By Sarah Soltis
I’ve just had the most amazing, but seemingly small experience. All I could think about since I got home was writing it all down.
The neighborhood Labor Day Party, was, as usual, all the adults chatting and drinking alcohol, ignoring my sister and I. I soon walked home, a little defeated. But through the trees of my neighborhood, I saw the glowing sky and I knew I had to go somewhere. Something urged me to get out of my snotty neighborhood and explore. A little voice, telling me to go; to be free.
I grabbed my flip flops (the only shoes I’ve worn all summer) and my bike and I sped up the hill, to the park down the road. Well do I know the paths of my local park, so I pedaled to my spot, raced by boys playing basketball in the fading daylight and a mother reflecting on the slipping sunshine over the football field. My special spot in the park, a wide-open field, where I’ve returned time after time this summer to gaze at the sky and to take deep breaths alone, was the place I climbed off my bike and attempted snapping pictures with my phone of the layered paint-like sky to one side of me, and the full moon against a lavender and rose sky on the other side.
I continued down the hill, through a gateway of overgrown vines and trees, into what struck me as a magical land. Tall grass, golden flowers, lace-like white buds. The light was changing into darkness and my bike was squeaking, but my instinct told me to keep going straight. Into a field I went, where sheep grazed and cows chowed and a slender deer stood straight up, looking at me and into me.
Walked, ran, biked around the sprawling fields. No one else was there - just me, only me. I didn’t feel lonely at all - what with the melting sunset on one side of me and the full, crystal moon one the other side and, of course, the gentle, quiet animals enjoying their evening. I ran to one end and met two precious calves busy with their dinner. One of them wandered up to me and our eyes met and I stroked his soft fur. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt more connected to the animals I share this planet with than in that moment. These beings are more than “protein,” these beings are kind, soft, and loving, just like we can be. And they deserve our love and respect.
It grew darker, but I didn’t notice. In that field, it felt like time didn’t exist. Happiness had hit me unexpectedly; a ball of serendipity straight to my chest, exploding over me and covering me. I rolled my bike back through the paths, back to my previous little spot.
Putting my bike down, I slipped my shoes off. Although I could hear a loud party through the trees to the left of me, I ran barefoot around the area and twirled around.
Alone, but so happy. The world was beautiful to me again. It was that little piece of peace that kept clicking in and falling out all summer.
Now, as I’m writing this - I think it’s finally sealed into me. In two days, I start school. At last, I feel ready. Somehow, simply sharing a moment with those wonderful creatures and being filled with the way the sky looked made me feel satisfied at last.
It was more than satisfaction. It was like magic. I felt effervescent. Life is so completely magical, I thought to myself. What if love really was freedom, and freedom really was love? What if my independence, which I’d felt for years, was the real deal? What if I was my own soulmate, and that wasn’t a sad thing? What if we were all on our own but yet all together, one people, at the same time? What if life, all of it, is so short that little moments and musings like these are massive? What if this experience was the doorway to a whole new kind of freedom and thinking - loving the life I’ve been given and loving my freedom, believing in a kind of magic and being fueled by it?
I mused even more as I began to leave. Grinning, wind billowing through my loose shirt and knotty hair, I biked home helmet-less in the near dark, throwing my hands up to graze on the September air. I trusted my instincts, as they had been part of what led me to that moment, and my newfound, serendipitous peace.