In those moments before the stereo plays, where silence is the background noise; it’s in these moments that I think of my soulmate. As soon as the plane tap danced on the runway, I felt it. I felt the shift inside of me that had ultimately been occurring over the last few days, but it made itself known in that dance on Oregon’s ground. I was home, but some of me was still in Utah. I moved through the airport as if nothing was different, but that was false.
By the time I got completely home, Portland looked duller on this gorgeous summer day than it should have. The skyline reflecting onto the Willamette back dropped by a blue sky was unquestionable beautiful, yet it wasn’t the way I defined beauty anymore. On the way to work I cried. I missed this place I had found, a place where dinosaurs’ footprints still mark history, and I cried for it. In four days, Zion National Park had moved my alignment with my familiar feeling of happy. Now, I was expected to move through my life as if it hadn’t just awoken a sleeping creature.
What Zion did to me was show me how living is supposed to feel. There were no copy machines in the canyons. There wasn’t cell reception on the hikes. Humans and animals mixed with more ease than urban society allows. The desert beauty was unlike anything my well-traveled eyes had seen and I couldn’t wait for the sun to rise so I could take in more of it each day. The only rules I lived by that weekend were to be in the moment, be safe, and carry a say yes attitude, which led me to rappel and hike my first canyon and heed flash flood warnings.
I’ve only felt this way once before and the only thing that made sense was to change my whole life: end a four and a half year relationship, quit my job, and move across the country. I’m still processing what meeting Zion will mean for me in my long term, but what I do know are the following:
- It shook me out of my normal. I was exhausted from hours of hiking, chilled by swimming in canyon water, and bloody from my lack of grace while doing both.
- I barely communicated with the world outside of my present reality. I didn’t even think about the city, my dog (very shocking), or the whereabouts of friends anyone. I lived in the now, in the moment, and loved every minute of it. Granted, my cell phone had limited reception inside canyon walls, but I only wanted it to capture the moment I was in.
- When things are right, you’ll have a smile on your face even while hiking in a lightning storm, getting drenched in rain. My cover-up did not survive this, but I did, beaming.
- I don’t need to be living my forever plan in my thirties. (This lesson was major). I didn’t expect the desert of all places to change me, after all I know of who I am at 32. But why not? I should be continually challenging my current and future plan to see if they align with my truest self. And now I am doing just that.