I took a hike today, a two hour excursion. I had dropped off my youngest–2 yrs old–to my partner and kept driving up the road; a mere fifteen minutes and I was out in no man’s land. I took a wet and rocky road up a mountain with the Sub. It scraped bottom a few times and I think I finished cracking off the front bumper–the under part that had smashed into sidewalks and snow banks left by plows at the end of our driveway.
Driving through town, it was a mild day of 40 degrees and most of the November snow had melted. A woman waddled down the street, her neon blue big gulp in hand, well on her way to a self-induced government-subsided case of diabetes. My sympathy dies when l see those kinds of choices, but then I think about sugar being eight times more addicting than cocaine and I have nothing to say in defense of my asshole opinion.
Today my head was filled with numbers and problems but no solutions and my mood felt like a molding slug. Being a writer or any artist really sucks sometimes, and trying to make it pay sucks even worse. But the moment of writing is like sucking on a big gulp, I guess, so I was in search of the answers that would keep that cocaine on steroids a part of my daily life. I knew I could find it if I just got my blood moving.
I finally reached an area I didn’t dare take the Sub. Like trump with a model, I was abusive but not out to kill her–at least not so far. Besides, the road split and the branch where I wanted to go was blocked off with both a gate and a river. I marked it as a waypoint on my GPS. In the future I would bring my bike and cross the river with it–loggers had smoothed it out pretty well.
To cross, I settled for a balancing stick and a fallen tree followed by a scramble over stone. I was in sneakers and I didn’t want to get them wet. The climate was different here from town. An inch of snow remained, but everything was white washed and clad in beauty. I’d waited days to be out where I couldn’t hear chainsaws or truck motors–or for that matter other people’s voices. I was alone.
I nearly ran up the road like an exuberant elf. A short ways in, I found a forgotten homestead by the river’s divide. All that remained was the thrusting foundation of a house and the bones of a large ninteenth century barn–at one end was an indent that may have held water where it would be kept from freezing in the winter. The farmer was ambitious, or maybe inspired. The area was a small haven, forest and wildlife on every side, this glade a sizable field, with enough water nearby to run a mill. I was looking for similar inspiration, but some leading to a longer legacy.
I kept walking. The snow was getting slowly deeper. I wish I had worn boots, but I knew I didn’t have long to hike before I needed to return to family responsibilities and avoid the early darkness. I had half-an-hour more. I put all that junk out of my mind. I looked at the GPS. I was hunting for an “easy” way to the top of Adam’s mountain that was short. So far so good. The road was bikeable here. Even if I didn’t bike up it with a full pack this spring, coming down would be quick in case of emergency–like ripping my leg open because I was practicing my yogini’s tree pose on the edge of a precipice.
Whatever problems I thought I had dissolved into the wafer-brittle cold air when they were sweat out. I came to a halt later than I should have when the snow was plunging over the top of my shoes, but it was okay; I’d found what I was looking for. To the south west, the woods opened up into sparse deciduous trees climbing a reasonable slope towards Adam’s Mountain. The ridge above would provide an unmistakable guide to the top some other day.
On the way down, blood moving, my brain found the first step toward untwisting the life puzzles in front of me. Answers, adventure and health all in a two hour hike that didn’t cost me a dime. Not a bad deal.