We talk a bit at first as we start up the trail,
About kids, cash, brothers and broken hearts.
It's crowded, but everyone is cheerful. We're all glad to be here.
Soon the conversation becomes choppy. Short bursts punctuated by heavy breathing.
The low winter sun is sharp through the trees.
The warmth is healing.
At every turn, another earthen ramp skyward.
My mind wanders, but revels in the meditation of physical exertion.
As the summit nears so do the clouds.
We don't linger long. A bite to eat, a picture of the view, a laugh with new friends.
The wind ushers us down the trail.
I run ahead. Trees swaying aggressively, branches falling.
Entering a dark, primordial pocket of forest, a strong gust wraps around me.
I stop, alone in the forest, mid-hug with Mother Nature.
I raise my arms high above me and start to cry.
I bow to the forest. I bow to my spirit. I bow to the wind. I breathe deeply,