The Chase to Nature’s Final Act

The sky was slowly darkening and the seagulls that populated Whitehead were starting to fly away in different directions or perch themselves in hidden nooks and crannies. As for myself, I had finished working on a new drawing and had leaned back against the coarse rock-like cliff to drift off to the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks below. Opening my eyes, I took in the wispy clouds drifting by against a slowly darkening sky and the gusts of wind that made me shiver through the somewhat thin jacket I chose to wear for the hike.

I knew I couldn’t stay at Whitehead or on one of the hiking trails overnight. I’ve never hiked in complete darkness before and considering how mosquitoes and other insects loved to congregate in the most damp areas of the trails, I wasn’t going to risk stumbling around and getting bitten all over or tripping and severely injuring myself on a raised root.

So down the trail I went after packing up, stretching and bidding Whitehead yet another farewell. The setting sun sent streams of blazing light piercing through the tiny spaces that weren’t covered by extending branches or overgrown bushes. I carefully navigated my way on the paved dirt trail, making sure to gingerly step over rocks or roots poking out from beneath the earth.

Many times the thought of slipping my hiking shoes and pressing my feet into the ground slipped into my mind, but I knew that it would be next to impossible due to a self-inflicted injury on my large right toe. Yet, maybe just one day and at a good time…

I shook my head. The sun is setting and I want to view the sunset before heading back to my dorm room. The lighthouse seemed like the perfect place to view the sunset, but what path lead to it? I then remembered that Trail #7 lead directly to the back of the lighthouse and decided to continue onto said path.

Upon reaching the entrance to Trail #7, I spotted the pine tree with an exposed wound or opening on its side. Heavy amounts of pine sap had hardened over time into a thick, viscous coating against the aging wood. I longed to peel some sap off and prepare a salve with it, but I had no sharp object in my backpack, so I merely greeted the tree before departing with a mental note to collect some later in the season.

There were only four late visitors at the lighthouse, but they were distracted by the sunset that filled the skies with streaks of bright orange, tan, cream and gold. The sun itself peaked out from behind a line of clouds, as if shy about giving one last performance before exiting. I plopped down on the small blades of grass, exhausted from the hike but eager to stare into the fading colors in the darkening sky. Three of the visitors eventually left for shelter and the wind whipped around my frail frame once more, but I didn’t care. All that mattered was this moment.

My mind filled with the issues I dealt with concerning how the others viewed me and how, in this moment, they seem to feel so small compared to everything else. I still felt very sad about how people I barely knew hated me and avoided me on sight, but I also knew that fighting against it would solve nothing. I didn’t understand it, but what was there to do except ignore it and continue to be myself? I sighed. People are so strange to understand and deal with sometimes.

The sun had completely disappeared past the horizon and the colors had faded into a mixture of purple, indigo and soft orange. The wind chill factor had increased as I was shivering underneath my jacket. It was time to head back to the dorm for a hot shower and to bury myself under the blankets. I stood and headed off along the rocky path leading to the cemetery below. There’s always a new day to start over and to make things better again.

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