A narrative of my summer explorations

The memories of my scars

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As I write this, I sit in the passenger seat of my father’s 11-year-old Honda Accord. My feet are propped up, resting on the dashboard, and my computer is resting on my lap — Wi-Fi-less, to my despair. My father is flipping through the radio channels, bored, and checking Waze every few minutes for an update on the road conditions. I should be bored too — after all, I’ve done this drive countless times. It should be bland at this point, but it’s not. My attention seems to naturally drift towards the Virginian countryside — the yellow cornfields, the rolling hills speckled with livestock, the bluish mountains in the distance. It is a beautiful drive.

From that landscape, my eyes wander to my legs — bare and still propped on the dashboard. Right now, they aren’t a pretty sight — both are covered in an assortment of freckles, scrapes and bruises. Yes, not attractive in the least, but the sight does make me smile. Those scars, when strung together, were a narrative of my summertime explorations.

The long cut on my left shin, for instance, is from the week prior. I had been splashing through the water of a clear lake with my best friend — Teddy, a four-year-old golden retriever. He would knock the water upward, trying to catch the falling droplets in his mouth. On colder days, I would row a small paddleboard to a faraway buoy, at least a quarter of a mile away, and, as always, Teddy would swim alongside me, making sure to bark if I ever drifted too far from his side. His favorite pastime was nabbing the rope, connected to the backend of the paddleboard, and dragging me back into shore. Teddy, after all, is a retriever. Anyway, in his endearing burst of excitement, his right paw raked through my left shin — leaving an angry, red mark.

There is also a blotchy, greenish-yellow bruise on my right knee. It has been healing for a few weeks now, but progress has been slow — much like my ascent up Rattlesnake Mountain. Every summer, I visit the place of my birth — upstate New York. The northern area is entrenched in the Adirondack Mountains, giving the land an aesthetic appeal and sense of wonderment. The views from the top of the peaks are breathtaking, often including the blue water of Lake Champlain and a full, wooded view of the Adirondacks. It’s true that Rattlesnake is a quick, easy climb, but my inclination towards clumsiness caused me to fall a handful of times. Once, my foot slipped on an unstable log, and my knee slammed into an adjacent boulder — leaving a big, purple bruise.

While my bandaged pinkie is hidden in my sneaker, it is there. Every so often, it starts to throb. It isn’t broken, just stubbed — the skin under the nail is a bit purple. I was taking the GRE at a grimy testing center in Burlington, Vt. — I had spent five weeks studying, nonstop, and was finally proving all I had learned throughout the summer. It was just my luck that my foot would ram into the side of my desk, midway through the exam, when I readjusted my position. It hurt, but I had to swallow the pain that followed and continued onto the next question.

I had a long, wonderful summer. It was filled with hard work and paychecks, new people and new sights. I reunited with my family. I made large strides towards graduate school and my future career. I accomplished so much. That content mindset does more than bring me peace of mind — it also gives me a kind of spitfire motivation to tackle the coming semester.

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