Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
TITLE: The Ladder
By Shane Kahkola
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Isaiah finally reached the edge of the woods and hesitated for just a moment. The sound of a shotgun blast broke him from his rest and in desperation he continued to sprint into the woods. The ten year old slave-turned-runner dodged every low-lying branch and jumped over every fallen log he could see. Some he missed, but he got back up and kept running. Finally, Isaiah missed yet another low-lying log. He hit the ground with a jaw-wrenching thud. After gathering his wits about him, he was astonished at what he saw.
Isaiah found a large tree he could not identify. The trunk was at least seven feet in diameter. It seemed to the small cowering boy that the top of the tree reached straight into Heaven. It was almost as if God had lowered a ladder for the refugee to find safety. Isaiah just looked up and said, “Thank ya Lawd for the ladder.”
Isaiah was as afraid of heights as he was the woods at night. He wasn’t sure if he truly was thankful for the ladder to the sky. But there was no way he could think about that. The boy just gritted his teeth and started climbing. The dark covering of bark and vine on the tower served well to help camouflage Isaiah’s skin.
Isaiah found a thick cluster of leaves surrounding four branches that intersected in many places. It was the perfect chair for a young man his size. Once situated, silence was an absolute necessity. Isaiah started breathing slow and deep. The men that were following him looked everywhere. None of them seemed capable of climbing a tree or looking-up, which was a perfect blessing as far as he could figure.
By the time the men had left the woods, Isaiah had fallen asleep in his comfortable chair. When the morning came, Isaiah was awakened by a squirrel scampering across his legs. Jolted and expecting to face the barrel end of a shotgun, Isaiah was relieved to find no one there.
Isaiah had conquered his fears. Somehow it had seemed that even the greatest of fears became the smallest of squirrels when God was around. Isaiah never would have gone in the woods, nor would he have ever climbed a tree. But, with no other options, God had led Isaiah to through his darkest concerns to his sweetest freedom.
After climbing down from the massive tree house God had put there, Isaiah just looked-up and said again, “Thank ya Lawd for the ladder,” then took off running.
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