Monday, October 11, 2010

Kirsten Bouthiller: Journal Entry

The three most important resources of life are love, journals, and nature.

It was four o’clock, and mid-October. As the doors to the bus gave way, I stepped into the dying world. Orange, red, brown, and faint green leaves littered the ground. Beginning my trek through the private way that cut a path in the thickly wooded forest, I felt a slight breeze that brought a chill up and down my spine. The smell of decaying Earth filled my nostrils. The nostalgia that followed occurred every time. A flashback of memories. Halloween when I was four, running down the crowded street as Princess Leah, being a bumble bee at the age of two, a ninja at the age of ten. Pumpkin-picking with the family and getting lost in the corn fields. Raking leaves from dawn to dusk because when you live in the forest those sorts of things happen. I continued walking down the isolated road. The sun shone down through the canopy above, bringing the dead leaves a whole new life. The sound of the calm lake, the water rolling up onto the shore and lapping against the rock walls found its way up into my ears. A calling – but I had other plans. As the road began to bend after a steep slope downwards, my eyes searched for it. The brush was thick but it was in there. Somewhere. I could hear the water running and see the dip in the road where it flooded the previous year. Dropping my backpack to the ground, I began to clear the brush with my hands and found myself beside a small brook. The water flowed quick and was perfectly clear. I always find myself standing here, standing on a stone wall that divides the brook, the forest, and the lake all at once. Sometimes I don’t think, while other times I cannot stop. Once, during the winter when I was fifteen, a blizzard raged on for a week but the argument with my parents drove me outside to find myself again. I lay in the snow looking up through the canopy, watching the white snow fall silently. The only sound was the wind through the trees and the echoing as bubbles burst below the ice with a loud, eerie noise. I stood there, looking at the brook, forest, and lake. I chased the frogs, caught big trout, and climbed every tree. And when my mom would call me home for dinner, I would linger for that extra five minutes because nothing feels more like home than the forest where you found yourself.

[a response to John Burroughs, 'The Art of Seeing Things,' in American Earth, edited by Bill McKibben. In this essay, Burroughs writes: "If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature"]

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