The other side of the hill


When I was growing up in Washington state, I was always surrounded with heavily-wooded hills and mountains.  I have a distinct childhood memory of sitting in a supermarket parking lot and looking into the corner of a small but impenetrable-looking forest that seemed to roll forever up the side of a hill.  I knew this was impossible, because we weren’t really far from Portland/Vancouver.  But it seemed that way.



My fantasy was (and is) always this: to walk into those trees, up that hill, and come to the summit, and see what’s on the other side.  I bet it’s lovely.  I bet there’s a river in the valley below, under a perpetual ruddy sunset.  I bet there’s a town, or maybe just a general store, where you can buy supplies for the journey onward.



I treasure this fantasy. I will never let go of it.



Rhode Island is very flat. Jerimoth Hill, the highest spot in the state, is barely over eight hundred feet high.  There are hills – Providence used to brag of its seven hills (College, Constitition, Federal, Smith, Tockwotten, Weybosset, and Christian) – but they’re anthills really; some have been dismantled completely.  You can look out from Prospect Terrace over downtown and see all the way to – what? – Johnston, maybe. 



It’s lovely, but not very inspiring.



So I still dream of those lovely Northwest horizons, with mountains and mysterious treelines and hills disappearing into the blue distance, into –



Into something.  I don’t know.



But it’s something wonderful.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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