Weekend. The word is a breath you can feel stretch your lungs with crisp Autumn air. Weekend has the weight of two days, or two nights, or two late-rise mornings. Weekend is dazed people crawling out of routine cocoons and emerging as butterfly tramp-stamps. Weekend is the gentle, however excited beginning to a Friday-night conversation; “What are you two doing tomorrow?” Tired from our first day's hike, we sit down heavy and hungrily on benches and fold-open picnic chairs around the ash-pit. Rolland and Glenis, an outdoors-loving snow-bird couple from Australia, have let us share their campsite; all the others are full and we're just four gentle-looking college kids. I suggest from memory of years before, the Vernell and Nevada falls hike for Saturday. “Us two? Well I don't know what we're doing tomorrow. Glenis! What do you say we do the hike they're on about?” Weekends out here are full of wonder and curious maybe's. Glenis has gray eyes like morning-ash that spark lightly when he says her name. With his beanie and worn-in triple parenthesis smile, Rolland looks like his weekends are a happy green and purple haze. These chilled sunsets bring me comfort like an old friend that I had gone to visit again. Two years ago, over a November weekend, my feet flew from rock to rock down the side of a Yosemite mountain. Glacier point rose far above us as we ran towards the bubble-gum pink horizon, away from the fattening shadows just behind our ankles. Maybe, the ever nearing campground valley could hear the echoing of the quick crunches of leaves under our boots. Like birds in flight we ran in a line, taking turns for the front where the bravest steps were chosen sooner than the cold air rushed by. The mountains here held many of my memories from that weekend. During another early morning on the Vernall falls trail, I was sipping Yerba Mate with two Mendocinos from Argentina. We would share Mate again in the future, as close friends. I want to go back, and see if the Misty trail up to the falls has changed since the last time I climbed its tall granite steps. My lungs, then and now, will not believe that there is a far away place, where the steps are higher, and the air is thinner. So far as my lungs are concerned, the Misty trail could be any Nepali sky reaching steps - and simply talking about doing it again, makes my heart beat furiously. A mountain weekend rises above weekday worries and burns planners, post its, and deadlines as kindling for a fire. Good, this will keep me warm. Yosemite hasn't changed much since then, and in the expanse of her years I won't leave a dent deeper than a moment. Her weekends are swarms of people flowing in trails across her skin. By every Monday most will have gone back to their less than natural homes. We warm ourselves with fire and yellow-tail wine under the bright Yosemite moon. We wonder how it can look like it's wearing a halo, but none of us dull the magic by reaching for a phone and looking for an answer. Among this immovable granite and redwood glory, we forget having ever drowned in the woe of a weekday. Rolland and Glenis, after traveling for months, will finally go back down to their home on the other end of the globe. With a memory of climbing thousands of feet towards the sky, an outdoor loving couple and four gentle-looking college kids shared an October weekend. The word is a breath you can feel stretch your lungs with crisp Autumn air.
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