During my senior year of college I hiked for a week at the South Sister in central Oregon. After the trip, home in Indiana, I imagined returning to a certain part of the trail at that mountain so often that it might as well have been the moon, both familiar and inaccessible.

Last night, I fell asleep on the couch watching Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and woke up around midnight. I’m planning a trip to Bend in a month or two, which I reasoned is a 7 hour drive from Seattle. I checked Google maps and found out that where I’m staying is twenty miles from the South Sister.

I was wired, up forever then. I started wondering if you could see the South Sister at night from Bend. And maybe then on a really clear night from my inn I could look out and see the mountain across a big dry field. How mythical that would be, lying down on flannel sheets and looking at this mountain.

I love the part of Winesburg, Ohio, when the storyteller describes lying there in bed, stepping up into it, being old and looking out.

Then I thought about growing old and hiking to the top of the South Sister and dying there. Or maybe even spontaneously combusting, just bursting into flames but not really dying. I wondered what it would feel like to be Moses or Elijah on the mountain then, until it was too late to think.

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