An Observation

From here I see my campus from an aerial view. If I turn around, I see the backs of the display books in the library. I feel as if I am spying on my own classes, looking through the glass as if admiring a fish tank. The empty space is filled with reflections of light as the mountains project onto the classroom air. The ceiling is as busy as the ground, as the light blends the air the way water blends light.

The soft, patchy hills feel uninviting up close as the pine needles keep me seated delicately. The towering trees are no mightier than grass in the valley, as the vertical space of campus is dominated by mountains, surrounded by empty air.

The birds aren’t tied to the ground. The space is theirs, and they are free to exist on a higher plane. They have their own conversations up here. They chatter amongst each other as I do with my friends in the confines of the trees. 

For this moment, I am with them. I exist on the higher plane, resisting the hour where I will return to my path on the game board of campus. The ground is vast, and I never considered my ability to break my trails. I’ve existed on this campus for years, and I’ve traced the same route each day, etching my footprints into the ground. I’ve left spaces abandoned and ignored. There are pockets in the trees where I’ve never set foot. The heart of campus is in the green leaves, though I experience life on the white concrete, referencing the trees as accessories.

From afar, these trees are the campus. Each little patch on the mountain is a three dimensional plant that stands alone. The buildings are silent amongst the loud winds that rush through the branches, and are invisible behind the deep, warm tones of nature. Before returning to my concrete trail, I will keep in mind where the life of campus resides. My existence circles the trees, and my classroom is not as tall as I once believed.

Image Credit: Home Stratosphere

Scheduling

As graduation comes near, I have filled nearly every block in my schedule with events. I’ve needed to purchase more clothes to accommodate the frequency at which I will need to dress up.

With back-to-back formal events, it feels as though we are making up for a year of lost time. Due to quarantine, I have not worn formal attire in almost two years. This schedule is typical for end-of-year seniors, though I often find myself opening my planner a bit too often out of excitement.

Having a filled calendar gives me something to look forward to each day or week. Even if it’s just a final exam, that day has something written on it. My school planner is running out of pages, and the schedule has grown so long that I may need to purchase next school year’s calendar early.

With all of these plans, I hope that the blank days following graduation will not feel empty. I have plans for the summer as well as college to attend, though, while I look forward to the break, I plan to enjoy every day of this busy May.

Image Credit: Quapaw Area Council

My Pencil

With the slow re-entrance to in-person classes, I have found that several digital aspects still remain part of my daily routine. While I used to carry a large pencil case with an assortment of options, I now have only one pencil that I keep in a little fuzzy pouch. Paper handouts are a rare commodity these days, and I find my handwriting degrading by the day.

I have left behind the use of binders – something which I have practiced and perfected since the second grade. The amount of papers I use now simply does not fill enough space to justify the use of a large cardboard structure that fills my backpack. I now carry a simple folder, one I have been saving for years.

My inability to write as aesthetically as I did in previous years may hinder me in life, but at least I can type efficiently.

I know that I will never retire my pencil, however, as there will always be a need to write.

Image Credit: CBS News

Deciding

As colleges acceptances come to a close, I am left with a mere thirty days to decide where I want to spend the next four years.

Based on circumstances I can’t remember, I have narrowed it down to two colleges. One of prestige, and one of comfort.

Now I must decide, do I go to a school the size of a small town with a bumper sticker name, or a smaller school a step up from high school? As I gravitate towards the larger school, another big one comes in to play.

The final college decision letter. What was originally my top choice (though now I’m unsure) will now be competing with my new, other top choice.

There are two outcomes to this situation. Either they reject me and I’m disappointed, though my decision is made easier. Or I am accepted, and I now must choose.

I can’t decide which is harder. Though subconsciously, I know which choice is right.

Image Credit: UCLA Newsroom

Spring

Each year, spring seems to be the most overwhelming season. School begins to speed up as we are faced with tasks each day.

Now that the pandemic is slowly returning to normalcy as more students come onto campus, we are catching up on what we missed. This, however, results in the cramming of a years’ worth of experience into a single month. It is enjoyable in its little moments, though when I look at my planner, the words begin to blend into each other as the pages are smeared with hastily placed pencil marks. I return to my planner hourly, adding both academic assignments and extracurricular events. It is covered with reminders, such as bring my costume for the musical, or drop off a scholarship application.

I enjoy each day thoroughly, though looking ahead can be overwhelming. The tasks for one day are manageable, though skimming the multiple notes and plans for the week can feel as though it all must be done that day.

Perspective is vital to managing a planner. I always note that I am living in only one of the days on the page, and it is not yet time to manage the others. This spring may be busy, though it is my last opportunity to experience high school. I plan to enjoy every day, as they are my final moments on this campus.

