One silent bird drifted seamlessly off into the distance as the fog crystallized into the morning sky. I felt something small open up as if I just found the key to my antique chest, and my heart and lungs and capillaries softly smiled at the world. I had made it up the mountain and looked out onto the bay. Across the water, the city wrestled with the clouds. I squinted my eyes to the left and imagined I could see where the water washed up on the shoreline at the tip of the bay where I grew up.
I remember my first hike up into the fire trails as a freshman—the path felt daunting and irresistible. I remember all the life conclusions and monumental decisions I’ve made up there, all the big talks and small giggles. I remember the banana slugs and the tall trees. I remember early-morning runs and the vivacious sunsets and the smell of nature that makes Durant Avenue feel so, so far away.
Four years later, the trails feel engraved in my mind like a story I’ve heard over and over again. It’s comforting to know a mountain, the way the paths weave through the trees past the plants that know my secrets. I stared out into the Pacific. Home at that moment felt like a soft cloud — transient, yet ethereal.
Contact Anya Schultz at [email protected]