Jon Michael Jay
My Journey through the Woods English 314
September 28, 2010
While taking my virtual journey through the woods, I encountered situations and
discovered objects that show parallels with my true life. The way that I managed these
events and objects were very in tune with the life that I am currently living. Although
many parts of my journey through the woods clouded my perception, most of my voyage
accurately portrayed myself, or what I believe to be myself. Throughout this paper I will
go into great detail about the situations and objects that I faced on my journey and tie
them into my personal life.
While walking through the woods alone, I stumbled upon a garden. This was no
ordinary garden. This garden was greatly maintained and full of all different kinds of
vegetation. Growing up with a grandfather who spent more time in his garden than with
his wife, this garden really reminded me of him. The contents of the garden were all the
same and I was quick on noticing the amount of sweet corn the garden contained. Being
nearly the harvest season, and seeing all of the fields of corn around, constantly reminds
me of my childhood. Growing up with a best friend in the farming industry, I was always
found helping him in the fall and spring farming seasons. I believe I was much more
observant to the corn plant than the other vegetables in the garden because it is such a
special plant to me. Not only does it remind me of my childhood, it has been a staple of
the culture I have grown up in and grown to love.
The contents of the garden were very diversified. Within the garden carrots,
potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and four rows of sweet corn could be found. I
think of this garden as my hometown on terms of diversity. The high school in which I
graduated from has a current ethnicity of 65.3% Hispanic, 32% White, and 2.7% African-
American. Diversity has been stressed to me growing up and is still being stressed today.
While my youth was diversified racially, it was also diversified in other ways.
Being from a small agricultural town, everybody seemed to be friends with everybody.
While many of my friends were from farming families, a majority of them came from an
“in-town” background. My friends’ parent’s ranged from being a car salesman, to lawyer,
to science teacher at the elementary school. A vast number of my close friends were also
females. Although I was always active on my friend’s farm and in the classroom, I also
contributed to the football and track teams, choir, National Honors Society, and held a
job at the local Chevrolet dealership.
As I started to really approach the garden I could see weeds growing over the
plants. My parents constantly stress the fact that more people exist in this world than the
sixty-eight people whom I graduated high school with. I am beginning to realize this now
more than every as I am starting to cut ties with some hometown people who have been
more hindrance than friend to me through the years. Now beginning my senior year of
college, I am finally beginning to “weed” out some of these old hindrances that are
unfavorable to the wellbeing of the garden.
As I left the garden I saw off in the distance, a cabin. The cabin looked very
unstable and about to subside. Nearing closer I peered through the dust-covered window
and saw a beautiful vase sitting on an old worn out dining room table. Looking as if the
table was about to give way, I broke inside to save the vase before it fell to the ground
and broke. This cabin, and the gorgeous vase it was holding inside, plays a big role in my
journey through the woods and my journey through life because it signified someone that
I hold near and dear to my heart, my girlfriend. Five years ago, visiting my new
neighbor’s home, I saw a beautiful sitting outside basking in the sun. We got to know
each other very well and soon after started dating. It didn’t take to long before I brought
her along to family Thanksgiving to be introduced to my relatives. Although I quickly
made Ali a part of my life, she was very hesitant to make me a part of hers.
Growing up my parents always stressed to me not to be judgmental of others, but
there was something about little miss Ali that I was curious about. After begging for a
month, I was finally introduced to Ali’s family. It wasn’t the typical family that I was
expecting. Ali’s mother and father divorced a few months prior to this meeting and the
stability of the family wasn’t too strong. As Ali and I continued to date through high
school and into college, things got worse at my neighbor’s home. The mother took up a
pretty serious drinking problem and started to deteriorate from the lives of her children.
At her turning of eighteen, Ali’s mother kicked her out of the house and said she wasn’t
welcome back. At that time, my parents swept Ali up and made her a member of our
It was a wonderful thing for my parents to do such a loving act towards a person
that I cared so much for. Ali is my gorgeous vase that was resting on a old worn out table
of a mother where they both were caught up in this unstable family situation that was
about to collapse right on top of them. Luckily my parents came through to salvage the
only thing of importance.
As I moved away from the cabin I encountered a few more situations. I
discovered an old set of steps that led up a steep incline. This stairwell consisted of 483
steps with were constructed of brick and mortar. I decided to climb these steps much like
I hope to continue up the path to heaven and eventually arrive at the conclusion of my
physical life. This path to heaven is a long journey; a journey that takes a lifetime to
While growing up, I attended church at a small Welsh-Presbyterian church with a
congregation of about fifty people. Many of them were senior citizens from the area
whose parents of grandparents had come directly from Wales. While at times I didn’t
care to go, I am now glad that my mother insisted on my attendance. I learned many
things from growing up in that church and from being around the old Welshmen. Just like
it took a plethora of stairs to reach the top of the hill in the woods, the path to heaven
occurs over the many events that can happen in one’s lifetime. Although you can be
easily steered away from this path, no single event can completely ruin your journey.
Before I was old enough to grasp the concepts conveyed in the main sermon at
church, I learned the gospel through children’s time during service and from vacation
Bible school during the summer. I remember a children’s time sermon in which our
pastor at the time compared the path to heaven to climbing a long flight of stairs. “The
path is a long one, hard at times and there are not any elevators.” As silly as it may seem,
these elementary lessons have stuck with me through the years. Whenever I am having
any sort of problems, I look back upon these lessons as sources of inspiration.
I found the appearance of these stairs to also be a test of my faith. I decided to
climb these stairs even though they appeared to be very old and composed of brick.
Through the years in this timber, the brick was probably weathered and perhaps rotten in
places. This could have made for a treacherous path to the top. In my short lifetime, I
have encountered several obstacles that have made me question my faith and whether or
not I should continue my path to the top. Every time my faith comes into question,
something happens that makes me feel ignorant for ever questioning my beliefs.
Although there may have been a few broken steps and a tough climb at times, I made it to
the top of the staircase.
When I arrived to the top of the hill, I discovered what appeared to be an old
cemetery. There was an eight foot iron fence all the way around it and the gates were
padlocked. Although I was curious as to what the gates enclosed, I wasn’t in any hurry to
get inside. My perception of death is very cloudy. I have ideas of what it may be like, but
the “fence” is just high enough that I can’t quite see inside. Much like the cemetery, death
appears to be a dismal event from the outside. It feels like an empty spot in my chest.
Perhaps this is only the case if the “fence” is crossed too early. Someday we will all know
what is on the other side of that iron fence.