Weekend trip, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.
41 degrees and falling...Snow hopefully on the way. To see snow would make me wonderfully heartsick for the mountains. I keep several weather forecasts in my bookmarks, and its gonna get down to 23 degrees on the Coosa tonight, with a 70% chance of snow tomorrow and Saturday. I miss Appalachian solitude. I miss the feeling of loneliness and quiet that somehow sharpens the ears of my spirit, leaving me more receptive to the voice of love. To go a day or two without speaking, focusing on the simple actions of one foot in front of the other. To find my water, to gather my wood. Sometimes it seems I know a little more when I return. Money was terrible this last Christmas break, and these last two quarters, I have missed my trip to the mountains. I realize now, that I should probably prioritize this a little more highly. I have been telling myself that my fixation is foolish, a by product of entitlement and idolatry, that to escape to a place of loneliness and silence was a cop out.
But perhaps not.
Maybe that is just what works for me.
I gotta say, sitting on a mountaintop in the cold windy dark, is (sometimes...) like that brief period of quiet static as the television moves from show to commercial... suddenly, you realize that someone is speaking clearly in the other room, but you have been unable to hear it until now.
Much has happened in the last couple of years. I lost a Father and a marriage. I have looked upon some remarkably painful shit. My dog died (you would have to have a good dog to understand) . I have managed to survive school poverty, and make good grades. An infection nearly killed me. Aunt Judy died. Wonder of wonders I have not had a cigarette in 13 days. (I want one now, and have become as big as a house.) I have become painfully aware being hundreds of miles from my sister, and the shrinking number of people in this hemisphere with my blood flowing through their veins. I have also noticed my life is nothing like I wished for, and I would be embarassed to die, for my story to end here. I need to get busy. I need to figure a few things out.
And I dream. Some of the things I see cannot be my idea, and some of them can't be anything else.
I would like some time where I can bring these matters before God, in the silence of the days, as my boots pick their way between rocks and roots seeking a resting place for the evening. There, I will sling my hammock in the lee of a boulder, and build my fire. I shall make a little coffee and cook a hot meal. In the stillness between gusts through the passes, with my fire crackling in the sudden silence...Maybe I will hear the voice in the other room. I am so thirsty.