The Great Schuette Adventure

photo credit: Colorado Ski Country USA

Crested Butte, Colorado. The best place to ski during the winters and get bitten by ants in the summer.

The duration of my vacation was about two weeks and it started with driving to TacoTime. The closest TacoTime was at a Vegas truck stop, the food made my stomach hurt. After eating the deep fried burritos, we started driving to St. George, Utah.

The view was spectacular and the climate was hot, like once I stepped outside the car I felt as though I was going to die from heatstroke. My sister and I swam in the pool, she tried to drown me. The next day we went on a hike on the outskirts of Zion National Park. The hike was called Spring Creek and it was in a slot, the different colors of the rocks were breathtaking.

After the long hike we explored St. George. We went to a couple of thrift shops, we did not find anything cool enough to buy, and visited Brigham Young’s winter home. We learned all about the Mormon church and were even approached to join, but we didn’t convert.

The next day we went on a small walk to Dixie rock and drove up Kolob Canyon. We made a couple of pit stops because pictures or it didn’t happen. Eventually we made it to our one mile hike to a lookout spot. While walking back to the car we heard a rattle, we almost got attacked by a rattlesnake.

After a couple of hours, more like nine hours, and a McDonald’s pitstop we made it to Grand Junction, Colorado. I tried Dairy Queen the first time, not worth the hype. We finally made it to Gunnison.

Our trip consisted of hiking, hiking, and more hiking. We hiked down the entirety of Crested Butte Mountain during a lightning and thunderstorm. The weather was bipolar, either too hot or too rainy and stormy. I toured my first college, Western Colorado University. The campus was gorgeous and the school had lots to offer, but Gunnison is the most boring town in existence.

My mom, sister, and I all went rafting. Every time we are in Colorado during the summer we go rafting, and get the craziest photos. Our family met us in Colorado and we went to an insanely late dinner, our reservation was at 9 O’clock pm. We went to a place called Slogars, they specialize in fried chicken.

Overall the trip to Colorado was amazing, but it was time to head back home. We drove to Bryce Canyon, Utah. It was two Best Westerns and that was basically the town. The food was not good, like LAUSD’s cafeteria food was more edible. In the morning we went to hike the Peekaboo Loop trail. It turns out that since there were mudslides before the trail was closed we illegally hiked a trail.

My mom found a nice restaurant in the town over, and the food was actually edible. We ordered pork chops, burrata, bread (OMG the bread was to die for), crab mac and cheese, french onion soup and a carrot salad. We could not leave without getting dessert, so we got three different options: chocolate bourbon mousse, cheesecake, and a rhubarb crumble.

The next day it was time for us to head home, we drove and drove and drove until we home. The trip was amazing but being home and sleeping in my own bed was exhilarating.

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

capstone pt. 12

That all changed when she brought me to the ocean

In those rich minutes the light was warm gold,

viscous, she let it in

floating in the sodium and the waves.

Rocking back and forth

I fought the ocean,

that colossal blue,

as it pulled the warmth from my heavy limbs,

Suspended four inches from the plexiglass surface,

blowing fat bubbles that distorted your reflection.

Time changed that though,

and warm gold became cool to the touch

sad skin

No matter how warm

Rubs against mine

Like pruned fingers

on paper

One month in Africa

In October I will be going on a one-two month-long safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya. I have visited Africa several times now for my photography expedition, but they usually only lasted between 1-2 weeks. Now I am ready for something bigger. I am incredibly excited, but part of me is also very nervous. One month of getting up at 4.30 am every morning, being on safari for about 11-12 hours a day can be very tiring and intimidating. But it is what I love, and I am more than excited about this adventure. Every day being out with these amazing animals, taking pictures, and sharing them with the world, what an absolute dream!

I have met so many amazing people through my photography: guides, other photographers, and even scientists. We all have the same passion; protecting these beautiful animals and sharing their beauty with the world to conserve them for many more generations to see.

I believe animals can teach us so much and they can help people. For me, I am just happy when I am among wildlife, all my stress is gone and I just feel relaxed. Doing my photography has helped me a lot through hard times, and it never fails to make me happy. Getting feedback from people who admire your work is so motivating and it makes you proud to have come where you are now.

picture by author

Ode to Trees

Watching the world as time flies

From beginning to end

Standing strong in tough times

From cold winters to hot summers

Watching us grow old. 

Swaying in the wind

Providing cover in the rain

And shade in the sun

Providing a place to rest

A place to ease the pain

We don’t appreciate it

How lucky we are

They gave life to us all

The sweetness we cut down with greed

One by one they fall

As will we

Image From Arbor Day Blog

capstone pt.7

This trip turned all that thought inward at times

It forced me to really think about what i was feeling,

and to sit inside my heart

so that my hard wired head could stop

and i became content to be in my own space

content to sit within myself as I moved. 

content to just watch as the world changed around me

merely maneuvering my truck from idea to idea

it forced me to process things by writing them

but it also gave me the space to think things through in conversations on the phone

but that depended entirely on cell service 

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

Literature

As I look towards the AP English Literature Exam, I find that my favorite book can be applied to almost any prompt.

