On February the twelfth, I decide to go on a hike since it is an unusually warm day and I wanted to get out of the city. While I exit my car, I take a deep breath of the brisk clean air. I can’t wait to start my journey as a wide smile spreads across my face. With my hiking sticks in both hands, spiked boots on my feet, and backpack on my back, I step forward.
The trail is surrounded by trees, most of them are bare but still full of life. I can almost hear the sounds of the squirrels, chipmunks, and various birds sleeping peacefully, dreaming of spring. Not that I blame them, I keep wishing for the season to change so I can have a more dazzling hike. Still, I’ll take what I can get.
There is a clearing in front of me and the elevation has increased since I began this trek. I take a quick drink from my water bottle and look ahead of me. The path will lead me right to the top of this mountain. It could be dangerous but since when did that stop me? I have my spikes, sticks, and smarts. I’m not afraid.
The further I go the more the wind picks up. It goes from a breeze to a gale. As difficult as it is to keep moving forward, I don’t let the harsh weather stop me. I stamp the spikes and plunge my sticks hard into the ground. I don’t need to think, I just need to make it to that exposed oak tree twenty feet in front of me. With perseverance and determination, I will make it to my goal. With all the strength in my body I make it to that lone tree. With the protection from the wind by the tree, I indulge in a sigh of relief. Quickly, I unpack a rope from my backpack and tie it around myself and the tree to keep myself stable.
Suddenly something strange happens, I can hear this voice in the wind. It says, “Keep going…Keep going…Keep going.” I can’t explain this but at this point I can’t go any further.
Slowly the wind starts to die down. I take another sip of my water and the last bite of my trail mix bar before I proceed again. My strength is renewed, I untie and gather the rope before putting it in my pack. I step away from the tree and press on.
The rest of the hike is uneventful up until I reach the mountain top. From here, I can see everything. I see the tiny black speck that is my car, the dark pine trees surrounding the bottom of the mountain, and a clear blue sky that highlights the other mountains surrounding the one I’m on. I finally made it and at a time of year when I didn’t think I could.
Suddenly, the light wind returns. It’s not cold this time but warm and inviting.
“You are free…” Says those wonderful words that whisper in the wind.