I woke up wanting to hike the mountain, the open space where the cows graze, where I can see out past the city and into the hills. M. doesn't care for hiking the way I do. He was still sleeping, but had stirred since he heard me moving around. I touched his arm lightly and whispered that I was going for a hike. He nodded. I told him that when I got back, if he wanted, we could go do something. Then I asked if he wanted to come hiking with me? He said no. I knew he wouldn't want to. Thought I'd ask anyway.
I grabbed my camera, water, and backpack. Off I went.
When I started up the hill, I saw a lone black dog with one ear folded down. He seemed skittish and surprised to see me. He retreated and walked back up to where his companion must have been. I wound up the opposite hill.
As I ascended, I reached a point where I could see the other mountain perfectly; I snapped a photo with my phone camera and sent it to M. with a short endearment.
He replied back a few moments later that it was nice.
The hills were dry. It was early in the morning, so the heat hadn't settled in yet. I walked for some time without seeing any other hikers. When I rounded another long stretch, I saw a gentleman. I smiled and he said good morning. After that encounter, I would have the trail all to myself until I reached my destination. Even though my breathing became slightly labored with the many steep hills, these steep stretches are one of my favorite parts of the trail. I feel my body at a slant and there is something about walking up a steep slope that I crave without being able to explain exactly why.
I didn't see any cows. They must have been in another part of the hills. I saw dragon flies, lizards, a cricket, and a white butterfly.
Walking by myself was a wonderful feeling. I stopped to take photos, at my own pace, and stopped to write a few bits here and there. I realized that while it's nice to have a human companion to hike with, I preferred hiking alone today. I was able to be in the quiet. At one point, my lips were stuck in a smile because I was happy being alone with the mountain and dragonflies buzzing by. Every part of my being was feeling this joy.
When I decided to head back down, my phone buzzed with a text. It was M. He sent me a funny photo that I had taken of him from a hike we did together. His message said, "where are you? I'm at the top of the hill waiting for you."
I replied, "really funny. I'm on my way down."
I laughed all the way down the mountain.