Yesterday I will meet Cracker on a frozen slope. I will find magic in my hat. I will take my first ever nap on the trail. But this is the morning of Day 4, when everything becomes new.
Mornings on the trail all begin the same: I wake up spontaneously just before sunrise, lie there in my sleeping bag thinking “it’s cold,” and then I roll out of the tent, start the coffee, and pack up. I make it a habit to get up at least once at night, ostensibly to pee, although I know I could hold it. I just want to make sure I look at our shared night sky at least once–all those stars, just once. I’ll spend the day seeing and thanking the day sky, and it seems crazy to sleep through the deeper experience of all those stars and planets.
Dawn in the mountains is an embrace, part mother’s, part lover’s. There is no neat horizon for the sun to rise above, but the light comes, almost imperceptibly–it is dark, and then everything is a shade of dark blue-grey, and then the stars are gone save one or two of the brightest, and then there are the mountains standing around you in every direction. It is a dim light that envelopes you, and holds you gently. Mornings in the mountains you are busy, heating water for coffee, breaking down your tent and packing up, anticipating. And so I was not prepared for this dawn to explode on the mountains before me. I could not see the sun, only it’s golden light striking the mountains before me. It took my face in two hands and drew me in to it. It held me there.
Aparigraha means letting go. It means recognizing that impermanence is the only constant, and you can’t hold on to things. But I will never let go of your sunrise. It was there so briefly, and then it was gone and became something else. It didn’t need me or want me; it just was. Aparigraha also means learning to be let go of.
Letting go of that sunrise was never a choice, but you hold onto the impression.
Dammit, I’m trying to write my lame account of the same sorts of experiences and now I want to throw it in the garbage!