A short piece of creative things. Simply reflecting on the day in Tahoe at Mountain Camp when I decided New Zealand is what I needed.
My body dysfunctionally sunk into the beach beside Ice House reservoir. Sand stuck to my wet skin and my toes still close enough to the water to be splashed with each gentle wave. My wet hair grew thick with sand that would soon be lost in my scalp and not come out for weeks, but the sun. The sun warmed my wet skin, the sand flaked off and my wet hair became lifted with air. The world seemed to pause. The wind died, the water calmed, and the sun pumped heat. My brain stopped racing. It was like all the puzzle pieces locked together into a beautiful portrait.
I forgot how to breathe in silence. How to let my breath dance through the untouched air and drift away. The noise of my congested lungs rattled, seeing my chest lift high into the air and sink hard into the damp beach. I heard me. I could finally hear myself question the mundane path I was blindly following. I was given a minute to step away from the crowds that were pushing me down this narrow path of life and into the unknown. My brain stepped aside. My eyes were open to see my own path. So I laid in the sand and let my mind find its path.
I found a blankness, a curiosity, a freedom; all filled with a nostalgic smell. I remembered what freedom felt like. Soon after the silence began a roar of real life invaded. I thought about school, university, the pros and cons and outcomes of every situation. Is school worth it, am I wasting my time in Tahoe this summer, what makes time lost? Questions soared through my brain like a never ending flock of geese. Instead of feeling like running away from the bombardment of geese I had the patience, calm-mind to sit and watch them. I listened to each thought and question. I let the thoughts lay with me.
I thought about the times I was happiest and thought about how to be happy in my future. My brain jumped back and forth from the past to the future, never now. Then my eyes closed to hide the bright sun and I felt the past. I felt my feet running and hopping down a dry creek bed in Wet Beaver Canyon, AZ. My legs strengthening to balance on each rock, my core tensing to hold my heavy backpacked body up. I felt the smile on my cheeks that erupted when I was in the air about to land on a new rock, finding paths, looking up and seeing vibrant red rocks soaring into the blue. Running until all of the sudden there was a pocket of water filling the creek to the canyon walls. Unpassable. I’d hop straight into the cold still water and hope I water proofed my backpack well enough that morning. The cold water shooting out the air in my lungs and my legs instinctively kicking as fast as possible to get back to the dry warm of the desert air.
I thought about when I was little in White Mountains, where it all started. The first time I smiled and laughed at my exhaustion. Discovering the slickness of lichen, moist granite, and discovering what it is like to be in a cloud. Being damp into my bones. The familiar and cringing pain of putting my heavy backpack onto my bruised shoulders and hips. Seeing the ocean from the top of New Hampshire, being endlessly grateful when I actually had a view on top of the notoriously cloudy mountains. Remembering no pain while I hiked up steep hillsides in the pouring rain because my memories were distracted with the end result, distracted with the overwhelming sense of contentment and pride. That day while I laid in the wet sand with cold water tickling my toes, the idea arose. My next step in life was going to be whatever makes me happy. To once again hike in search of a smile rather than a view. Go outside and explore.
A song came on from my phone and I awoke from my thoughts, like lifting my face out of cold clean water after trying to hold my breath for as long as I can. My eyes opened and I breathed as if it was the first time in awhile. I sat up quickly, knowing that the song was an alarm and that meant I had to go back to being surrounded by over 300 people; summer camp. That I had to go back and cage my thoughts like caging beautiful wild geese, that all my attention had to be for the children, that me and my thoughts were once again second. I stood up droned. I walked habitually. Preparing myself for the surge of children and energy. Exhausted, my shoulders curled into my chest and my spine sunk into the air, but my face lifted, I knew what this day meant, that I had a moment to think about my life for the next five years. I had a moment.