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Crowder's Mountains

by Zehra BIRSAN

All started with a bet, a bet on a new year eve about a number of pounds we can shed off of our bodies in the blooming new year. We, 3 of us that are parties on this bet, being very ambitious of being the one who beat the others, intend to do all the extremes to do whatever it takes.   We, 3 of us that are parties of this bet, lacking all the imagination while thinking too much on what the others are doing to win this bet, decided to start hiking together at the weekends, that way, we could know at least one time what the others do and that will be the same thing every one of us do.   First, we had to find a reasonably steep hill, to help our upper limps to be slimmer when climbing but not too much on a side of a rock climbing not to scare the life out of our lungs. We had to find mountain-like hills so that we can call the excursion "hiking" and not lying openly at the same time and we found it. It is called Crowder's Mountains right at the lacy hems of King Mountains of North Carolina or I should say South Charlotte, as nobody else knows what King Mountains are about in North Carolina at large, unless they live around Charlotte.  

Crowder's is such a place that actually posses couple of steep rock-climbing type of heights but you can safely keep away from those and be able to hike as well.
  We, 3 of us that are the parties on a bet, started hiking on this mountain every Sunday morning. Sunday is being very precious to all of us not that God declared its holiness but because it is the only day we can spare to our families or whatever we'd like to do for ourselves.   We decided to start along with the roosters so that we can have the rest of the day to ourselves. Such a good idea, right? Except that it takes to wake up at around 5 AM on a SUNDAY so that you can drive 45 minutes to get to the entrance of the hiking trail then take 2 hrs. hiking, be back to your car by 8 or 8:30. This timeline, of course, depends on the sugar level on your blood that decides to rebel and stops you for a couple of minutes here or there to interfere with your good intentions to be a professional hiker and a "fast one" at the same time. Including another 45 minutes drive back home, you are there back at the warmth of your house to start your day at 9:30 latest. If you are lucky enough with a good husband to have the breakfast ready for you by then, you can start rolling around 10:30 A.M. to do whatever...

The day that starts with or without that lucky-star dependent breakfast is a good day regardless  because you had the glimpse of the North Carolina Mountains at their very best the first thing in the morning. The feelings you are experiencing, defers every day depending on what type of a day that Sunday is. If it is a Sunday that is so bright that lets you see how Charlotte skyline wakes up under a newborn sun then you feel warm all over and it takes all day to warn out. If it is a Sunday so fogeyish gray or even drizzling, as you can still hear the birds starting the day, calling, reaching out, no way you can miss the warmth that is caused by the baby sun, because you feel it anyway but this time, it is the warmth of the hope that nature fills in your lungs with every breath you take.   Hope of all the new starts, hope of that relentless youth that makes you feel there is nothing you can not do. Sometime it makes you feel surprised when you see the clouds that are fallen on the surface of the pond looking from the top of one of the peaks, feels like you are a part of the power that makes such a scene possible, the real surprised feeling comes when you realized that you actually are. 

And another memory from that day you spent in Crowder's is that the aftertaste you have on your senses from all those talks of minds alike that can not be driven from anything alike that had left you fulfilled.   We, 3 of us that are the parties on a bet, we talk with minds wide opened with oxygen that is also known as mountain air. We talk about how things are bothering us, we talk about how things should not bother us, we talk about how sorry we fell about the other people who are getting ready at the same moment to take their place in a neighborhood church to commit their places in their community and missing such a proof to God's existence merely just by walking in Crowder's.   We, 3 of us that are parties of a bet, we are having a hard time to think of an equal religious ritual to hiking at an early morning hour since we started practicing this ritual. And this makes us think that the mother-nature and God have to be close relations.

I promise myself I will never be reluctant or resistant to any kind of a bet between friends anymore, look where one of them took me, falling hard on steep but climbable rocks of North Carolinians mountains. 

Summer 2006
Issue# 18
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