Our lungs are ravenous. They seek to devour and heave and drench themselves in the sweet aromas of atmosphere. Their tongues wrap around the smog of the streets, the perfume of a lover, the dew along the pines. Most importantly, they communicate with nature. Wrapped within transmission between earth and sky, they pollenate every path our feet touch. Feet ribbon themselves to them as our pace hastens up the path. The higher we climb, the more energized our breath becomes.
Footprints along the rocky path hold the ghosts of smaller tennis shoes, mothers’ hands, and trotting ahead. Now, we slump fatigued bodies into the rock’s crevice, and muse at other tourists’ first breath of Rock. Our words have evolved from bug collections to graduate schools. Time has lapsed our muddy hands into professional handshakes. She has molded our tires into cities estranged by state lines. Yet this she cannot plunder. She cannot remove the swipes of tree fingers that caress our arms and plead our homecoming. She cannot starve us of the mountain’s craters. Her circling birds are but a reminder to return. For our camaraderie is stronger than her grasp. Almonds and orange scraps filtered with mountain air will sustain our devotion.
We didn’t talk, I didn’t mind. There’s a curious sensation of silence on a mountaintop. Human words interrupted by technology’s shriek have ceased. We’re enfolded within our footsteps kissing leaves, rock, and earth. We pause, and the earth teems with humming life around us. My lips part in enchantment as my breath joins the dance in smoky wisps. It was this company, this unity of the earth and time that baptized our futures into our pasts. It was a calm hand reassuring us to press on, and reminding us of our shared past, propelling our futures.