The Tree That Didn’t Burn

Recently my mind has been cluttered in thought. Between the most amazing summer in LA coming to an end and the beginning of my senior year at Elon, things seemed a bit out of place. I came out to LA this summer to get a taste of professional life after Elon. Ironically enough I’ve been so busy with work and class I haven’t had to time comprehend all that I was doing. I had a nagging sensation that I needed a period of time to reflect on all the complexities in my life over the past several months. I needed some good old fashion quality me time; Matt Smith needed to find Matt Smith again.

Usually my typical form of self-meditation is to run for miles blasting Red Hot Chili Peppers, however I’m in LA and I couldn’t overcome a mountain of thoughts with a run. I wanted something bigger and more challenging, so last Friday I climbed an actual mountain. There was one behind the apartments we were staying at anticipating my arrival.  I had no idea how to get up the mountain but my mind was set on reaching the summit.

Friday morning I did what any normal person would do; woke up and updated my Facebook status letting the world know of the expedition I was about to embark on. I didn’t want a concept of time so I turned my cell phone off and put my watch in my drawer and started the day. The first half of the hike was anything but easy as I fought through tall grass and thorny brush. With no path I was forced to make my own decisions on which directions to go. Picking up cuts and scratches, I struggled for what seemed to be an eternity. Luckily after about halfway up I found a path, which lead to the top. After a fire had burned down most of foliage several years ago all that stood at the summit was a single pine tree and a beautiful 360-degree view of LA.

I stayed up there for several hours thinking and playing with just the tree and me. I felt like the boy from children’s book, “The Giving Tree” and at one point I even climbed the tree. In my current world of clutter I found simplicity again. Looking at a city so big and feeling so small, I felt at peace with myself. Some people believe in a bush that burned, that day I found myself again in a tree that survived the burn.

Photos taken by Joe Brown from my second time up the mountain 8/1/10.

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