i love finding secret places. since i was a little girl, i've always loved looking for places to hide, not because i am afraid of being pursued, but maybe because my ultimate desire is to be found, searched for and found, by the right person. that's why i love that line in The Cure's A Night Like This, "i'm coming to find you if it takes me all night;" i love to be looked for, and hiding also makes me feel protected and intimate with the space that surrounds me.
when i was in high school theater, i would sometimes slip behind the expansive and sometimes rickety sets, into tight corners of darkness that smelled like sawdust and paint and old curtains just to listen for a while, just to see if anyone would miss me. i can fit into places people think no one would go. it's like being held securely. for someone with as much nervous energy as i have, it makes me feel calm and anchored in a way i normally don't.
i knew it would take time to uncover the secret places in my town, but i've kept my eyes open for them. imagine my surprise, then, when i heard a rumor that a trail behind my own house led to a boulder overlooking the town. i had to find out. i also love a good lookout. what i believed was a trail to someone's house (as i could see a gate at the top of some steep stairs) was in fact the head of that very trail. there were some houses there, once, but the gate is the only thing that hasn't fallen to ruin.
one saturday morning curiosity overtook me. i didn't even change out of my pajamas, but edged up the trail, body tense in anticipation of what i'd find. honestly i was ready to turn back at any moment if i came across too many cobwebs or snakes, but nothing spooked me, so i kept going.
at the top of a steep climb, the trail met a narrow road which led to a wider trail and a mobile phone tower...romantic. past that, though, the trail narrowed to a jungly trek following the ridge. it became clear that the view must be pretty spectacular, only the foliage was too high to get a glimpse.
i finally reached a crack in the base of a huge boulder with a knotted rope hanging down. i figured climbing it would lead to the view i sought, but i also had gone pretty far in my pajamas, and i would prefer to do any climbing with a companion in case there were troubles, so i called it a day.
several weeks later, i convinced kino to join me, and he invited a few other new teachers, so mayumi came too.
we stopped at the first place where the trail opens a bit. i planned to return alone to sunbathe here until a teacher mentioned that dangerous wild boars roam these woods.
we climbed out of the darkness and into the sun. coming up over the top of the rock, the world fell away in the most spectacular panorama of my town i've ever seen.
to the right, mountains.
to the left, open sea.
the view from below.
i feel like i've uncovered a key feature of my neighborhood, and it only took two years.