The last night on the backpacking trip featured another memorable “gulp…” A few others drove out from the city to join us that evening. Over twenty of us were gathered around the campfire.
As many of us who had been together for 48 hours began to draw in the new arrivals, Rich quieted us all with his words, “We all have experienced Sarah and Ali lighting up our lives and lighting up the world around them. Let’s symbolize the sparkle of this light by lighting sparklers.”
Rich passed out a large sparkler for each person. We all put our sparklers into the fire at the same time. There erupted an explosion of bright lights as our sparklers came to life simultaneously. The darkness of the night was brightened by everyone waving their sparklers through the air. Some wrote love notes to Sarah and Ali and tried to photograph them. Others just enjoyed the journey to past celebrations in their minds. As they died out, Rich passed out more. Repeatedly, the night was lit up until Rich had exhausted his pile of 100 large sparklers. We took pictures of each other writing the names of Sarah and Ali in the air and of Sarah and Ali waving their sparklers. Time seemed to stand still in celebration.
The next morning, after packing up, we all hiked the three miles back to the cars, different than we were just three days ago. We had walked and lived happily together…young, old, Asian, black, white, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Agnostic..a new melting pot of happiness bonded together through a few miles on the Appalachian Trail.