The three of us piled out of Jenny, my trusty 4Runner, gathered cameras, hats and gloves for a quick summit push. It was right about then Anne said “guys I wore the wrong shoes.” We all chuckled knowing there was no way Anne would miss this hike, and up she went. The late afternoon sun gave us all the signs in warm light and contrasting shadows that we were in for a stellar sunset.
At the summit, we stepped past the rotting foundation of an old fire tower and through the shrubs to the east face of the mountain. Laid before us was the shadow of Table Rock growing over the southern reaches of Burke County. We tried a quick finger puppet show but no one had hands big enough to show on a shadow that big.
It was right about then we realized the clouds were on fire with the suns kiss goodnight. The horizon burned and I watched as smiles spread across my friends faces, obviously enjoying their thoughts, whatever they might have been. The horizon glowed in the fleeting way that sunsets of abandon usually do. We passed a flask of whisky around which fueled the torrid warmth flowing from our hearts. Moments like these fill me past the brim with joy and love and compassion all at once. Moments like these ground me in the beautiful life with which I have been Graced. Moments like these leave me on the edge, prepared to fall on spread wings into the fleeting moments that were all to be lost. Now, imagine if we let the wrong shoes stop us.