An Easter Break Weekend at Hocking Hills

By: Soondos Mulla-Ossman ~Staff Writer~

1“What are the parallels between today’s hike and journey and your spiritual journey?”

This was the question written out by our club’s adviser for the Muslim Student Association. That day, we hiked more than eight miles from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls and back in Hocking Hills.

I honestly wanted to go to sleep instead of answering—I had never walked for so long in a place that wasn’t a theme park.Yet, like a theme park, I felt the mystic wonder that children experience when finally spotting Cinderella’s castle in Magic Kingdom or Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—except without the noise pollution, the trash pollution and the people pollution.

When I went down stone steps, tiptoed across streams or weaved through mossy logs, I saw only more things that were dreamlike, found in filtered photographs: Slim waterfalls cascading into blue-tinged pools, soothing gorges with love letters carved into wood and hidden rock trails leading to charming mushrooms, fat stumps or boulders begging to be scaled.

I appreciated the broadness of our adviser’s prompt: We answered in any way we wished. Technically, we were supposed to keep our responses private, but I’m sure she’ll forgive me for sharing here.

When going uphill with nothing but trees in sight and my legs aching for a break, I told myself to keep going, to keep trying. When pausing to take in a new scene, a sense of awe and humility overcame me. When at Cedar Falls, my adviser told me not to jump over a stream at least three feet wide because she was positive I would not make it, but I did, without getting a drop of water on my shoes. I immediately connected this rush of energy to the feeling of success in life. So, I guess, as an answer to this question, the attitudes I had toward this hike are precisely how I should be feeling about my spiritual hike: Persevering, optimistic and open to challenges.