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  • Writer's pictureJay F. Servedio

The Perfect Place.

He thought of it before, and if there would ever be a perfect place, it would be Bald Mountain. The peak isn’t far, only about a mile and a half from the road, but that mile and a half happened to be at an eighty-degree angle for most of the trip. He can make the trip rather quickly, but never does. He always takes his time up the mountain, for there’s too much to see. The plateaus are populated with thick maple and oak trees. Not the ones that might grow to about twenty feet or so in a front yard: ancient ones. Ones that make him feel small and insignificant. And large ones. The kind that touch the sky and create a canopy so thick, no raindrop would ever think about striking the helpless hiker. Yet, the canopy couldn’t protect the forest from the smell of petrichor that lingered no matter the season. The smell he’d stop and smell each time he got to the oak with the burn marks on it. That smell reminds him of days past, days he’d messed up and days he’ll never want to change. It reminds him of where he comes from and where he’ll go when he’s gone. And then he’ll be on his way and trek some more.

And though the plateaus are nice, the peak and its view are what steal his breath every time he stumbles up to it.

Majesty is a word reserved for royalty, but there is no greater queen than the one walked upon each day by all of life. You can see her majesty, her face from the top of Bald Mountain, clear as day. The Hudson River makes her wide smile. The fire towers on distant peaks, her eyes. The divets, her dimples and the valleys, her cheek bones. Covered all by the leaves of those oaks and maples. Foliage, he always thinks to himself, is a pretentious word… but leaves in transition, that he could live with. Autumn comes with him every year to the peak of Bald Mountain where mother nature shows her face, and the land below is covered by those leaves in transition. One would think her face had been set ablaze if they were in want of corrective lenses but had none. The orange and yellow, the reds, they all fight off what little green remains in November and while their fire burns, it makes no heat. The cool fall breeze flows like the Hudson, and the leaves dance with him. They burn the valley below in a perpetual waltz with the wind… and the sky; one could count the clouds with only fingers and toes handy. He hears the geese migrate south and watches the Red-tailed Hawks soar in circles and he wishes he could be them both. When the sun sets, it too immerses the whole sky in flames of its own as the leaves in transition do to the earth, and her majesty looks upon the scarlet sun with her Hudson smile. It makes him feel like a piece of something greater and for a minute everything feels ok. And then he’ll wonder how that’s possible if he himself is not complete and the feeling goes. But he’s happy he got to feel like he was a part of something big.

This place in November, at the setting sun, with flaming leaves and her majesty smiling right back at him… would be the place to do it. But he never would. For he knew he’d probably fall, just like the seasons, looking for a place to jump from.

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