Eyes Open | Teen Ink

Eyes Open

February 26, 2015
By AshleeH GOLD, Enterprise, Utah
AshleeH GOLD, Enterprise, Utah
17 articles 0 photos 7 comments

It was the warmest February on record, but not by much.  The abnormal “warmth” around us was mainly due to the fact that it hadn’t snowed all winter.  The hot Dixie sun blazed down, while the north wind tore relentlessly into my coat.  I knew that by the end of the day, I’d have a sunburn as well as windburn.  The elements always seemed to attack my skin, staining my fair arms and face until they were a vibrant shade of red.  I tugged my beanie down over my ears and pulled my hood over my head in a vain attempt to keep the chilly air out.  I trudged through the red dirt and wash sand on the creek bed, attempting to get back to the truck.  We had been building fence since sunrise, and now that it was three in the afternoon, I was ready for my lunch.

Dad was there, then.  He had walked around the side of the truck, surprising me.  I smiled, realizing that in the midst of all the work we still had to do, he had kept good on his promise.  He held my favorite .22 in his hands, along with a new case of shells.  Suddenly regaining my energy, I jogged over to him and threw my arms around his neck.  I was even more relieved when I realized that I didn’t have to do the preparation work this time; the targets were already set up from the last time we’d been here.  I took the gun from him, loaded it, and walked over to my usual place, propping my arm up on a post to help me hold the gun steady.

And all at once, the world around me went out of focus.  The only thing I could see was the target in the distance through the crosshairs of my scope.  I visualized my dreams, my goals, the plans I had for my life.  Imagined that they were all stored in one place, and if I could just hit the target, they would all begin to become reality.  If I could only hit the mark, all of my hard work would pay off.

I kept my eyes open, breathing evenly like my dad had taught me.  I relaxed my muscles, no longer afraid of the sounds or motion of the machine in my hands.  Metaphorically, that moment was like life itself.  The only way to get what you want is to not be afraid of trying.

The first shot was a little to the right.  I immediately wanted to scream in frustration, but I kept my breathing even.  I had been trained to accept loss with grace, as well as to try again when things didn’t work out.  Taking the experience in, I adjusted my aim slightly to the left to compensate for the wind.

See, in life, we sometimes lose sight of the big picture.  We get so focused on the task at hand that we forget to see everything around us, and for some reason we become upset with the results of our own tunnel vision.  Most failures in life are simply because we fail to continue trying when, in reality, we have almost reached the goal.  We just have to make a minor adjustment before something amazing can happen.

I took another breath, feeling my heart race as I set my finger on the trigger.

And I let my bullet fly.

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