The Silence Of The Black Hills

There are places as empty as the photos we take of them suggest. Otherworldly landscapes not even locals visit. The trail leading there might be long-forgotten and overgrown. Here, all sound seems to have drained away, even when you listen closely. No wind. No bugs. No rustling in the bushes. There’s a blanket of silence lying over everything. The sound of your feet touching the ground and the rustling of your jacket is soft and clear, making you aware that there is no other soul near or far to hear it. This is what it must feel like to live in a vacuum. Time doesn’t exist and the sun and the stars take turns in watching over you.

We have travelled many miles, hoping to look around a corner and find a new universe. Three old friends, whose lives are so different every day, with their hearts beating in the same rhythm. The second we buckle up in our green little time machine our routine kicks in. How are you what do you dream of which color is real?

We pull over, cook dinner in the sunset and continue driving until we find a lake on the map and brush our teeth in the darkness.

We sleep in a new country, on a road that’s long behind us when locals start commuting the next morning.

We find our pin on the map in real life, park, put on hiking boots, grab our gear, some water and look for a sign that this trail that could be it.

We walk, bringing up old stories, throwing in new ones.

And then, after an inconspicuous turn, we look around and know we are there.

The air, the soil under our feet and our bodies feel the same, but we might have just entered another world. We must have walked through an invisible gate that happened to open at that precise moment. The ground is made of little grey stones, piled high and steep, forming a perfect natural rollercoaster.

It leads us up towards the sky on a narrow path, just to shoot us down into sharp turns and technical slopes.

In those moments, all that seems to exist is our balance, our bodies held by nothing but a thin black line leading through thin air.

Other times we are spat into the abyss, with our wheels coming along, arms out, legs out, trying to grasp a plant or rock that will hold us.

With the sun rising and sinking, it seems like there is no past and no future. It’s just the black hills, us, and empty days to be filled.

Our world consists of wheels and helmets, sleeping bags and headlamps, two stoves and cutting boards, pancakes in the morning, a sip of rum in the evening.

We climb a mountain, we ride down it.

We push up a trail, we ride down it.

We take deep breaths and point at tiny things we see in the distance.

There is a road leading out and we know it’s time to go.

But our hearts might just stay here, waiting for us to return from our different universes far away, where there is sound and people. Yet some of the same stars are also there, watching, reminding us not to forget.