Among the Leaves

Along an unbeaten path, tucked far away from the rigors of life lies our adolescent headquarters. Nights spent under the stars of contemplation, days spent blissfully away from our troubles; nothing has changed from our youth. No longer in high school, yet compelled to return, the tree house contains some of my fondest memories. I may no longer recall the worries of adolescence, but will never forget the significance of hours spent among the leaves, nor the people with whom those days were never wasted. Friends turned into family as laughter, antics and music danced around the branches, taking our cares to distant places. We found solace on our island in the sky. The tree house would never judge, there are no rules, no dishes to clean, no homework due, no topic disallowed. Remnants of the memories we share leave their unique marks in the crevices, along the walls and tied in the branches of a child’s paradise. Alone we go back to our lives in college but together we always return, as the tree house is not meant to facilitate solitude, but always community. Gathered together after what feels like years apart, we climb up just to lose ourselves to the powers of our magic tree house.

Content and Photograph by Alexandrea Rager

Pingree Park

Entertain the idea for a moment how you felt standing in the most gorgeous place you have experienced. On a hike through Pingree Park, Colorado I found my bliss. Official freshman orientation was over and while some were going home, I was setting off on the next adventure. Long group hikes, team building exercises, and solitary nature walks constituted the basic schedule of this trip. I didn’t enter this experience with preconceived notions of what to expect, I had never even heard of Pingree. The moment I entered the park, I became a child eager to look, touch and adventure my way through every crevice. I finally understood the excitement of my peers who had been here before. This flourishing green landscape, bordered by mountains and nourished by flowing veins allowed me to examine nature in its purest form. The abundance of visual stimulation became the catalyst for interpersonal thought that would later change my perspective. I never expected the strangers I camped with would become some of my favorite people, that Pingree would become my hidden gem, and those memories would be the ones to share.

Photograph and content by Alex Rager