I spent 36 hours with A. this weekend. That’s the most time I’ve spent with anyone in a very long time, and it was easy and relaxed. On Sunday, we drove out to the Appalachian trail near Front Royal, Va. As we walked along, in search of a stream, A. stopped fast and grabbed my arm. Up ahead, a good 100 yards, was a black bear with three cubs. The bear looked to be foraging for food, and it didn’t hear us or see us. As we whispered, I pulled out my camera, but my zoom isn’t strong enough, so I only got black dots between fuzzy trees. We stood and watched, frozen and fascinated.
Of course, we turned around and took a different path, up and away from the bears, chatting and walking through cobwebs. It was clear no one had been on this path in a long time. We crossed over Skyline Drive and went down a different trail, swatting away bugs in the humidity. That’s when we came across the frame of an old car — it looked to be from the 1930s. It didn’t have wheels or an engine or a roof. But it was deep under the dirt and foliage, as if no one had seen it for years, completely suspended in time.
A while later, around 6 p.m., after eating bananas and trail mix and chugging down water, we got back into the car. As we slowly drove along, we saw a deer run to the road, with two fumbling fawns along its legs. They had big floppy ears and were so cute, it made my heart leap. I love being out in nature, exploring and discovering and appreciating the moment. It’s quiet and still and I can hear myself think. I can’t wait to go back.