I stand, motionless, staring at the long path before me. Central Park, though beautiful year-round, is breathtaking on this cold, winter night. I stuff my gloved hands into my pockets and saunter down the deserted trail.
The vast park, despite the late hour, is still littered with light. Lampposts are scattered along the winding pathways, like fireflies on a warm, summer night. The trees, though bare, are festooned with shining Christmas lights. I walk up to one of the radiating trees and place my shivering hand on its trunk. The little light bulbs send beams of luminescence through my hand, causing it to glow red. When I gaze up at the sky, I am shocked by the profusion of stars on this December night. They speckle the sky, the vivid contrast of colors leaving me speechless.
As I peel my hand off of the tree trunk, I feel something land on my face, like an autumn leaf drifting down towards a sea of orange and brown. I swipe my hand over my face and brush away the fallen snow. I watch the cold substance descend down into an ocean of white as I pat my gloves together. I continue my stroll down the long pathway. With each step, I hear the snow crunch beneath my feet. My trek is long, and I soon must find a place to rest. I wearily brush off a tall layer of snow and perch myself on the damp bench. I exhale and peer out at my surroundings. When I look back at the path I was on, I discern a single trail of footsteps and realize that I am completely alone. I begin to feel frightened, and quickly rise from the bench.
I run through the park, snow flying up behind my feet. Panting, I catch sight of a large, elaborate fountain. I decelerate and finally reach the immense structure. I come to a halt and place my hands on the rim of the basin. My numb fingers sink through the snow, making a distinct sound. I circle the fountain, my hands remaining on the intricate brim. I push the snow off of the edge, each portion hitting the ground with a dignified plop. A breeze blows through the barren trees and I hear the soft susurration of the wind in my ears. The surrounding sounds remind me of water running. I imagine the same fountain in the spring, with vast crowds of people gathered to admire its beauty. However, on this spectacular winter night, the fountain’s only admirer is me.
I realize how much time has passed since I entered this wonderful place. I briskly walk towards the park’s exit and look behind me, only to find a long trail of trodden snow, leading back to the first path that I had taken. I see the lampposts, illuminating the dark night like summer fireflies. I see snow falling off of the branches, like autumn leaves. I hear the sounds of the park, like the fountain on a warm spring day.
I can see bright lights up ahead, I feel the presence of others, and I hear the loud sounds of the city at midnight. My expedition comes to a close and I depart from the dark yet light, quiet yet full of sound, and creepy yet beautiful sanctuary.
Sara Tavakolian, Age 13, Grade 8, Trinity School, Gold Key