On Departure’s Eve

On Departure’s Eve

After a week of firsts and fist bumps, I huddled around a campfire, all raw muscles, beer in hand, love in heart, singing and shaking tambourines with good, good folks. One by one, our little impromptu Valley family band eventually dispersed to tents and RVs and pop-ups, and feeling the unsettling grip of departure’s eve, I decided to go for a walk.

Headlamps and lanterns flickered around for a while like fat fireflies, and then it was just the darkness and me, only the snowmelt rumble of the nearby Merced for company. There were hundreds of people scattered around in the pines, snoring or laughing or telling ghost stories with flashlights shoved under their chins, but I was so beautifully alone. To feel that way in what is arguably Mother Nature’s Times Square was ridiculous and wonderful.

Landing alongside a meadow with a moonlit view of Yosemite Falls, I felt compelled to gawk at the granite for a while, then leaned back and spent some time with the stars, maybe made a wish, a secret between me and the cosmos.

Thanks for listening, Universe. I’ll try to keep listening to you, too.

For a moment, I was just another Valley creature, my ears attuned to every scritch and squeak of nocturnal rustling, my lungs flush with that cool, pine-scented air. I sucked in as much as I could…just a little morea little more…like some basement stoner, hoping to trap some inside, always and forever.

After some time tucked into that sweet spot, I uncurled and shuffled back to camp, reluctant steps like peas pushed around a plate. But still it came, that soft mourning that always sneaks up as I prepare to leave behind the wild places that make me feel so feral and free.

A few more deep breaths.

Yosemite: lover, friend, sister, confidant, all-seeing mystic with a direct conduit to my soul.

I’ll be back soon.