People who know me, know that summertime means hiking. I look forward to it all year long and miss it as soon as August hits and school is back in session. I hike with a good friend, we’ll call her Elaine, and we make a great team. There is no race to get to the end of the trail, to whatever lake or view we are seeking. We just go, at our own pace, and marvel at everything. This could be why we end up scuffing our boots as we trip over rocks and roots, being lookie-loo’s. We’ve taken countless usie’s and encourage each other to keep going.
Once-in-a-while, I end up on the trail alone due to something getting in Elaine’s way. (How dare they set a meeting on a hike day!) When that happens, I always go to a trail we’ve done before, so I know where I’m going. On that sort of day, I found myself hiking up a trail through dense woods, pines and aspens. Just breathing. And maybe wondering a bit, why we couldn’t just get paid to be day-hikers.
It had rained the night before and there was fog still lifting in the early morning. I came around a corner on a switchback and the smell, the humidity, the trees all combined to overwhelm my senses. I was transported to Georgia, to my best friends’ place. I had to stop because a longing deep inside surfaced and I felt myself transported to the path leading up their place. No matter how far away I’ve been, no matter how long I’ve been away, their place is home anytime I show up.
Certain smells, tastes, and situations can have that absolute ability to take me deep into a memory that lives in my body, but that only surfaces because of my senses. When it happens, it always brings me up short, reminding me that I am not alone.