After sitting through a four-hour plane ride, a four-hour drive, and a couple of “et cetera” hours in
between, my first day of spring break in Utah is filled with a lot of sitting and even more snacks. “Snacks on snacks on snacks,” as one of my brothers pointed out when I sent him a picture of the contents of my backpack. Loaded-up with snacks, I start the real adventuring/ moving part of my journey as I pull into the driveway of the lodge I am staying at.
Bouncing out of the car and itching to move, to do something with my body other than sit, I dig out my hiking boots from my suitcase and strap them on. In five seconds, zipzipzip, they are laced up my ankles. I head outside and follow the path of the setting sun over the mountainside. The sunlight fills and glistens over everything. I can’t help it – I start smiling to myself.
Twenty minutes into the hike, I find an overlook that reaches over the valley and drops down a sheer cliff. It reminds me of Pocahontas singing about the wind and the river changing and things blowing on a course all their own. I look over the valley – trees, now dots of colors, cars small ants – and have the sudden urge to dance right on the cliff’s precipice. For a split second, I debate the perils and pitfalls of dancing on some random rock by myself – what if someone sees me? What if I trip over a random rock and sprain my ankle? What if I’m attacked by a feral mountain goat?
And then I do a couple of pirouettes, my hands making half-moon circles over my head. As trivial or enfantine as it may seem, I feel like a fairy princess.
I hike back down the cliff and make myself dinner. The knives are sharp and slice through everything quickly, the onions and garlic seem to sizzle almost instantaneously. I add some gnocchi, a little bit of rosemary, a quick pinch of lemon pepper that I brought from home. With a spoon, I flick everything together, then plate the food and head out to the porch and just look out at the landscape around me, take in what seems like silence.
Slowly, I discover the softer noises, the ones that may exist or may just be my ears playing tricks on me. The thrum of crickets beating their wings together. The chirping of one bird to another. The cadence of the wind as it sweeps over the mountains. When I’m done, I watch half a romantic comedy on Netflix and then tumble into my bed for what seems like an endless sleep.
The next morning, I wake up and decide I’m going to go for a gander up the mountainside. I strap on my boots again and hike up the mountain path.
The sun radiates over everything. Everything glows. Everything. For about 1.5 seconds, I try taking photographs to capture this light, this moment. And after those 1.5 seconds are up, I decide it’s better to just take some mental snapshots, and so instead of lugging out my camera and messing with the flash and the zoom and all that jazz, I just soak in the scents, the shadows, the sounds around me. The word “beautiful” pops into my head again. It is all just so damn beautiful.
Back down the mountain, I go to head inside to gear up for the day ahead of me, refueling my snack supply, shoveling some cereal into my mouth, double-checking everything.
Now one month later, as I continue to reflect and learn from this adventure, one thing I have learned and continued to practice: always carry snacks. Always.