Meeting the Shadow

As I begin to walk home, I ponder on the issue. Perhaps I am reluctant to change. I brush my palm against a growing pine tree and instantly withdraw at the prickling sensation. As I stop to examine my hand, irritated at my reverie being broken, I notice the stillness that surrounds me. The branches above me are no longer being swayed - the little birds now sit on boughs, closer to their homes. The forest around me seems to darken, and I am taken aback by the gleam of sunlight on the pathway, subsiding hastily. Though it is still bright, the colors of the forestry around me seem to be subdued. It is as if a blanket slowly envelops the ground from up above, but as it sometimes happens, it is unevenly fallen - and dusk comes restfully, prompting those awake and busy to recede into the comfort of their homes as the ground is tucked into the comfortable darkness. In spite of the reclining scenery, I feel alarmed. I have only walked through the forest during the daylight, and the sudden lack of chirping and rustling is met with an uneasy feeling. I begin to walk faster, but as panic sets in, I find myself running through the woods. The worry I begin to feel, evokes, once again, the agitation I have discerned within myself before I entered the forest. As this was my last day of school, I left later than usual so as to part with my teachers and friends, who, unlike me, frantically collected their things to leave as soon as the bell was heard. It seems to me that no one endures the fear that is induced by the terrifying transitory periods in life. When I say 'transitory,' I do not have in mind the crucial, epoch-making changes, such as moving out of the country. Instead, I think of the seemingly sudden, frightening surge into adulthood, where your responsibilities and surroundings do not change, yet you are no longer perceived as a child. I abruptly come to a stop as I realize my legs can take me no farther - I am out of breath. I lean against the tree beside me. When I finally regain my countenance, I am obliged to inspect my surroundings once more, to ensure that I am not lost. To my pleasant surprise, I realize I am not far from home. I allow myself to stay seated. The moonlit path ahead of me brings me an unanticipated sense of composure. The trees seem to breathe alongside me as the breeze sways them in a uniform motion, though I do not hear the wind. The forest is silent - I requite with a stillness just the same. The darkened hues fuse into the velvet shades that enwreathe the stars, which in turn seem to cushion me from baseless distress. I rise, dignified, but a revelation stops me from resuming - or rather, commencing - my amble through the forest. Perhaps my future is only frightening as it is dimly lit. The forest stands the same at dusk as it does at dawn - I am only frightened by the alien feeling of uncertainty and darkness. Perhaps it is not terrifying at all. Perhaps it is only strange to me. I have not become acquainted with it yet. I smile, and gently graze my palm against the prickly wands of pine, before stepping in to meet the shadow.

Christina Stavrides is a student living on an island called Cyprus. She loves to read and write in her spare time and dreams of becoming or journalist or writer in the future. She adores taking long walks by the beach.

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