Deethi Awmaneen Jahan’s memory of the water lilies in Bangladesh merges with the stately cliffs of Calgary:
There's a path we can take, by the old brick wall just south of the river. We'll walk past the abandoned houses on the Last Street, all the way to the crumbling wall at the end of the block. We’ll brush away the layers of ivy and rubble and time, looking for the four grooves etched into the stone. It’s alright - no one will be looking as we slip through the secret passage in the greenery.
The path behind that door will be long and dusty, stretching off so far into a mist it disappears. Don’t be scared, it’s not quite as far as it looks. The sun will filter through the canopy of leaves far above, the light tinted green, and we’ll walk through the rain forest behind the wall in peace and sunshine. Soon we’ll disappear into the mist just like the path does, floating off like mirages into the distance.
The sky will darken, and we'll tug on our hooded raincoats as the first drops of rain fall. Maybe we'll bring an umbrella - or maybe we'll just let the storm gather, let the rain fall.
You might remember things you'd rather not. It's okay, rain can do that to you. If you cry saltwater tears in the rain, they'll wash away fast. We can spin and twirl in the rain and feel everything we as people are meant to feel. When the storm passes, we'll be long gone, on the mountain already.
The stone and dust will be slightly damp from the storm, but we'll still walk. After all, rain makes rainbows. When the sun comes out, we'll be atop the plateau, on a mountain ridge so, so far above the ground. The sky will be a painfully beautiful blue, and the clouds will seem soft as silk. If we climb a little higher, we might even be able to touch them - but we won't, not today. We'll make it to the base of the mountains, crossing in and out of the shadows of trees while the birds return to their aerial acrobatics up above, where we once were.
There's a quiet forest we'll walk through, light filtering gold and green through the leaves. The willows welcome us, the aspens smile in greeting. Smile back. It's important to give, even without taking.
We'll come to a cove in the woods, water lilies on the surface of a crystal pond. The ground will be mossy and the surface of the water specked with algae - but it's alright. Nothing can ever be perfect, and we'll understand that better than most. The sides of the pond will be little cliffs, smaller versions of the mountain we climbed. We can dance over them, never once losing our footing on the dewy grass. The earth is kind to us, too kind.
Through the trees we'll walk, and we'll reach a glossy emerald lake. Far on the other side, there lies a mystery we'll solve one day. Today, we can just walk along the edge, tracing our fingers through the water and watching the ripples explore their home, their boundary, their lake. The little fish will dart back and forth in our shadows, like we walk beneath the trees. For everything you are bigger than, there is something bigger than you. Always remember that we are but specks of dust in the history of Time.
We'll return to a path, not stone nor dirt, mere leaf and grass. No one will see it but us. We'll always know where we're going. Bursts of colour greet us from all sides, colours zipping in and out of shadows, colours rustling in the trees. Colours in the flowers dotting the path we walk and colours in the greenery ahead. We'll walk together into the trees, never looking back.
The air will carry the scent of flower petals and promise as we walk to a glade, a diamond among gems. Thin rivulets of water will wend around the edges of the clearing, asking permission, and cross to the center: a tree, graceful and proud yet silent and acknowledging. We'll sit on the grassy floor beneath the tree - I know you'll be tired, so will I, but we'll be there now and we won't need to be tired anymore. We'll breathe and remember the serenity of the path and the quiet of the wall, the relentless river and the stately cliffs. The blue, blue sky, the green, green lake. The forest, the water lilies in the pond, the path we'll walk to get here. The rain, the sadness, the world, the joy. There at the base of the tree, sheltered in the green, we can smile and cry and laugh and sigh. There, we can sit and close our eyes as the time will flow by around us, ever present yet never touching us, and never worry about the dark again. There we'll have a home. There we can relax and let the world forget us for a while.
*Deethi Awmaneen Jahan is a Grade 6 student in Canada. Her memory of the water lilies in Bangladesh merges with the stately cliffs of Calgary.