"A Long Walk" - Christine Chang

If a journey of a thousand miles began with on step, then there was no measuring how long a walk could take in a forest. A forest, despite the boundaries, could seem endless. Stairs lead down to dirt floor; pathways surrounded by trees and other foliage.

A long walk can turn into a long game of “I-Spy.”

Boots crush fallen leaves and a strip of red contrasts against the green-yellow of leaves. The sun is high, but the girl isn’t wearing the scarf to keep the chill at bay – it’s more of a shield against everything, than anything at all.

She bounds ahead; first to find a new clearing, first to go down a slope, the first to find the edge and turn back. Safety is only relevant because of her own shields and her present company.

The key of the game, the boy thinks, is maintaining the perspective of someone discovering a new environment every time. On first glance, it seems as though the environment doesn’t change. But nature is mischievous and the forest freshens up every time they visit. Every visit becomes a long adventure where not a word needs to be exchanged and hands need not be held.

Because by the end of the day, the boy and the girl are together and a long walk in a sun-spilled forest is all they could ask for.

And it is enough.

Christine answers to many things, due to the many nicknames and proper names she has collected in the past. She’s a freshman and a bit new at this “having things published thing.” She lives off of hot chocolate and obsesses over jackets, suits, and coats.