I woke up this morning and grabbed my phone from my nightstand. Instead of my own reflection, I saw Bill Murray staring back at me from the blank screen. I knew that it wasn’t real; It was my subconscious telling me that this was going to be another Groundhog’s Day.
I feel trapped at home. I am burnt out from Zoom classes. I am sick of seeing the same four walls of my bedroom. I am tired of the same workout routine. Most of all, I am frustrated by the never ending discussions with my friends about where we can’t go and what we can’t do. I want to feel free. To escape the monotony that has become my life. I want to feel like myself again. I want to feel that feeling that I feel when I’m in the mountains.
I put my phone back down, sank under my covers and felt the cold, crisp air on my face. I heard the howling of the wind coming over the mountaintop from the impending snowstorm. I felt a chill down my body. I could smell the familiar scent of native pine trees. I was alone with nature, but not at all lonely. Despite my wild and rugged surroundings, I felt especially calm and in control.
I peered down at a particularly jagged section of the mountain. It was covered with a freshly fallen blanket of snow waiting to be disturbed. My adrenaline began to spike. Time almost stood still. I felt the warmth of the blood pulsing through my body. I closed my eyes and took a long, deep, cold breath. I felt the weight of skis attached to my boots. As I began to move, I could hear the icy crust of snow breaking below me. Snowflakes began to accumulate on my jacket as I felt the stinging of ice crystals against my frozen face. As the deep powder began to slow my descent, I reached down to grab a handful of snow to quench my thirst.
At this moment, I was sure that this is how humans were meant to feel. I felt more alive than I do in the real world, but this wasn’t the real world. I opened my eyes to find myself back under the covers in my Port Washington bedroom, no mountains in sight, but a feeling of a clean slate ahead.
We all need to find our own escape. A conceptual place to transport ourselves and feel free. Each of our escapes are different and some may not even be places. Your escape may be the beach, going for a run, or watching a sporting event. An escape is anything where we feel truly like ourselves. Nothing changes while we escape, except for our frame of mind. What is your escape?
—Zack Siegel is a student at Schreiber High School