Through Tinted Windows

A white car with a Nevada license plate pulled up to the beginning of a hiking trail. A few hikers from around the Provo, Utah area stared at the car for a moment, wondering why someone would drive all the way from Nevada just to climb the "Y" Mountain trail. If the native hikers had known that they were actually from West Virginia, a place barely heard of on this side of the Mississippi, they would have been even more astonished then they were now.

A father and daughter, ready to take the hike up to the "Y", emerged from the car and grabbed their water bottles. They would definitely need them in this dry arid climate; already their lips were beginning to chap. How harsh the Utah weather was!

The local hikers proceeded to climb the mountain with no apparent worries, but the West Virginians watched after them anxiously somewhat afraid to begin their journey. As they began their ascent up the mountain, the gargantuan white "Y" was barely visible. The "Y" was the symbol of the local college, Brigham Young University. According to the father, the "Y" was built so long ago that when it was being constructed there was no trail and the people had to haul the cement bags up the mountain by hand. The daughter stared in disbelief while listening; not being a very fit person herself she couldn't imagine undertaking such a feat. However, she thought, now there is a trail, so I have nothing to worry about.

How wrong she would find herself to be.

After only a few feet up the mountain, the view was already staggering; and so was she. Below them lay a sprawling city of lush green with roads laid out like a huge checkerboard. Beyond that, a large lake sparkled at the base of the looming mountains, their majestic beauty captivating to the eyes that beheld them. The wildlife of the mountain was also evident as they awakened a quail, which quickly darted behind one of the many boulders on the trail. The sounds on the crag were very diverse; from the calling of a blackbird, to the radio of the wave park below which was carried on a cool wind that echoed through the mountain.

After what seemed like days, the two West Virginians finally reached the top of the trail. The daughter, wanting to save the full view for the finale, walked to the right prong of the gargantuan "Y" and took a seat on the rocks. The texture was nothing like she imagined. It appeared from the street of the town below as if it were perfectly smooth; but in actuality it was extremely rugged and rocky. However, after a few moments of preparation she finally lifted her eyes to the Provo valley, and the panorama that lay before her took her breath away. On the right side of the valley was Brigham Young University, the college she wished to attend when she graduated from high school. She'd been there before, but didn't know how large it actually was in truth. She gasped as her eyes swept the scene; the houses constructed in a perfect grid, the green plains, Lake Utah… it all seemed too overwhelming to behold at one time. It also seemed like ages passed as she stared, each moment a thousand years, dragging, but she never wanted to look away.

It was just too gorgeous, too perfect.

It was even more breath-taking than seeing Chicago at midnight from an ascending airplane… It also being a perfect grid, but of nothing but yellow lights that seemed to touch the edge of darkness.

After a few more millennia, amazement, and, inevitably, pictures, the girls' father put his arm around her.

"It's going to start getting dark soon, and trust me… you don't want to walk down in pitch black."

The girl sighed, knowing it had to end sometime, and also knowing that whenever that sometime came it would be too soon.

She began her sorrowful descent; she saw no wildlife of any sort, the water park was closed and the wind that had carried the uplifting music before had turned into nothing but an unwanted chill.

They finally reached their rent-a-car with the Nevada license plate. The daughter looked up to the mountain, the now left prong of the "Y" where she had been standing only half an hour before. She opened the passenger door, sat down then closed it. As they drove away, she stared through tinted windows at the mountain. Already she was beginning to forget how wonderful their hike had been.

The father, sensing her sadness, put his arm around her cheerfully.

"Don't worry. One day you'll come back here, years from now, having completely forgotten everything you felt today. But do you know what?"

"What, Daddy?"

He leaned over and kissed her forehead as he had done for years.

"When you do return, you'll realize all over again how beautiful it is, wonder how you could have ever forgotten it, and promise yourself you never will. However, when you leave, you will forget again. But do not be sad, for this is the natural order of the universe and everything in it. If you could remember whenever you wanted to how good ice cream is, exactly how it tasted, how it smelled… would you want to eat it?"

Although she realized the depth of what he had just said, she nodded furiously.

The father laughed. "Yep, you sure are my daughter."

They laughed together in the car as they drove away, all sadness gone, under the gaze of the ever-watchful mountain that would wait patiently until the day they returned.