1 in 900: The unforgettable hike

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Friday, Oct. 2, 2020

There is always a first for everything. But the Stanford Dish hike merits a second, third and fourth trip. You need time to process the adventure and relive the 2.6 km. My friends and I made it to the meetup spot as the sun rushed to its happy hour. As we began walking, a collection of memories sparked my inner nostalgia. I smiled at the sound of waterfalls whispering Arabian mysteries, reminding me of the place I grew up, the only place I’ll never outgrow. I felt Beirut living in me as my eyes caught a glimpse of the Lebanese flag printed on my face mask.

We took the first right, completely silent, hearts filled with awe. We feared scathing the memory of this moment with even a faint murmur. At this moment, the sun returned to its childhood, playing hide and seek, performing shadow dancing and mimicking our every move. We escaped the darkness and immersed our bodies in the light. At moments, we stopped, slightly tired of climbing. But mostly, we stopped because it was impossible to walk past trees that now dusted the sky from the previous week’s fires, an ash field waltzing with the breeze as a butterfly wrestled with a bee; our path abounded with reveries of green and mist.

Excerpting from a Disney movie, Bambi and his family left their natural shelter to lead us on the trail; our childhood held us by the hand one last time, leaving us yearning for castles and magic worlds. We tried to find the right words to describe the scenery, but failed to find the proper rhymes to depict our poetry of expression. Nature remedied our aching souls, feverish from the agony and injustice of a decaying world, of a collapsing century. The distant trees called us from afar, as we glanced at the elegance of their green fur and wished to acquire such nobility. While sweat moisturized our foreheads, serenity fell over us, our smiles beaming with infinite radiance.



At this very special moment, nothing really mattered, for all the definitions I have ever learned, all the laws that conditioned a society, all the restrictions imposed by a pandemic and all the complexities of a heartbeat felt like a flock of feathers floating in the breeze. The midst of an endless race with excellence faded ever so slightly. You realize that in your desire to make it to the top, you forget to look back at the starting point, blinded by your desire for the rise. You are blinded by what you are expected to be, rather than what you really want to be. You forget to look in front of you, for you are too mindful of your steps… left foot, right foot, switch and what if you stumble? What if you fall?

I took a deep breath when I saw the Stanford Dish. I made it to the finish line, but the end of the race was nowhere to be seen. The Stanford Dish will always be waiting, a constant journey to embrace as you stumble, fall, shake, wilt, weep, smile and rise. When I return, I’ll find my memories lying on the starting line, and as I look ahead, I will see nothing but a faint ray of sunshine guiding me toward the top of the hill.

Contact Tiffany Saade at tiff24 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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