Staring deep into the weaving flames, I noticed that the soothing warmth of the fire was beginning to mesmerize me. I forced my eyes to wander. The dark, sandy bluff loomed above; the moon illuminated Lake Michigan's dark shimmering water. I could barely tell where the water met the endless, star-lit sky. No civilization could be seen, only the long, winding beach that would eventually lead us back there tomorrow. We are just four tiny silhouettes sitting around a glowing campfire. How small we are in the midst of nature's massive beauty! A chill ran down my spine. I gladly pulled myself back to our small, cozy campfire.
I looked past the flames at my friend Mary. She was wearing cut-offs and a burgundy Mexican pancho. She sat with her feet buried in the sand and her knees drawn to her chest. A few strands of her brown hair had fallen to surround her face. While she stared into the fire, reflections of the flames glowed in her blue eyes. As I watched the shadows dance across her face, I thought how it is odd that people look the most beautiful when they aren't even trying.
That thought lead me to notice Matt, who was sitting cross legged next to Mary. His dark, wavy hair hung in his face, as he concentrated on sharpening the point of a marshmallow stick. Mary, Matt, Jarid, and I have been best friends since junior high, but I'm beginning to wonder if Matt is starting to like Mary for more than a friend.
Wondering the same thing about me and Jarid, I turned to look at him. Sitting next to me, he rested his elbow on one knee, letting his arm hang. His other knee was bent in the sand touching mine. Wearing cut-offs and my favorite flannel, I sat with my legs crossed, learning back on my hands. Lost in thought, I stared at his profile, when a warm breeze blew some loose strands of my blonde hair to touch his face. He turned, and his beautiful brown eyes trapped mine. Suddenly, Matt's voice broke the silence. Escaping the hold of Jarid's eyes, I quickly turned my head to look at Matt.
He had finished carving the roasting sticks and was wondering who had the S'more stuff. We all stared at each other blankly; no one had remembered to bring it. I began digging around in my back pack for something which we could roast. As I reached around blindly in my bag, I pulled out a couple empty sandwich bags with peanut butter and jelly smeared in them. Yuck! A slimy browned apple core, trail mix for tomorrow, and -- ah, ha! -- strawberry Fruit Newtons. They all looked at me strangely when I told them we could roast Fruit Newtons, but they decided to try it. We passed out roasting sticks and Newtons. This time I sat down a little closer to Jarid. He moved his roasting stick to his other hand so he could put his arm around me. We sat in the warmth of the fire as we watched our Fruit Newtons toast to a light brown.
When I thought mine was thoroughly cooked, I carefully slid it off the stick to take a bite. The warmth filled my mouth as I bit into it. It reminded me of a homemade pop tart with melting strawberries inside. I finished, leaving my mouth watering for another. Who would have thought roasted Fruit Newtons could taste so good? Before we knew it they had vanished and the fire had dwindled into glowing coals.
We spread out our blanket and we all lay down laughing, talking and snuggling as we looked for constellations and shooting stars. Slowly, the talking stopped and everyone's breathing evened out until I was the last one awake. What a wonderful day it had been. Pictures filled my mind. I could see us exploring the bluffs under the torturous sun, then running down the sandy face of the dunes, not stopping as we tore off our back packs and ran into the clear waters of Lake Michigan. As we splashed in the waves, the sun's rays melted into the water. Later, the night air cooled us as we sat warming ourselves around the campfire... and roasting Fruit Newtons.
The innocence of the day had brought all four of us closer together. Stars faded into blackness and the peaceful wash of the waves lulled me into a deep slumber.