Green | Teen Ink

Green

January 24, 2019
By lindzwrites SILVER, Bolingbrook, Illinois
lindzwrites SILVER, Bolingbrook, Illinois
6 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Down a curved Illinois road, drove us --a band of misfit family members--fast and impatient, out for the shortest trip to our destination. Alongside the road lay thousands of wispy trees, all standing still in the cool of the early dawn, exchanging whispers. Their green leaves were gently turning yellow-hued and aromatic, apprehending a cold fall ahead. At some point, I opened my small, green eyes and watched as countless powerlines zoomed by, as roads became narrow and winding.

Tired and weary, I willed myself to step lightly out of the silver van. I was dressed in a muted green hoodie that day, which brought out the wildness in my youthful eyes, and seemed to fit me in to the lush greenery that surrounded, watching and willing for me to fall guilty to its visual pleasures. After nature introduced itself to us, I carried on over a few dirt paths, enclosed in the scent of damp wood and a wild, odd freshness. The creek was near. It was 10 am. The shelled cicadas were humming like little musicians, invisible yet elated to be up in their small kingdoms, hidden away. Then, as I timidly hopped and frisked through the fragrant forest, feeling the soles of my dark tennis shoes dig deep into my heels, I spotted a pale green bridge. It seemed to lure me in, with its structured ridges and screws. I called over my brothers and father, and we all adventurously trekked the architecture. Slowly, smelling that familiar scent of a creek rising from the waters beneath me, I stepped toe to toe down the seafoam symbol of chance, and deep into the other realm of forest. The bridge will forever symbolize a peak in my innocence.

After an hour of crawling through the Kankakee River Complex, as well as stopping through to take a lunch break, we all knew what was to follow. Shoes and socks off, I stepped perilously onto a slimy rock, withstanding the low lying creek tide, and proceeded to cross the narrow passage. I remember feeling the blood orange, setting sun beating altruistically on my freckled summer skin, while the trickle of mossy water relieved the sting of the hard rocks underneath my toes. Right in middle of the creek, I stopped. Just stood there and took a conscious breath. 9 years old, yet so very appreciative of the beauty of nature. After the moment in the creek with the wonder of the views around me, I made my way to an open, grassy area laden with cattails, which father had pointed to seconds before. And as that sun went down, and the dew evaporated from my olive skin, and the cottony plants around us swayed in the September wind, life was blissful. I closed my eyes and let its tranquility soothe me.

Later, as the milky twilight came to a menacing dark, and the cicadas returned to their small kingdoms, the stars and fireflies started to light up the night. A ravenous pit of warmth and fire in our campsite yielded the smokiest aroma, comforting me, because even in that green sweater, my body shook. I smiled anyways, and enjoyed the squish of a lightly roasted marshmallow melting in my mouth. Crackling of logs and pretentious kindling could be heard softly, and appealed so nicely to our 4 weary bodies. When we retired to the yellow tent, and darkness and heaviness overcame us, sleep was near, and rest was persistent.

I woke up cold. It was the type of freezing that paralyzes your body into staying still, because even the littlest of movements could release all the heat that was circulating in that navy sleeping bag. Teeth chattering and hands shaking blue, I decided to watch the sunrise and try to be serene. It was this rawness that I actually loved the most about camping trips. I was infinitely connected to flora and fauna, in a heap of cozy blankets and that infamous green sweater, breathing in every memory left behind by earlier visitors, and looking forward to making some of my own in the days to come.


The author's comments:

Camping was always my favorite activity as a child, and it epitomizes the essence of what it is to explore life when you're young and learning new things every minute.


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