Finalist, 2003 Kids Philosophy Slam
Alicia Maye, Age 15
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ripples in a Pool

     Sometimes the beauty of living is not seen, because collectively we are wrapped up in the simple, but sometimes difficult task of survival. Intricate circles weave every living creature together in a growing, timeless world of mystery and wonder. The meaning of life may be as simple as the magnificence of a sunset streaked across the sky, or as deep as the mystery of death. It may be so deep and so great that it cannot be put into words, but it has many dimensions, which can be given definition.
     Unlike a single celled organism, humans are compelled to understand, grow, expand, learn, search for happiness, and create. Intellectual curiosity is uniquely human. When I put my mind to words to write a poem, I perceive a connection to something indescribable. When the flame of inspiration spills upon my paper, I am aware that I am a part of something greater, that I am a drop in a vast but wondrous ocean. I know that I have come a short way but have a lively and unknown road ahead of me.
     Like the ripple in a pool from a leaf dropped upon the water's face, does each action we make affect everything around us? Many individuals have the opportunity to contribute to the greater world around them. How each one uses his or her time could be the reason for his or her existence. Every day that I live, I share my perspective with the people around me, and they share their perspective with me. We are all instrumental in influencing the minds of others, and sometimes we are inspired by others. Teachers and students, my family, and my friends contribute to my world and stimulate my mind to develop and expand.
     Beyond survival, there is a vast world to see and experience. The natural will of all life is to grow, become stronger, and live to the fullest capability. A tree is a fine example. It begins as a tiny seed placed in shallow earth, but as it grows its roots are always reaching deeper into the earth, always extending, its branches reaching further into the never-ending sky. What we extract from life can be highly personal. I want to take all I can do to the furthest it is possible, to blossom, and to develop my potential. I want to seek all that is true to me, and to absorb all that I am meant to see, for this world has so much beauty, mystery, drama, and contrast, which invigorates us all.

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