This past week I made an escape from the new normal with a wonderful friend. We drove to a little red cabin nestled in the mountains around Asheville. Far away from the mundane, the routine and the to do lists that filled our daily lives, our only plan for the coming days was to live without a plan. All we yearned to do was relish the pristine mountain air and cherish the here and the now. So, with a song on our lips. hope in our hearts, and a dream to relinquish the ubiquitous desire to control our lives we set off.
As our sedan, loaded with the bare essentials, chugged through winding roads leading to the cabin we let our worries fade. As the colors of the landscape changed, so did our moods. This was the first time I had not checked the weather app for the daily and hourly forecast. Neither had my friend. We’ll see… we had said. This was the first time neither of us had googled what to do in and around a place before a trip. We’ll see once we get there… we had thought. After all, the heart of adventure lies in exploration and the essence of exploration is the willingness to step into the unknown.
So for the next few days we idled on whim in an idyllic setting. When the sun shone we trekked in the trails nearby; when it rained we sat on the covered porch sipping hot Darjeeling tea and listening to the swish of the rain and the gush of the stream flowing below. At other times we streamed movies and podcasts. When it was time for lunch or dinner we whipped up wholesome hearty and deliciously simple meals with whatever ingredients we had. And all the while we talked- as we trudged up the hill and down, as we strolled around the lake, as the mist from the waterfalls chilled our faces, we talked -of our childhood memories, of our experiences as wives and mothers and daughters and sisters and friends, of our failures and learnings in life that made us who we were, of authors and spiritual gurus who influenced our beliefs and views.
And then one of those mornings as we sat on the porch watching the fog lift from the mountain peaks, there was a sudden sensation that filled my heart. I felt a deep sense of connection to my friend; as if she were not a separate person but simply an extension of me. Everything around me – the mountains, the valleys, the rivers, the lakes, the waterfalls, her – we were all one. Maybe, this is what the feeling of ‘coming home’ referred to?
We lived in a world with mounting chaos; in the days before a dirty election chasms of divisiveness separated us all. Yet, there was so much untapped goodness in the world that we were blind to. At any given moment in time, there were a myriad forces at work, forces much bigger than ourselves that were at play and if we just allowed ourselves to go with the flow, focus on what makes us one rather than divide us, the magic in life would unfold right before our eyes.
One thing is for sure. I now know wherever life takes me, whatever situation it presents me with, I will always return to that feeling of inexplicable bliss that I experienced on that porch of the little red cabin; a knowing that we are all part of a perfect whole and everything is just as it should be.
And I will be forever indebted to my beautiful friend Animita for initiating the trip and being an integral part of my spiritual journey.