Out here on this hill is quite relaxing. The soft, snug grass makes an excellent place for a rest, taking the shape of my body and holding my existence between each small blade. There’s a delightful combination of the sun warming my body with its rays, caressing my soul with its radiance and the cool, brisk breeze skimming over my freshly cut hair, tickling my head and provoking my happiness to come out of hiding for no apparent reason. I’m suddenly overwhelmed by this long forgotten joy and let out a hefty laugh. At the same time, my skin starts to tighten and forms little goose bumps due to the warmth from the sun and the coolness of the wind. The total effect from this simple notion of lying on this hill has brought me to enlightenment. I believe in carpe diem.
Some of my favorite memories are those when I’m in the wilderness, having alone time with Gaia. When in my state of seizing the day, I just lie down, relax and take it all in; the earth’s beauty of which God has granted us, the peaceful silence, the weather, whether it be clam, windy, rainy, or snowy. Each time is a new experience. But the time when I first started to capture and firmly hold each day in my clutches, struggling to continue my grip with each spectacular sunset was when I found myself lost on a prayer walk, sharing my thoughts with God.
Lost in the Trinity Pines Forest with no one by my side for hours, I find a clearing with a welcoming hill in the middle. I begin to enter the area and as I’m walking the first thing I notice is that the only sound in the clearing was the soft crunching of grass beneath my shoes. As I pass though the shadows of branches from the canopies of pine and aspen trees, I feel the sunlight spilling on me, showering me with warmth. As I ascend the small hill and reach the top, the fear and sadness have been vanquished. I no longer feel alone. I am with nature, I am with God.
I take off my jacket and wad it up to make a pillow then lie down on the soft, inviting grass. The balmy sunlight beats on my face, causing my eyelids to become heavy and I drift off into a deep sleep. The only audible sound is the inhaling and exhaling of my breath.
I awoke abruptly to a friendly face. “Oh my God! He’s right here guys!” It was my pastor, Mark. “Jesus! Caleb we’ve been looking for you for almost three hours! I can’t believe you were this far from the cabins!” It turned out that I was near the ropes course, nearly two miles from the student’s quarters.
They brought me back to the main lodge for some food and water. I still remember that day, the first day I had ever seized.