A Single Step

The momentum of my swing carried me to a height that seemed far above the sea of swaying green trees in the woods in front of me and my aunt and uncle's large, sturdy stone house behind me. The wooden swing set that was my throne stood toweringly tall, solitary, and majestic on the neat, flat grass, the boundary of two realms: one civilized and orderly, the other wild and unpredictable. The only other swing on the set was empty beside me, which suited me just fine since I would never want to have to share my kingdom with anyone.

I continued to swing back and forth, loving the feel of the wind passing me by, seeming to blow right through me. Its power and determination made me feel both insignificant and dominant. I could be pushed along on the swing for hours by the force of the wind alone or crushed into submission in an instant if I tried to resist it for even a second. But since I was still here, undamaged and whole, I knew our similarities were recognized.

The wind continued to travel, leaving nothing behind it unchanged. Leaves on the grass were blown into new configurations and patterns. A creaking sound was heard from the swing beside me, its stationary post abandoned for a haphazard, sideways movement. The leaves on the trees were pressed in great masses against one another, creating the loud, peaceful rustling that added to the various other sounds of the victims of the wind. Nothing dared to stand in its way, even the scattered rocks allowed dirt to be blown off their backs, leaving the tops whiter and considerably cleaner than before. The wind's flimsy and transparent appearance masked its steady perseverance.

The congested woods in front of me arose from the uneven earth, the prevalent feature in the grey-blue sky above me. The trees stood packed together, almost as if they were one instead of many. The close-knit upper branches blocked light from reaching the ground, making it difficult to see past the first line of trees and impossible to discern any kind of path through them whatsoever. Thick, knotted brown trunks served as a tether for the branches in their lofty position among the clouds, firmly connecting them to the harsh ground. The trees stood as an unyielding, organic obstacle, allowing nothing in or out of them. They did not need to flaunt their superiority; all could see it without help.

Behind me sat my aunt and uncle's colossal house. It was made from red-brown stone, a darker shade of the occasional patches of mud around it. A three story monolith, it stood as solid and unmoving as the woods in front of me. Beautiful flowers, shrubs, and bushes had been planted around it and were tenderly cared for by my uncle, at odds with the intimidating size of the house that was their protection. I knew I could count on the house, too, since it had been practically my home for my entire life, especially in this past year. But soon it would be taken away from me, quicker than it had been given.

I lived an unstable life, one with a new house in a different state basically every two years since my father was in the army. A year ago, the summer before I was to start sixth grade, we had moved to the city where my aunt and uncle lived to finally settle down since my father had gotten out of the army. I had only dreamed of being able to see the house every day, so this was the one time I had actually been happy to move. But my dream has been turned into a nightmare since we would be leaving tomorrow for the fifth house I will have lived in.

Now all I wanted to do was freeze time so I could stay in my favorite place forever. The thought of losing my kingdom made me want to beg to be left behind. Looking around at the view from my mighty throne almost opened the doors I had been trying to keep closed the entire time I had been sitting here swinging. But I forced myself to remain as steady and determined as the wind, as deep and unwavering as the trees in the woods, and as independent and forceful as the house I would soon be leaving.

They say a thousand mile journey begins with a single step, and I was determined to make this step count. At the height of my swing, I launched myself into the air to freefall toward the ground. I landed on the solid earth with my knees bent, feet together, and hands by my sides–a perfect landing in short. It was the most thrilling thing I have ever done. I looked at the woods for one last time before turning my back on them. The swing continued to travel back and forth long after I had entered the house. I have not seen the woods or the house or sat on the swing and felt the wind in the three years since this moment. But it doesn't matter anyways because I am still with them everyday for we are one and the same.