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A moment of pause

Last updated on October 16, 2019

It was late afternoon on Saturday this past weekend, the second day of my first hiking trip through the Northern part of the Dolly Sods. We were pounding out 20 some miles that day in order to cut the trip short. My partner was suffering from some seriously lousy foot problems.

He and I had just passed through a pretty strong late summer thunderstorm with full packs on without the benefit of our rain gear. We were drenched but warm from the effort then air-cooled afterward by the constant breeze through the flat areas below the rocky peaks we climbed out of earlier. I think about people, times and places a lot when I’m hiking, running and/or meditating. These are the paths my brain takes. As we exited the Red Spruce filled treeline that afternoon I came upon a mangy looking young tree sitting inside a ring of golden-hued grass, brightly lit by the sun which had found a sliver through the dark storm clouds filling the sky. It was, well, kind of magical all on its own against such the slate gray storm clouds.

Sunlit tree in the Dolly Sods after a thunderstorm
A pretty damn magical moment out in the wilderness by myself

It was not profound in any way, but, in a sense, through the reflection engine of the brain, it was. I have been thinking about that moment a lot in the days since this trip. Maybe it’s a reminder of why I am trying to get outdoors as much as possible. To do the things I’ve put off for far too long. Make amends. Take chances. Be grateful. Perhaps the subconscious theme, heavy on the metaphor, is that all hikes come to an end. Maybe it’s an archetypal echo about finding oneself after having been lost for so long.

Or maybe it touched upon some imagery in my head, long forgotten. Something that devolved into a visual pattern. Triggered by a tree as I was dripping wet in a meadow nestled in the Northeastern tip of West Virginia. A reminder of how profound, yet simple, life is after all. I honestly don’t know but have been thinking about that scene a lot the past few days — that and about people and all of our seemingly solitary tracks. Crossing one another for brief illuminated moments.

Perhaps this is what the tree represented to me on Saturday out in the backwoods.

To remember, to breath, and to always hold hope close to my chest.

Embrace the moment.

Hiking in the Dolly Sods
After breaking camp Saturday morning and starting the second day of the hike
Published inoutdoors

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