You know that feeling you get; the one after being shut in for days due to the cold, bad weather and suddenly the sun comes out and the sky is blue and there’s not a cloud to be seen and the temperatures are inching up to the point of being comfortable and your dog brings his leash over to you and….
You get the picture, right?
The other day was one of those days. There was no way I could drown out the call of the wild. It was too loud and I had to go for a walk in the woods.
I asked my most trusted hiking companion, my faithful dog, Phyto, if he wanted to come. He must have been feeling the same cabin fever and nearly jumped out of his skin with excitement.
So, the two of us set out for the trail. That would be the Appalachian Trail, in case you were wondering.
We went to one of our closest AT trail heads, Winding Stair Gap, and headed southbound. We had nowhere particular we were going. We were just going.
Deep in the shadows of the mountains, snow was still covering the ground. Not much snow considering the temps at that elevation were around 42 degrees, but enough snow to cause you to pay attention to your footing on the steep grades.
By the time we got to the top of the ridge the temperature had dropped to around 35 degrees, but you wouldn’t have noticed. It was very comfortable. The sun was shining brightly and I was beginning to break a sweat from the exertion.
It was almost as if I was suddenly transported into a JRR Tolkien or C.S. Lewis novel and one of their magically enchanted settings.
The trees were covered in a light coating of ice, making the smaller branches appear to be made of blown crystal glass. It was amazing.
Fortunately the rime wasn’t so thick that branches were dropping on our heads. That would be dangerous! The only thing we had to worry about was the water droplets, by the millions, falling from the branches as the sun warmed things up on the western slope.
It was like a steady rain was falling; rain falling under a clear blue sky – it was a first for me.
Occasionally a small piece of ice would hit the leaf litter, sounding like a tiny animal scurrying, sending Phyto on a wild chase deep into the woods.
He always looked so disappointed when he discovered there was nothing to chase, but was quickly fooled again when the next chunk of ice fell. Instincts, I guess.
This day reminded me how important it is to heed the call of the mountains. They call for a reason.
Like us, they are a living, breathing sentient being, eager to show off, longing to be appreciated and wanting to interact with us.
I pay attention when the mountains are calling me. I’ve learned that when I do they reward me with big surprises, their changing face of beauty and grandeur and often their revelations of a deep connection to my own primal spirit.
This time it was the crystalline trees. Who knows what it will be next time, but I will go. I will go when they call.
You should too.
See ya’ on the trail