When you truly admire a work of literature, you can find obscure concepts within it. The Great Gatsby has been my favorite book to analyze and read. Once you finish a class, you can feel the literature being put behind you as you close each of the books. However, AP English Literature class has given me an opportunity to revisit old stories and use my newer skills to analyze these works further.

I look forward to using my personal collection of stories I’ve read to answer prompts on the AP exam, as it will allow me to reflect on my academic highlights from school. As I recall each story, I can remember the class conversations I’ve participated in and the numerous essays I’ve written. I hope to remember these stories into my older years and apply them to my own life.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Art by Francis Cugat

Pushing through

About a year and a half ago I got a brand new mountain bike. I was like a little kid, getting all excited to ride around with it. The town my school is in is like a mountain bike paradise. There are many amazing trails for every level of skill. I started with some easy trails and each week I would go a little harder and harder. I could feel my muscles and stamina building up more and more. When the pandemic started, I was out on my bike every single day. It was my way of getting my energy out. I just hated sitting at my computer all day doing school work and I needed some way to release my built-up stress. Mountain-biking really helped me with that, and I had a blast every time I was on the trail.

During summer I left my bike in America while I went back to Germany. I came back to the U.S end of January and hadn’t biked at all since I left the U.S. I got my bike but being at boarding school made it hard for me to go biking. in mid-April, our outdoor-ed teacher announced several new overnight camping trips that were going out throughout April and May, one of those being a mountain bike trip. I was excited but on the other hand hesitant. I wasn’t on this list yet but I was able to sign up for it. I was hesitant because I was just so out of shape and hadn’t been biking in almost a whole year. I decided not to sign up because my anxiety just took a hold of me. I was really sad and still contemplating if I should just go. The day before the trip the outdoor-ed teacher came up to me and asked if I wanted to join on the trip as I had my bike in my room.

I decided to just get over my fear and said yes. I was nervous that I would be the one slowing them down the whole time and that I would always be the last. The next day we left campus and made our way to the campground. It was absolutely beautiful. In the afternoon we took our bikes and biked down to a waterhole. It was all downhill and it was absolutely amazing, I felt happy and just free. We swam for a while, ate dinner, and then it was time to return to the campground. I had biked that exact trail before and knew that the way back was an absolute pain because it was all uphill. There was one van driving back to the campground, but three of us had to bike back. I decided I would just push through it and bike the way back. 

The last time I had biked that road up I had to stop about 6 times to take a break because I was so exhausted. We started biking up the road and I felt good. We kept going and going uphill and I was very surprised that I wasn’t exhausted at all. I just kept pushing and pushing and then we made it to the top and I had a wave of happiness come over me. I was so happy because I improved so much from the last time I biked up that hill. It was an awesome trip and I am excited to keep mountain biking.

picture by author

Nine Ways of Looking at the Moon

I

The sky was set 

The moon the captain of the army in the still night’s sky

II

Dazed I look up 

The moon, full, like a handle on the door to heaven

III

Scene three:

The moon in its commanding role 

Casts a spell on the audience 

The audience that is us

The spell that is an enigma

IV

A woman and the moon are one 

A woman and a man are two

A woman and a man and a moon are a romance

V

I prefer the moon

The serenity 

The beautiful chasm that allures

That is the moon

The sun is not the moon

I prefer the moon

VI

The walking dream has left me awoken 

Life and light has left me

Love has left me

A lonely spirit searching

A lonely spirit searched 

And found you 

The moon

VII

The rhythm of the heartbeat of the night pulses

The moon hangs on Orion’s belt protecting him

Protecting us

I know of a time

A secret time

That time is now

VIII

Shoot for the moon

And if you miss you’ll land in the stars

The woman who flew to the moon

IX

The captain commands his army

The flames of the day burn

A newly painted sky dries

I see a blackbird fly by

As the moon says goodbye

Image From Nasa

Ending a chapter

Five more weeks. Only five more weeks and one of the biggest chapters of my life will come to an end. I came to America 3 years ago, planning on only staying for half a year. And now here I am, three years later. These have been the best three years of my life. I will miss this place more than I can explain. All the memories and people. It is hard leaving it behind. But I know that I will always be connected to this place and to the people. I know I will return, and I have made friendships for life here. 

Even though I am very sad to leave, I am also excited to see what the future will hold. I have so many plans and trips coming up that I can hardly wait for. I am taking a gap year in which I will be in a different country every month doing my wildlife photography. I am going on a 1-month backpacking trip in Montana and I have so many more plans, and then college. I couldn’t be happier with my college decision. I will be attending Montana State University. The location is absolutely beautiful, they have amazing programs, and their outdoor program is everything I was looking for in a college. The Yellowstone ecosystem is just 30 minutes away from campus and there are awesome ski resorts nearby.

I am incredibly sad to leave Highschool but I will never forget the people and memories I have made here. Thank you for the best three years of my life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montana_State_University