A few months ago, I had decided to meet at my friend Jasons house for a little visit. When I arrived I noticed there was a car that Ive never seen before at his house so I decided to see what was going on. When I knocked on the door Zane (one of Jason's friends) opened the door. He asked me to come in and so I did. While I was sitting down on Jason's sofa next to him and Zane, he looked at me and asked, Hey Mason, have you ever been to the secret spot? Before I could even think of asking what it was, Zane and Jason were already getting up and heading to the door to get their jackets on the coat rack next to the door. Jason headed to the kitchen and picked up some odds and ends like a few knives, a flashlight (which I had no idea why because it was broad daylight), and made some sandwiches. He didn't say a word as we all headed outside and around the back of his house and towards a path leading inside the woods.
We walked through the woods on the trail that I found was quite narrow so we walked in a single file for what seemed like forever. I checked my watch it had been about 30 minutes since we left but I looked up and we came into a clearing, it was a large clearing with many obstacles it looked like someone didn't spend very much time or thought into building them and they were dotted with many different paint spots on all of the obstacles. When I asked Jason and Zane about it, I was told that it was a paintball arena, and was built by Jason and some of his friends along with the help of his father from scratch from things that he found laying around in the woods. Jason happened to love paint balling and would go out every once in a while with his friends to this spot. I stopped to tie my shoes, and check all the equipment we brought then we continued to the other side of the clearing going deeper into the woods.
About a few minutes of walking, Jason suddenly stopped I wasn't paying very much attention ahead so I slammed into Zane which sent him into Jason he just looked at me and said, Hey watch were you're going. Then he looked down at the ground turned then asked me, Are you wearing your good shoes?
No, I replied, scared for the reason he asked. Why do you ask? I questioned.
Jason replied, Its about to get very muddy, very quickly. He pointed a little ahead about two days ago it had rained and apparently, since the trees blocked the sun, the ground wasnt able to evaporate the excess moisture. So I thought to myself as I looked at the many mud holes around us, Great now Im going to get my new pants dirty.
Hey! What are you three doing here? someone yelled. Jason and Zanes eyes immediately widened, and without a word they started sprinting into the woods, through the mud hole. I had no choice but to follow them, and getting my old shoes I got many years ago marinated in mud in the process. We probably ran until we were all huffing and puffing from running for so long Jason and Zane slowed down. I sat for a minute to catch my breath, and asked, Who was that?
Jason replied, The most annoying neighbor ever. If he caught up to us, theres no telling what he would have done. I was going to question them about whether we can be here or not, but I left it at that and kept walking . After a few more minutes, we entered a clearing about the size of a football field.
Whoa! I exclaimed. It was just absolutely stunning. In the middle of the clearing ran a clear water stream, gushing over rocks with a slight slashing sound. A fallen tree trunk about four feet in diameter lay down on one side of the river, leaning up against a tall tree. The tree trunk was slanted, with its highest point about 20 feet in the air. The tree was covered in graffiti and carvings, as were most of the skinny trees around it. The air smelled fresh of moss and leaves, which were the color of fire, a golden red with a slight tint of yellow.
Jason and Zane said that they had dropped one of the knives while we were running, and they went back to retrace their steps and find it. They gave me one of the remaining knives, and told me to carve my name onto one of the many trees that were surrounding the beautiful landscape. They were gone for quite a long tome, so I had managed to carve several words. The first was on the giant trunk, on which I wrote my name with the year 2012 next to it. On a thinner tree I carved my initials with the year, and on another tree I carved just my initials. Right when I finished putting some final touches on the third carving, Jason and Zane showed up telling me that they found the knife.
All three of us found a rock on the stream that was wide and stood about 5 feet over the water, and we all sat on it. We sat for about five minutes, watching and enjoying the flow of the water and the sounds around us, the songs of the birds, the whisper of the wind, and rustle of the leaves, and the sighing of our breaths. It felt like life, like this is what people should be doing everyday to get away from the stress of work and school. For those few minutes, I forgot all about my stressful life, my homework, all my Face-book posts and drama that seemed to come up everyday. Everything. I might not even have answered to my name because I was so spaced out. All I thought about was the serenity and silence surrounding me.
After we had enough, we started to head back. We grabbed all of our stuff and went back the way we came. We walked back very quietly like as if each of us was still lost in the peace of the woods. When we got to Jasonâ€™s house it was around 7:30 PM, and getting dark. Jason set a fire in a pit in his backyard and all three of us sat around it thinking. I just stared into the burning red fire and observed.
As I sat there staring in the fire thinking fire is not destruction like many think, to me it is a sign of life. It is the representation of creation. A fire can burn down everything in an old forest, but it doesnâ€™t completely destroy everything inside of it, as new saplings begin to grow almost immediately. Soon the saplings will turn into trees, and the trees will grow old, and there will be another fire. It is the â€œcircle of lifeâ€Â. A simple experience with nature can really make you realize these things. Today, when I look back on that magical time, it feels as if I had taken a time-out from the struggle of the world and hope that soon again I can go back and experience it all again.