If you could paint a picture of your favorite memory, what would it look like?
The painting would be in dark shades, blues and purples and blacks. In the foreground, a dark gray mountaintop with three people sitting around a camp stove, a pot of hot water boiling for noodles. They don’t watch the water, though. Their heads are turned up towards the endless night sky. Silhouettes of surrounding mountains can be seen in the distance, a star-filled lake or two barely visible in the background. The main feature of the painting is the sky. Vivid and full of stars, no moon to spoil the show. The winter constellations are also prominent. Leo and Orion, the Dippers, all bright and sparkling. Among them, streaks appear. Shooting stars suitable for the peak of a meteor shower. The painting evokes awe and wonder, and even a bit of nostalgia. For this one moment in time, the world fell away, and it was just three young adults soaking up the cosmos.
Notes: Another prompt that didn’t really lend itself to a lengthy write up. And given my almost 30 years on this planet you would think I’d have plenty of great memories to choose from to paint a mental masterpiece for, but of course my brain short circuited as soon as I tried to think of anything exciting to write about. My wedding would have been an easy get except it was such a blur I don’t actually remember much of it. It was on a mountain though, so that got me thinking about other hikes I’d done.
In November of 2009, I was hanging out in my friend’s dorm at college as I did on a typical Friday night. His roommate was a bit wild, but not in the traditional “let’s go find a party” way. More like “I’m bored I wanna go climb a mountain in the dark” kind of way. I mean, he liked to party, too, but the unexpectedness usually involved randomly going on a mountain adventure. That night happened to be the peak of the Leonid meteor shower and he wanted to go climb a mountain to watch them.
He was a trained guide so he made sure we had proper gear for a night climb and drove us out to his mountain of choice. The climb itself took maybe an hour and a half. I’d never hiked a mountain in the dark before, and that experience is one I will never forget. Especially for the view from the top. Being able to see the stars for miles and miles unblocked and relatively free of light pollution was surreal. I would love to do it again someday.
We had to cut our stay short because my friend did not have adequate clothing for the wind at the summit despite being told to bring extra clothes. (100% “not bringing a jacket when mom tells you to and then trying to suffer silently for it” vibes.) His roommate couldn’t let him get frostbite so we climbed back down and found a golf course to crash on for the rest of the night to watch the meteor shower. Wasn’t as excellent as being on top of the mountain, but we did see a small fireball fly across the sky. To this day we maintain that it wiped a small village off the map.
Well we’re almost through another week. Still have a couple more prompts though, so you’ll most likely get a Saturday post from me. Been a weird week on the writing front so I’m hoping to recoup some of it this weekend. I hope you have a wonderful Friday, and I’ll see you tomorrow night!
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