“Oh boy.” There it was in the sparkly pink ink on the calendar. Grandpa’s and my hiking trip up to
Releasing my angst-ridden feelings towards the hike with a sigh, I rolled out of bed sluggishly to be met by a muffled buzzing of my phone under the pillow. Seven new text messages.
“Christy? Almost ready down there?” called Grandpa’s voice from the stairs.
“Coming! Be up in a sec!” I yelled and crossly threw my polka dot backpack over my shoulder. I was greeted with a subtle smile.
“What’s in the bag? Looks heavy.” Gramps held out his hand. I pulled the bag off my shoulder again and handed it to him. He let out a loud “oomph!”
“What on earth is in here!?” he cried and opened up the bag to stare disapprovingly at my collection of outdoor accessories. Cell phone. iPod. Three books. Two CDs. A Gameboy. Chemistry binder. He clicked his tongue furiously.
“Time to go,” he muttered and handed me my newly-empty backpack. I grimaced and followed him to our red Ford Explorer.
The ground was somewhat damp and squished beneath our boots as we began our woodland trek up the mountain. The trees were thick and green around us, covering up any sign of civilization below.
As we slowly made our way along the twisting black paths, I found myself liking, even enjoying the quietude. My eyes began to rest upon the boughs of large pines and oaks, examining the way they wrapped around the air. My ears suddenly became aware of more than just the constant buzzing of a cell phone. I began to listen to the jovial song of blue jays and sparrows in the branches above; hear the rustling and crackling of orange leaves under my feet. My nose filled with the sweet fragrance of wildflowers and ferns. It began to amaze me how lovely this place was; how much beauty had gone unnoticed. We trekked along in silence, stopping every so often to wonder at odd toadstools and insects.
I had barely noticed that three hours had gone by when we reached the top of the trail. A low rumble vibrated beneath our feet and resonated in our ears. Gramps smiled and clapped me on the back. “You’ll think this is cool.”
I stepped a few pace up to a wooden railing and peered over into a sight that words can barely begin to describe. There, in front of us was a huge wall of water falling from the sky, flowing into a crystal clear river of rock and sand; a stunning show of blue and silver pouring into a brook of ethereal grace. Wallace Falls.
The sheer force of the image in front of me took my breath away; its primitive and majestic beauty incomparable. A light mist danced across my face and I felt an unfamiliar sense of euphoria and wholeness. A feeling of such strong and direct connection with nature was profound — one I had not experienced in my technological obsession. In that moment, I could not comprehend how much I had been missing while I was concentrated on text messages and Myspace. This lush green world was out here and all I had to do was begin. I reached in my pocket and turned off my cell.
“You’re right, Grandpa. This is cool.”
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