So, I’m back from a week long hike through the White Mountains. I went up and over several four thousand footers. I walked through tunnels of green, and I clambered on granite. I sat alone with waterfalls and negotiated granola trades with squirrels. The squirrels are clever, and I never came out ahead. I mentioned my trip before I departed, and a friend commented just the single word “church.” He’s exactly right. I’m not a religious person (as you may have noticed), but if I have a spiritual haven it is broad red deserts, deep quiet forests, or wind pulled peaks…really anywhere that I am confronted with our world’s sensory explosion of beauty. It is a beauty we actively seek to bury in our continual lust to feed the civilization machine.
I’m back from church. Long walks in wilderness do incredible things to my thought process. When I hiked the AT, I spent two days singing “Amarillo by Morning”…I only know two lines from that song, and I have no clue why that song fused into my skull. For two days, those lines played over and over in my head. All the while, I could hear every bird chirp, rustle of leaves in wind, creak of trees, and scurrying of creatures in the brush. I smelled ferns unfurling in the morning, the fresh aroma of the pines, and the sweet, pungent odor of bear scat. I felt every rock and root beneath my boots, and I saw centipedes and fissures in stone. I could not tell you a single detail of place about the 30 some odd miles I walked those two days, but they were my favorite days of the journey.
I go out seeking that clarity, that communion. I learned many things on this trip. There will be a few blogs forthcoming about the trail, the people, the gear, and the unexpected experience that provided me fodder for what will be my next book.
Ben, you’re exactly right…church.
“For he on honeydew hath fed and drunk the milk of paradise.”
I’m Darren, and I went to church.