There are few things I really enjoy doing. But, the things I actually love make me very emotional. I have a habit of bawling in the presence of true beauty. The irony is I hate crying. It typically bothers me when I feel my face getting hot, cheeks turning red and my eyes swelling up with salty tears. I swallow my emotions, scold myself in my head and make the tears disappear. Hiking, accomplishing physically challenging feats, Butterfly Exhibits, sloths, elephants, mountains and lush wilderness are a few of the things that bring me pure joy. And, despite my typical disdain, I can care less about the tears flowing when I witness these things. I can’t help but bow down to the flood of emotions. I can be in the middle of nowhere for hours as long as there are trees, plants, moss, guava, starfruit and a running stream near by. The whole time I might cry; that’s ok with me.
Last month I hiked the tallest peak in St. Vincent from the most difficult side of the island—the leeward side. It’s name is La Soufriére. I’m a “bad Haitian” with limited French and Creole vocabulary but, if I’m not mistaken, Soufriére means sulfur. Duh! That makes sense with La Soufriére traditionally being a name given to volcanos and hot springs throughout the Caribbean. La Soufriére is an active volcano. The last eruption was in 1979. It typically erupts every 30 years. So, any day now it may blow! While hiking this beauty you pass through different climates and terrains. One hour you’re on the beach. Then you’re walking in a flowing rivers. The next hour you’re surround by farms. Hour three you’re being poured rain on by Mother Earth. Hour four you’re legs begin to cramp walking through volcanic ash. Before you know it you’re in the clouds with a 20 degree drop in temperature and thinner air. It’s truly a magical experience. I went with a group but quickly left them behind. I wanted to challenge myself. I also wanted to experience this spiritual journey alone. When I made it to basically the end of the trek, I pulled out my almost empty hydro flask, a bottle of Sorrel I had made the night before and some roasted nuts. I sat on a rock, put on my hoodie, began snacking, waited for the others to catch up and cried. Yes, I’m being honest, I cried. I’m sensitive, don’t make fun of me. I had about 35 minutes of solid crying before I began hearing the others. You haven’t seen fast moving until you see me frantically trying to clean myself up after crying. No one can see that side of me except my love, nature—and she won’t tell anyone. She’s loyal to those that are loyal to her. I finished the last few yards with the group. The view was breath taking.
This was one for the books. All together the hike is about eight hours, 4,048 feet above sea level and 10 miles long. This is the story that makes everything in life worth it.
Spend more time in nature and with animals. It’ll change you for the better.