Indian summer in NorCal, a day of bouldering in the sun. At nightfall, Scott leads me to a meadow opposite El Cap. We park our crash pad and unwrap our sandwiches with raw hands.
We gaze up at dozens of climbers littering the face of El Cap, headlamps shining into the darkness. They look exactly like stars.
What if this view of El Cap, basked in darkness, were all you knew of it? It could easily be a piece of the night sky, a tar pit, a Snuffleupagus, a gorilla. I confer with my friend. I point out the hulking figure of the gorilla, the anatomically correct position of its sparkling white eyes. We banter for a while about the different creatures, real or imaginary, our large rock resembles.
Occasionally, a passing car throws its lights into the tops of trees. The roar of its engine casts the ensuing silence into relief.
At the silhouette’s edge glow a handful of stars or climbers—it’s impossible to tell the difference.
In the end, isn’t everything an illusion?