South Mountains State Park, NC.

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My cell phone reads “no signal.” Four pairs of gym shoes take up half of our open indoor floor space. Our current address is “site number 17.” We are in the middle of the woods with nary a neighbor. Gravity provides the most noise pollution, drawing the water over boulders and through rocks.

We decide to make a fire, but the wet wood is against us. Still we fight to make this wild-fire. With paper plates, napkins, even fire starters, but it’s no use. The galley in our airstream will suffice tonight. And the water calls. Mere steps down from our fire pit is Jacob’s Fork.

The next morning the sun is bright, the woods have no mosquitoes, and the trail that leads against the current promises an eighty foot waterfall in just over a mile. The water falls, the water falls, the water falls, we stand and watch. We have captured a moment in time that is timeless. It’s the same moment over and over again.

A few days, riverside, among the trees and mountains we live with the sun as our clock, the rain as our only reason to head indoors. The fire roasts our meals and desserts. Even our dog lies peacefully in the grass, only lifting his head to look our way when he hears the crunching gravel under our boots. Souls refreshed, we pull away. I look back and think, how can a place so empty make me feel so full?

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