We all need a place nobody else knows about. Where everything goes away for a while. Somewhere you can go to get above all the noise. A place with an amazing view.
About ten years ago when my entire life decided to take an abrupt nosedive, I needed to find this place. And I did. It wasn’t much. Just a little notch of a hill in the middle of the woods. I stumbled across it while wandering aimlessly through the trees one morning. Not sure what I was looking for. Probably a way out.
I recognized it right away. I remembered sledding down its short but sharp sides as a kid. I was surprised that the years hadn’t buried it in thick overgrowth. Or eroded it down to just a bump. How long does it take to erode an entire hill? I’m not good at archeology. Or math. Or time stuff.
It looked a lot bigger when I was 8. But there it was again, just high enough to provide some much needed perspective.
Ten years ago, I found myself at the top of that hill every day, for about a month. I’d go up there with my buddy Patch, the world’s greatest (and now oldest) dog and just sit still. He’d sniff around, but never strayed too far. Not sure if he stayed close because I needed him to, or because he was afraid he’d fall off the side. Sometimes I’d ask him questions. Meaning of life stuff. The kind of questions with no answers. He didn’t say much. But he provided a whole lot more insight than any higher power ever did. They never said much either.
Eventually I found an old metal folding chair and brought it to the top. That busted up chair did more than just get me up off the cold ground. It was my throne. Up there, I was the king. I could look down on all the bullshit below, knowing it couldn’t reach me.
About a month ago I was back on that hill. This time just for the exercise. Patch didn’t sprint up the side like he did then, but he made it. That’s just what he does. The chair was still there — fully tattered and rusted through, but still there. I thought about putting it out of its misery and throwing it in the burn pile, but I left it. Right where it belonged.
Who knows, I might not sit up there again for another ten years. But it’s good to know that chair is there — just in case I need a change of perspective. Or get the urge to be king, again.