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What Next? A Hike to Nowhere in Particular But Somewhere With Someone In Mind.

Walking down the trail beside the reservoir I think to myself, “What if I can’t get far enough to see any good views before I have to turn back to meet my mom?”

because I need to find a special view

If I don’t find a great view then what will be the point of coming all the way out here? The Briones Reservoir is pretty far out from Berkeley, a different East Bay… I could have hiked in the Berkeley hills.

So I hike and watch the clock. As time goes by the views are pretty ordinary, in fact, I get into the forested slopes and there’s nothing but new growth plants and glimpses of the reservoir. The only thing of note is a woman passing me, overtaking me and traveling on while I take a photo of the reservoir. She’s fit and youthful although not a baby, attractive and confident. I’m unprepared to talk with someone on the trail — one glance her way, one shy glance, mostly looking at the ground and then looking back out at the water, and she is gone.

Time is up, I must head back. Have I seen views worth seeing? What if the view I saw here and the person I saw but didn’t meet, were supplemented by meetings and sightings both before and after? It seems possible every view is informed by every other. I see thick foliage and because I long to see something more I do see something more in something less: I see myself in another place, another time, not just past or future but an alternate path, or even one that I could never have walked…

if I can imagine it it’s more real than everything around me that I don’t see and won’t ever know

What’s your name? Pushing at the fourth wall as I’m inclined to push at all walls, I find only one thing matters to me: engagement. Sure, not all connection is exciting, but engagement? What even is that? I looked it up just now and marriage engagement dominates the conversation, though the word “engagement” has a more practical, functional meaning.

I seek engagement

Wait, let me ask one thing. If I seek engagement with others and I particularly enjoy connecting with women, is there a resonance of the wedding engagement affecting these encounters? I’ve been told my “vibe” is open-ended… Setting aside what that even means, what is my mode in connection? What is the usual mode? I think I connect the same way as others, and I connect more if it’s 12:15AM at a bar than I do walking a reservoir trail at 12:15PM. The way I connect has to be open-ended because otherwise I would have preordained the connection, right?

What would a pre-ordained connection be? And what would an open-ended engagement be? Which is more dangerous to the soul?

my soul risks destruction every moment — I sail through interactions with others in which I refuse to fully engage because it seems too dangerous

Last chance. When the woman passed me on the trail I looked down because it seemed hard to connect with her in that place. I wish I had tried. I wish I had said just one thing to her.

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