I’d like to revisit a morning I spent on a mountain near one of the Upstate, New York reservoirs. The sun was on its way.
I was awake in my little tent and sitting at the opening to watch the morning’s first light. The sky changed and mirrored across the top of the water, which was absolutely beautiful and calm. I was at peace in a way like never before.
There was no one around. There was no one to interfere with the moment and no one close by to intrude upon the quiet sounds of nature; the birds chirping and the wind blowing. I could feel the cool breeze of on my face. I could think without the interference of anything man-made. In fact, the only thing man-made at this place was me. All else was there long before I was created.
I cannot say that tent sleeping is a comfortable sleep; however, I can say that maybe the intention wasn’t to sleep so much at all.
Instead, maybe my intention was to enjoy the glowing campfire at night when all else is dark in the woods.
I stared at the flames and listened to the snapping crackles of the fire. Maybe this was enough to call the moment perfect.
Maybe it was enough for me to escape for a minute and not allow my attention to be intercepted by something meaningless or unimportant.
I packed up food, which was not gourmet by any means. At the beginning of my hiking experience, I learned that anything in the pack meant this had to be carried, which was heavy on the back and legs, especially while trekking up the mountainside.
Dinner was a freeze dried pouch of some noodle-ish carbohydrate, which wasn’t too bad to be honest. All one has to do is boil water, which was easy enough.
Pour the boiling water in the meal pouch to the suggested level, wait for a while, and then eat. And to be honest, the meal was pretty good.
Or maybe the moment was good enough to outweigh anything otherwise. Maybe that’s it.
Maybe it was the climb and the feeling one gets when moving through the trails that satisfies all the matters of the heart.
Or maybe it is the moments at a cliff when standing at one of the scenic overlooks—and there it is, the world in a way which I had never seen before.
The scenic mountains wove and intertwined and the shades of green from the trees varies in a ways that is nothing short of breathtaking.
Then of course, there’s the sunset.
The sky becomes orange as the sun douses in the horizon, like a hot glowing orb, surrendering its light so that moonlight can come along and take its place
I woke that morning with no one else around.
It was perfect.
There was nothing else but me and my campfire coffee, which is pretty good to say the least. I had powdered eggs and vacuum sealed bacon, which was perfect. I had the sunrise mirroring over a body of water and the perfect silence of nature without the disturbance of any human interference.
The campsite was perfect. My pack and my things were all stowed away from my sleeping area. My things were tied up high from a tree branch to dissuade bears from my spot, which was hardly a concern, but more of a safety precaution.
I respect the woods. I learned about the rules of the trails and kept my campsite neat.
There is no such thing as internet service here. There is no such thing as “Wifi” or any kind of technological advancement.
There is only land and nature, which is all one needs in a moment like this one.
I want to revisit the morning I had at my campsite. There was a certain unspoken understanding where nothing needed to be said or added. This is when life is flavored perfectly without the need for added seasoning.
No one needed to explain themselves. No one needed to talk about anything and no one dared to make a sound.
Doing so would only molest the quiet of an unmolested reflection of the sky and the trees across the top of the lake, which lay across from me.
I want to revisit this because a morning like this is unmistakable. The achievement of a long hike and the set-up of the campsite is also unmistakable.
After breakfast, I patrolled my area to make sure the grounds were safe. I checked to be sure that all of my garbage was packed and taken with me.
I stuffed my pack and then I made my way to the trails to head back down the mountainside.
The sun grew hot and the sweat dripped down my brow. But all was fine. I didn’t need the big car. I didn’t need anything fancy. I didn’t need the grand scheme on how to win friends and influence people.
There was no need for any sort of medicinal intervention because in fairness, not an anti-depressant has been created that could replicate or duplicate the feeling I had.
I would see people hiking their way up as I made my way down. Some were obviously novice and some could tell where I was.
I could tell the difference by the knowing expression on the hiker’s faces. Some knew exactly what just happened and some had no clue. Either way, the interaction was unimportant.
The only thing important was me and my interaction with this moment in time.
I hiked about eight miles up and then eight miles down. The trails and the woods, they welcomed me kindly. And I’m not sure if the sunrise at the campsite was there to welcome me or if it was me there to welcome it.
Either way, I’m just glad I was there to meet myself; to be away from the world without interruption, to be free from distraction, and to enjoy the morning with a little metal cup of some campfire coffee.
In times like now, it has been requested that we practice social distancing to help stop the a virus, which has spread throughout the world.
Maybe this is not such a bad idea.
I’ve been practicing this since before it was cool—
And you know what?
It was just as lifesaving then as it is now.