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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Outdoor writing contest fourth place: To Transcend

By Emily R. Sanchez Coeur d’Alene High School

We all walk in shoes, I know

And run in them, too

And it’s hard to know

Where we’ll be and who

A game trail, a path cemented

We all step in measures and paces

Down worn roads or new and carved

Walking and running to different places

Shooting and aiming for different spaces

It’s scary to put on shoes

But one day we all have to trek

Out and away, up paths unknown

Over lakes and under brush we check

For something that will change us, something that will push us farther

Searching and searching, picking berries off the dirt as it gets harder

When night falls

And rain

And snow

And hail

There are safe warrens and foxholes

To heat up and rest; we outsmart trolls

And when weather waves

Through the forest

Through the woods

Through our world

We wait it out

We have to journey back out

Trying to find something in the wild

That will push us across

That will push us beyond

We’re not looking for footprints to match

Even direction can throw us off during our journey

I don’t know if anyone told you, or you ever read it

It’s hard to understand; I’m still learning

It’s a lot of ads; it’s a lot of vocabulary, and grammar

But great men of the past left paths on paper

They have left paths for us to take

They have left paths for us to make

I’m taking off my shoes now

Just for a while

Right now, even the good does not outweigh the danger

I’ve ended up in caves with bats before

With spiky, unstable ceilings

- and under heavy snow in the aftermath of an avalanche when I threw some anger on the precarious edge of a cliff -

- and deep in hot lava in the aftermath of an eruption when I threw some innocence down the center -

- and floating in spinning rapids after the aftermath of a dam break when I threw some melting depression on the collection of a run-off -

When I’ve placed a foot on the ghost of one before me

Or been curious of a dark underway,

Or tempted by a garden

The realest treasure I found on these walks and trips,

Trying to keep up with the runners, was danger

When I was trapped and kept and lured

Buried, and burning, and drowning,

Tripping

Falling

Shoes don’t work on air

An adrenaline rush, sure,

- and have found colored gems glowing on the walls in the blackest of the dark -

- and have found sharp-tip-eared people who gave treats and tricks -

- and have found predator and prey living in harmony, sleeping underneath forbidden fruit -

- there is always life to be found -

But I’m getting tired of barely making it out alive

It is fun to step in place and discover a brilliant waterfall together

Or slosh though rivers hand-in-hand, or ride down snow-topped hills

But, for now – not forever – I expect myself to get lost in Nature

Alone

I need that wandering, so that I can make my own shoes

These are hand-me-downs

Oh, and they’ve served me well!

No, no, please don’t feel bad

Shoes don’t break an outfit anyway

Oh, yes, they can make it

But I’m not going for a signature look

I’m not looking for classic

I’m not wanting to find a costume

For a character

There are no aisles that satisfy

I’m trying to make a few original outfits

For myself

And I just can’t decide on the shoes

Your criticism doesn’t help

I don’t need my laces tied

I might trip anyway

Don’t shine them,

I’m journeying out to find somewhere messy-muddy-and-beautiful anyway

Familia, the fun is mine to find my size

I just can’t be a Rivera right now

I’m not apologizing

The soles aren’t as bouncy when you pad the hiking route

You’ve beaten all the thorns back,

And I see litter forming fairy-circles on the floor of mold

- Just ringing around scratched trees

I see names and hearts and pluses

Great for them, journeying on a two-seat bike- wait – that’s not even scratched, they brought a man-made sharpie here

I just can’t keep going in circles anymore, and visiting the same parks

No, Tubbs isn’t large enough for me anymore

Neither is Higgens

Or Mineral Ridge

I don’t think you get it: I’m looking for something new, something I haven’t seen before.

Right now?

Right now, I’ve got my eyes on the world

We’re still figuring it out, but there’s a lot out there,

Terrain rising, rolling, rippling

Some covered, some bare, some burnt and growing again to be our fresh and new destinations

My plan is to trust the sky-light

But even when I’ve stopped in place, and I’ve slipped on my own style of shoes

- killer heels, sneakers, pumps, or self-laced-up boots -

By then, I will have a wardrobe full of them and

I will never stop traveling on the mountains and oceans of Nature

I know you walked with me

And ran far with me, too

And it’s hard to leave behind

The fun that we knew

Listen, I don’t have the answers to your questions

I have my own

Will we change or will we ascend?

Or jump across, or go beyond?

Passages lightly tread

Hidden and out of sight

Chasing and hunting

Will we find something written worth following?

Just walking in our shoes won’t get us to an answer

Just running in our shoes won’t get us to an answer

Don’t worry; I’ll be safe even when I venture

Climbing pines and tugging on willows

Don’t worry

I’ll be walking barefoot on moss

And, for the starry, cold night, curling up in a dry hallow

I’ll be safe even though nothing is certain

And we have no answers

There are no answers

We could fail, we could fly

We could be ascending

We don’t really know

I don’t really know. But

If those in the past did,

They must have left paths for us to follow

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