BY: Caroline Ragan
The door opened and I burst through, running out into the yard that I knew so well. I looked around, wide-eyed, taking it all in.
The creek, full of numerous critters I had come to call my friends. I knew where the turtles hid, I knew where the toads lingered, and I knew where the crawfish roamed. It was my own little neighborhood.
The tree, strong and tall, with leaves that never fell, even through the coldest winters. Each branch was just in reach of the one before, creating a stairwell to the perfect view.
The hill, taking on the shape of an exponential curve rather than parabolic. I would sprint to the top, grabbing hold of the massive root jutting from the side in order to fight gravity from pulling me back to my starting point. This was my favorite spot — a spot to hide, a spot to explore, a spot to call my own.
Years later, a bump in the road jolts me awake. I wake up groggy and confused, as I often do, but this time I feel the added weariness of traveling. As my body continues to jostle with the movement of the van, I am slowly awakened. My gaze drifts toward the window, and I begin to take in the foreign landscape of Costa Rica. I am bewildered by the view.
The mountains, protruding from the earth around me. Each grassy bald calls my name. I want to run to the top; just imagining the view takes my breath away.
The trees, each one we pass is unique. A forest no longer brings to mind a cookie cutter image of the same gum tree. I see banana trees, palm leaves, flowers of magnificent purples and reds, vines, guava trees, and so many more.
The wind, creating a symphony of complimenting and powerful hums. It shakes every tree in the dense rainforest. I feel it on my skin, in my hair, and through my clothes.
For a moment, I forget where I am. I find myself gazing into the past, to a time since lost. To a time when the earth brought nothing to mind but beauty and opportunity. It belonged to me, and I belonged to it. Since this time, I had grown older, but not necessarily wiser. I had drifted from this relationship. Gazing out the window, it is as if a flame reignites. I remember what it is like to see, to explore, and to revel in the magnificence of the Earth.
The door opens and I burst through, walking out into the fresh morning breeze. I look around, wide-eyed, taking it all in.