Down to the Last Bite: The Benefits of a Campfire Meal

I do believe in a cosmic sense. I believe in the vastness of the sky and that, in some way, there is a purpose for everything.
I do believe in the compilation of our stories and the main events of our lives. From this, we become, we grow and we learn. Whether we move forward or quit, I know that there is an answer. I know there’s something we’ve all been searching for; and more, I know there are times when we passed an opportunity or there are times when we wished we turned right instead of left or left instead of right.

I know that regardless of the times I’ve looked back with either regret or contempt, my reasoning for wishing I’d have turned the other way is because I followed along with the wrong crowd by using the wrong ideas or assumptions. If I’m being transparent, I must admit that I was snagged by the traps of fear or fear-based thinking that somehow, I might go wrong or do the wrong thing and in the aftermath, I might be on my own and alone as ever. Then what?

I took a walk during the early part of a summer morning just as the sun began to show its face. My starting point was at the bottom of a small mountain with a trail that marks its way up the side and leads towards different scenic overlooks and ledges where the world takes on a much different view. This is where you can see the world from a much different perspective. There’s no one around. There’s nothing in the sky, with the exception of a few clouds perhaps or maybe a hawk that circles the air.

I have not taken a hike like this in a long time. It’s been years, in fact, and perhaps my body would not agree with me if I tried to do this again. My back is not the same as it was and neither are my knees or my ankles. And neither is my belly or my waist size if I’m being honest. 

In any case, I took this walk at the start of the day with a backpack that was filled with the basic essentials for trail survival. I had water. I had a small set of pots and pans for campsite coffee and food. I had a pouch of camping food, a lighter, a small stove assembly, a knife of course. I had some utensils, a few wipes to keep my hands clean and a heart that was filled with the gravity of non-negotiable life’s terms that we often find unfair and unsettling.

I knew this walk because I had taken it before. I knew about the strain of trails because the entire climb is uphill and somewhat steep. I knew the trails and the markings on the trees which allowed me the understanding of which way to go and where to turn.
As far as hiking goes, this was not necessarily a bunny trail or for beginners; but then again, my first excursion up this mountain was attempted at my heaviest.
I could hardly breathe because of the heat and the humidity, which made it seem like I was breathing through a hot, wet towel. Yet, I still made it up the hill (with some help of course).
But either way, I made it up the hills nonetheless.

This time was different. There had been a challenge made. There was a question asked about me and my future. There was a question offered about me and my happiness, as if to ask me: Is this it? Is this what you wanted? 
The answer was a resounding “no.”
I began my hike from the bottom of this mountain and made my way through the brush and through the trails. I climbed up at an even pace. I was not running up the hills by any means, but I was not crawling either. 
No, I wanted to feel every step.
I was angry and hurt. I was sad and envious, hungry and tired. I was aware for the first time how I settled; yet, for the first time in my life- I realized that nothing was going to change unless I do something about it. I am, by the way, doing something about it, that is. I have to do this all the time; continuously and consecutively.
However, this process and these steps of change are lifelong and, with all of my heart, sometimes the trips we take can leave the body feeling sore or the heart feeling heavy.

I was never under the assumption that I was perfect in any way, but no one is. Yet, this was not a trip about perfection. This has nothing to do with the way I looked or the way I earned a living. Instead, this was a moment of awareness when I realized that in trading in my truth for an ease of math, I never added up to be the person I wanted to be.

I hiked with the same outfit as always so to give you a picture: I wore long pants, or camouflage pants to be a bit more accurate. I wore boots to protect my feet as I moved over the different kinds of terrain. I wore a breathable, long sleeve button-down shirt which was white and yes, it was hot and yes, I was sweating, which is fine.
I didn’t mind sweating. I had a hat on too, also camouflage, like a special ops cap and to me, this was a special op. This was me stepping hard into the Earth and punishing the ground for my frustrations until, at last, I reached a place where I had been before.
I reached a ledge where I could see above the treetops of the grounds below me. I could see the sky and the world in an unblemished version. There was nothing interrupted by man made things. There was nothing up there but me and my things and my bag of tricks.

I set up my small burner on the big rocks, which were generously provided unto me by the mountain. I lit the flame and began to boil the water for my campfire coffee and thus, of course; I boiled the water to dump in my pouch of food to both hydrate and heat the rice and beans and my meal hearty enough to rebuild my strength.
I can remember looking out at the world. There was no one around me. I remember letting myself go in a way that was as if to scream in the flood of an emotional deluge; I let it go. I let my tears run and my voice scream – besides, I was miles from where anyone could hear me. 

I let my fears go and my need for acceptance fled from my voice. I did this until I cried and screamed enough because, of course, awareness can be a tough deliberation, especially when we find ourselves deliberating between the uncovered truth and the lies we learned to accept – just so we can get by.

I sat on a boulder that was benevolently placed exactly where it was supposed to be for billions of years and for billions of different people. For the moment, I sat at a place which was both built and designed perfectly, just for me.
I drank my campfire coffee and ate every spoonful of my meal.

To be clear, it felt as though I lost a thousand pounds of emotional weight. I dropped all of my unwantedness and let my tears go with the wind.
By the time I came down, my body had forgotten the physical strain and my mind was stationed elsewhere, which means that I was able to disregard the heat and humidity. 

I do believe in moments of awakening.
I understand there is work for me to do and that some days are more challenging.
I know all about this and the fears which I have yet to overcome. Like that hike, I might not have reached the top of that mountain on my own (or at least not yet) but the more I climb, the farther I am away from my regrettable yesterdays.

Come to think of it, I think now is a good time for a walk. 

Today is Saturday, November 5, 2022.
The temperature is warm for this time of year: 58°F

Precipitation: 3%, Humidity: 97%, Wind: 3 mph

This is perfect for right now.
I believe in it.
(I hope you do too.)

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