Bill and I are spending a long weekend in Williamstown, MA the first week of December, a perfect time to get away and connect with each other and the earth before we get too far into the craziness of the holidays. When we pulled up maps of the area on the internet we saw how close we’ll be to Mt Greylock; we hiked there the summer of 2013. It was July and our first day of hiking was a scorcher. The other night, when I looked at the pictures, I asked Bill if he wore his hair differently back then.
“No,” he said. “I was wearing a hat and sweating like a bull.” I remembered.
On the trails we occasionally passed other hikers but were mostly alone in the woods, just the two of us. When we reached the summit we looked around in awe…not at the landscape but at the sea of human activity. Motorcycles roared up the hill, cars slowed to a stop, allowing us to cross the road before parking and releasing their occupants from their air-conditioned comfort. People streamed in and out of the lodge’s cafeteria, kids ran around clutching bags of chips and ice cream, young couples and families sat on the sloped ground eating lunch.
Bill saw a park ranger, jokingly said, “I didn’t know we could’ve driven up here?” But, of course we wouldn’t have.
The next day was overcast and drizzling but hot and sticky too. We hiked from a different trailhead, when we reached the summit there were very few people. The view was obscured by dense fog and the air was thick, making breathing more of an effort. We covered the same area as the previous day, chatted with the ranger then made our way back down. The peacefulness of the woods fill me with gratitude, for legs that carry me up the mountain, for a sport that Bill and I enjoy doing together, for fresh air to clear my mind, for the focus it takes me not to twist an ankle or trip on a root, presence.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the mountains in December will offer up.