The autumn colors are burning your eyes with a cool breezy flame and there’s a quiet in the air on this day of days.
I stand before the vast, the immense and I wonder, what is it out there that calls my soul? What is that has me leaving the comfort of home for the openness of it all?
I’m halfway there, I’m halfway to that place where my mind can rest and sink in the depths of a silence so overwhelming that it’s scary. It takes you to a place you don’t know when you’re in the midst of the activity of the rest of the world.
Out here though, with the wind on your face and your body holding that light sweat from the layers of warmth that envelope you, the coats and the shirts you’ve piled on in order to maintain a comfort that shouldn’t be possible out here in the woods.
It’s quiet. You’re alone and you can think. You can think about the things that you’ve done and about the things you need to do. You can think about that girl you kissed a few months ago who has all but disappeared no matter your desires to have her stick around. Maybe she wasn’t right, you tell yourself. What’s the point in prolonging something that should’ve ended in one moment?
Out here though, you know you’re back where you started all those months, years ago when you had nothing to say was yours, when you had no real reason to wake up in the morning but you did anyway and you lived because there was simply nothing else left to do.
You’ve thought about putting an end to things but then you reconsider and decide to just take an extended sabbatical either because you’re too much of a coward to take the action necessary to put a stop to the things in your head, or because you’ve simply resigned yourself to the concept that there’s no escape and that there never will be. You keep waking up in the morning and you keep going to bed every night and waiting in the interim for the intolerable to pass because the intolerable does nothing if it doesn’t pass.
You look into the fire you’ve made with your hands, with the wood that lay around you, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from the notion that you can still create something is enough for you in this time and place, but you still worry. You worry that it isn’t enough and you worry that you need to do more in order to keep yourself comfortable and sane in this vast expanse of quiet. The trees tower around you and you look up at the fading blue of the sky and it’s all you can do to just lower your head and take a deep breath, maybe thank whoever exists beyond the immensity for the peace that you feel here.
“I trust you,” you say to the everything and the nothing that you imagine exists, “Guide me to where I need to be. Give me peace, patience and strength.” And the breath comes and the loosening of your shoulders comes and in that moment you feel the wind on your face and you hear the stream that lies to the north about 200 yards. It’s speaking a language it’s spoken for thousands of years, it’s delighting in it’s path to where it meets it’s end. There’s something to be said for that delight. You can’t grasp it at the moment but you wish you could.
Soon the night falls over you and your spot out here in the open and you crawl into the temporary bed where you’ll lay your head tonight and you may feel tired and you may lie awake for hours thinking about why it is the way it is and what you can do about it, but you know you can’t do anything about it besides maybe detaching. After all that’s the reason you came up here. You wanted to let go for, at the very least, a night, and listen to the wind in the trees and the crackling of the fire and you wanted to experience the fear and exhilaration of knowing there’s danger in the world. A monster could come and devour you as you lie defenseless behind a canvas wall and still you lie here and you wait and eventually sleep finds you. Then you dream about the hills you’ll have to climb and the valleys you’ve seen and in the morning as the light from the sun hits the canyon walls you’ll open your eyes and take a deep breath and feel the wind on your face and maybe things will be alright.