I had been slogging through weeks of mostly rain and cool temperatures and had let the weather get to me. But I was resolved to get back out into my beloved Black Hills...rain or shine. It was rain. Didn't matter. I took off that morning with my backpack stuffed with a raincoat and extra insulation around my cameras. That turned out to be unnecessary as the universe answered my prayer for a good day. I wouldn't have even cared if I had to hike in the rain, as long as I was able to get to my destination. As it turned out, by the time I reached the trail head the rain was far behind me and the temperatures had warmed considerably.
Because of a wrong turn off of the main trail I ended up taking a longer, more strenuous route. That wasn't a bad thing, however, as I certainly can use the exercise. Seems I have gotten a little soft over this past long winter. But, as usually is the case with me, I tend to be in a little better shape than I look so the trek was not particularly taxing. I made it with only a couple of brief respites for rest and water. As I took the final steps around the rock wall and under the fallen tree a familiar feeling came over me. It's a feeling I never get used to, and yet it's one I can't really describe. I just feel peaceful there. And thankful. Thankful for this day, this place, and this view.
On that visit I had left a photo and a paperback copy of The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. Both were gone. That's okay. I hope whoever took them had a reason and are enjoying them still.
Nothing really piqued my interest so I just sat in silence for a while enjoying the moment. Then something caught my eye. It was a piece of weathered crumpled paper stuffed into a small crevice on the side of the rock.
I walked over, removed it, and began reading the story of Jenny and Jeremy. It was hand written on one sheet of paper, front and back. Jenny loved Jeremy but couldn't leave her boyfriend, who was not Jeremy. Jeremy apparently said some mean things and at some point after that the relationship ended. There were a lot more details about time spent together, deep feelings, and what might have been. No need to go into it more here, but it was a very touching and heartfelt letter. In closing Jenny wrote that she hoped somehow Jeremy might find the note. I hope he does. It might be too late now. But maybe, just maybe, there is still a chance for Jenny and Jeremy.
It is truly a special place, this Poet's Table, hidden in a secret location in those beautiful and mysterious black mountain hills of Dakota. If you haven't already been, you should go there. I can't tell you exactly how to find it but I would be willing to offer up a couple of clues. Or, even better, I could take you there some day...if you are in the area and the timing is right. So go ahead and ask me. And if the fates allow, we will make the journey together. I'm always ready to go back.
Roger O'Dea 6-17-2015