The other day, I hiked up a mountain. Mt. Monadnock to be exact. After more than 34 years of never doing anything remotely close to such a thing, I hiked up 3,165 feet of solid mountain, and then back down ("Down's much easier," everyone said. Funny.) And I can honestly say I'm glad I did it, but I'm still not sure why people do these things.
A few days before the journey, my friend Brom called and asked if I wanted to do this. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I was told to bring water and snacks. I made jokes about if I would need one of those funny hats, or a bandanna to wear around my neck, or brown socks. Not so much, but I was told that, in the yoga world, this mountain supposedly holds a certain kind of energy that signifies transition and change (or something like that). So, this is a good mountain to climb if you're facing that kind of thing. Which I don't think I am, but then maybe I should, so maybe this was a good mountain for me.
The hike itself, while strenuous, was without incident. I did run out of water as we neared the top, and Brom was kind enough to share his with me, and the flies were horribly annoying, but overall, it was a fun thing to experience. At least, I did better than the bickering couple I saw at the top (Him: "Are you excited? You first mountain climb." Her: "First and last.") I was indeed tired, but I didn't collapse when we reached the bottom. I felt okay. I'm not sure what people actually think of me, and I know I am a total city slicker, but some people actually thought I could die, so yeah, I was proud of myself. But for a skeptic like me, that was about all I was gonna get. Brom even asked me at dinner later that evening if I felt the energy of the mountain. "I feel the energy of accomplishment. Is that the same thing?" Hmmmm, I hope I didn't just poke a hole in the entire yoga philosophy.
Perhaps more fun than the hike itself, though, was the drive home. As I sat and decompressed, Brom thought we could enjoy a trip down memory lane, so we played the original Transformers: The Movie soundtrack, the 1986 animated one, not the Michael Bay atrocity. Maybe playing Transformers went along with his whole energy transition/change thing, but to me it was just a bit of nostalgia with an old friend. As we listened to some bad 80's keyboard solos, we recounted stories from our youth, and I tried to remember how many times I had seen Transformers in the theater, and how I had that soundtrack on record, and listened to it hundreds of times (Bear in mind, I was ten.), and life was awesome. Looking back in that context, I can't imagine ever being that happy again. And I guess, when you put it that way, it's kind of sad. But it still happened.
There's a great line in Glengarry, Glen Ross, where Al Pacino says, "When you think of the great fucks you may have had, what do you remember about them? To me, it's probably not the orgasm." While I will remember climbing Mt. Monadnock, I can safely say I didn't feel the energy of the mountain flow through me like The Force, and I don't think it turned me into a hippy or anything (I'm still a city boy). But the little bit of nostalgia may have opened my eyes a little bit. See, I've always been hung up about living in the past, or I tend to look back and wish I had done things differently or been smarter or less of a whiney bitch. But it's possible to appreciate the past and look back fondly and not hunger for it. I certainly don't want to be ten years-old again, but it was nice for those few minutes to truly recall what it was like, without the cynical bent. Maybe that was the magic of the mountain working on me after all, or maybe it's just part of growing up.