Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Banquet - deadline 8-16-12 10 am NY time (08/09/12)
TITLE: Morning Walk
By Hiram Claudio
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One morning, she moved down the path that led from her home. Before leaving, she made sure to let her mother know she was just going for a walk and that she wouldn’t be long. As she stepped past the front gate, the experience began. She sensed everything around her deeply. As she closed her eyes, a cool breeze softly kissed her face. It felt as if it was sent just for her. The leaves floated up from the ground and then gently settled back.
It was autumn in New England. The colors that greeted her were rich and clear; varying shades of yellow, orange, and brown; all coming together to evoke a sense of calm and rest. The images were vibrant and yet at the same time peaceful. She didn’t understand how that could be and … she didn’t care. She began to partake of the sumptuous meal prepared for her soul.
As she turned to pass through a lush meadow, the grassy knoll was blanketed with red maple leaves as far as one could see. The covering was so thick she contemplated crawling underneath a nearby patch to quietly drift off to sleep. Birds were singing; greeting one another, and letting her know they were aware of her presence. In it all, she had the idea that they were greeting her as well and that … it was on behalf of someone else.
She continued on, reaching a still lake. Morning sunlight was dancing carefully on the surface, as if to insure that the water’s blue reflective mirror wasn’t disturbed. Small ripples could be seen though, as a family of ducks paddled through. She noticed a deer at one end of the lake enjoying morning refreshment. She didn’t seem to mind that Anna was there. Her focus was on her young ones. Anna was a welcomed character in this masterpiece that was being painted before her.
All around her was quiet. And that made all within her quiet too. As she walked past an oak tree, it seemed to call to her, inviting her to sit and rest awhile. Accepting the invitation, in the distance, she could see Miller’s pumpkin farm. Beyond the fence, in varying sizes, were endless rows of this seasonal staple. She was overwhelmed by how vivid their color seemed, more orange than usual, with a sheen that almost made them glow.
Anna leaned her head back and looked to the heavens. She realized that she’d been smiling widely since her visual feast began. And that it had been some time since she’d smiled so freely. As she looked back towards the meadow, thinking about heading home, she realized that so much of her life was before her. Being seventeen, she had many decisions to make, many options to sift through. At times, the weight of the crossroad she was facing summoned a storm of anxiety within her. Voices inside constantly reminded her of how easy it would be to get every decision wrong. They would also make it clear the consequences that followed if she did.
So to deal … Anna went for a walk. Not just to experience the beauty of creation or to enjoy a quiet refuge from the noise that filled her world. But during these moments, she could sense that she wasn’t alone. She truly believed someone was commanding the birds to greet her, that a loving presence invited her to sit and rest by the mighty oak. She felt … loved!
It was in these moments that she would hear her Creator tell her she’d be okay. That He would be there to walk with her in every decision she made. And even when the choices were not the best ones, He’d still be there. That no matter what she faced in this world, He wanted her to know that He made all of creation for her to enjoy. That He really had a life prepared for her that was abundant.
He also wanted her to know that, while she traveled through this amazing banquet called life, His deepest hope was she’d always choose to hold His hand firmly … that they would enjoy each day’s feast together!
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