17 July 2008

Your Soul is Melting

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature."
- Anne Frank, German Jewish writer/humanist (1929-1945)

Three friends, a few tents, large quantities of beer, and some of nature's northwest bounty.

One of the great things about Seattle is the close proximity to lots of interesting things to do. Within a half hour drive there is great camping, hiking, skiing, many lakes, the Puget Sound, beaches, parks and trails. A little further out and you can really get away. 

We loaded up RJ's van with tents, stoves, coolers, and chairs and set off for a quick camping excursion. We took the ferry across the Sound to Bainbridge Island and hopped across to the Olympic Peninsula and headed north. After a couple hours we found ourselves a great camping area a little way off the beaten path. It was high up in the Olympics above the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The weather was a bit chilly and foggy, but we didn't mind. It was just good to be away.

We woke up in the foggy, grey dawn and I boiled water for French press coffee. Sitting in the stillness of the morning, the enormity of the wild, the hot coffee warming the hands as the birdsong welcomed the new day was invigorating. We hiked through quiet, lush forests and up steep, rocky trails above the tree line. Skirted snow fields and tightroped along narrow ridges overlooking deep, wide valleys on either side. Deer Park to Obstruction Point and back - 15 miles round trip. On a clear day you could see across the Strait, past the shipping lanes, all the way to Vancouver Island, Canada. Vertigo and exaltation. The fog shrouded the mountains and gave the area a feeling of quiet solitude, of generations past, of forgotten times.

The nights were spent around the campfire. Cheap beer and expensive tequila were passed around. We talked of politics and of philosophy. We discussed passion, sex, art, music, and food. We spoke of books and movies and thoughts and dreams. We stared, mesmerized, at the fire until the logs burned down and the coals glowed hot. I noticed that P's shoes were too close to the heat and were beginning to soften. "Your sole is melting," I said to him. He stared dreamily into the radiant coals and nodded, "Yeah, man. My soul is melting." I began to laugh, and pointed at his smoking shoes. "No, your SOLE is MELTING!" I cackled. He jumped up and shuffled his feet in the dirt. We laughed until the tears ran. 

Long into the night we waited for the occasional break in the clouds to give us a glimpse of the myriad kaleidoscope of stars and planets. The heavens high above and the tall trees encircling us relaxed and cheered our hearts. A shooting star painted the night sky. Our souls were rejuvenated and our spirits cleansed.
KJT - The Olympic Peninsula, WA (2006)

1 comment:

Lara said...

Great story, great telling of it.
And it reminded me that the Perseids are due in August.