Up the hill, past the expensive housing developments, through dirt, gravel, and over rocks and ruts I shouldn't drive my car over, but do, carefully, and gingerly, with a somewhat practiced hand, with only occasional stone-grinding bumps and grimaces.
I finally pulled my car onto the gravel, semi-improved parking area near a trailhead, looked out over the valley, typed, thought, and even worked for a bit, then hiked. I skipped the similarly semi-improved trail this time, and chose a deer trail heading up to the rim of a small canyon instead, over which I changed the angle between the tops of my feet and my shins from 45 to 90 degrees and back, thighs pumping over and over, until I crossed a ridge and dropped out of sight of the houses, and the sounds of ATVs lower in the foothills.
I sat down on a bit of rock, thinking about something my friend Dave used to say. "Somewhere on each mountain," he'd told me, "is a patch of rock that fits your body just perfectly." I didn't believe it, and I don't think he did, but it was so much fun to say, to tell others, and almost believe, that it became part of a certain canon of mountains, friends, camping, possibilities, late-night discussions, and laughter. It was one which I lived by for a long time, put much of my identity in, but turned out to be only a chapter rather than the book.
But as I layed back on that bit of rock, it fit my body like a glove, like a cliche, like nature had conspired with my chiropractor, like an old and good friend.
I didn't stay too long. I walked down to the car, paused a moment, thinking about what might have even been the sweeter moment of the evening, the one where I turned off the car, got out, and listened, and knew there was something still there that I'd forgotten about, or stopped believing in, something that maybe even went away for a while, but was still real all the time.