In the morning.


Bzzzrrrr. Bzzzrrrr. My phone vibrates. It’s 4.15AM on a Saturday morning. I get up from my sleeping bag in the floor of my daughter’s room. Sometime during the night my 20 month old daughter has rolled out of her bed and joined me on the sleeping bag, snuggling, cuddling. I check to make sure she is still fast asleep and tiptoe to the guest bedroom. There I change, in the dark,  into the pants and T shirt I had laid out last night.

I tiptoe into the bathroom next door, take my contact lens case without turning any lights on and tiptoe downstairs to the kitchen. Here, I can finally turn the light on. Time check. It is 4.25AM. I use the bathroom, wash my face, put on my contacts and start my stove top espresso. Time check. 4.30AM.

Coffee is ready. Add some milk and sugar, reheat.  Pour coffee into a travel mug. Send a text saying ‘be at your house in 15 mins’. I take my bag, packed last night, into the car and I drive.

You see, it is my weekly escape. It is my way of staying alive, of getting what I need. Of feeding my habit and filling my soul again.

I pick up my friend at her place. Its 5.00 am. And then we drive, for another 30 mins. Warm conversation. Needed conversation. Venting. Complaining. Praising. Sharing.

Here we reach the start of our hike. It is pitch dark. But the parking lot is already full. We park about 3/4 mile away and walk up to the trailhead. All uphill. And then the hike starts. It is a constant uphill, 2200ft climb in 3 miles.

We walk and talk. And there’s a break in our talk, but our feet keep moving. Uphill. Thighs burn. Hello hamstrings. Glutes, there you are!

The sky slowly turns light. The sun has risen far away and the light is reaching over the hill we are climbing. The clouds turn pink. Then glorious shades of pink and pale pink, and almost orange. We pause to drink in the beautiful sunrise. The feeling of a new day. The feeling of opening my heart to a loved and trusted friend. This feeling of newness. This blush of pink.

And then onward we climb. At some point, the fog swirls down on us, and we barely see a few feet in front of us. Onward we climb. Upward, ever upward.

And now we are above the fog. The fog has completely descended into the valley, covering up civilization. Overhead is the bright blue sky with the sun shining, a quiet breeze blowing.  Beneath our feet is the path and the fog below.

Serenity. Is this sunrise just for us? Is this fog here to cleanse the mind, and the soul? Is this my gift from the universe – to sate my craving for wilderness and lofty remote places, which right now I just can’t get to? Gratitude for this beauty, for this moment. For everything I have.

And upward and onward we go. By the time we reach the peak, the fog below has started burning out. The sadness and worry and toxic emotions of the past week cleansed.

We start our descent light and cheerful. Blessed and cleansed and renewed. Ready for what lies ahead.

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