A View from the Top
Sweet dreams are made of these
Who am I to disagree?
Travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something
(The Eurhythmics, Sweet Dreams)
The road has been left to me alone at this early hour. Dark, deserted, but not quiet. Perhaps it is the first real winter morning. Good to his word, the weather man predicted cold temperatures and gusty winds up here and for once he got it right. It sounds like a freight train steadily lumbering by and has since the inception of this run, an hour ago. 30 mph winds I guess.
From time to time I hear the crack of a tree branch splintering and then falling in the woods surrounding the unlit road up Sunset Mountain. Soft sounding wind chimes from houses hidden somewhere on the mountainside every now and then as well. The autumn leaves swirl gracefully in the beam of my headlamp. Little exists for a runner in the dark beyond that narrow throw of light. Some might find it unnerving. I find it comforting, a little lighted womb in a giant sea of darkness.
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: You’ve come far pilgrim.
Jeremiah Johnson: Feels like far.
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Were it worth the trouble?
Jeremiah Johnson: Huh? What trouble?
I have been a morning runner for as long as I have been a runner. Hot, cold, rain, snow, four seasons, I care not. What trouble? It is no trouble. There is something inexplicably in my genome that requires me to start with the dark and end after the morning sunrise. The trees are bare of leaves this morning, and as the first bare streaks of sun start to fill the eastern sky, the views are spectacular. The Blue Ridge are a soft blue hue and the undersides of the clouds a rare shade of light pink out towards Mt. Pisgah. The big forests, a deep green just a few weeks ago, are now light brown where the hardwoods dominate, with smaller clusters of green where the pine and spruce and Balsam fir like to stand.
I stop at the very top of this mountain and the wind is really whipping up here, gusting to maybe 50 mph. I try to find a protected area to sit and to try to take it all in. My eyes are smarting and tearing from the wind. Or from something…
“Some kind of celestial event.
No — no words. No words to describe it.
Poetry! They should have sent a poet.
So beautiful. So beautiful… I had no idea.”
— Dr. Ellie Arroway, Contact