Reflections: The View From Here

So I have returned, after an eventful and thought-provoking trip. Mostly it was just fun and beautiful, being out in nature, but I did make some observations I thought I'd share. We were in a fairly small town area, outside of the resort, and common creature comforts were hard to come across. For instance, at a small market G and I were looked at like we had lobsters coming out of our ears for asking for cash back from our debit card purchase. Apparently this concept was foreign to the checkout folks.
We drove to the nearest supposed "big" town, and when finding nothing of interest to do, we sought the nearest mall like a parched man in the desert seeking water, desperate for a bit of bustle and life. This mall had neither, but was rather decrepit and soulless. After wandering for a bit, our weary faces drained of color by the fluorescent glare, we realized we were wasting our time and needed to be outdoors in the actual park, rain and cold be damned.
There was something at once claustrophobic and agoraphobic about the "towns" and farmland surrounding our resort lodge (which was itself cheery, bright, and very pleasant.) I wondered to myself about who lived in such remote surroundings, what did they do, where did they go for fun, when we struggled to even find a bank? I looked at ancient looking fences and barns, wondered who built them and when, what did they think about when they were hammering and painting away? So much space, so little filling it. I felt at once trapped and utterly exposed. It made me feel small and so insignificant, a tiny little ant racing around such a massive ant farm. I wondered how many of the people living there ever actually left that area, or were they trapped too, little fish peering out from behind so much glass? It was a disconcerting feeling, realizing that all these areas did not look so much different, technically speaking, then my own hometown, which is only rendered tolerable and somewhat comfortable by years of familiarity. I imagined all the thousands of other similar places that must exist, the great wide open spaces punctuating them, aging slowing. Over time the paint chips, the wood rots. And then, the maker is forgotten. It was, in a way, terrifying.

So we actually sought comfort in the forest, away from the sad reminders of feeble civilization, surrounded by eternal and insistent nature. No voices but our own, and the rain coming down overhead. At first I balked over the idea of a hike in the rain, then decided to go with it instead, lest my mind be clouded with the thoughts of pathetic fluorescent light and nameless people selling wares from a small town Sears. It made me feel lonely, around those people. So we hiked for two miles over sometimes treacherous, muddy terrain, flanked by a river and surrounded by trees. We could shout and hear our echoes, and yet I did not feel alone.
We were finally rewarded by arriving at a large and beautiful waterfall. There was a cavernous area behind it so we were able to get behind the falls-the view was quite spectacular. And still, somehow in that huge open space, I didn't feel alone, or if I did, it was a comforting, serene aloneness. Much better than any vapid, soul-sucking mall, that's for sure!
Our lodge room had a balcony, and it was so relaxing to sit out there in the morning, the air so fresh, listening to the birds, looking out at the lake. And knowing I did not have to work also added to my happiness! We also saw a bunch of baby animals, the tree from The Shawshank Redemption, toured a historical house, and ate at some really great restaurants. The one at our lodge was surprisingly good, and we had an amazing meal at the restaurant by the historical Malabar farm. I had an orange creme brulee, which was filled with orange zest and a crunchy sugar crust. It was a thing of beauty, and for now I will leave you with this:

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