The Mountain Pond
The pond was small and still, the only movement coming from the occasional “blip” of a fish coming up to feast on the mosquitoes dancing on the surface. It was early morning, that time when even the animals seem to still be asleep. Peace was rising from the water with the early morning mists. The mountainsides were coated in tall pines. The air was cool and crisp catching in my throat as I came to the grassy shore of this simple wonder. In the distance, a bird cried like a heart-broken lover. For every element of this scene- the mountains like ancient gods who surrounded me with wisdom, the tall kind pines who seemed to whisper to me “Welcome, friend,” that lonely bird, the glassy water- I felt an incomparable swelling of affection and gratitude in my soul. In that moment, I was standing not only on the banks of a perfect mountain pond, but also on the shores of a great sea of understanding and wisdom. Some of the knowledge held in its depths was still beyond me, but some I drank in like a marathoner drinks Gatorade.
In today’s world, being solitary can be an impossible feat. Through Facebook, text messaging, Twitter, and Tumblr, I seem constantly connected. Yet beside that pond I realized that those methods did not create true connection. Alone in the mountains, I felt for the first time wholly connected to the universe and the people in my life. In my limited time in the wilderness I had formed a deeper connection with the girls traveling with me than with friends I texted every day and saw in school. When we all stepped off of the fast track and into the backcountry, we slowed down, moving at only the speed our feet could carry us our souls were able to expand and connect.
Standing in the pond’s banks, for a moment I wished to grow roots from my toes and leaves from my arms and join the trees whose love I felt so deeply. But what good would all my newfound understanding do alone in the mountains? To use what the mountains, trees, birds, and fish had taught me, I had to go home. I could not stay by the water but the water stayed in me, and when I am with my friends now it is there with us. It reminds me to connect with them through understanding and not just wireless Internet and satellites, to be truly present and hear them with my soul. The wisdom I gained from that secret little pond allows me to make connections that are not based on the superficial. Just as I moved past my apparent solitude by that pond and realized I was actually more connected than ever, I now look past who the people around me appear to be and see their true selves.