Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Sindee Ernst
There was a day, I remember, when every cell in my body cried out for me to stay. I did not want to go home. I could not imagine leaving. But it was September; time for returning.
On the last day of the last hike of the summer, I stood outside the shelter where we had slept and looked out across the mountains. Ridges upon ridges skipped into the distance like a fading echo, each one a softer shade of blue. It was the mist that got to me, though. The way it hung in the valleys all still and silent. I was the only one awake. I basked in the pink glow of the newly risen sun and felt the air cool against my skin. The musky smell of the soil filled my lungs as I contemplated the prospect of streets and traffic and buildings with electricity. I noticed that the mist floated there as though it didn't want to leave either. Or like it was comforting someone, saying that everything would be okay. I wanted to dive from my high perch into its soft gray gauziness.
There is something about departure that makes your days rush forward all at once like a tide, so you feel them hard and strong. All of the orange-red sunsets, the early morning spider webs along the trail, the granite boulder peaks where I could see into Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, and on a clear day into Connecticut and Canada - they came to me then. As my eyes reached out to hold on to the scene before me, I thought about the fact that mist doesn't rest on anything. It just holds itself together through the force of its own nature. My summer mountain days were like that, too, and I felt them floating around me.
Maybe there is nothing more beautiful than standing on the top of a summit and feeling the immense silence that comes from the way the wind wraps itself around you. But for me, it was the mist against the blue on that last morning.
Sindee Ernst writes from Owings Mills , Maryland . Her piece, "Touch," appears in this column's First Flash.
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