When I step out of the house, it is so cold that my nose almost right falls off. I can just hold on to it and pull the rainbow cap into my eyes. My American friend had to lend me one because I lost my own one in Germany and it can get damn cold in the middle of October in the Rocky Mountains.
I always do lose something, by the way. On this day, above all, my mind. In a place that spoke to me without saying a word. I'm telling you about the noisy silence of the Bighorn Canyon, about soulmates, infinity and moments that silently change your life.
And yes. On this picture I froze my ass off without the cap just to look good.
We're in the car, and I'm trying not to complain about the cold. Then my caring friend always turns on the heater and I feel like a sissy. I want to stand the wintry autumn in Wyoming with cowboy attitude by not even twinkling once. My eyelid is fluttering because I'm lying. We leave the small town with the wooden houses and the swinging traffic lights over the wide streets. Into the countryside.
There's a hell of a lot of that in Wyoming. The state has the second lowest population density after Alaska. The gray asphalt with the yellow medial strip runs through the steppe like a petrified lava flow. And my heart crashes through the windshield because I can't hold it back anymore. I love this country. I already felt something very special here last year and my return has not made it any better so far. Dark grey clouds lie above the steel-blue sky and the first mountain peaks tear the horizon apart.
After we have walked one of the trails, I discover kind of a terrace of red rocks that immediately attracts my attention from a view point. Especially because there seems to be no official way down there. "I'm really in the mood to go there now," I say.
"Well, then we'll do it," says my friend and goes off.
I smile. Just do it. Just be a little crazy. We can talk and laugh in the car for six hours. See wild animals in the clouds and drive 85 million miles just so I can see a stupid waterfall. The whole childish and hippie-esque madness in my head is reflected in his thoughts. It doesn't matter that almost 5.000 miles do lie between us, a few years difference in age and a whole culture. Over a year ago we met on my big four-month trip across the US and have been writing e-mails back and forth since then. I could wrap the entire Empire State Building in all the things we wrote. I always found the term "soulmate" a little exaggerated. But there's no better word for it.
Usually in the mountains the wind always blows. Someone is laughing or a car is passing by. At least a bird is screaming. Always. But at the abyss of Bighorn Canyon there is nothing. Literally Nothing. I listen and listen because I feel as if someone has pressed ear plugs into my ears. It can't be true, I think. There's nothing else than silence. The sun makes the water first appear green, then brown, then light blue. I think if I screamd now, the sound would just be swallowed by the magic of the moment.
"Do you hear the silence?" I whisper.
"Yes I do," answers my friend.
"Have you ever thought about infinity?" I'll still say quietly.
For the next half hour we become the best philosophers next to Plato.
Then I just lean on his shoulder and we keep quiet. The silence is so great that I can hear my own blood. My own thoughts. And hearts. My gaze glides along the walls of the canyon, step by step. And I feel a piece of my life crumbling off and falling down.
"Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time."
(Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist)