Wk6, Day1: Enchanted Rock
When I was 24-years old, I met my first real boyfriend. We both worked for an after-school care program and that summer were selected by the director for the coveted positions as staff at the week-long end-of-summer sleep-away camp. He was earthy, grounded, straightforward, outdoorsy. Just what a (at the time) flighty, restless, scattered me needed. We spent weekends driving to natural areas about Austin in his beat-up Bronco, going rock-climbing in the day and camping at night. His golden retriever came with us everywhere.
One weekend, we drove an hour and a half outside of Austin, stopping in a nearby town just before our destination to grab essentials. To him this meant water and beans; to me, cigarettes and eclairs. We arrived at Enchanted Rock and as excited as he was, all I saw was dirt, rocks, and cacti—classic hill country scenery, which had never met the standards of my northeastern aesthetic of what outside ‘should’ look like. This video captures its true beauty, which I was too young to appreciate initially.
We unpacked our gear, hiked to a camping spot, and did some climbing on the smaller rock* in a cool valley which was a nice respite for the warm sun. The granite was so different from the limestone we’d climbed to date—what he’d taught me on. I was variously happy with it (you could stick to it like glue and ascend quickly) and disgruntled (granite tears up your fingers and knees).
We had a couple of hours before dinner, and I went for a walk on the rock. As I walked, I gradually gained appreciation for where I was. Atop one of two huge monoliths in the middle of Texas Hill Country. These formations arose eons ago and still draw people as sacred space and respite alike. I found a spot on the far side—away from campers and climbers—to spend some time alone.
As I sat, I gazed out on the parklands, which ended beyond where I could see. And it happened again, just like in the Grand Canyon the summer after 6th grade. Time stopped, everything got silent. I disappeared, but at the same time, I had never more fully occupied each cell in this body. I descended the slope and returned to camp as the sun went down.
More and more often, this type of experience is happening during each day’s meditation. This begins the 6th of 12 weeks meditating twice daily. What more could possibly await?