Regardless, it was my place for a long time, my special place, where no one could find me and I could lay back and think about life until dusk. It was times like these when I had to shake my head and say, 'there is no WAY that there isn't a God.'
So, to the big man upstairs, thanks. For giving me a place to escape, when I needed it most.