Someone on Facebook asked tonight,
[W]hat was your ‘burning bush’ moment? What did that feel like? (Just kind of genuinely curious.)
I was 17. We were in the mountains east of my hometown, visiting friends for Thanksgiving. It was overcast and chilly and kind of barely snowing (you know, what passes for “OMG OMG OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!” in Columbus. Six flakes a minute). Something in the air just didn’t feel right. I told my mom I was going to go for a walk. I was gone for about four hours, just hiking through the trees.
When the wind blows through pine trees, it sounds like no other sound, especially when you’re that far away from civilization (about 30 miles from the nearest town, six miles past the county line and, as such, off the paved road), and that kept me company for the entire afternoon. I saw a porcupine waddle around a big-ass rock. I saw a small herd of deer. I saw a black bear (who should have been asleep long before that) off in the distance. There were eagles. I heard the world around me. I stopped by a small stream that wasn’t yet frozen over, but was only a fraction above it, with the most amazing-tasting water ever created.
I was very quiet when I got back, and Mom waited until I was ready to talk. She listened and thought I was talking about God. I might have been. I don’t think I was. I think that’s the day that I started straying from that path and onto one that suited me better. She understands now, and we’ve both been very supportive of each other’s paths. She knows why I went my direction, and she knows that our paths aren’t that dissimilar.
Even more than 20 years later, I can still feel that wind on my face, the snowflakes touching my skin, hear the whisper of the trees, feel the ground under my boots, see the color of that enormous sky, smell the potential of the earth. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. I could totally live there.