Orange Meets Green | Emma Schmitz
I’m burning rubber on pavement, matching the positive to the negative, trying to get something to spark. The drive from the Northwest Sierra to the Southeast Sierra of California stretches like an octopus with so many routes to go. Manzanita, sinewy pines, bushy firs, and sagebrush lull in and out like a foamy-mouthed ocean on rock and sand.
If I take the iconic Tioga Pass, I won’t see the classic Topaz Lake. If I make time for the glossy June Lake Loop, I probably won’t have time to see the chalky Toufas up close. It’s a shame, the decisions we’re forced to make.
The book I’m listening to says to get quiet. To figure out my gift and share it with the world. It says some people go their whole lives not using their gifts, and I worry I’ve dropped mine somewhere or wasn’t invited to pick it up in the first place. I’m worried I was too busy worrying about other people’s ideas to discover my own gift, and I remind myself to stop worrying.
That night, I’m more concerned with finding a spot to camp than weighing the pros and cons of going back to school for a STEM degree I can’t afford, nor do I remotely qualify for. The next day, I’m too busy hiking up a mountain and sliding down spring snow to fantasize about my never-gonna-happen career in glittery media production or highbrow publishing.
That evening, I’m too distracted by the clever conversation and cackling of my two best friends to give a shit about what I do for a living. All of us in communications and marketing, writers at heart – those rare, deep connections we find as adults. There is no space to mis-fit in the vastness of a high desert forest.
There is no hard decision to make when one thing inches seamlessly into another. Where the desert meets the mountains, where orange meets green. Sometimes, things make the most sense at the point of connection – when one edge meets another to provide contrast, perspective. Where I don’t have to choose, where I can flow between.
About the Author:
Emma Schmitz (she/her) studied creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and is now a halfway homesteader in the California mountains at 6,000 feet above sea level with her partner and a couple of pit bulls. She’s currently living her seventh life of nine as a small business owner in the financial sector and, separately, a beer writer, judge, and educator with the mission of evolving the craft beer industry. Her creative work has been published in The Tiny Journal and The Closed Eye Open. See what she’s fermenting @wildbeerwriter.