We took the trail between the crevice of Eagle Rock and Limekilm Mountain and headed closer to the Ladentown and then over to the second reservoir. This is where we set up camp. The hike itself was several miles and the terrain went from mild to steep in different spots. It was summer and the winds were extremely warm. The trees were green and the air was sweet from the dew and the mountains. It was hot for sure but the climb was well worth it.
I have to admit that I have always been more of a city kid but yet, at the same time, I never knew the rush behind standing on a ledge of a tree-lined mountain and overlooking the lands down below me. I never felt the victory of a good hike or sat by a campfire to drink campfire coffee. I never slept in a tent before either.
I slept in cars a few times. I slept in a bathtub in a rundown house out in the Hamptons once. I slept in cheap motels before and sad to say that in my younger and less responsible years, I had to sleep on a bench at a bus stop in front of a Home Depot —and then of course, there were the times I had to await processing and jail cell nights, which were certainly less than comfortable. But I never slept beneath a starlit sky. I never had the chance to see what the world looks like from this point of view.
I never knew there was an entirely different way to see things; and while older in years and yes, I was certainly far away from my regrettable yesterdays, I had no clue there was so much that I had yet to see.
I remember the sky after the campfire went out. I sat in the opening of my little tent, legs crossed, eyes upwards at a star-filled sky and shafts of moonbeams reached down to touch the surface of the water at the second reservoir.
The water was like a glass mirror in which, I could see the reflection of the sky. Our location was like a divot in the palm between the mountains around me. The trees were black shapes, dancing at the sides of the lake’s reflection of the sky.
I was so small, so insignificant, but yet, all in the same I was absolutely a part of everything pertinent to this world. But more to the point, there was nothing else around me. There was nothing manmade and there was no need for technology. I could hear the sounds of the woods, which I admit took a little time for me to be used to.
I admit that while yes, I have seen some pretty tough and dark places in this crazy world, there is no darkness like the darkness in the woods—which again, leads me back to the relative idea of how infinitely small we are.
I heard an owl. I heard animals scurrying in the woods. I heard screeching too, which is when I realized I was only a guest here. This place did not belong to me. This place belonged to the wild, which is when I began to settle down. This is when I began to realize the Earth is a friend of mine, so long as I understand to be friendly back, which I was, which I was sure to respond in kind and show my appreciation by obeying the unspoken rules of the trails.
I have to say that I have never seen the world from this point of view. It was enough to make me think. It was enough to allow me to detach from everything that goes on between these crazy ears of mine—it was enough for me to unwind and allow myself the understanding that most of my concerns are absolutely meaningless. Most of my worries are based upon self-centered fears that hinge upon trained assumptions and biased opinions.
As I saw it, this was the world undressed and undecorated but more than anything, this was the world I live in which is beautiful, which I spent too much time taking for granted.
I must have sat there in the opening of my tent for hours, admiring the sky and enjoying the idea that not everything has to be so goddamned crucial all the time. The intensity does not always have to be this incredible thing, which becomes insurmountable, and eventually buries us alive in our own self-fabricated nonsense.
It’s okay to take a step back and disconnect once in a while. In fact, it should mandatory because how else would we keep our own sanity?
The mountains are not the highest by me but they are high enough—and that night, I was high enough to bring me closer to an emotion I would describe as heavenly.
The next morning, I swear I hardly slept, which was fine because we quickly lit the campfire for some campfire breakfast and campfire coffee to start the morning after a nighttime I will never forget.