Place Where You Live:

Westline, Pennsylvania

Westline: Creator and Guardian of Memories

            Looking up, I see only brilliant clear skies and vibrant green leaves. I can hear screaming, laughing, and splashing in the distance. Running, dodging the trees and large rocks, I join the others at the creek. Some members of the clan have been trying to start a fire, while the others are swimming in the slow current. From Big Rock, I look down at them and charge to the edge of the boulder, vaulting myself into the air and into the cold water below. While submerged, I couldn’t help but think that this is where we all belonged: Westline.

            Westline has become a sanctuary to me. Since I was fifteen, I’ve been going there along with my closest friends. We formed a very diverse clan, and at the time, we were a compatible group. We camped and swam often when the weather was nice, sun warming the usually cool water. Sometimes, after our arrival, storms would begin brewing. Violent winds shook tree tops, releasing thick showers of leaves and twigs onto the water logged ground. The weather never did stop us. Over the years, many of our friendships have deteriorated, but Westline will always be there.

            My partner in crime, Shannon, and I still venture out there, where we can’t reminiscing about the old times. We both live in the past, wishing that people and our correlating relationships had never changed. A few years ago, Shannon moved to Harrisburg, but she comes to visit often. These returns always lead to a trip to Westline, where even more memories are created. On our last trip, we brought along two friends – both city boys. Despite their beliefs that we were taking them out to the woods to execute them, we all arrived at our destination safely. Neither of them had ever swum in a creek, something Shannon and I found unbelievable. We all jumped off Big Rock, swam, and hiked through the woods.  It was exciting to witness different individuals from diverse backgrounds share our admiration of this unusual refuge.

            I feel most at peace when I am at Westline surrounded by my friends. Though these comrades have changed from one year to the next, I will always associate the vivid, amusing memories I have of them with where they occurred. Those who still accompany us to this particular forested environment appreciate the simplicity of the natural surroundings. Whether we are swimming, hiking, or camping, there is always excitement to be discovered at Westline. I suppose it is not initially about where Westline is located that causes it to be an exceptional place for me; it is about the people I spend time with there, with whom memories are developed and cherished.