Author: RandoMaia PM
Looking out over a beatiful lake at Bear Mountain, four friends /get/ it. Yeash, this summary sucks... taking suggestions! R&R!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 2,256 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 01-22-06 - id: 2096066
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Absolutely true, right down to the dialogue. Meet my fucked-up posse :D No, just kidding, they're all awesome (Claire is on fictionpress as RealmofTerra). This story is really different for me, because it's a) true and b) heavy on description and deeper meaning. Please review, tell me how it works (because I think some of it is a bit awkward...) Be brutal, people!!! Oh, and I'm always open to suggestions for a new title for this, I don't really like the one I came up with. I love you all, my faithful (or not-so-faithful) reviewers!!!!
Bear Mountain. The site of this year's Spirit Day, our school's yearly "hey, school is fun!" day, where we all go up to some place in the country and spend the day going crazy. All the teachers have been telling us how great Bear Mountain is, how there's so much to do. The zoo, the little playground thing if you really want to, the huge field for sports, the walk around the lake, and the hike up the mountain itself.
For my friends and me, it's the lake walk. Partly because we're not really "hiking people," partly because the group hiking the mountain had already left by the time we decided we wanted to do something. So, we're walking along a path next to the lake, underneath the cloudy sky.
At that point, there are five of us. There's me, obviously. Claire, who comes up to my eyebrows even though she's half a year older than me, with straight blonde hair that falls down to her shoulders, where it flips a little, and clear blueish-gray eyes. Bianca, who's Spanish and was reading out loud from the ¡Hoy!—that Spanish-language newspaper you get free on the subway—while we were waiting for the buses in school, has intense, dark brown eyes behind plastic rimmed glasses, and hair of the same color, today in pigtails, going down to her upper back. Ariel and Maddie I don't know quite as well. Ariel I met through Bianca, but I've been talking to her more lately because I ride the subway with her sometimes. Her brownish-blondish hair is somewhere between curly and straight (and pretty frizzy), her amber eyes soulful and honest, and for some reason she insists that her nickname is Sheep. Maddie is a little shorter than Claire, if such a thing is possible, with straight brown hair that reaches her middle back, and green-brown eyes.
At first, we're not really paying attention to the walk. I'm not, at least, and neither is Maddie, who's walking beside me as we chat. It's not really until after we pass the soda and candy machines a little bit down the path and Maddie and I each take one of the two cans of Coke we got for a dollar that I look at the lake, really look at it.
"Wow," I breathe, inaudibly. Then, louder, "Look at those ripples." The others turn, Claire and Maddie walking alongside me, Bianca and Ariel ahead of us. The wind blows the water toward us, forming little waves in its otherwise smooth surface. It seems like a cloth of platinum, creasing and uncreasing.
"The sun came out," I comment. My eyes drink in the scene before me; a single beam of sunlight, all that penetrates the clouds, lances down through the branches of the trees shading the path to warm my face. Bear Mountain is on the other side of the lake, a gentle but nonetheless high slope covered in lush green. And red. And orange. And yellow. The trees are all different colors, a festive celebration of fall. And, as if that wasn't enough, the sapphire water reflects the many-colored leaves, turning them all into magnificent blurs.
"The water looks like glass, doesn't it?" This from Claire, staring awestruck at the view.
"Yeah," agrees Bianca softly. Ariel and Maddie both nod. The wind has died down, and the surface of the lake is completely smooth, glistening in the few rays of sunlight filtering through the clouds.
For a little while, it's cool and shady, the path surrounded by vividly colored foliage on either side. "A spotlight from Heaven," murmurs Bianca, apparently to herself.
"What?" asks Ariel. I turn and look where her eyes are fixed.
"That sunlight coming down." Bianca gesticulates with her hands, like always, pointing at the woods on our right. "Doesn't it look like a spotlight from Heaven? The way it only hits certain trees—just the small ones. That one there, and that one…" Our eyes slide to the second tree she points to. "It wants them to grow. It's like someone poured silver on top of that tree."
The small sapling she indicates is one of the ones being hit full-on by the sun. Indeed, the tops of its leaves shimmer and glisten in the sunlight, as if coated with molten silver.
A short uphill trek, and we've reached the top of a little hill, with a now-sunbaked rock. The trees have cleared on our left now, leaving an unobstructed view to the lake.
My breath catches in my throat. I feel as if I'm on top of the world, never mind that the Bear Mountain hikers are higher up than we are. The lake lies below, blue-gray glass that sparkles in the sunlight, and reflects the vibrant colors of the fall trees on the opposite side. The sky is getting bluer by the minute.
The four of us and Ms. Dvorstep put down our things and sit on the rock. I dangle my feet over the edge, wondering idly how amazing it would feel to just launch myself out into space and plunge down through the clean country air into the icy clear water.
We sit for a minute or so in silence, absorbing the peace of it.
"This is so nice," I sigh contentedly
Claire nods. "Even the air is cleaner."
