Welcome to the Land Beyond.
When the weather builds in waves of dark wind, and raindrops scream, and shelter is miles away, I wait, watching hints of light on the horizon, and I am alone. That is when I am alive.
Maybe my nose bleeds from frostbite, or parched heat claws the water from my skin. I have been eaten by a million mosquitoes and bitten by a billion cactus needles. Once a tendon in my leg exploded while snowshoeing 10 miles away from my car.
It is these moments that society cannot match, with its laws and subduing safety. Everything is known, society says. Everything has been done. Turn on a computer and the world is at your fingers, but only a snapshot, a wish-you-were-here with no texture, no chance, no danger. No Pain.
Here, in the unknown, is where life exists. There is no Facebook to tell me how cool I am with 10,000 friends I’ve never met. There is no mom or dad to wipe my nose. And there is no one to tell me No. No speed limit. No checkpoints. No bank teller holding my credit score with a scornful look.
Only I exist, with my decisions and my consequences. If I reach too far, I fall. If I stare too long, I go blind. If I slip, I die. But if I make the top, if I swallow the fear, I know that I saw it – a day so perfect, a place so sublime, a moment unplanned – truly, a Land Beyond.
Colin H. Sillerud