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Exploring Authentic Experiences Essay

The ground beneath the stiff leaves is frozen. The cold, brisk air invades my lungs, I exhale, my breath visible. I step over fallen branches and get tugged on by thorny vines. The un­trailed path I forge to the top of this mountain is steep and difficult, but worth the work to be a new explorer on the fresh, dew­ridden ground of this lonely mountain on this brisk morning. The trek up this hill is not easy, thorny blackberry bushes and fallen trees impede progress. Slightly evening out now, the ground is painted with large and misshapen boulders slightly crystallized with ever­so­thin ice. I see a small alcove naturally constructed of rocks and brush off to my side.

Though I am nearly to the top, where I wanted to be to watch the sunrise, I decide to explore this tangent. Looking lonely in its picturesque away­from­the­world­ness, the small corner has a minute opening which looks never to have been explored. I feel lucky to have found it, feeling like the first to explore it. Pulling back one large branch, I open up to another world, completely hidden by the rocks and brush of the mountain. A tiny bubbling stream, maybe 7 feet wide emerges in front of me. Frozen at the edges, the slight rush of water underneath is like blood rushing in veins. The mountain has a wall of large stones, covered in a thick layer of moss, some of which has started to fall off due to heaviness. Gently spewing from  the bottom of the 20 foot tall rock wall, the water is only visible in front of me until it continues on, traveling back under rocks and continuing its ancient path hidden underground. The cove is enclosed completely by its sides as well as overhead. The way the rocks jet outward seclude it from below as well. Completely enclosed and surrounded yet with a feeling of complete openness, there is almost a clear view right in front of me of the horizon.

Looking over the dark jagged mountains I could see the sun rising in brilliant colors through the trees. The morning sky lights up in shades of deep red, overwhelming orange, with thin streaks of yellow and pink. The thin morning clouds pillow through the sky without obstructing the sunrise to their usual extent but instead act as support of this colorful scene. I sat down on a rock jutting out of the wall as if it were a seat made just for this moment. And I watched; I experienced this once in a lifetime show of which I alone could ever know. I watched the light greet the cold new earth of today like old friends. Sitting on the mountain, just short of its peak, I watch the day unfold and think of nothing. I let myself fill up with the warm light hitting my face mixing with the cold air surrounding my body.

The branches of the trees were positioned just so only a few stuck out into the stage where the sunbeams were escaping from a prison inside of the sun. The rays illuminated everything they touched with beauty, color, and life. The earth began to glow in the golden light as the sun rose higher and higher in the sky. When the sunrise had finished some 20 minutes later, I bittersweetly extricate myself from my relaxing position on the rock­formed seat, look around at the magnificent, transformative hidden hollow and know I should leave; leave it as untouched as possible for the next lucky explorer to find and experience its transformative magic some other morning in the distant future. I place my hand on the moss, taking time to stroke the furry wall. My hand leaves an imprint and I wonder how long that will last. I look down the hill that I had ascended and start my descent back into the world.

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