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The View From Here

The Big Pinnacle of Pilot Mountain can be seen for miles in all directions.

The Big Pinnacle of Pilot Mountain can be seen for miles in all directions.

Yay! A fresh crispy New Year to spend on whatever mad caprice strikes our fancy! Buy something random! Go somewhere undiscovered (good luck with that). Or begin that brave new adventure, quick before Winter remembers where it left the blizzard.

Some people find inspiration climbing great heights, or diving deep into oceans. Me, I’m more of an armchair adventurer. But every now and then, lured by the promise of restorative vistas and therapeutic exercise, I venture beyond the gravitational pull of my own inertia.

Such was the case not long ago when I hiked up Pilot Mountain, near Pinnacle, North Carolina. The mountain has been a landmark for centuries. The Saura Indians, who once lived in the region, called it Jomeokee, which, I’m told, means Great Guide or Pilot. Since the name must have been given long before the days of air travel, I’m guessing Great Guide is truer to the original moniker.

Call it what you will, it’s an impressive pile of rock, and one that draws legions of intrepid climbers in these thrill-seeking times. While I prefer my thrills without rope burns and terror, I empathize with the desire to set goals for yourself.

Each New Year I look back at the list I made at the start of the previous season cycle. The list never gets shorter. Usually when I manage to check something off, two or three eager ideas push their way onto the new list and clamor for attention, even as some of the older projects complain about my neglect. It’s hard to please everyone, even when they’re all inside your own head.

Up on Pilot Mountain I enjoyed a brief respite from the nagging demands. Up there, the air is clear and cool. You can see for miles. The problems of a few fictional characters hardly seem to matter. Which is good, because I’m giving a couple of them some time out to work on their issues while I attend to other business. The Goddess of Green Lake, for example, will be off on a spirit quest for a few months. But I’m confident that when she returns she’ll be stronger, bolder, and more magical than ever.

Sometimes we all need a fresh start, even if it’s only fictional. Onward and upward.

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