Spring
Image Credit: Alina Demidenko – iStock

foggy memories

the oaks

wrinkles,

white walls

metallic beige

flying roaring

,cutting,

white walls;

warm animals 

in half motion

motioning

in motion.

you latch on

to these moments, these images,

as they race in your head,

as they take tight turns,

as a force like gravity pulls and pulls you away.

you find yourself empty save the quiet conversations and the warm silence. the moments that make you you. but how ‘bout I move them? 

how ‘bout i reorganize the pantry,

pull the back towards the front,

pour it all out?

how ‘bout when you feel those candlewarm memories

in your stainless vaccum

you feel them.

you feel the road, the car

the pull,

you feel the moment, the memory

fading

into the fog.

from pintrest

Rain

Cold winter days often seem to fall short of the media’s predictions. We scheduled an early departure from school in anticipation of dangerous storms, though we’re met with trickles of water creating small puddles in dry dirt.

I tend to dress dramatically for the cold. I wear two pears of socks, two jackets, and keep a spare pair of gloves in my backpack. I prefer to overheat than freeze from the brisk winds. My wardrobe has many jackets, though only one of them I have deemed warm enough for January weather.

Although the cold is difficult, I do hope for adventure’s sake that we experience more rain. I keep my prized umbrella tucked away in my backpack, waiting for the day when I can use it again. I enjoy the trek from classroom to classroom as I use my umbrella as a shield from the harsh sky. February is likely to bring more rain, and I won’t put my umbrella away until the sun is revealed.

Image Credit: Ali Berman

Mural

Right now I am planning for a mural I will be painting on former OVS teacher, Ms. Pasqua’s house. She has inspired me to paint a scene of Ojai with the Topa Topa mountains lined with inspirational quotes. This mural is an outlet for me to express my passion in the fight for equity.

The Ojai Valley has given me so many opportunities to improve myself as an artist, and painting a mural visible to its residents is my way of giving back to the community. I have had practice with this form of art in middle school when we worked on large-scale projects. I helped to work on the Fourth of July parade floats as well as life-size paper mache projects. I painted giant decorations to add to our OVS float, and created letter-signs that spelled out the name of our school.

Growing up and seeing the beautiful murals in Ventura County, I have always wanted to add my own color to the town. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to gain more experience with painting and share my art with the Ojai community.

The Ventura Mural that inspired me to paint on a larger scale.
Image Credit: Lu Ross Academy

My Turtle Koa

For Christmas my grandma gave me a turtle. Her name is Koa, and she came with a little bead bracelet and a card to track her movements in the wide ocean. I scanned her code, and my phone displayed a map of where she was released.

Her journey began on the coast of Florida as her rescuers released her into the wild. I could see she had already swam miles up the coast of the United States. She had passed Georgia territory and was nearing North Carolina.

Her little fins took her across half of the country, and halfway back. When I had previously thought about sea creatures, I had always imagined they’d stay in one area that they called home. My experience with Koa, however, has showed me that she is a true explorer of the ocean with no limits or boundaries.

I am grateful to have a connection to a living part of the ocean that I can check in on each day.

Image Credit: Shane Meyers

Fire

I

The leaves rustle gently at first,

barely moving in the otherwise stagnant air.

But the wind comes, and will come again. 

Every year.

II

It’s eerily warm when

the hearty Santa Ana winds,

the december gusts, come 

to breathe full of life

limbs of dry straw.

Shrubbery sings with that transient weight;

shrubbery that won’t be here tomorrow.

III

Before the door could be closed

a delicate leaf let itself in.

Frail, yellow, brittle.

Winter boots shatter it; 

the shards driven into

the green carpet.

IV

Autumn came when no one was looking, quiet and still, 

but Winter knocked on the door.

Warm winds; loose leaves;

oak and sycamore;

helpless faces;

unpacked clothes strewn, full of life,

on the floor.

V

Fires often blow through on winds like these,

—the threat, toothsome and tangible—

but even as the wind whips

and the sparse clouds hurry across the sky,

cruel circumstance sits suspended in hot heavy air.

VI

Heavy walls went like cardboard 

big weight bearing beams became matchsticks

that snap between fat flaming fingers

recollection ripped out of picture frames

folders full of ash

crumpled filing cabinets

and melted metal memories 

a world engulfed

in wind

in the night

in warm welling eyes

in the sweltering night.

VII

Gnawing on the bones

baying at the hunt

howling in the wind

a hound of three heads sicced 

uncontrollable 

delighting in the chaos 

in pandemonium’s wild embrace.

VIII

silence settled,

the land rested.

no fireman’s boots,

no tennis shoes,

no cars,

no buildings,

no birds.

Just cold black earth,

warm embers,

warm breeze.

IX

Green growth sparsely populates the scorched earth.

Grasses, gaining ground.

But deep in the center the blackness still sits.

Telling you things are not as they once were,

Succession is a process, aching and raw;

but nothing could be so delicate and pure

as the inkling of new life

among black expanse.

X

These winds will whip 

hearts to attention

for years to come.

From: KPCC