Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The Hills are Alive...and they are scary as hell.
Why don't I own the "Sound of Music" soundtrack? Off all the music required to spend a week in the Austrian countryside, that is the most obvious choice. I've already had two Fraulein Maria moments. The first occurred at last night's festival concert where the Van Trapp family singers performed just before rushing off to the hills- spotlight on Maria and all! Not really, but the performance was still reminiscent of the famous film and begged for someone in the audience to burst into "Edelweiss." The other moment occurred on Monday's hike down the mountain when the countryside, fresh air and rolling hills forced me to burst into "The Hills are Alive" roughly seven times.
Today's hike held the same magical promise. I was prepared to be overwhelmed by the serenity and beauty of Northern Austria. And I was, at least for the first hour. Practicing solitude and silence has never been my strong point but I managed to leave the ipod behind and to simply enjoy the sounds of nature. Birds chirping, cows mooing, deer bounding away and not a car or human in sight; the first hour was breathtaking and unbelievably peaceful. I romanticized life in the country and all the advantages of spending time away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
My descent into paranoia began as the first idyllic hour came to a close. The cows' moos turned from calm to menacing, almost as if they could sense I unapologetically eat their brethren. Suddenly aware that a thin fence was all that separated me from discovering what was behind the maniacal eyes of the bull, I kicked up my speed. This wasn't enough for the dogs though. They decided I was actually a threat to their delicious friends and barked at me until I created enough space between us.
My afternoon switched from the "Sound of Music" to "Twilight" as I went further into the woods. Confusing signs, the ominous cool of the forest and the realization that I could be mauled by a bear and never found caused me to rethink the solo hike. According to my understanding of the world, the best case scenario was a fight to the death between Edward and Jacob to decide who would have my heart. This seemed as likely as following my bread crumbs back to the witch and nearly being thrown in an oven, but I didn't want to take my chances. As a city dweller, I still have the gut instinct that when no other humans can be found the place must be dangerous. Yeah, I didn't grow up camping.
Lessons learned from today's excursion:
Kids should be brought into the forest and forced to survive at a young age.
I watch too much TV.
In a fight to the death between Edward and Jacob, Jacob would totally win.
I can't spend more than one hour apart from civilization without descending into madness and paranoia.
Someday cows will rise up and make us pay for McDonald's. But it is still worth it.