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Otis Knoop, 13

On some days, I just like to walk
Across the street and into the park
Contemplating life.

Around me, nature is content.
Leaves swirl around my figure
The large trees sway as I walk by
The clouds darken, casting a blanket over the treetops
My sanctuary.

As the flora and fauna alike prepare for the oncoming rain
Winged seeds come floating down, puppets under the wind
The breeze picks up, as the wind howls like a brute
The first raindrops kiss my cheeks as I stare up into the clouds and smile.
My sanctuary.

Thunder rumbles, lightning cracks, and the squirrels quiver, deep in their dens
And then the rain comes, buckets that pour down until they are swallowed by the soil
Providing sustenance for the sapling, but comfort for the old tired oak
And I am in the center of it all.
My sanctuary.

I lay down in the wet grass as the storm passes, beads of sunshine dancing on my face
The park is life
The park is death
Thunder, lighting, chaos, and then calm arises.
A continuous cycle of problems and solutions, living and dying, joy, and sadness.
I wash away the dirt clouding my mind and come back to it.
My sanctuary.

As I lay there, the cool, wet air enveloping me, I know that I have escaped.
From the screens, the eyes, the faces, the boxes, the masks, the tests, the tears, and the pain.
I get up, the mud clawing at my clothes, wishing me to stay like the host of a party.
The party of ugliness and beauty that surrounds us all
And as I stare, I see the sun parting the clouds like a curtain, and my thoughts turn homeward.

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