This I Believe

Tiffany - Oak Park, California
Entered on October 27, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Beneath the Shadows

Not much happens in the small, suburban town I live in, but what happened that night might have turned adults heads, woke up students sleeping through geometry class, and basically made our town lose faith in people, but what it really did was created stories for our children, and our children’s children, because everything in the world eventually becomes just another tale. This, I believe.

Not many people think a park is significant at all. In reality it’s just a place for kids to play on bars, swing back and forth, maybe rush down a slide at light speed, or just lay under a tall tree until the sun would hide its head. No one really realized that the park was more than a little play-place, or another field of grass, but it was a memory. A place filled with the first time I fell off a bike and totally scraped my knee, or that amazing summer where I found a whole penny under the jungle gym and almost traded it with Sam for a popsicle: the park was an entire storybook.

Recently, everyone woke up one morning to find empty cans of beer scattered around what used to be a slope of tall trees and sweeping thickets. What was there when we looked down, were sorrowful, mourning stumps less than a centimeter high, and the remains of tired, angry branches. To this day, nobody knows who had done this, although many believe it’s the work of drunken teenagers that had nothing better to do, but I believe otherwise.

I watched from the grassy hilltops that hover the park, as twenty men in dirt-stained vests planted nine new trees. I believe the cutting down of the trees wasn’t a bad thing at all.

I believe that fifteen years from now, when the next generation of children will sit under these soaring, towered oak trees, that we’ll be able to tell them a tale. Tell them the story of how the tress were cut down by a troop of insane, lumberjack men who pierced through our town and took whatever was in their way, or the story of how a thirty foot elephant escaped from a mad scientist’s laboratory and stomped down the trees during a heart jumping race, or even the mystery of the missing leaves. I believe that the trees tell a story.

Whether it’s an earthquake, a death, or a tree massacre, in a few days, maybe weeks, months, or decades later, it will just become a story to tell. I believe that truth, equality, and all happiness have been taught in stories, and life itself is one, long tale. Plus, you bet I believe in finding another coin under the jungle gym, but maybe this time it’ll be a quarter, and I might just trade it for popsicle, and then maybe lay under what will later become the shadow of a tree. This, I believe.