I don’t remember if I told this story before but it won’t hurt to tell it again. When I was in sixth grade I lived in Park City, Utah with my parents. My best friend at the time was this kid my age named Cody McKissen. He lived up in the mountains, so high that in the winter you needed a snowmobile just to get to his house. I lived in the city–if you could even call Park City that. One night when Cody slept over we stayed up late until my parents went to bed and ditched the house and started patrolling the streets. It was a little bit scary if for nothing else than the silence. In the day there are cars and airplanes and kids and babies and people yelling and no doubt you have a hundred and one errands to do so the voice in your head is running a mile a minute too. There’s just no time to calm down. At night there is nothing else. The roads are empty, especially in a town like that with a population less than six thousand. The houses are shut up, all the lights are off. There are no babies or kids, there’s not even any television since it’s late enough that most of the talk shows have finished. There’s nothing at all but you and the darkness.
Tonight after work I went for a run around the reservoir. I didn’t feel it until after I already started running but once it came I couldn’t make it leave. The memory. But not merely that. A memory is not much more than a story we retell in our heads of an event that happened once. Our body and our brain–all our senses combined–have a much better sense of what has happened than any conscious recollection we might have.
It was quiet around the reservoir. The lake was still enough to reflect the street lights and house lights into the sky. It was quiet enough that the blare of the train across the river felt close. Combined, they were enough to make me feel truly alone for the first time in a good long while, perhaps since the last solo road trip/camping trip I did a year or so back. It’s a good feeling. One I highly recommend seeking out. I wasn’t quite as scared as I maybe was back in sixth grade. If my body remembers things correctly I wasn’t scared at all back then. Maybe I was just chill.