FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, a group of friends has made an annual equinoctial hike to a secret location for the sole purpose of … well, I can’t really say, since what fun is a secret society if you don’t keep it secret?
But one night at the bonfire … let me back up. The bonfire is some distance from the campground, with most of that distance along a sandy beach beneath an overtowering and rock-calving cliff. During the latter part of the evening, which stretched into the early hours of the next morning, some of our bonfire circle had drifted off in twos and threes so as not to be caught by the incoming tide. The rest of us decided to put off that task.
Then, with an ominous hiss, a wave crashed into the bonfire.
“Time to go,” we said.
While we were trudging back, I looked off to my right and saw another wave approaching. Even at 3 a.m. (or perhaps especially at 3 a.m.), it looked big enough to crush me. So I ran left, reaching my top speed about a yard before encountering a waist-high rock, then bouncing off that and into the cliff face.
“Oof,” I said, after a minute.
And that’s why, after a throbbing hand and rib earned me a ranger-chauffeured trip out the next day, I am sometimes called “Dances With Boulders.”
But remember — that’s a secret.