Back To The Real World

It took literally getting hit by a small boulder in my left leg to check back into the “real” world mentally. You know, the one where people live indoors and are accustomed to interacting in spaces with more than two other people in them. The amount of time I had spent on my own in the outdoors allowed me to nearly escape the pandemic entirely. The hiking buff that covered my face reverted to its intended summer use as a shield between my mouth and nature’s most annoying flying insects (sorry entomologists). However, a recent hike with a friend helped knocked me back to reality.

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Why I Kidnapped My Friends

I grew up in a predominantly white, rural town. Some people identified as Latino or Hispanic, but in every single class that I was in, whether it be dance, school, gymnastics, or karate, I was always the darkest one. There would be another Black person occasionally, and it wouldn’t be until I was able to explore more around town that I finally saw the rest of the community. The ones with darker skin like mine were, quite literally, segregated on the other side of town. None of the people I hung out with even knew about it. My classmates would even freak out when we got another Black boy in class.

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Finding Courage

How Briefly Getting Lost In The Wilderness Made Me Realize We Should Be More Like Ron Weasley

I heard rustling from the freely growing shrubbery that lined the dirt trail, and then I saw it crash from seemingly nowhere about 20 feet ahead of my trekking poles. The crash sounded like the moment a riding horse shifts from a trot to a full gallop. I could hear the sheer power of the hooves and the weight of the large animal as it slammed onto the narrow ledge of the rock face several thousand feet above the last human I saw. The doe quickly rolled from where it landed on its side and shot up before staring in my direction. I froze. The deer froze, and we made eye contact for what seemed like a full 20 seconds.

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How To Be Alone On Top Of A Mountain

I was alone for the first time in the woods. I went onto the trail without a sign from anyone around, but on the way back, I saw a pile of fresh bear scat in the middle of the trail. I first heard noises behind the trees off to the distance and then saw the bushes move. “Of course I would get mauled by a bear the very first time I decided to hike by myself,” or so I thought, and so I picked up my hiking pace three-fold and made it out of the heavily-bear-populated mountains with a story. That was a little over a year ago.

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Dirty Windshields

clouds sunset and crops in the country

The deep orange and warm yellow light from the setting sun seeps into the car through a thin sheet of lightly tanned dust that is gently layered over the windshield. I calmly gaze out beyond the sea of slowly moving vehicles that are stuck in traffic to the horizon. The subtle bits of grime and dust wouldn’t have been as noticeable if it wasn’t for the incandescent rays from the falling orb in the sky, but I find the messy view comforting.

It’s this image of the dusty windshield that steals away my thoughts and brings me back to older times. I’m reminded of long drives in pickup trucks along the dusty back roads that are nestled in between fields of growing crops out in the country. I can easily hear conversations and sing-alongs to classic country songs with my best friend as I soak in the similarly warm glimmers of a sunset that finds its way through the dusty windshield.

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The Breath of Summer

Writing about summer.I took a breath as I stepped out into the light. A familiar scent of dust covered asphalt gently baking like a sheet of homemade cookies in an oven brushed by me as I began to exhale. The subtle scent would sit on the tip of my nostrils as I walked to my car that was strategically parked under the eve of a nearby building’s roof. I felt a heaviness in the air as I sifted through the barely noticeable light summer breeze. It was undoubtedly warm outside, and the thermometer I saw, after I finally climbed into my car and turned on the engine, indicated that it was steadily growing warmer. Continue reading “The Breath of Summer”

A Collection of Memories

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Photo by Hans

The first family road trip, that I can remember, happened sometime around the age of eight or nine. I was handed a Kodak disposable camera and carefully tried to ration the allotted photos that could be taken on the wind-up-operating device. However, because I was only eight and had no experience with cameras and didn’t feel like using the view finder, I quickly went through the film reel by taking terrible pictures with thumbs partial blocking blurred views of ordinary trees from the inside of a moving car. Continue reading “A Collection of Memories”

The End of A Journey (Part 2 of 2)

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Along the U.S. Northwestern Coast

The last five days before my best friend and I started new full-time jobs, and receiving talks about promotions, were the days we used to travel up and then back down along America’s west coast. We took to the highways, side roads, and freeways like a drop of water takes shape in a rushing stream. It was as if we forgot the world where we both had to go to our jobs, water our plants, and take out the trash, and lived, for a moment, as traveling gypsies hugging the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

We traveled from Southern California, up the 5 and along the 101 Redwood Hwy. We stopped to gaze up at the epic wooden splendor and slept at the foot of nature’s long-living giants. Continue reading “The End of A Journey (Part 2 of 2)”

The End Of A Journey (Part 1 of 2)

 We never used to be able to fully explain how the idea for a road trip to Oregon came about. When asked by a new friend why we would want to travel there, all we could muster at the moment was, “because it’s just there,” even though we knew it wasn’t quite true.

When thinking back on the first mentions of Oregon we knew the story sort of began a few years ago after a long lost love re-entered my best friend’s life just before exiting again one summer. Continue reading “The End Of A Journey (Part 1 of 2)”

Writing Prompt: The Change

Writing Prompt: Instead of writing a dark, gritty version of a sweet story, make a grim and horrifying tale genuinely heartwarming

Photo by Arielle Kristina via Flickr
Photo by Arielle Kristina via Flickr

It had all started one day after I sat down for a meal in my home. That day, I had a rather large helping of crisp salad, which still had the dew from the fresh water that had washed over the leaves. I had scurried off to bed after becoming uncharacteristically exhausted and quickly closed my eyes in search for rest.

The next day I noticed a very strange feeling in my body. I had opened my eyes and looked down in confusion of what I had witnessed next. The body that I had woken up in vaguely appeared to be the one that I had before I went to bed the previous day, and what I had lived in since my birth. Continue reading “Writing Prompt: The Change”