Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

I went walking last week and made a 5-minute video for fun. I sing a little.



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Reblogged from Plague Dawgs

Dear –

I got lost on my hike today. I missed a turn and ended up on the wrong side of the mountain. I was moving fast, jogging at times. By the time I realized the trail wasn’t looping around like I’d thought it would, it had started snowing hard little pellets–so heavily it was hard to see–and I’d found myself in a silent, densely forested area with no view of the gulch. I calculated I’d been heading in the wrong direction, at a good speed, for about an hour. It had been all up-hill, and I was tired and hungry, a little shaky, and thinking vaguely, yet constantly, about bears and mountain lions and what if I twisted my ankle?

I hurried back, cutting corners and running most of the way (once I knew exactly where I was) for about an hour-and-a-half. The first half-hour, hurrying through those trees in the snow, I wasn’t feeling at the top of my game. It was the idea that I was so far out, that I was alone, that I hadn’t planned very well. I was slightly panicked. I’ve had many moments like this on hikes that go slightly wrong, where I think, I’ll just take a short-cut over this hill–except the hill’s incredibly steep , and once I’m up there it’s hard to get down, and I didn’t pack any food and my water-bottle just fell from my hand and rolled down the face and is gone.

Or–there’s a black bear in my path; I go the other way, but the bear follows me, not quickly, but changes direction and follows me. For more than a mile.

Or–I’m miles from home, running out in the rangeland, no one knows where I am, and I’ve broken out in hives and my throat’s closing up and it’s very very hard to keep moving.

Panicking doesn’t help. Sometimes I have to admit I don’t like where I am and that poor judgement or bad luck led me here, and get on with it (and acknowledge that things have been worse). I decided to relax in the knowledge that I wasn’t truly lost, had just gone the wrong way, that at least I had plenty of water and had dressed warmly.

I’d had to go into myself (resisting my iPod, which was packed away), and acknowledge the reality of the situation and my discomfort. And only then could I make a change. The panic momentarily flared back up, but subsided gradually and finally. I relaxed; I got off that mountain.

I think that’s why this journal exists the way it does.

It’s my way of regulating panic so I can keep moving forward. What I have to say isn’t always cheerful, and isn’t always said prettily. But I need to say it, and listen to what I’m saying. And then I can look for a new way.

It wasn’t as though I overcame some huge obstacle–just a moment of fatigue and reflexive, stabbing fear. But up there in that moment, before I dealt with it, it felt like it could have been something much bigger.

When I got home I found an acceptance letter for my story, “Exploded View,” in my inbox. It was the same story another journal had rejected within 13 hours of receiving it. “You don’t sound that excited,” Ryan said.

I don’t usually get very excited when things go right; these are little moments that make it easier to carry on with one less worry (one less story to place) and keep working. So I’m going to get back to work. Grateful that I can. And feeling–I know this is weird–but *different*. Like I’ve been through something–not just the hike. Something that was actually bigger and scarier than I’d understood or can fully grasp now. I don’t think I’m off that mountain yet.

I bought a CD at a Jason Webley show last night (he was amazing).

From “Ways to Love”:

Our minds were sharp, our bodies burning.
We gave ourselves over to learning.
How to break and how to give,
Betrayal taught us to forgive,
We stretched and soaked up everything they
Taught us well, we were first in our classes.
We learned to see through many glasses,
How to sink and how to fly,
We learned to watch each other die.
My God, this course is harder than we
Thought we had learned enough ways to love,
Still I don’t know mother where we are.



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