Out There

I spent all of yesterday hiking in the Los Padres National Forest with Monte and our friend Michael. We walked by a stream and then uphill for miles in bright sun along a narrow brushy trail. The air was fragrant with the scents of sage and chaparral, and occasionally the path widened into open grassy areas, and sometimes there were creek crossings and rocky places, and Monte had to help me figure out where to step, but there was nothing too difficult. Now and then we stopped to admire noble old trees along the way, and to marvel at beautiful rock formations, and finally we climbed up to a hidden cave where there were faded remnants of Chumash paintings on the walls, and a series of deep grinding holes in the rock, and little pools of water nearby, and sandstone alcoves where you could sit and look out onto the landscape. I had a good feeling out there, the feeling that there was no place else I would prefer to have been.

It was a day of sustenance and fortification. I loosened my hold on the illusion of control, but I gained the kind of power that resides in truth.  I felt the heat of rock and saw that the earth is breathing.  In the bright glare of the present, I summoned my ancestors, and they were here for me. I noticed that I am young and old, and that I know some things, and I doubt myself too much.

I was so tired when I got home, I could barely climb up the stairs to our house. I went to sleep at 9 pm and slept soundly. Maybe I’ve found the answer to insomnia.

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