Back on our vacation along the west coast and in California, one of the most remarkable stops we made was at Yosemite National Park. The colossal granite cliffs and the seemingly endless beautiful red woods were inspirational and alluring, like a mystery, longing to be solved by our own inquisitiveness and audacious attitudes. One memorable evening in the mountains, my family and I were just about ready to call it a night, as we were taking the drive from Tuolumne Meadows back to the village at the base of the valley.
Earlier in the day on the way to the meadows, we made a stop at Olmstead Point. We got out to stretch our legs a bit and take in the awe-inspiring views. Looking out, there was a brilliant view of the bright blue Tenaya Lake. One of my sisters and I ventured out to the left, where there was a sloping granite slab. We climbed up to find an unobstructed, striking, view of everything around us. It was beyond comprehension; it was simply breathtaking.
Night had fallen over Yosemite and I urged my dad to stop again so we take in the view from a different perspective. My dad parked at Olmstead Point again, and this time, our whole family followed me and my sister up the granite slab. We made the climb effortlessly, our path illuminated by the blue radiance of the night sky. We reached the top and when I looked up I was lost in a different world, once again. The full moon appeared to be larger than I had ever seen it before. It seemed as if there wasn’t a star in the sky we couldn’t see. The view was so different from that of the night sky on Long Island in New York. For a moment, laying there on the cold stone and gazing at the sky, I was at a complete loss for words. I looked at my sister and she looked back, and it was as if our language was neither precise nor developed enough to accurately describe how we felt in that instant. It seemed as if every thought and care I had in the world had vanished. All I could think of was how this is where I desired to be.
The glorious noise of the wilderness around us was more like a soundtrack for the harmony of it all. When I sat up and looked out at the valley it was like a dream seeing the black trees against the deep blue night sky, and the moon, making the cliffs shine like silver. We were away from it all, the noise, the hassle, and stress of everyday. We were in the mountains looking at the skies that were not polluted by light. It was nature in such a pure form, and I was just another organism in it all.
Nothing could destroy that moment. No human activity could encase the beauty, and for once, Mother Nature was in control of it all. We lied there for what felt like hours, not a word was spoken. No words could amount to the flawlessness of the situation. I won’t soon forget that night. That experience was emotionally cleansing to me. It was a moment of connection with my inner self and it was a moment that changed me. That trip and that day have been my inspiration. I want to study environmental science and help preserve places like these for future generations. Everybody deserves to experience the natural beauty of our planet, just like I did on my trip to Yosemite.
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