The day of my brother’s graduation party had finally arrived. We prepared all morning by carrying and setting up nearly a dozen tables with stacks upon stacks of chairs. Coolers were then stocked with enough soda, bottled water, and beer to fill a pond. Then the food was laid out, with each person hauling as much as they could carry back and forth, again and again. It was enough to feed an army, I joked.
A few hours later guests started to arrive, and I was drug out of my room to help greet them. It was a cascading waterfall of greetings and congratulations. My front deck, which was an open field just a few hours ago, was now so filled with people; one could hardly see where the crowd stopped. I felt squished and cramped, like an extra sardine shoved into a can that wouldn’t close. I wanted the deck to go back to an open field again, somewhere I could think.
An idea popped into my head, and I bolted from my room. I grabbed my bag, my camera, a small notebook, my favorite black ink pen, a bottle of water, and my phone. I then found my mother through the swarm, told her where I was headed, and then started down the driveway.
I walked past the numerous vehicles parked alongside the narrow, winding road. They reminded me of two trains, with each automobile parked bumper to bumper with the next acting as a separate car, stocked to the brim with coal, or wood, or paper, or anything else.
I followed the road up and over the small familiar hill which I drive over every day on my to and from home and work. The train of cars stopped, and my left opened up to a forest of trees, and my right revealed a small swamp. Another two hills later, I saw what I was looking for.
It was a trail which continued straight ahead of me, instead of curving to left, and following the road out to the highway. I hiked along that trail before, and it had become an area which I could navigate well, a feat very astonishing for me. I climbed up the small switchback to the rock which overlooked the road to my house, along with a stretch of highway. I could see cars sprint back and forth, along with their roar as they passed by. I continued down, off of the rock, and into a flat, thicker part of the forest.
My bag gently beat at my side with a rhythm that followed my step. I was careful of where I stepped, watching out for divots, roots, and small rocks which...