Author: Cynthia McGuire

got We can just start from the top stream and head up the mountain from there. It’ll save time, I thought as Mona and I made our way up Mountain Dr. into the Mountains behind our houses. Sometimes I’ve felt as though these mountains were our real home. We’ve come up here so many times that we were convinced nothing could hurt us. We were convinced that coyotes, spiders, and lizards couldn’t hurt us. That the weather was always calm, we never had to worry about rain or being too hot or too cold. It was always so beautiful, we never had a thing to worry about. But being so comfortable in a wild place has its risks. We weren’t prepared for unexpected issues or obstacles and we certainly weren’t ready to go to a place with a feeling far different from the fear of a coyote. It was a normal day that did not have the capability of unpredictability. It has been a year since the fires and the mountains were sprinkled with fields of brown mustard. What an odd plant to grow wildly, huh? A variety of wildflowers are scattered in the fields. Fields as tall as me! It was easy to just keep walking; the mountains had a calm escalation and the brown mustard danced hugs around us. We felt comfortable, calm, protected. There was no reason to fear the depths of the fields. We walked and walked for hours, captivated by the entrancing dance of nature. As we approached the peak of the highest mountain, the sun was setting and a piercingly cold breeze lashed our cheeks as we breathed in the cool air, we turned around and realized home was no longer in site . . . At first, we felt no worry. We can just walk down, and it will lead us to the bottom. Man were we wrong. Mona had faith in me all the way here, she believed my act of composure was true. The sun began to descend, and the cold wind enveloped all air; there was no sun to warm us. We began in the morning, in 79-degree weather with shorts and tank tops. We have not eaten since morning and the darkness had consumed our eyes, seeing 5 feet in front of us began to be impossible. We decided to find shelter and look for edible berries, plants, and mushrooms. And I will be honest, we are two girls that are intermediate hikers. We are no survivalists. 
          I am not sure when we entered oblivion, after we got to the peak? After the sun went down? After we ate plants? Or if our oblivious actions led us to oblivion.

        It was a beautiful and peaceful day. Cece and I stomped through the fields of brown mustard like lumberjacks swarming the trees. It all made sense, there was no reason to fear or feel paranoid about being away from society. It felt natural, like we were home. We were overwhelmed with success once we reached the top, we made it! After hours of climbing we were home. It was nice to come back to our roots and spend the day hiking, but I did not expect the energetic shift in energy when the sun went down. Everything was consumed by darkness, and fear began to consume us. Right, left, behind, in front, we heard sounds, scattering of footsteps. I tried to mirror Cece’s composure as my nerves came over me like a title wave. Cece handed me a handful of plants to eat to get through the night. We found some rocks to huddle under and stayed close to retain body heat. We stared out at the only light visibly, the stars. Since the moon decided not to come out tonight.
         Cece and Mona huddled under the boulders, stomachs filled with unknown plants that Cece assumed to be edible. They were ill-prepared for what was in store for them. They should have packed more snacks, worn pants, and brought more water. They should have brought a compass but no. That had not occurred to them. The consuming beauty of earth’s artwork was too much for them, their bustling minds were overcome with peace. They wandered so deep into the peak of the mountain that they unknowingly found themselves surrounded by hallucinogenic plants. 
          Cece is laying in starfish pose on the hump of the peak gazing at the stars. Mona is curled up alone behind a rock, rocking herself back and forth. Mumbling, everything is fine everything is fine every– Cece’s smile stretches from ear to ear with a devilish essence. Cece rolls in the dirt thanking the earth for holding her and her family, with the utmost gratitude, she flourishes in her oblivion. Mona squeezes her eyes so tight in an attempt to consume her entire existence into that squeeze. She wishes and wishes that she will roll into a ball of dust and disappear. This is not what she asked for, this is not what she signed up for. Her entire life coping mechanism is to ignore, ignore, ignore. Burying it so deep into her brain safe, locking the key, and throwing the key out her ear. Oblivion did not ask for the key. Oblivion exposed what did not want to be exposed. Showing them the truth about themselves, the world, their friends, their family, humanity. Oblivion is a place to be awakened but not everyone is ready to be awakened.
          Being oblivious is not the same as being in oblivion. When we are oblivious, we may not notice the little things— they just fly over our head like a swift butterfly. When we are in oblivion; it is a place where nothing makes sense or everything makes sense. It is a place of deeper understanding that only we, the humans in the state, can understand. It changes our psyche and places us into a new realm of understanding. Oblivion is not a bad place to be if you are prepared— it was not supposed to be an experience. 

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