What was supposed to be just a fun summer turned out to be one of the greatest moments in my life. I grew up in the city with all its glittering lights and fast paced movements, but when I had an opportunity to see the countryside one summer, my life took an unexpected change.
As my family and I drove away for the road trip to Illinois, I waved goodbye to home — the big city — the only thing that I have known all my life. I was excited and nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, but in the back of my mind I didn’t have a thought of how it would be.
Going through Arizona woke up my sense of smell! It was cow manure, to be frank. The road passed through farms along the way and I took a good whiff of it. The only smell that I was accustomed to is new shoes and car wax. I had a little dose of what my trip was going to be about when I woke up the next morning at 5:00 a.m. and arrived at the great Grand Canyon.
I was breathless and amazed at such a spectacular sight — the morning sun rising from behind the mountainous rocks in light shades of pink and purple. The view was astonishing and gorgeous as I looked far into the deep valley of the canyon, and across the rigid layers to the sunrise. Although I was blown away by the sight of the beautiful Grand Canyon, I didn’t quite ‘wake up’ yet.
I still did not know what to expect. We also passed through New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma and just like any tourist, I purchased little souvenirs to take home and verify that I was there. All this time I was meandering around and having fun just as I would in my home of downtown San Diego. It was until we reached Arkansas was when I was completely shocked and stunned.
Driving into Arkansas is something itself. The border straddling Oklahoma and Arkansas was a complete contrast. Alongside the roadway, the greenest trees stood side by side, emerging from the ground. I stuck my head out the window and let the wind of the open road blow my hair wildly.
I believe this is what it means to be free. At last, we reached my stepfather’s dad’s farm in Illinois. The open space was incredible because I felt wild and unstoppable. I took advantage of that freedom and ran through the bean field, letting my hair fly through the wind.
In the evening, the crickets would sing, a noise that I did not recognize. The sound of the city often covers up quietness and the beauty of nature, and this form of solitude goes unnoticed.
The cornfield was an image of perfection. The rows lined up perfectly — row by row, column by column. It was an amazing sight because everything was neat and in place. While walking through the farm, it smelled like rain after a shower. It was light and sweet and dainty.
My trip back home was a quiet reflection of appreciation for my experience. I was thankful to be able to see a different part of life that I could never see back in the city. This was not just an ordinary summer road trip. This was a summer that changed my life.
Being able to see the beautiful open country allowed me to be open to adventures and opportunities knocking. It also made me become a better writer because I try to describe the feelings that I have down in words. I want to be able to share my wonderful experience with others. I wish they could feel the love that I feel.
This trip to the country has opened my eyes to the things that I would usually overlook, such as the beauty of a tree. I am able to see now the firm tree that waves its limb in the wind, gently swaying with the zephyr. Reflecting back on the sweet night sky on the farm, the wide clear lake, and the immense prairie with the sea of grass, I am now thankful to be able to view life with a new perspective and profound openness. I am thankful to be able to open my heart to the world, taking my experiences with me as I trek along this journey we call life.
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