To prepare for my fifty miles of Appalachian Trail hiking in August, I am going to a local state park and hike…power walk…something every day. And by every day, I mean that for the last two days since school has ended and my world has come to a beautiful screeching halt.
This morning, I did two laps around a lake that is roughly 2.5 miles in circumference (a bit disappointed here..I thought it was over 3 miles…doh!). I started around 8:45 this morning, well before the heat of the day arrived and began its reign of misery and oppression. As I hiked up and down little hills (little in comparison to what I think I’ll hit on the AT), I listened to the Woman in Gold soundtrack followed by the newest Mumford and Sons album.
I don’t have a lot of private time at home. Between my husband’s odd hours for his job and the children, I am usually lucky to have 15 minutes a day of quiet, private time. I noticed that by the middle of May I was miserable. After taking a day off, I realized that a lot of my unhappiness was simply because I hadn’t had any time in the house to myself and that I had been craving, almost ridiculously, private time.
So, in order to get ready for the AT and to get into shape (I won’t even put the word “back” in that sentence as I don’t know that I have ever really been in shape…unless pudgy is a shape), I work out at the gym every day in addition to now two days of hiking.
I will confess, I am ending the days with some lovely (by this I am being sarcastic) headaches. I don’t think it has to do with dehydration. Today, alone, I have consumed over 120 ounces of water, easily. But, at the same time, strapping on my running shoes (that are now serving as hiking shoes as well), grabbing my iPod and (in yesterday’s case) the dog to go for a long hike/walk, my soul has lifted from the potential ennui that arrives at the end of the school year.
As I walk along the paths and stare upwards at the tree limbs forking over the path (I can do this and not fall too often…it’s the one time I slip beyond the shackles of my inherent clumsiness), I feel as though I am within a gothic cathedral with vaulted ceilings. I am likely using the wrong terminology. That’s okay. I know what I am seeing even if I don’t know the right words to use. In my ears roars the music which serves as perfect counter-harmony to the bird song that I can still hear (I don’t jack up the volume so that I can hear what is going on around me).
This might be my last summer during which I don’t work for a while. The Boy is getting braces this November. The Girl will likely have them within two years of the Boy. Following that, the Boy will start college and will be followed within three years by the Girl. I see that I will likely have to start doing some summer school work soon in order to ensure that the family’s needs are met.
And I’m fine with it.
But, for now, I am going to get outside the front door and spend time in my gardens (I have a tiny squash!) and then on the hiking trails. I have too many adventures to complete, too many worlds to explore. And though I might associate the most with being a hobbit, I guess that I’m more of a Took than a Baggins.
Now…where’s the Lonely Mountain? It’s time to find Smaug and have a long talk.
Today’s poem inspired by the lake where I was walking….
Walking Through the Dragonfly’s Paradise
I am alone as I bypass water lilies
Sitting heavily on the water.
Around my feet,
Spinning in aerial pirouettes,
Dragonflies hover briefly before
Slipping past my ankles.
Blue wings, almost incandescent in the summer sun,
I walk through this swampy nebula,
Feel the croaking of the bullfrogs before I hear them.
I am peripherally aware of the punctuation
Of my feet crunching on gravel, the light swishing
As my legs break the waves of tall grass,
Likely picking up hitchhikers
That I will later rip from my skin.
For now, I am part and parcel in this world,
This alternate reality to bills and payments and routine requirements.
I am merely the swirling of oxygen in my lungs
That is replaced with carbon dioxide that
I give to this Eden.
I would slip beneath the water,
Let my head fall back upon my neck as the water rushes up my nose,
Close my eyes against the sediment that fills my ears
And furrows into my skin.
But I must finish this course, return to my little car
That waits for me in the shadows.
Take my phone off vibrate
And drive away from this world of sacred existence.