I let the black ink from a cheap ballpoint pen scratch the date on the off-white pages of my brand-new diary. It was October 20, 2001, and within the same sentence of me mentioning my 11th birthday which occurred three days before, I spoke about the attacks that occurred on 9/11.
In between the sea of black that is freckled with brilliant opalescent stars and the golden haze from the morning sun is the dark blue ocean of twilight. It is in this time before the dawn when you will usually find me sliding a backpack and trekking poles out of my car and readying myself for an attempt to ascend to a mountain summit. My thoughts are typically the same. It is very early. Why am I doing this? As I lock the door to my car and join a group of other similarly tired-looking hikers, I think, well, I’m already here, and I’ve made it this far.
It always helps me to stop and take a second for myself when I think that I have gotten terribly lost on a hike. I calm my breathing, check my GPS tracker, and look for the clues surrounding me to put me back where I need to be. In life, I try to rest and relish in the section of time I set aside to reflect on the path in which I came. I’ll even, occasionally, look through the lens pointed at my past through previous journal entries and blog posts. I then bring my thoughts to the present and look deep within myself to point me in the correct direction to achieve my desired goals. It’s as though you are a daring explorer in a foreign land or a brave captain on an uncharted sea, referring to a map that you are sketching along the way.
What if the way in which we think about ourselves gets destroyed, and we lose those experiences that are kept as memories? What if we are no longer able to think about ourselves and the world around us in the way in which we are used to? Do we lose a part of ourselves that has helped shape our personality?
Dusty yearbooks were peeking out from underneath mountains of old notepads filled with scribbled interviews in shorthand. I found extra camping dishes waiting patiently in the corner to be used out in the wilderness. However, the most important thing that I had found among the forgotten items was a lost old letter addressed to me.
Sometime during the air of mystery that sparks ghost stories in late nights or early mornings, you’ll see me scribbling and hiding my pen and paper like Winston Smith of Oceania in 1984. It’s not for fear of Big Brother, but rather habit from having my little sister bust into my room like the terrifying 90’s classic Kool-Aid Man for most of my life.