Finding myself in the silence of the twilight
I’ve always loved traveling on my own. In particular, I make sure to not know too many details about the places I go before getting there. I want to let myself be surprised and therefore arrive with a virgin mind.
I manage to lose myself willingly. Safe enough, and lost just enough, I allow space for moments of wonder to unveil.
That’s how, early this fall, I decided to get out for a walk at the top of the mountain where I unpacked my bags. It was dusk and the road was fringed with empty houses. All I could hear was the distant whisper of the aspen trees.
The seemingly silent mountains combined with the darkness deepening around me imposed themselves, both intimidating and calming. I walked by a modern single-family home. There was no light inside and no car in the front. Two mule deers were eating grass in the backyard. We looked at each other as if recognizing one another. I wondered if they were the ones that I saw from my room. But perhaps we could just sense the same love for freedom and wandering, bonding in a makeshift family for the time of the encounter. A few steps later, I spotted another deer on the side, majestically caressing the grass with her soft nose.
Then, in a dream-like vision, the shadow of a powerful musculature crossed the road right in front of me. I had never seen such a combination of strength and grace scrambled together. The silence of his paws as they bounced off the ground struck me. I stood there for a moment, captivated, in awe of such miraculous beauty. The night was almost there, the sky was dressed with shades of dark orange and purple navy. My eyes could barely see anything further than twenty feet away.
During one of my hikes, I stumbled upon the remaining leg of a deer, the obvious work of a cougar… It took me a few seconds to realize that what I just saw was a mountain lion. My presence on the road that night spared the deers’ lives temporarily, as the big feline chose to run away when I approached.
My first impulse was to follow the animal. I wanted to spend a moment in his distant company. But somehow, I refrained. I slowly walked back, with stars pulsing above me. Stars pulsed in my heart, too. I couldn’t tell if I was dead or alive, but it did not matter, I was.
I cherish this memory, along with many others, gathered in my lonely travels, for they keep reminding me of who I am.
I hope you get to lose yourself, too, now and then. Just a little. Just enough to find yourself again.
The magic happens on the edge of the known.
After all, when the “a” of anxiety turns into the “e” of excitement, what you’ll find beyond your fear, is yourself to be free.