Tonight, we drive out of the city and into the mountains: up a series of rutted gravel switchbacks to the top of the ridge. There’s an A-frame cabin up here that belongs to a friend, and as we walk to the front door I can hear music and laughter — the giddy hum of a small crowd. The house throws angular planes of light into the yard.
As soon as I walk inside, I find my body humming too — warm and happy and casting a light of its own. I smile.
I’m going to tell you something now that took me more than thirty years to figure out: I really, really, really love people. And for the longest time — for a lot of reasons I won’t go into today — I didn’t really realize how much I needed them. Want to know how I figured out the truth? It was my body: the way a headache would disappear as soon I entered a roomful of people. The way any anxieties, aches and pains dissolved into warmth whenever I was sitting at a table among friends.
There’s a little moment, halfway through this night, when I find myself standing out on my friend’s balcony and looking out over the valley. There’s a glass of wine in my hand and a friend at my shoulder. In front of me is one of the prettiest vistas I’ve seen in awhile: the wide hollow in the blue hills filled with city lights far below, twinkling and shimmering beneath stars. At my back, there’s a room full of people I care about. There’s a roaring fire, silly chatter, books and games and food. And suddenly, a warm wind kicks up from the valley below and rifles over the porch, and I feel it kiss my face and think: I’m so lucky. I’m just so crazy lucky. The warmth of the moment radiates out from my chest and prickles down the length of my arms. All the cares of the day just fade away.
I carry that warmth down the mountain with me. I carry it down as we steer the car through the switchbacks. I lean my head against the cool glass of the passenger-side window, and I think, again, about the depth of my gratitude. I carry it with me still. ❤