"Lichen," says Bianca, picking at a flakey, light green patch on the rock. "There's lichen growing here. That means the air's clean." I rub a finger over a patch of the stuff where I'm sitting, inspecting the cracks and crevices of the stone.
Abruptly, Ariel groans. "You've got to be kidding me."
I look up, and flinch at the top of the bridge protruding from the canopy of trees.
"I know," sympathizes Bianca, "it just ruins the whole view."
"Ugh," I say, disgusted.
"Look—an SUV!" says Claire, appalled, as a gas-guzzler whooshes by below.
"Just keep your eyes down," Ariel advises. For another minute, we all try to forget the road and the bridge and the rest of civilization.
"I should've brought my notebook," I say at last. "Damn. This is the kind of view that makes you write."
"I wish I lived here." Ariel sighs and leans back on the rock.
"Yeah; I'd come out here every day… I'd never get bored."
"Why can't they hold classes out here?!" demands Claire. Everybody cracks up.
"There aren't any places like this in the city, though," says Bianca. "I've been to one before… not like this exactly, but…" She searches for words. "You know the kind of place that makes your heart swell with emotion?" We murmur agreements. "I get it with the ocean."
"Or sunrises and sunsets," adds Claire.
Bianca nods. "Yeah, those too. I went to this place in Mexico, on the Sea of Cortez, and it was just so…" She sighs happily. "At the beginning of the beach, the water was red, because of the desert rock, and further out, it was this deep, sapphire blue… If a painter had those colors, it wouldn't matter how bad an artist they were."
"I went to the Galapagos islands," Claire says. "Sunset on the beach there… wow. Wow wow wow."
The sun shines down warmly. A bird chirps in a tree below. We sit there contentedly, at peace with the world. Even the normally hyper Claire is calm and tranquil. I close my eyes and draw a deep breath, savoring the clean air, the sounds of wildlife. Even more, I realize, I'm savoring this moment with my friends. It's the first time I've really gotten them, I reflect. Claire, who I've known since last year, had always been "the sugar-high midget" until today. Bianca and Ariel, I didn't even know, except from seeing them in the locker hallway last year. Now, it's like I've known all of them forever, like I can see inside them into every layer of personality. And, at the same time, it's like I'm transparent, and they're all looking through me. And it's not a bad feeling; it's good to be understood.
"We should go," says Ms. Dvorstep after a while. Gradually, we come out of our daze, pick up our bags, and set off down the path again.
I point to a jumble of huge stone slabs in the woods. "Doesn't it look like a temple? Some kind of shrine to a woodland god?" The others nod reverently. Slowly, we move on.
I'm lagging behind Ariel and Bianca now; they're talking about something ahead of me and Claire. My eyes flick to a spot on the ground; there, amid the fallen multicolored leaves that our sneakered feet crunch though, is a clump of small, pale purple flowers. I bend down and gently twist off a bit of flower, specifically looking for one without too many petals so I don't cut off the life of a blossom in its prime. I slip the flower into my pocket.
We pass another jumble of rocks. "Another temple," notes Claire.
"Yeah," Ariel agrees. "There's the path up, and then the door."
"No," I say quietly. "That's a tombstone."
"The tomb of a king," breathes Bianca.
We walk around to the other side of the rock pile. "See the entrance to the cave there?" Bianca asks. "The cave where the giant lives?"
We leave the woods sadly. I'm missing the yellow leaves underfoot already. There's a little cottage at the end of the path. "Okay, so, in that little cottage—without that kind of roof," begins Bianca, "there lived the Dwarves. The Giants lived next door to them, in those rocks we saw. The Giants and the Dwarves lived in peace. One day, a Giant and a Dwarf had a child, and it wasn't short and it wasn't tall, so nobody wanted it. They called it a human." I raise my eyebrows. Bianca giggles and goes on. "And the humans started thinking they were better than everyone, and they were causing trouble, so the Giants and the Dwarves sent them to a dimension called…" She looks at me. "Uh, Ness!" That's my nickname-that-I-can't-get-anyone-to-use. "And the humans thought Ness was Earth, but the Giants and the Dwarves still live on Earth…"
"Sweeeeet!" I yell. "I'm a dimension!" We all crack up.
We're off the path now, though, almost back to where we started, walking on the grass, out of the shade of the trees and off the carpet of fall leaves.
Reality looms closer. It feels like we'll lose this state, this peace, we got, if we leave the woods, the path. We all found something special on the lake walk. Tranquility. We were all on the exact same wavelength. But it won't be there any more once we leave, when we go back to the hustle and bustle and pointlessness of the rest of the world.
We all realize it. We fall silent as we drew closer to normality.
My senses feel so much sharper after that. I can smell the cleanness of the air, see the bluest blue of the sky that I've ever seen, smell the breeze and the earth and the grass and the trees…
The world we live in—people obsessing about hair, clothes, shoes, guys, school—looks so pointless and superficial now. I don't have to tell my friends what I'm thinking.
I'm sure they know.