A soft summer breeze cooly rustles my hair as we walk through the woods on our spontaneous adventure. My Chacos imprint the rich dirt as I tread the unmarked path. I remember the joy of that day. The sweet smell of earth, the glorious sunshine that shone so brightly on my face, and the freeing feeling of peace. Now in the stressful days ahead, I recount all those amazing adventures and numerous travels of the past that are still replaying in my head.
I remember the noisy bustle of Italy and the looming shadows of pastel-colored buildings. My brothers and I had been practically jumping in anticipation as we awaited our soon-to-be ventures around Florence. Zipping in and out of side streets, we would imagine ourselves as native Italians who knew everything about the open city and were experts of the area. Early in those crisp mornings, when dew formulated along the streets, we would stretch our legs for a run to embrace the sun when it first greeted those foggy mornings. During the daytime, we would weave through the streets to find the tastiest gelato shops or the oldest museums with elaborate collections dating back more than 500 years. Those were happy memories of August that finalized the summer on a joyous note.
Rewind one month earlier to the quiet wilderness and beauty of Colorado. Imagine the hard and chiseled rocks that make up the mountain side, contrasting the picturesque and warm sunset. Wildlife calls echo audibly in between the peaceful silences. Silence is normally an empty and hollow sound, but somehow this silence was lively and gratifying. Although there was no noise, the landscape was bustling with movement and full of curiosities. As my group and I trekked over the rough road and up the intriguing mountains, we were met with land that was untouched by man-made equipment and flawless in its complex simplicity. We had biked our way up each mountain, determined to reach the summit. Each pedal stroke seemingly invigorated us to push ourselves that much harder and to put a little bit more energy into each movement. The first summit that we reached was breathtaking with low tree covered valleys and snow-capped peaks in view. When our bikes couldn’t take us any higher, wooden steps accentuated the path up the steep slope for us to begin a second climb. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen and our exhaustion that made the perspective so breathtaking, but in my memory, the view was spectacular with its rough intricacy.
Some of the best adventures have been in Grand Rapids with the community that I’ve grown to love. Numerous seasons of winter full of brisk air and cool temperatures stick in my brain as exciting moments. When temperatures were coldest, I would have the best moments with friends, persevering through the grit and chill to find enjoyment in the coldest weather. Michigan winters are filled with black ice and endless amounts of snow. The plain winter day would be decorated with elaborately designed snowflakes that drifted gently across the sky only to pile delicately on the hardened ground.
My aesthetic remembrance of these planned and spontaneous adventures is etched in my history, and they have become a part of me. Every time I reflect on those memories, I relive those moments to embrace that past and find consolation for the future.