"This I Believe" Contest - 2010 Winners
Astoria High School
"Freedom of the Past"
I believe in instinct. I have a love affair with things long gone, things wild and untamed, the feelings felt by my ancestors. I love to unleash the savage beast inside me, to let it taste freedom untouched by the chains of civilization. Chances to go back to the past are few and fleeting. Although short, these primal experiences have been some of the most enjoyable in my life.
Recently I went on a vacation to Oregon. Although I was enjoying my vacation - swimming, trying local foods, and seeing the sights - I wanted more. My family and I decided to hike through the wet, plant-filled forest several miles north of Portland, Oregon. I began to walk alone, ahead of the group. The fresh surroundings energized me, and I began to run. The humid August air caused my body to drip sweat and spew heat. I took my shirt off, then my shoes. I set them at a spot I could come back to on the trail and continued running. I ran, not like a human
jogging down the street, but as an agile cat, bounding on my toes over the rocky path. My feet felt pain, but they also felt pleasure. They felt the wet soil, the curve of every rock, every moss and lichen, and the rotting trunks of trees.
Soon I met a cliff. Afraid, I ran faster. It dropped steeply to the side, but I crushed it with my adrenaline. I ran quicker now that I had conquered
the cliff. I forgot the path existed and ran straight into the forest. Leaves brushed my hair, sticks and twigs scraped my bare chest and legs. Cold water jumped from the trees to my body, cooling my warm, tanned skin. The forest and I were one. I felt that she cared for me and guided me on a winding path that was leading straight toward something.
Soon the hills steepened, and my legs began to burn. I found a stream falling off a ledge and fed my burning throat. I continued on and came to the summit. The wind caressed my back and shivers ran up from the earth into my body. Wild emotions surged through my veins as I viewed all that lay before me. Carnal anger and raw, unforgiving power flowed within me. I was above the world, and it was mine. The fury rose up
into a scream, then a howl, and finally the roar of a lion came tearing out of me, my muscles tensed, eyes of blue steel, and sweat pouring off of my lean frame. I listened to my echo; all else was silent. My hair blew with the wind, guiding me down to a waterfall below. I finished the run
with a jump off the falls into the icy water below. My body rose out shivering, renewed.
I saw clearly now and had been reborn. I knew what I believed. I believe in my wild instinct.