The Color of Life

MacRitchie Reservoir
Singapore, Singapore 
July 2013 

The ascent feels unbearably long for the novice HIKER but his excitement is palpable. His path, although clear, feels as if he’s wading through a swamp. Mosquitos nip at his exposed ankles which quicken his pace. HIKER is determined to make it to the peak by sunrise yet the heat paired with his partner’s incessant complaints are making that goal an improbable feat. 

“Why did we have to leave the City? The spray doesn’t seem to be working here and these mosquitoes are worse than blood-sucking lice.” 

“I get it. It’s humid. We’re on an island in Southeast Asia. Shut it and let’s keep moving. We’re almost there.”

The sounds of the jungle surround them: subtle slithers, distinct ca-caws and unseen rustles. HIKER unintentionally contorts his face and keeps on, one foot in front of the other. Then, as he turns at the bend with one big step forward, bigger than all of his steps before, HIKER reaches the top and, with hungry eyes, looks around. 

Green. Everywhere. Lush, vibrant, endless, deep, brilliant green without a single human soul in sight.This is what Singapore looked like before man came to the island. This is the everlasting color of life. 

Four months prior, HIKER was so far out to sea that he couldn’t find his way back to land. He was living a life of excess teetering towards collapse. Endless nights spent with faceless acquaintances cost him his job, home and ultimately family. When things got especially bad, he laid in bed keeping his eyes tightly closed for several hours at a time.  HIKER could see nothing but black, a monochrome existence. 

Now, aware and appreciative, HIKER’s face softens as he feels an intense wave of gratitude. Standing there, on a mountaintop with nothing to his name but a backpack, HIKER feels at peace. How many people would choose to live with less if they knew how much more beautiful their world could be?