In our adult years, my youngest sister and I have been close. Though recently, I’ve felt us drifting apart. The direction our relationship began to take was a consequence of chasing dreams which required hard dedicated work.
Tina is a phenomenal photographer who built a successful business in her field. I am a painter and struggling writer who still had to hold a day job. The adventures, as we referred to our cheap overnight trips to feed Tina’s photography, my writing, and our relationship, had ceased.
When Tina suggested an adventure as a gift for my birthday, I didn’t hesitate despite Covid-19. We were headed to the wilderness of West Virginia. We’d be outside and able to distance from people.
We left early and had a breakfast of granola and yogurt in the shade of the forest in the Dolly Sods. Along boulder strewn paths, we looked out over endless mountains and trees. Lunchtime found us munching hard boiled eggs out of the back of a Jeep on a mountain peak. Windswept trees revealed the force of the weather that regularly passed through. Mesmerized, we watched as a thunder storm rolled by in the distance before heading down to the meadows.
We talked and laughed. I lugged Tina’s equipment. She sat in silence when I pulled out my notebook.
To catch the sunset and Milky Way, we navigated the switchbacks of Spruce Knob. The ascent would’ve been a challenge had there been traffic. At the top, we encountered one couple on the way to their car in the parking lot. The mountain was ours.
The sun set in a brilliant explosion of color. We worked together in silence. There was no need for spoken words.
At the sun’s disappearance, fog rolled over us. Reaching up into the mist, felt like touching a cloud.
The Milky Way would have to wait for our next trip. We beat feet to gather equipment and descend through the woods before the fog caught up to us on all those switchbacks. At the bottom, we looked up at the night sky and caught a glimpse of the Neowise comet, a once every 6,800 year occurrence.
It doesn’t matter who we think we are, or what we do to make a living. Such trivial things are but a mere spec in the context of the infinite. The spiritual bond seeks deeper meaning than anything we can comprehend as humans.
Surrounded by forests and mountains, my sister and I chose to pay attention to our souls. In the wilds of West Virginia, I reconnected with my best friend.