Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:20:47 AM
You get back a failed test in AP chemistry that drops your grade down to a D; you read an article on the latest kid genius who has been admitted to Yale University at age fourteen; your best friend gives the valedictorian speech at your graduation; you find out that your beloved partner has apparently cheated on you with your best friend; you watch the innocence of a small child simply enjoying life in the neighborhood park. Something sets you off one day to take a step back and examine what you have accomplished in your life up till now. You realize that there are some people who have accomplished more by age fourteen than you will in your entire life. This was one of those days for me.
Throughout the day, compilations of misfortune added the icing to my low self-esteem’s grumbling insufficiency. I wanted to go to the place where I have always been able to briefly liberate myself from the stresses and pressures of my high school career. Here, I hoped, my thoughts would be able to take hold of themselves without being bombarded by disturbances.
As I was walking down the hill that led into the park, on the dirt path beside the sidewalk lay a dead black and white cat. Its ribs were protruding and its flesh was raw. Flies were feasting in greedy circles around the sight. In myself I saw this cat. In a screech of a tire, I could just be road kill-something that a bystander may gawk at with disgust for a brief moment, but something almost instantaneously forgotten in the next.
I entered the park and sought out the patch of smooth, damp grass where everything felt familiar and calm. Though I expected to be instantly soothed, instead, I continued to feel unsettled as flies and bees whizzed by my ear and broke my concentration. Planes overhead frequently took over all sound and muffled everything in a groaning buzz.
As I looked around me, there was movement. The wind swept over the tangled blades of grass surrounding me and brought the dusky emerald shadows of the trees to life. But then I looked into the distance. In contrast, I could not distinguish any movement of individual blades of grass or leaves of trees. In the distance everything was still and stagnant, while my eyes’ perception only permitted life to encircle a small bubble around me.
The distant evergreen trees that encircle the park are always a stagnant constant. It seems as though only me and the life directly surrounding me is changing. But on the contrary, I realized that whatever life I touch will have its own bubble that expands out to even farther distances than where it started. Eventually a single touch on the world can impact even the distant evergreen trees, where the same gust gives life to its swaying branches.