Opening the avocado green, weathered rusty old metal lid on the very highest point of Bishops Peak, I peered into the box.
A Sponge Bob Squarepants magnet, the book of Mormon, several broken pen caps, a forlorn Teddy bear, and a couple pizza coupons.
It was like a happy meal for grown ups, but so much better.
As stated in the Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come” but ever so much more appropriate, if you put out a box, they will fill it. ‘They’ being primarily college students, the occasional retired professor and whoever else manages the grueling, scenic hike up to the peak, with a worn rugged trail and strenuous rock climbing at the top.
My own contribution to the box was dubious, I was uncertain of what advice I could possibly lend to other wayward travelers.
With a slight nod, in accordance with hikers etiquette and subdued acknowledgement of the others, the trek up to the crest is mainly one of solitude so that you may sweat in peace at your own desired rate.
The entire hike up, I take breaks from cursing my existence and sopping up the excessive byproduct of my overly enthusiastic sweat glands, to contemplate my own inscription at the peak. Hopefully I’ll come up with something inspirational, but somehow between my panting I can’t seem to access my most enlightened state. Pity.
At last, arriving at the top, I can see it, the mountains sweeping out over the valley below, the cows accessorizing the hilltops, and well…not doing much else other than eating grass, and down in the parking lot, it’s reassuring to know that no one has managed to steal my trusty steed of a 1983 puke yellow stick shift Volvo station wagon. Actually, that would be an impressive feat. Seeing as how I can barely get the thing to start myself.
The best part of all, however about being on top, is the two spiral-bound notebooks shoved in between artifacts, protected by the rain in the sturdy steel box. A type of hiking forum, for those victorious souls who made it up the mountain to rant, rave, appreciate, enjoy, preach, pray, or keep track of all their hiking expeditions.
“Don’t shit into the wind.” The advice catches my attention among the other passages inscribed within the notebooks. It’s a little more basic, and a little less poetic of an approach than the others tend to embrace. That’s good basic knowledge I’ll probably remember that one next time I’m in a situation in which I plan on, well, yeah…
Another hiker quoted a two-and-a-half page long Hamlet piece, Act three, scene one, better known as the infamous “To Be or Not To Be” Speech in which Hamlet contemplates the meticulous detailed intricacies of, well, being, or not being as the case very well may be. And scrawled underneath his dramatic entry is written, “Jesus Nick, three people stood in line waiting for you to write that!”
I always marvel over the tidbits of philosophy that others had managed to carry up the mountain.
And then I found the best passage of all, after that grueling hike I could actually relate to it fairly well. “Damn! Mountain we got all up inside you, up and down you and all around you. Hope it was as good for you as it was for us.”
The Box on top of Bishops, making the hike completely worthwhile.
What to write, something witty, but not too charming, brilliant but humble, thought provoking but not overbearingly so. It was a tedious process, writing in the book, almost as mentally stimulating as posting a Facebook status.
And of course, my natural tendency was to come up with the most perfect sentence, half way down the mountain. I’m cool like that.
At last, I decided upon my quote, it was a good one that I could easily live my live by, if I chose to be so adventurous, “In the words of Steve Jobs” I scribbled in purple pen onto the crinkled lined paper, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”