Hillary - Tacoma, Washington
Entered on March 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in life.

We, all of us, are connected at the root. If the dirt was blasted away from the entire earth, and the water came rushing in to clean the crevasses that the dirt left bare, we would find roots. Roots everywhere. Scarred and hard. All different roots, tangled and weaved, knitted, growing together.

I believe that life is a river. This river, this life, this thing that tries to force us back into the ocean that we came from, it shapes us. We are all living things, swimming against a current. That current, that constant presence, wears us down. It shapes us. It carves a personality out of us.

Some of our journeys are harder than others. Some are longer, too. We all must do it, we all must go up the river, become victim to the rocks, the logs, the water, the river mushrooms, the fish, the eel grass. These things make us what we are; they shape us. Scars are formed to protect us; we grow into different shapes to swim faster, stronger, more efficiently. But it’s not all bad. Some rocks hold onto us and give us rest. Some fish offer themselves up to feed us for food and nourishment. And isn’t it nice to know that we’re all in it together? And this river, it ends somewhere. It might end in a little stream, leading to a pool of water. There is no current here, no rocks. Just smooth pebbles, milky sand, and clear water. Maybe everything is over; perhaps all the pain is washed away. Little pieces from the bodies of those who died along the river flow into the gurgling bliss and once they soak up the fresh water, they become whole again, connected to all thing that have, and will, live.

I don’t know where we’re going, whether into the dirt or into the sky. And that’s okay. I don’t have to know. I do know that all of us, everything that we know, dwelled here on earth for however brief. And that is the truest belief that I can put every inch of me into. That is the one belief that I can utter and not doubt.

I aspire for faith, and I rely on fate, but right now, at this very second I could not boast either without doubting. I could speak but would question the words leaving my mouth.…..

I believe in a gravestone, split and sheltered in blackberry vines and green leaves. Flecked with the sun overhead, though mostly veiled, it lingers. Just a stone, just a stone. Those who mourned are now shadows; merely whispers. Yes, lips that once knew youth are spent, and bones are ash and dirt. Though long forgotten and crumbling away, something majestic remains. It is proof. It is true. It is pure. It is ageless in its honesty. Just a message: “I lived! I lived!”

This is what I believe.