I wish I had my camera cord here so I could just post pictures to give you a visual journey of my day yesterday as it was one of the most visually stunning hikes I have taken in my entire life (running very close in line with Tiger Leaping Gorge in China which, if you visit China and miss this, you are missing out on one of the most spectacular experiences in the universe). Alas, the electronic device that brings what I saw to you all is stashed away in my Container Store shelves in NYC. For now, my words will have to do.
The morning started with a quick motorboat ride across Lower and Upper Echo Lakes just south of Lake Tahoe itself. There are few things that I find more simultaneously cleansing and exhilarating than a great, fast boat ride where I can lean over the front bow (or is it stern? clearly I'm not a boater), take out my hair and feel the wind whip as the scenery blurs along the side. I just love it more than I love a gigantic glass of iced tea and lemonade on a really really hot day.
My Dad and I were clearly the least prepared hikers making the journey, even the other day hikers had knapsacks and walking poles and since we didn't even realize we'd BE hiking until my dear friend Abby, with whom I co-ran Law Women in law school, told us this venture was a can't-miss for any visit to Tahoe. That is how you could find me in kid-size addidas sneakers (just bought for their cheapness as all I packed were flip flops, my one true clothing love aside from Tutu's) carrying a beach bag as we made the 3.5 mile hike to Aloha Lake. We got lost, my dad got a blister, and I added more red blotches to my already sunburned skin, but it was truly truly breathtaking.
You see, I'm obviously a city girl but I need a bit of country every now and then. I need to be reminded that beauty exists even without cultivation in the bouquets of wildflowers that bloom along country paths, to slide down snow in the middle of summer, and mostly to stare into the great untouched expanse that still exists in our over Macdonalized country. When we arrived at the Lake there was only one other group anywhere in eye or earsight and, after they left, it was if we were the two remaining survivors on this bizarre, glacial rock covered planet. Trees rose out of the water and the snow capped peaks melted into the pools by our feet. I lay on a rock and read Chuck Palahniuk's latest crazed venture into the human psyche and imagined prehistoric turquoise slinky creatures pulling me under the water as I swam to the opposite rock shore. It was awesome and magical and I am so glad they have not yet ruined it with a movie set.
This hike had a purpose, however, and I wasn't soon to forget it. I tend to venture off the paths, even if that path is the one thing protecting me from tumbling down a mobile rock/pebble wall into the awaiting lakes below, and soon I found the perfect spot; many many meters above my head stood an old twisted tree trunk, reaching forward, escaping from the live tree it was attached to, straining to point towards the lake from where I had come. I scrambled up the wall, waited upon the trunk and wrote the cheesy (but, I hope, cheesy in a good way like Fresh Mozzarella and not in a bad way like packaged Muenster) words:
Goodbye A, B, C, D, the mean parts of E, and all the others I have hurt or been hurt by in the process that is love.
A-E, of course, stand for the various men I could feel I needed to let go of. Either those for whom I had remnants of feeling but who I had been told would never let it return, those like George, for whom I kept questions that may never be answered, and those who had hurt me the most in this strange journey we call life. I tucked the paper under a rock perched under the tree, ensured it was secure, kissed it goodbye and traveled on.
Yes, this was a very Eat Pray Love moment for me but what is life if not a collection of little rituals we complete to make ourselves feel better (Aside from maybe brushing your teeth what does the rest really do) and I had gotten so stuck in a little funk about this I needed something big to shake it from my system. (In case you can't tell, I'm very into metaphorical change). I still feel sad for my losses and hurt I have created, but at least I now know it's out there in the world and not just buried in my heart.
Because sometimes past love, or even past possible but not yet attained love, can be a lot to carry by yourself. It's nice putting it somewhere for the time being.
Pictures when I return to NYC, which is in, countdown, three days!
A little lighter,