I slept with my window open on Monday night.
Not just cracked to let a bit of cool mountain air in, I mean, blinds open, snuggle under layers upon layers of down blankets and wake up with cheeks that are chilled to the touch, wide open.
When I woke up, I realized that it wasn’t Mayhem waking me up with a squeaky yawn, but rays of sunlight just making their way up and over Buffalo and Red, streaming in across my bedroom floor.
Those golden rays held the promise of Spring and immediately filled me with glee as Mayhem and I jumped out of bed and danced around the living room celebrating the start of a day that was sure to be filled with adventures in the sunshine.
Mr. A’s childhood buddy was visiting and the day before, in anticipation of beautiful weather, we had decided on a spring hike up to Kite Lake, located just above Alma in the valley below four fourteeners known to locals as the Decalibron loop (Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Bross).
We piled into my car, the four of us (my colleague, Ed joined us as well) and two pups, and made our way up and over Hoosier Pass and down into the tiny hamlet of Alma, known for Al-Mart, Alma’s Only Bar and of course its claim to fame as the “highest incorporated town in the United States”.
The road to Kite Lake was still snowed in, so we parked about three miles below the lake at the old Paris Mill and began our hike, trudging through heavy snow, fresh from Monday’s consistent showers.
I meandered a bit, taking in the beauty of the mountains and soaking up the rays and let the guys peel off ahead, bringing Abbey and Mayhem trotting along with them.
As I wandered, I took in the silence.
But for my own footsteps, the song bouncing around my brain (“Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog”, always Jeremiah and his antics while I hike…wtf?!) and heart pounding steadily in my chest, it was silent.
No trucks chugging up I70, no chatter from others roaming beside me, no pups barking impatiently as I bent down to tie my shoe.
I marveled for a moment, allowing my brain to soak in the quietness, feeling my soul relax and settle into the scenery. And then I heard it, music. An orchestra of sounds reverberating off of the stately peaks surrounding the valley.
The drip, drip, dropping of snow and ice melting off of towering evergreen trees.
The twittering of birds announcing the arrival of Spring, calling up their neighbors to dance in the sunshine.
The crash of snow sliding down steep mountainsides as the bright sun warmed the underbelly of layers and layers of snow.
The gurgling of a creek coming alive again after a long winter’s nap.
As I listened to the cacophony of sounds, I realized it wasn’t the trail that was silent, it was my brain. My thoughts, my impatience at moving forward, it was me that had become silent in the midst of the beauty and the music of the high country.