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Reminiscing on a Perfect Weekend Getaway to Sequoia National Park

When I reminisce on joyful memories, I'm reminded of my old life, of the great time I can no longer have.

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With more alone time in my hands, I’m prone to reminisce on fond memories. When I’m feeling trapped and restless, I close my eyes and revisit my old travels, a time when humankind roamed freely pre-covid. Reminiscing is an escape: If I can’t physically visit faraway places, then I’ll let my mind take me there, transcending the walls in which I’m confined.  

I have, of late, been thinking about my visit to Sequoia National Park. Sifting through scenes in my mind, I watch that perfect weekend play. I let the old emotions resurface, feeling what I had felt during the trip: wonder at the sight of towering ancient trees; relief at the first sip of crisp, ice-cold water after a long hike; love as I slept in my partner’s embrace, under twinkling stars; sadness on the way home from the park. 

I think of my picnic at Crescent Meadow (my favorite part of the trip), where the forest opens to a clearing filled with flowers. I smile now at the memory: eating my cold ham-and-mayonnaise sandwich, watching the white petals bob against the breeze.

I think of my gruelling hike to Moro Rock, where a narrow, steep path leads to the top of the peak, offering sweeping mountain views. I can almost feel my calves ache from the memory, can vividly remember my breath heavy from the trek. 

This is the camping trip in which I had been my bravest. I’m slightly afraid of heights, yet somehow — perhaps it was my sense of adventure, perhaps it was my eagerness to finally be out of the house — I was scaling giant rocks, hiking up narrow, rocky paths, resting on the dried up spill stone of a waterfall, dipping my feet on the little that flowed. 

It is believed that reminiscing on pleasant memories can relieve stress. Yet, when I think back to my old travels, the adventures that I keep dear to my heart, I don’t feel any better. When I close my eyes, I can only see the places where I can’t be. When I reminisce on joyful memories, I’m reminded of my old life, of the great time I can no longer have. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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