Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Don't Mean to Go All 'Thoreau and Emerson' on You, But...

Sorry I haven't been posting/reading/anything on here- doing piles of school stuff. Every day, for about weeks. PILES. Anyways, here's what I've been working on [personal essay for English class- can you tell I've been reading tons of Thoreau?]. I'm too tired to edit it, so whatever seems messed up, it's like that on purpose. :P

Have you ever been in the middle of nowhere- as in no people, and no sidewalks, and no pollution- not fenced in in some way? Me neither. As people in the twenty-first century, we wake up fully immersed in technology and its man-made siblings. Walking is an activity people did when they didn't have automobiles; cell phones and computers long ago overthrew the patient kingdom of mail; and the only places we can really experience nature and its beauty are fenced-in parks and lands possessed by the Earth but "owned" by the deed-holder.

People scarcely ponder their existences as being entirely imitative of nature, but it's true. This idea is all somewhat already implanted into the majority of peoples' minds- at some point or another, we've all probably heard the cliche sayings like "there are other fish in the sea" and "every cloud has a silver lining", or even "I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place." Nay, this idea didn't appear from the lyrics of my favorite music video or anything of the like- I acknowledged this philosophy the only way anyone can expose facts about life- by listening for what life wanted to show them.

One natural thing life imitates is a plant. Once upon a time, I was a fearless and adventurous elementary-schooler who would venture to the end of my imagination and back just in time for dinner. The outdoors were my home, the trees were my shelter from the rain, my naked feet danced over the grass. I spent every day in the summers of my youth exploring outside, or jumping on my trampoline. I was especially fond of going in the woods that surrounded patches of land, untouched by the houses and the roads of my curvy subdivision. But this place soon withered, as my prime discovery came to be. My best friend, Dirk, and I would always walk the streets of our subdivision, and one day noticed that there was more beyond the "No Trespassing" sign. We didn't go because we felt the felt the desire to rebel- we went because there was something beyond that sign that we hadn't seen before, and my soul was screaming for me to go and see just what that thing was. We walked past where the sidewalk ended, and up a hill closer to heaven than I'd ever been. Rocks were moved and dirt was excavated into mounds, and there were discarded items (a busted mattress, a broken vaccuum), but besides that there was no evidence of people being there.

Dirk and I went up there many of times in the summers of the past, and it's a strong memory that still lingers in the back of my mind. I haven't been up there in years because Dirk and I both have been separated somewhat through the past several summers, and since the last time I have been, I've changed entirely. Although that was my first real experience with nature, now that I stopped going, I now wear shoes always outside, my imagination is compacted into next to nothing, and my spirit has withered into a cold unbrave thing that is only artificially connected to even these words as I type them. I grew up surrounded by this technology, and the roots under my feet that once connected me to the ground withered without the nurturing of being connected to each other, like a plant faced with the cold harshness of winter, or the painful heat of drought. We all must continue to nurture life (or, in my case, a way of life) in order for it to grow and continue.

Another beautiful natural entity that life imitates is the sea. I noticed these similarities was at a Christmas party I attended my junior of high school. It was hosted by my coach, who had been the coach since before I was born. The teenagers went downstairs, diverting their attention to the ping-pong table. After some time had passed, the carnivorous teenagers began going upstairs in pursuit of food. I silently followed, hungry myself. I found myself in a sea of people, most of which I had never seen before in my life. My curiousity spiked when I saw all the older people not of my time crowded in the large rooms. As I navigated through the crowds, I felt sad, because our existences mean next to nothing to each other. I felt as though I missed out on an individual's total life, and could only comply with in and see those people and not even remember at the next party those glimpses of their life I did witness.

It was only afterwards that I took the time to really consider how that total five minutes really reflected life. Like the sea, in life, people all are in different currents, swimming in circles that may cross or may not. We can "go with the flow" of people, but still being in the sea is full of struggles for survival, for a sight above water, for a breath of air- like fighting with life gives us the reward of success. And, after all, we all end up "swimming with the fishes."

Another entity life imitates is a rock, especially in the term of not moving. My high school career up to junior year had been very smooth, but with the addition of college classes and volunteer hours and ACT scores and all of the stress and extracirriculars from the year before, this year has been rocky from the beginning. But I don't fret if something comes up and it all seems too much- even though we hear it in science class, inertia exists concerning life, too. It doesn't feel natural for people to go from calm to busy instantaneously. As we face problems or change, all we wish to do is run away from them- run to the only place, idea, or arms- that will shield us from having to deal with it all. But if we can last through the hard times, like a rock facing erosion, we reach a whole other point in our life that will be better, which to me will be senior year, or if that isn't better, the next year, or the year after that.

If you take one thing from this essay, please take it that to lay your life in front of you and analyze it. Are you feeling stressed, or are you strong, like a rock? Are you going with the flow, or are you fighting to be individual, like a current in the sea? And, most importantly, are you neglecting your life, or are you nurturing it, like a plant? Text your friend "Lol" about that.

1 comment:

Kay said...

That personal essay is perfect.

I'm envious that you can actually take something from your life and make it meaningful.