how we forget to remember

"This is a story of how we begin to remember" —Paul Simon, "Under African Skies"

I want to take someone to see sunrise from Guadalupe Peak. But I hesitate—it's not the greatest place in the world to go, though I sometimes make it out as that. Guadalupe Peak (in Guadalupe Mountains National Park) was the first signpost by which I had measured the progress of my life, so it is a great place to me. I don't think I realized then, but I undestand some of the significance now.

It was one year ago today that I hiked to the top of the peak. The day before, I asked the rangers in the visitor center for advice—what should I see in my one day at Guadalupe Mountains NP? Their suggestion was to hike to the top of the peak to see the sun rise over western Texas. This sounded audacious to me. You mean that I should walk a 4.2-mile trail 3000-ft up in the dark? Well, audacious plans for audacious people.

I woke up late the next morning, but not too late. I should be satisfied that I slept at all. The winds coming down to the campsite from the mountains were stiff enough to require that I cook inside the tent; my little stove wouldn't keep a flame outside, not to mention that I had no desire to be out there. During the night, I would routinely be surprised that the windward wall of the tent would be pressed down to where I was trying to sleep in the middle of the floor. That is, it was windy.

But that's not the point, really. The point was that I was going to hike to the top of a mountain in the dark. I put the contents of my tent in the car—just in case the wind intended to send my tent into New Mexico—and geared up for the trail. Gear for this trail meant a Pop Tart, Power Bar, granola bar, water, camera, flashlight, and a blanket. Now, here's where coincidence was on my side. First, there was a full moon that night; I only used the flashlight during a 50m stretch that wound through a grove of trees. Otherwise, the trail was clear and turned toward the brilliant moon. Second, I expected company on the trail, whether from the local wildlife or from another hiker. But there was no one or nothing. I'm selfish—I wanted the view to myself. I wanted to sit on the top of the mountain in my blanket and wait for the sun to slowly illuminate

I agree that not every action and experience is meant to teach a lesson, but there are lessons to be learned nonetheless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *