I'm not sure when my brain fully made the leap from the land of dreams to reality. I was lost in some sort of abstract thought when I felt a slight tingling at the base of my neck and the distinctive rattle of electronic music pulsing through my skull. I opened my eyes and my vision was flooded with bright red fabric. Where in the hell was I? I felt a groan somewhere in the bottom of my throat as I slowly rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. The music was much louder now and even though I could hardly hear myself think, I didn't really mind. Somewhere in the distance, I heard snoring. As I pushed myself into a sitting position, I noticed my partner passed out beside me. I wondered for a second if he felt as out of it as I did. My eyes shifted from left to right and back to left again. I soon realized that I was in a tent and that the atmosphere was increasingly becoming way too warm. A bead of sweat rolled into my eye and as tried in vain to rid myself of the burning sensation, I noticed that my vision was incredibly fuzzy. I felt my brow furrow as one thought dominated all others: where are my damned glasses? I fumbled around for what seemed like an eternity. “Son of a bitch,” I heard myself say as my hand landed in a puddle of chilly drool. The icy, slime-like creature crawled over my hand at a snails pace. Even though I jerked my hand away quickly, I could still feel it's cold tendrils sticking to my skin.
I decided to venture on without my glasses. As I tugged the tent's zipper, I was slightly blinded by the glint of metal in my peripheral vision. I heard the Hallelujah Chorus mixed with heavy bass inside my head as my glasses suddenly came into perfect focus. In one fluid motion, I was standing outside, glasses in hand. In another less fluid motion, I tried to keep my legs underneath me. The world spun slightly and began to lean a little bit to the left. I was still feeling the effects of the night before. Food suddenly seemed like an incredibly good idea. Like magic, the smell of bacon floated past my nostrils. With the autopilot activated, my feet started to move in the direction of the smell. It wasn't long before I stumbled upon the source of the intoxicating odor. I approached the large tent hesitantly at first. I didn't know who the occupants were, nor did I know for sure if they would be willing to share their bacon-y goodness. My gut rumbled, an angry quake that I felt all the way down to the soles of my feet. I knew that my stomach wasn't going to let me be indecisive. As I approached, a woman called out to me, “Free bacon and chocolate cake with Bloody Marys!” I felt the muscles in my face explode into a huge grin as my feet kicked into overdrive. I'm not sure if I actually thanked the woman or if I only thanked her inside my head but I was quickly treated to a plate full of bacon and chocolate cake. For a moment, the only thing I could do was bask in the odor of the two opposing flavors. I closed my eyes and cautiously took a bite. My mouth and brain was not prepared for the sublime taste. It was salty. It was sweet. It sent my taste buds into a bi-polar fit. At that moment, in that place, I had found perfection.
After several servings, my stomach was satisfied. I thought about going back to the tent and sleeping the rest of the evening off but a voice inside my head told me that I was at the precipice of an incredible experience and that I should enjoy it while it lasted. I let my legs wander up a winding path. The sun fell on my face in spots, shadowed by the surrounding forest. I had always appreciated being away from the confines of city limits, but there was something in the air that day that made me feel completely at peace in a way that I had never felt before. I kept walking until the trail ended. I was faced with a somewhat treacherous wall of rock. Normally, I would leave any sort of climbing to the experts and turn around. This time, I was compelled to at least try to make it to the top. The rocks poked through the soles of my worn-out shoes and the palms of my hands threatened to blister but I soon found myself at my destination. Suddenly, I found myself looking down at an ocean of trees. The wind picked up slightly as I slowly looked around. My heart skipped a beat as I realized that I was on the top of a mountain. The wind hitting my face and arms, the smell of pine trees and the deep throb of loud music all combined to form one singular, all-encompassing force. I'm not sure how much of it was nature or how much of it was something inside my head. The sun's rays fell upon my skin and I felt the warmth wrap around me like a fleece blanket. At that moment, in that place, all was right in the universe.