by Sarah Boquet

The trees had this artistry to them, a beauty that reflected on the water they guarded. I couldn’t pinpoint where I sat, despite the thousands of times I’d trekked the area. The scenery always seemed different when I roamed alone; the trees that generally danced in the wind stood still, and the crows spoke a more tranquil, melodic tune. Even the creek sat silent.

I watched the six and seven-year-olds run around the wooded area in the same manner I used to. I’d been instructed to keep a close eye on them, as if they would disappear to a place we all unconsciously desired to visit. The children were never as fearless as I used to be, never as audacious and presumptuous.

Perhaps, maybe, they deserved a day on their own, a day to truly feel amazed by the mere concept of this place. Perhaps these six and seven and eight-year-olds needed to sit on the wooden bench, surrounded by maple and oak and the caterpillars that fell on your shoulders, begging to take them to a place they’d always imagined. Maybe the children needed to laugh a little more and trip a little more and cry a little more. Perhaps they needed time to run off course, over the bridge that was constructed by Katrina’s wrath, and into the land I found my soul in. Perhaps these children needed to be lost, disunited from the society that reprimands them for being courageous.

I stood from my resting place, my observation post, and followed the dirt trail that opened to the world I shunned. For a second or two, perhaps maybe five, I turned back toward the children, who were doused in nature, who had disregarded the exodus of their lifeguard, and bid them good day, for when they realize they are alone, they will finally find the serenity we all await.