by Angela Anegon, 15, Lewiston, Idaho
"Oreos, rope, bucket, pillow, flashlight, binoculars..." the little girl said as the wind rippled the fuzzy hairs on the back of her neck. "Ooooh the wind! What a perfect night! Oh gosh, I almost forgot! My book!" She ran over to her little book case and plucked "To Kill a Mockingbird" from its place. "Ah ha! Gotcha!" Gathering up everything in her white bucket, the fragile yet growing girl shoved the items through her bedroom window and dropped them to the patio below. "Ouch!" she said as her un-callused, bare feet hit the pavement below. The warm summer wind started up again, twirling around the girl's legs as she made her way to the majestic red Japanese maple tree that stood erect in the yard. It owned the space, and no one could pass it without wanting to climb it or touch its delicate yet substantial branches and its bright red leaves. Being used to the beauty and strength of her tree, the girl made no haste in creating a pulley system with the bucket and rope as means to haul her necessities up to her roost in the tree. Placing the rest of her belongings into the bucket, she gracefully grabbed onto the tree and didn't let go until she was as high as her legs and the tree would let her go.
Letting out a heavy sigh, she heaved the bucket up to her position and immediately took the pillow and put it beneath her. Tonight she didn't feel like reading as much as she felt like merely existing and thinking. Taking out the binoculars, she explored every detail in the sky and of the dark neighborhood around her. "They must not be home...no lights on...I wonder what they're watching on TV...ooh look a cat..." The girl scanned every corner and crevice. "No wonder no one's out and about...a full moon...how ignorant of them all...I'm glad that cat isn't afraid. The night is so beautiful. It holds such dimension and contrast to the daytime where we seemed to be enslaved to live. Ahhhh..." The girl breathed in deeply. Leaves of the tree began to perform in the spotlight of the moon, and she was content to know that they were dancing for her.
After a while, the girl yawned with satisfaction. Her mind had been put at ease. There was something about going up into that huge tree late at night that put her at peace. Rewinding down the step ladder of branches, she made a silent vow to the tree that she would return to it the following afternoon. Kissing its smooth bark good night, the girl picked up her Oreos, rope, bucket, pillow, flashlight, binoculars and untouched book.
All the next day she couldn't wait to get up into the tree. Nighttime was peaceful but daytime was meant to be explored! Finally she met the arms of the tree and with only her binoculars in hand she grasped each finger of the tree one by one until she sat right in its crinkly palm. A breeze ruffled the tree, and the girl shuddered with a chill. Breathing in the air, she took the binoculars out and placed the lenses over her eyes. The world was in her face now and no detail was lost or misconstrued in the raucous daylight. She paid attention to every sound, every blade of grass that lost its life to the roaring creature that only its human operator could hush. Her eyes followed the little kids that scuttled over to the ice cream man with the nickels and quarters that they so meticulously searched for in the world around them. She giggled at the little children who in their innocence begged the ice cream man to hurry before their mothers yelled at them to come to dinner. She turned her attention now to the mailman, who walked so happily, stuffing the mailboxes of houses as if he was an everyday Santa Claus. From house to house her eyes followed him, wondering along the way what each house might have received. Maybe a letter from an old friend, a birthday card filled with a few dollars, or clothing catalogues filled with perfume samples that only make one want to sneeze. People walked by her on the sidewalk without realizing that she was up there watching. The girl smiled at the thought that no one could see her except maybe her dog, who sat below the tree waiting for a pat on the head.
Her eyes now looked up to the sky. In a certain respect, clouds were like the stars of the night sky, but clouds were very different. They changed and put on a new face for every land that they floated across. She wondered deeply if the clouds had a warm countenance for her fair place of inhabitation or if they shot their fluffy noses up in disgust at her fair city. Nevertheless, she was simply pleased that clouds had an existence, and that on some level she could relate to them. Letting the binoculars fall to her chest, she closed her eyes and tried to take it all in. She felt the tree beneath her. It was alive, and the girl could feel its breath and its earthy circulation of warmth and energy. She could feel the vibration of the falling blades of grass and the sound of their blaring destroyer. The kids echoed in her brain. She could taste their ice cream and feel the guilt of eating such a treat before dinnertime. Smells of perfume and the sound of a merry "Ho! Ho!" filled her now, as she imagined herself jollily marching down the street delivering the mail to people. "This world is my oyster. I never want to escape." She opened her eyes.
The wind blew past her with great force now. She never wanted to leave her perch up in the tree nor did she want to always look from the outside in. She had found her window and deep inside she knew she had a purpose. The only thing left to do was to find exactly what that purpose might be. Closing her eyes again she felt the wind surround her. Oh the wind! The one thing that drew her soul from her bedroom window every night and then led her up to the tree. Without the wind or the window nothing was possible, not even her imagination. Windows could even be found in her soul, and they held the very essence of it. They allowed things to go in and out...and in and out...occasionally letting a gentle breeze waft in on her memories. The breeze would refresh her soul, carrying new sounds, smells, images and feelings that she would file away in the creases of her fragile window sill. Her soul perched on the sill, and it is her mind's furthest destination. The windows may keep her mind in, but that didn't mean she couldn't make her soul look out. Experience and curiosity carried the girl's soul beyond her window. With the humble wind did she find her tree, her special place. In that, she discovered the true meaning of what life would hold for her, and what windows she would need to open to go to it.