August | Lost Summer
By Devinne Zadravec
It has been a hectic and draining couple of weeks. Between work, my visa application, farewells to friends, and general planning and organizing for my own fast approaching, overseas journey, I’ve hardly had a spare moment to enjoy the few remaining days of summer.
Blame it on responsibility or on adulthood, but this year I have been feeling acutely the loss of carefree seasons spent exploring, my days unscheduled, before there were bills to pay or an infinite to-do list looming over my head. Gone are the summers of months-long school vacations; of nights spent stargazing and of misty early mornings spent wandering–endless, perfect days blurring one moment to the next, no time card required.
It was armed with this sense of nostalgia that my mother, sisters, and I decided to take a last minute trip to New Hampshire last Sunday, and hike Mount Monadnock at sunset. When you’re reluctant to say good-bye to the longest days of the year, you have to find ways to make them longer– so with an attitude that was a little excited, a little defiant, we resolved to make hiking a nighttime activity.
We took a steep, winding path to the summit. Mom picked the trail known for having the most expansive views so we wouldn’t miss a moment of the fading, painted sky. After a little less than two hours’ climb, we scrambled over our last few boulders to the top of the mountain. It was chilly at the summit–rushing winds blowing past our faces on a day that had already been cool for August–so we ducked into a granite nook to eat the picnic dinner we packed along with us. Over sandwiches and trail mix we watched the sun sink low. The sky was neon, brilliant, every shade of summer projected on rolling clouds to the edge of the horizon.
Our descent began in twilight. We picked our way across and down the rocky ledges, taking extra care to find certain footing as the evening grew dark. To let our eyes adjust, we held off on using our headlamps until we reached the treeline– no problem, really, as the nearly-full moon soon crested the top of the mountain and illuminated our path with its soft glow.
We were the last ones on the mountain, but for all we could tell we could have been the last people in the world. There were no sounds save those of the forest night and our feet on the trail. We made our way through the dark groves, dodging branches and spider webs, occasionally glancing overhead to catch a glimpse of the moon guiding our way through the trees. At that moment it could have been 2017 or any other year, that place or any number of others. At the very least, it was not another dreary Sunday night spent preparing for another long week. It wasn’t another routine evening in a quiet suburb.
I found my carefree summer in the sunset and the breeze and the glow of the moon on the mountain; that one perfect night my reminder that it had never really been lost at all.
Devinne Zadravec is the social media editor at Atlas Addict Quarterly. Catch her on instagram, @devzad.