The Garden

By Dylan Lu – Student contributor

A rising sun breaks through the clouds as I walk across an oaken bridge, shadowed by rows of peach trees. While the star blazes across the horizon, I begin to ponder many thoughts. Why am I here? What is my purpose? What does it mean to be alive? My senses are pulled towards a flock of chirping birds sitting and singing in the trees above. Their wonderful song tells stories in a foreign tongue, but somehow I understand the love song that they sing to one another and to everything around. They flap their wings to emphasize their chirps just as we humans move our hands to better express our dialogue. Soon they fly away, but I still wonder what they were singing to me. While lost in this thought, I wander towards a rippling pond filled to the brim with lively koi fish. I observe them as they ebb and flow like the beautiful strands of light on the bottom of the pond. I envy these fish, living in complete harmony with their surroundings without any worry of the outside world. Near the pond resides endless rows of corn, the ears willing to listen to any struggle I may have. I tell the plants that I just don’t know what to do. I ask for advice but ears are only good for listening to problems, not resolving them. Past the maize lays bare earth and a pile of pebbles and anthills. Ignoring the sun, the hardworking ants persist in their duty to feed the colony one mouth at a time. What a noble and bold cause, I think to myself. If only I had such a conviction to motivate me like the ants. Even though they are insignificant to us, at least they put each other before themselves, not an ounce of selfishness to be found. I pace around beneath the midday sun before coming upon a vibrant green strawberry patch, full of dull red berries that are sweet and delightful despite their miniscule size. The little rust colored berries put a smile on my face as their juice runs down my chin because no matter how old they grow, they never grow bitter or cyclical, maintaining the same tartness that many have grown to love. I don’t want to be bitter and old. Ripening like these berries feels so far away but so close. I don’t want to change and become unrecognizable like a putrid rotten strawberry but I know that is not the only option because some strawberries are preserved and saved so that their delicate flavor is available at all times of the year but canning a person isn’t so easy, is it? My last stop is to the ancient orchard of the humble peach. The ageless structures on its rugged bark have outlived many of people and may outlive us too. This sagely tree has seen empires rise and fall and I am not the first boy it has seen grown up. I sit before it and pray that it bestows just a fraction of the wisdom held within it to help me navigate towards wherever I’m destined to go. I do not feel wiser, but I do feel at peace as the sun begins to hide in the clouds and the moon peaks from the sky. New days come and go but I still feel the same, static and never changing despite the changes in seasons and phases of the moon. Do I want to grow forever like the burgeoning strawberry bush or remain where I am forever like the eternal peach tree? Do I desire to work for the good of the colony like the noble ant or live in peace and harmony like the elegant koi fish and its brethren in the lake? Is it better to be like the vast ears of corn listening to all that speaks or to be akin to the singing birds that sing day in and out towards all that approach? I do not know as I walk across an oaken bridge, emblazoned by the sublime moon, to journey on towards the realm of dreams. 


Dylan Lu is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications class.