“I’ve got two speeds, fast and lost!” These are the last few words I hear as neon orange light wizzes past me, disappears into the sun, time abruptly stops and the world swallows me whole.

As my lonely eyes adjusts to the royal blues and creamy whites of the autumn sky I notice the shivering golden leaves of a quaking aspen, beckoning me to wonder further down the rabbit hole. Each flutter guiding me towards the buttery waving bunch grass and daring me to embrace the adventure. I take in a sharp breath of the cool morning air, my lungs fill with the sweat smells of fresh dew and hints of “Moo de la cow”. Bravely, I take my first step. The grass crunches under the weight of my foot as water oozes out the sides escaping from it’s rooted capture. I close me eyes and deeply listen to the busy world I had not noticed with my eyes open. A rouge cow moo’s, bee’s swirling around me in an effort to see if I have anything delicious to offer, flies buzzing past only to circle back using me as a resting point while they free their bodies of debris by rubbing their legs together, crickets singing the songs of generations and the innocent chatter of birds bouncing along the tree tops. “Challenge accepted wise aspen,” I say to the world around me and I begin my journey in search of the neon light.

Waist high feathery grass tickles my bare legs as I wonder down the hillside. Suddenly I feel a long scratch from a grumpy rose bush reminding me of its existence among the playful brown straw. He warns me to be more mindful of each step I take and reminds me to be on alert for natures mood swings. I begin to map out my walk, paying attention to the jade green juniper, emerald green pines and pickle green shrubs peeking out from behind thin blades of banana cream coloured grass. Suddenly, I hear the rattle of an unknown creature and the crunch of tramped grass from an unknown beast beyond my filed of view. My breath shortens as my heart begins to pound and I realize, I am a visitor here.

Unsettled with what my eyes cannot see my legs begin to run. I hear the moan of the ground as I clumsily stomp towards where I thought the orange light had gone. My hands feverishly grasping at anything and everything surrounding me. I feel the crunch of the grass in the palm of my hand and the pop of the seeds as I squish my hand into a fist. Abruptly, I feel the stab of grandpa rose tear through my flesh. “Stop”, he commands, “You are being an idiot.” Snapped back into the light from the darkness of fear, my eyes focus to see a cow judgingly staring at me. Sheepishly I stare back, fix my shirt, clear my throat and bow. Casually she raises an eyebrow and then goes back to forging on the grasslands, “mmmmm uuummmm ooooo,” she mutters.

At that very moment I make a courageous decision. I, Shannon Cooper, will not go down like this. I will put my big girl pants on and fearlessly wade through the grasslands in my quest for the orange light. I will not run, NO, I will embrace and face this adventure with my eyes and ears open. My senses will take me on a mystical journey and I will come out alive. I bend down and run my fingers in the soft mocha brown mud, this will make excellent war paint, I think to myself. As I raise my fingers to my cheek off in the distance I see it, the tiger orange fleece of my professor’s jacket. “Saved!” I joyously sing to birds playing nearby as I gleefully frolic toward my waiting classmates. My quest has been fulfilled and my solo ninja journey has finally ended…. that had to be the longest five minutes of my entire life.