It happened five years ago but I can still vividly recall every moment of that day with my schoolmates. School had just ended and we were already getting bored of our holidays. I fail to remember whose idea it was in the first place, but all of us agreed that camping in the forest just outside the rear boundary of our society would be an exciting way to lose the monotony. Two days later, all five of us packed our bags and headed for the adventure early in the afternoon. As soon as we entered the forest we were awed by the mere originality of that place.
It was nature as we had never seen before. Walking through the forest, we absorbed every minute detail of a world so new to us. An hour into the forest and it was obvious that none of us had ever witnessed such an exotic place. Although we had never had any interest or interaction with such bare nature, it was mesmerizing. I, for one, was dumbstruck by the beautiful greenery that surrounded us. Weeds, moss and low plants covered the whole forest ground, and tall trees were scattered everywhere forming a huge canopy above us allowing only tiny streaks of sunlight to pass through.
Squirrels rustled through the bushes, mosquitoes buzzed in our ears, birds chirped, and occasionally an eagle cried from afar; but none of this seemed to bother us. The absence of artificial sounds like cars, radios, and TVs had forced all of us into meditation. It left us free of all worldly matters. It felt as if we had ascended to a whole new level. The modern world seemed so small and meaningless back then that it appeared to be mimicry of this real world. As I observed the sheer simplicity and true essence of life amongst the creatures in that forest, numerous questions arose in my mind.
Was this really part of the dirty world back there? Do we still have to return and live the same hectic life as we have? And it was clear from the silence and expressions on the others that they were having the same thoughts. The sun was setting and the darkness grew by the second. As soon as we entered an area where nothing was quite visible, cries of “wow”, “oh my God”, and “that was truly…” were finally uttered. We then set out to find a clear area to put up our tents. As we searched for a place, the silence had deepened, but occasionally a growl could be heard from someplace far.
A quarter of an hour later, we heard a loud rustling from the bushes to our right. This was obviously not some squirrel. Suddenly, “run, everybody run! ” shouted David. As I turned to run in the other direction, I could just make out a silhouette of a huge bear jumping out of the bush. David found a place hidden by a large tree trunk. We all climbed in, but a minute later, it struck us that Keith was missing. We all started looking for any sign of Keith. The fear and tension was excruciating. Suddenly, Keith was running towards us, laughing madly.
He was a jolly person, but this was not funny at all. We were all sighing with relief when out of nowhere; a bear appeared and pounced on Keith, taking him down. He had a big smile on his face. A week later, as I stood beside Keith’s grave, my mind reflected all that happened that day. I kept thinking why any of us did not try to save Keith, but never for once felt regret for it. I found myself content with the fact that Keith died a brave death experiencing a world free of all filth, a world which only a few people ever get the chance to see.
Our world blamed us for his death; our own people turned against us; but never for a single moment did we blame ourselves. That unique experience of pure world free of crime and corruption really changed us all. We now looked at life with a whole new perspective, and so should everybody. Why are we so naive so as to blame every unfortunate event on a person? Why do we not accept this world as it is? Is it so hard to believe that there is a single entity that controls us all – destiny? Is it so hard to believe in what has always been a true proverb: “what must be, must be”!
Courtney from Study Moose