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A collection of brief meditations on place

Outside, I slowly stomped through the leaves on a path that connects two parts of my neighborhood. There, I sat, listening to the birds and squirrels scuffle and fly. A deer, surprised, ran past me into the forest, turning back after a few meters, watching. I picked up a leaf, rough and colored with age. A few acorns lay at my feet, swiftly blown side to side by the soft wind. The deer still watched me intently. Around it, several bushes, and trees surrounding the bushes. The smell of leaves and wood reached my nose. I picked up a stick and tossed it over at the deer, who was still standing defiantly, waiting for its spot back. It ran away with a last look of “I will be back.” I finally stood up and walked away, crossing an old, rough wooden bridge, which creaked as I walked. Ancient, beautiful, convenient.

*          *          *

I ran around the court, hitting the ball quickly without any thought other than move, right position, right shot. A quick breath of wind blew the ball partially offtrack before I was able to recover my shot, which knocked the ball to the right more than I’d wanted. My friend and I continued to play rounds, passing the ball back and forth. The blue-green floor, hard under my feet, allowed me to maneuver quickly around. The smell of trees filled the air, and the sun shone a brilliant bright yellow to my right. The warmth targeted my right arm where my tennis racket was held. I sneezed.

*          *          *

Sitting on my porch, I stared at that one tree which immersed the whole view from my spot. Its leaves were gone with age; only a few hung on. Water droplets hung from the branches, and the sound of light rain pattered against the rooftop. The cool morning air touched my skin. A water droplet landed on my forehead, blown by the wind. I inhaled and breathed. A bitter taste rested within my mouth, for the smell of cars and pollutants filled the air, as a procession of the rumbling vehicles passed by. I could not see them, for this tree still stood between me and the outside world.

*          *          *

I stood, peering out at the outside world. A bush, standing among many others, rustled as a squirrel brushed by it. Farther forward, apartment complexes, painted blue, were laid out in a pattern. Some parts of the buildings were covered in shadow, the sun shining from the left. Its light brightly lit up a golden-leaved tree, swaying in front. The black asphalt roads that littered the ground looked unnatural in the area. Today was a humid day; the smell of mud reached my nose. The sky was a sad blue, completely, although nice-looking in its own way. In the background, I heard my brother and mother talking. I smiled.

Caden Wang, 12
Chapel Hill, NC