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Nature: My Muse and Medium



Joined: 6/10/2012
Posts: 4
edward.hendrickson
There is a peaceful silence to the desert: the empty terrain, bereft of trees and cut up by mountain ranges and washes, speaks its own noiseless language of winds and voids. Sagebrush rattles like a winding sentence. Here and there, commas and caesuras of animal chatter punctuate the flow of the air. A hawk cries out like a rogue fragment. Growing up here as a kid, in the great and mysterious Mojave, I learned to read the words of the desert; I grew accustomed to its dialects of silence. It is only now, as I sit and reflect on just how much time I spent outdoors, that I realize the profound and lasting impact my forays into the wild have had on me.
My father and I would go on hikes, and I'd complain of the dead and grotesque surroundings—no overwhelming forests of green, no lush gardens, no deer or fish or wildlife, none of the countless things I'd been promised were “nature” by Disney movies or the Web. My father would always frown a bit and tell me that I wasn't looking hard enough. When we as a family all climbed into the truck and headed out to the mountains in search of fossils, I always strained myself searching for what my parents saw in the desert. They are rock-hounds to this day, desert lovers and dinosaur hunters. My sister, indifferent and unimpressed, attempted to persuade me that it was a sham and that the desert was really nothing special. I believed nothing totally: when we found neat rocks or the occasional fossil, I was floored; the remainder of the trips, I was bored out of my mind. As I grew older and more seasoned, my ear grew finer tuned. In school, I learned new things about geology, biology, and poetry; in the desert, I saw each play out: slowly, the history of these rocks—these grey-and-brown, cactus dotted mountains; the gravel beneath my feet—revealed itself as a form of art, the natural movements of the land over time acting out the stories of the earth.
Now, as I think about where I'd like to go for college and what I'd like to do with my life, I realize just how much this desert language has flavored my own thoughts. I like to fancy myself an artist of sorts—the word being my paint, the pen my brush—and, for a time, I worried I wouldn't be able to make it as a writer, that I didn't have the talent, the drive, and the experience to create something that anyone would find beautiful. In those moments of indecision and despair, I'd go out to the desert and take some time for myself. I'd listen to the silent song of the mesquite trees; the whistle of wind between rocks. I'd go out and listen to the stories it had to tell. Then I'd take out my pen and write them down, the desert's language my own.
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Comment by ogeewiz


Joined: 2/25/2009
Posts: 43
You've learned a secret that few ever do: the wonder of silence and the places that provide it... Keep writing - It is an art.
Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2012 12:06:52 AM
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Comment by SOFLarchive


Joined: 1/6/2012
Posts: 111
What a beautiful essay. Good job in describing your nature experience and the characteristics of a desert. Congratulations on winning. I hope you have a good future in writing or whatever you're gonna do.
Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2012 6:09:39 AM
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Comment by bugcandy


Joined: 11/5/2008
Posts: 288
Edward,

Congratulations - your essay is the winner of our June student writing contest!

I'll be sending you an email with next steps about us mailing out your prize package, which includes a signed copy of Mr. Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods.

We look forward to reading more of your essays here on Stage of Life.

Look for a note from me soon.

Eric Thiegs
CEO, StageofLife.com
Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 1:09:11 PM
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Comment by Dev


Joined: 8/10/2012
Posts: 3
It truly made me smile to read this. Your an incredible writer...and you seem to understand a few things that most people don't. Including me. Thank you for teaching me some lessons i needed to learn.
Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 10:22:02 PM
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Comment by WildSchatz


Joined: 8/28/2012
Posts: 1
I stumbled onto this page in search of something else, and I just had to register to let you know that I found your story to be wonderful and moving. Truly deserving of any accolades awarded thus far. Continue painting your words with that pen and create more of this beautiful art.
Posted: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 4:33:58 AM
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