We caught the bus easily enough and there were other hikers doing the same, which was reassuring. On the bus I checked the blog for the alighting point while my daughter rolled her eyes. I was pretty sure we were at the right stop, National Park, and the other hikers got off too. Once we disembarked though I wasn’t sure which way to go. I could have followed the others but of course I checked the blog. By now Emma had had enough and her partner was following the other hikers. “Everyone is going this way, it’s obviously the way.”
“Yes but there are so many trails”. I was miffed. “Well if you know the way I’ll follow you” Then I did something really silly. I put my phone down on a fence and walked past them in a huff. “What are you doing” said Emma incredulous, running to walk beside me. Jose, held back whilst I was being scolded by my daughter and then caught up with us both and handed my phone to me without a word.
I was so sad they were leaving. We live far away from each other on different continents and I miss not being able too see them whenever I want. Being in different time zones makes it hard to find the right time to talk. I miss having dinners together, family functions, just hanging out or sharing snippets of our day as they happen. Social media has made it much easier to communicate but it’s not the same as face-to-face and quantity time. It’s the minutiae of our lives that I miss the most. Being your best self for small periods of time while we are together can feel inauthentic. You are always watching yourself. I miss being real. I’ve never believed in quality time. It’s quantity time that makes our family tick. The good, the bad, the irritable and the irrational, the good natured jibing, the arguments and conflicts, the pain, the joy, the boring and the wonder. That’s family.
Our deep winter hike revealed trees that were showing their branches, dare I say winter shows what the forest is made of? Stripped bare. Excuse my parallels with life but there it is. The ground was brown and thick with fallen leaves. In some places it was icy and we had to be careful.
We took a right turn at the correct but incongruous house on the mountain as per the precise blog instructions (not my forte I find directions a chore to write up and they would be wrong, I implore you to google hiking to Golden Buddha, Bukhansan – there are a plethora of blogs, choose your fave) and upward we marched until we beheld the glorious golden Buddha.
Eventually our own icy feelings thawed and we took some photos and headed back down for time was getting away. Soon they would depart and our house would become quiet and empty. It was a special moment up there and the picture José took of my daughter and I speaks volumes.
There’s nothing quite like a good hike and a gigantic statue for gaining perspective.