A Shard of Jade in an Iron Jungle

Kevin - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on March 6, 2011
Age Group: Under 18

I live in a realm of cracked pavement and scraps of metal that seemingly tower endlessly towards the sky, a realm with a blatant view of the devastation of what was once transparent innocence amongst the heaps of opaque glass and sinister rubble from a gloomy balcony several stories up. There in the midst of it all lies a small patch of green within a sizeable field of grey-a shard of jade in an iron jungle where purity (a seemingly thing of the past) flickers like a flame on an almost nonexistent wick.

I attribute who I am today to the parks that have served mankind for generations, for without them, I believe that we would all fall short of the necessary foundations for maturity. Myriad people depend on these shards of jade within dense iron jungles, to ascertain individual qualities that would otherwise be unavailable to them. As unorthodox as they may be, these parks become nature’s classrooms. They provide the finest social training, serving as lots for imaginative exploration and the opportunity for self-discovery. In my youth, parks served as blank canvases to where the paint strokes of my past forever dried and encrusted onto its silky textured cloth.

In recalling my days as a toddler, I remember encountering my first bully on the play lot. He was a rather large child and I, a meek David fending off this Goliath who found giggly pleasure in the occasional act of torment. His harsh mannerisms drove me to question myself and commence my trek of self-discovery. It ultimately led me to find the conviction to seek a method of retaliation and self-empowerment, eventually encountering said bully with the original intention of physical harm, but instead quite the opposite was discovered. Without the worldly confines of the park such a confrontation would have never occurred, and I would have become incapable of overcoming any similar hurdles in the future. I would have been robbed unjustly of the opportunity to grow as a human being.

As of late these sanctuaries for flowering plants and the youth of society have become endangered as we start to overlook what these parks have done for us and just how imperative their roles truly are. I mean, who are we to rob our future generations of the pasts we were so graciously given? The selfishness must come to an end and I firmly believe that it is our moral obligation to not only realize their substance but also act upon it, and in doing so pave a better path.

These parks, which provide a medley of both man and nature’s creations, are small patches of life that lie in the heart of chaos, breathing life as those around it often forget to breathe. They are rays, which break free from the constricting restraints of murky clouds, capable of affording only so much light as they remind us of how we are all living on borrowed time in lent space, on the pinnacle of eviction. It forces us to recognize the true importance of preserving what we have left.

For something so small, these refugees for nature’s kin breathe life into the lives of many, all the while providing color to colorless faces, smiles to blank expressions, and vividness into the eyes of the grey; surpassing preconceived dull notions of a shard of jade encompassed by a dim backdrop.

With the horizon in the distance, I believe that one day it will be sunny again.