Pit Stop for Heaven

 

I live on the mountain top.

 

 

In between the gaps of the trees and the veins of the highways there sits a village called Blue Ridge Summit.

And it is quiet.

Quiet in a lonely sort of way.

Sixteen wheelers will drone out to the edges of consciousness, glittering over the mountaintops kicking up moon light. The bugs chatter with birds, they sing songs of life and during migration season, everyone is forced to wake up early. When I was thirteen, every kid on the mountain was forced to stay indoors because there was a bobcat roaming the woods. Two weeks ago a bear crapped on our deck.

When I was growing up I learned how to make band-aids out of maple leaves and arrowheads out of quartz shards and for some reason these two memories stick together. There is a duality that just feels right, like the long-board rides to the ends of the mountains and the winding dirt roads back up. Like shoving old couches into the forest just to end up sitting on rocks and making forts in the trees with the limbs they had lost, we were uncivilized in the most beautiful of ways. 

The summit was nothingness, we are nothingness, we are nothing like the New York City skyscrapers that the West-Coasters dream of or the long sunset beaches Eastern kids dream of. We are the mountaintop pit stop for heaven.

This village is built from old woods and cisterns, cluster churches and retirement communities. People find these mountains to die with peace; it is the gift of the summit.

But for some this silence is terrifying, broken only by the quiet hum of distant cars and lawnmowers. If you should sit outside long enough to come face to face with either yourself or God (whichever one you believe in), there would be nowhere to run but the forest.

The forests are an amplifier built into the side of the rock and the further you run the heavier the silence grows until your breath runs dry and you find yourself on the side of the earth, glaring into the hot angry sun.

If you don’t believe me you can do it yourself. I ran away year, after year, after year until the time came that I could stare back into the silence and no longer feel afraid. Men are made here, or they fade away.

Blue Ridge is a beautiful place. People take care of this land. And if you ever happen to wind down these roads, past the rows of beautifully kept gardens you will find yourself staring into something unseen these days: stillness. You may think to yourself that it would be nice to end up here someday, someday when you are ready to make that sort of a journey.

But I cannot wait for you. It is half past twelve and the Great Spirit is waiting for me.

 

David Rico’s astrological sign is Cancer and he is a member of the punk band Morning Banana Diet. If you would like to get to know him and/or set up some sort of play date send him an email at david.rico@yale.edu.

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