As I write this, I’m on a plane Portland bound, and listening to Fleetwood Mac. It’s been my plan all along to go West for a month after my hike, but I didn’t expect it to be so hard to leave. I feel like a bag of trail mix. Salty sweet crunchy soft. I’ve got a thousand feelings but I’m just observing them and paying attention to where they come from and what they have to teach me, rather than getting hooked into any one of them and spiraling out – which is kinda what happened yesterday.
Reintegration into the mundane world is a challenging and undesirable prospect, yet I am fully aware of its necessity if I ever wish to be of service to my sisters and brothers in all the Queendoms of life.
Maybe you’re wondering how exactly I’m feeling or hoping I’ll describe it. Maybe you can relate or maybe you have no clue whatsoever. I’ll do my best to get there, to hash it out in a comprehensible fashion.
“And if you don’t love me now, you will never love me again…I can still hear you sayin’ you will never break the chain…”
First of all, and probably the most profound thing, is that I feel like a true BADASS. I overcame every single hurdle, physical/relational/spiritual, with which I was confronted, for 7 weeks. I am tough as shit, I am fit, I am completely accepting of every part of myself. I’ve never felt so comfortable (thrilled) with who I am and with my physical body. I stopped shaving and I still feel hot. I am a stinky hiker who can survive and help other people get through really difficult stuff. I have something to offer everyone I meet, whether advice, a hug, an astrological assessment, encouragement, nourishment, nurturing, or just open ears. It feels oh so damn good to have such a confidence in my abilities and my own worth, and to see my value to the world. I struggled with this before, but now I see I can carry some extra weight sometimes if it will make someone else’s journey less difficult.
I feel out of place. I belong in the woods. I thrive with minimal distraction and all of our modern conveniences really make me uneasy. Luckliy Woodstock lives in a rural area, so I haven’t had to go fully into the urban world. But it’s still a house and not a tent. I don’t hear wind or water or feel the actual changes of the day. I’m listenting to music. I feel like no one understands since I dropped off Turtle. It’s kinda lonely.
I’m sad. Everything about me benefits from constant movement, from the always changing terrain and landscape, from pushing hard and chilling out, outside. I miss carrying my life on my back all day and having someone there who is going through the exact same experience. I have some separation sadness from my hiking partner and The Trail itself, as it is truly a living thing on its own. I’m sad that everyone is annoyed with the hiker smell (even though I’ve taken lots of showers!) and miss the comforting smell of new hiker friends and old ones.
I feel excited about all the catalyzing that happened, and I’m ready for the projects I’ll get involved with. I look forward to rediscovering my state, my city, and finding that special place in the mountains of Virginia where I will eventually stay put (I’ll always be a nomad, though!). I can’t wait to ‘be the change,’ however that will manifest.
Maybe that’s all the jist of how I am at these moments following my departure from the Virginia section of the Appalachian Trail.