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Topic: My Favorite Place: Puerto Rico
There is a place near my home. It was my sanctuary, my safe place. Its rolling hills and opened sky warms my heart and cleared my mind. Life can be confusing and scary at times, this was my place to slow down and think.
I live in suburban New York, right outside of West Point Military Academy. Much of my surroundings are historical and famous, but much of it goes unnoticed. For years I drove past this trestle on the way to my barn. It was a tall metal rail road towering over the rolling hills in the valley. There was rarely a time when there was no one stopped on the side of the road taking a picture. The scene was always so picture perfect. It unified man with nature. Little did I know but that trestle would hold some of my greatest memories, my worst reminders, and my most revealing moments.
As i got older I began to venture out of my house more. My friend Brianna was a couple years older than me and could drive. The trestle was our place to go. It was forbidden and exciting. We used to climb up the steep mountain to reach the actual tracks, then walk on them. We would listen for the train to sound its horn to announce its arrival, then we’d hold on to the side rails for dear life. The entire trestle would shake and vibrate with the weight of the massive train passing over it. Although highly illegal and dangerous, sitting on the tracks waiting for the train was our most invigorating form of entertainment. The trestle became the face of our friendship.
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Throughout high school I was dating the same guy. The trestle was our first and last date. In Freshmen year we went hiking there to the top of the mountain to overlook the valley. Although difficult to get to, the views were breathtaking. The trek up the mountain included several river crossings and steep inclines, but it was all about the challenge. Four years later we did the same thing except this time we caught the sunset when we reached the top. The sky was painted pink and purple like the watercolors of a Ignacio Barrios painting. Although beautiful in the moment, the walk back down was quite dangerous and difficult to navigate.
The night concluded then we reached the bottom and looked up at the sky. The night was so clear, the moon so big, and the stars so bright.
On a nice day I would take my dog Loki out and walk the road that the trestle was on. It is a long country road bordered by trees and woods. It is quiet and calm. We would walk for hours, just the two of us. The field that lay under the trestle was perfect for letting Loki off the leash and letting him run free. He would bolt as far as he could without losing sight of me, then he would loop back waiting for me to follow. After he got his energy out he became the perfect photo opportunity. He would lay with the sun setting behind him and pose with the painted sky as his background. The moment was calm and perfect.
I took some of my best photos on and around that trestle. I had some of the best moments with my friends. But times have changed since I first saw that trestle. What was once a haven now harbored reminders of what my life used to be. My best friend that I spent some of my most adventurous moments with now lives in California, too far for friendship. The boy who carried me throughout high school is now just a memory. The dog who I loved so deeply broke my heart into pieces the day he attacked me. The place that used to be so calming and peaceful now makes me feel lost and confused. As life continues, perspectives change. What used to be my sanctuary is now a relic of my past. Life will continue and I will soon find a new place to open my heart to.