August Runner Up

Our second place for Natural Disasters goes to Abby Simmons.

Balance – By Abby Simmons

Once there was a man who had known great hardship, and great sorrow in his small world. He had gone from bad experience to bad experience, losing his farm lands, his home, his family, and everything he had known from his life. With no name and no memory, it felt like he was blown from place to place by the wind, and the wind was cruel for it pushed him further away from people who might have helped him, and high up into the mountains. Here, he lived alone, overcome with rage and anguish, unable to do anything but cry bitterly to the wind of his misfortune.

One day, he noticed that he was not the only victim of the wind. The mountain in which he lived was also troubled by the wind, for it hurled itself against the mountainside, trying desperately to move the mountain, to break it down so that it was no longer the tallest most beautiful thing in the land. The wind believed that if it could crack the mountain, people may one day see the wind for its true beauty instead, and it would no longer be invisible.

But the nameless man, pitying the mountain, for he too had felt the winds wrath, decided that he would help fight against it. Each time the wind chipped the mountain and great avalanches flying to the earth below, the man would make the long journey to the base and collect the stones that had fallen. And once he had retrieved the stone for the mountain, he brought it back up to the peak and began to make a tower. Month by month, the tower grew tall and the man built a life around it. He made a temple to shelter it, so that the wind could not blow and knock it down, and here he lived, long into old age.

It had taken a lifetime, but his tower of stones was as tall as he was, and he was filled with pride. And in turn, he had made a friend of the mountain, who was grateful to him for retrieving the parts of it that were missing. In many years to come, people would journey to this temple to pray, and place their own stones on towers to pay tribute to the nameless man whom no one had known. But it didn’t matter that he wouldn’t live to see this legacy, for the patience he had learned in balancing the stones for all those years had dispelled him of his anger, it had given him a purpose and taught him to see the balance in his own humble life.

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