Biographical Non-Fiction posted January 9, 2013

This work has reached the exceptional level
A walk in my wild side.

No Horses Trail

by amada

Non-Fiction Writing Contest Contest Winner 

It seems that I was born with an uncanny wish to explore what is at the other side of my usual world. I like to see, feel, taste, and smell what is up there, beyond my eyes, beyond my sky. Maybe it started at birth; I was a premature baby, I guess I couldn't wait to wander into a new world.

As a child, I was always getting loose from my grandmother's protective hands, trying to be independent. As I grew up, I remember looking past my contained backyard and observing a furtive dusty road leading to a nearby playground. Surrounded by a bountiful park, it was the ideal place to jump rope and play hide and seek, feeling as if the tall trees, thick bushes and flying birds were my friends.

Today, in my golden years, I still have the desire to explore. My secret retreat is a narrow, curved and uneven trail that leads to the nearby beach.

From my front door, just a mere turn to the left, then about three-hundred exhilarating steps of dirt road followed by a swift turn to the right, and in a couple of magic minutes I am at the entrance of a vast open space.

Rows of tall pine trees, curving sea grass, and crawling blueberry bushes shadow its path. Distant from the fast, antiseptic, paved road, its call is quivering and provocative, a wondrous walk, unlocked, free and unrestrained by the leash of fences. Just like in my childhood, this trail, inciting and secretive, responds to my love for the natural, my thirst for the simple, my desire for inner retreat.

At its entrance, a single rough-cut wood stick rises about six feet from the ground. "No Horses," the crudely man-made sign shouts. Time has put its dent on it; the sides are unevenly spent by the wind, discolored by the sun. Tired, it leans to one side. Yet, it looks fierce, like a proud banner. In reconciliation and reverence, I stand at its side for a while. I feel the need to ask for its permission to enter onto this trail. Feeling at peace, I raise my arm in a high-five and breathe in the damp and cold dew. It's the end of autumn. Fresh raindrops are dancing on my nose; I take it as a welcome sign.

Happy, I wander into this wonderland.

Muted shapes of trees rise gradually from the fog, like images developing from a Polaroid camera. The early wind nuzzles the naked tree branches; they quiver in tune, like crisp voices in a choir.

This morning the sky is at a halt from last night's rain. There is an unsettling clap of thunder in the sky. Rusty-red leaves carpet the ground; they rest in between folders of roaming pebbles and stubborn patches of weeds. Much like tear drops, tree branches hold the last speckles of last night's rain. I cherish the glowing murmur that arises in my otherwise quiet blood. With my brown leather boots planted fiercely on the undulating ground of slight hills and valleys, I venture through.

No one else is here. My family is at home, still asleep in warm soft blankets. I don't look back. I long for independence, to step beyond my limitations, the weight of my years, my cemented fears and secret terrors. I ache to rise above my everyday ordinariness, to leave my footprints cemented behind my doubts.

A red-tailed hawk, with a spotted gray breast and broad extended wings, glides fast and low above me. I admire the force of wings, muscular and secure. I feel a hint of jealousy: he can rise above the ground.

As I stroll farther I stumble upon several rivets of deeper water connecting one into another, like a dormant serpent whose frame is partially hidden by pine needles. I scuffle to find a space that can grip my boots steady. The sky now rumbles, signaling more rain to come.

The remaining trail leading to the beach is watered. I search for a dry space.
A few uncharted steps and I might wander into the vastness of the field. I notice that a drier route is the one upon a small pert hill. I am unsure. My boots, however, take charge and cling with force to the climbing and uneven surfaces of its ground. I pursue my way as my backbones moves in unison to my legs, like a marvelous, well-oiled machine.

As I get to the top of the hillock I see the fierce waves disband in the serene grains of sand. I can't wait to get there! I am the only one here, on this perfect Monday morning. The dark blue sky is swept by batches of crimped clouds. A biting wind smashes on my face as the ocean's salty scent fills my nose. The swaying tall sea grass throbs taller and stronger. Its distinctive long narrow leaves, maturing with yellow-corn dots, seem to be sprinkled with pea-green dots.

I look for a way to descend but as I get closer to the beach, puddles of water seem to grow up from the ground, wider, darker and faster. I remember that I never learned to swim. As a child I was scared of water, as I was scared of the heat of the sun, the sting of the bees, the faces of strangers, the marks on the road...

For a long time I have felt hostage to my fears. My self-imposed restrictions suffocating me, disgusting me. Now, at a time when common sense says I should be slowing down, my spirit craves adventure, the thrill of the unfamiliar, like a late dove that is just starting to grow wings. Leaving conventions aside, I feel the need to live my late years at the edge of my seat. Now is my time to take chances, before my bones get too soft as I recline on a velvet chaise lounge, before I cannot comprehend what is beyond my rose-curtained window, or my eyesight gets too faint to see the fire-red sun; or even worse, my will becomes too easy to bend. I want to uncork my wine bottle while I still can savor it.

The waves crash on the sands like a sharp clap of a thunder. I believe they are applauding, celebrating. I am so close to the shore, no way I will stop now. I keep my eyes on the nearby secure rocks. They will be the tangible trophy for independence, my prize for abating fears. Soon I will touch the waves as they rush to the sand. Then, I will know I left one more fear behind, shed like old sad skin.

I have a wedge of Paradise, defying a banner that said: "No Horses."

The hawk is back. I see him gliding about my head, serene this time. I reach my arm out as if to thank him. He raises high, slow, assured that I will be just fine.

Non-Fiction Writing Contest
Contest Winner


Word Count: 1166.
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