Going Home and Almost Getting Lost

Saturday, I hit the emotional brick wall.  I was exhausted, having spent the night on the couch.  No, my Beloved and I were not fighting.  My Beloved had a nasty stomach bug and I refused to sleep next to him and possibly be infected.  I figured that he would be more comfortable on our bed.  I slept on the couch.

Or, rather, I tossed and turned on the couch.  I did sleep, somewhat.  Most of all, I just tossed and turned.

So, thanks to sleep deprivation and the pressure to write some of the best pages of my life, I achieved doing nothing but staring miserably at my computer’s screen and writing a paragraph while seriously considering deleting the majority of the pages I had written several months ago.

Yay me!

As I went through a deluge of feelings related to being overwhelmed or anxiety to finally just a sense of despair, I realized that it was time to go home.  I needed to get away from my house and go home.

So, Sunday, I loaded my daughter into the car, grabbed my running shoes, and we drove to the mountains.

The moment we crested a knoll and the mountains unfurled across my horizon, all the negative emotions from the day before were shed.  No more exhaustion.  No more sense of frustration.  Nothing but a long sigh of relief.

I was going home.

My husband recently found 17 acres and a farmhouse that he wanted to buy.  The house is gorgeous.  The land beautiful.  But the property was even further from the mountains than where we are currently living.

Without thought, I turned down the opportunity; perplexed, my Beloved asked.

“I want to move closer to the mountains, not further.”

“But, it’s seventeen acres.”

And I merely repeated, “I want to move closer to the mountains, not further.”

So, yesterday, as the Girl and I broached a landscape saturated with mountains, my pulse slowed.  My anxiety fell away and I was on the doorsteps to my home.

I’m home.  I’m home.  I’m home.

We drove up one mountain, navigated through the ridge to where we entered Shenandoah National Park.

I’m home.  I’m home.  I’m home.

My daughter and I had amazing conversations ranging from her choice of applying to a specialty center for her future high school.  We talked about the election.  We talked about the qualities that makes one a good leader.

We just talked.  And as we drove slowly along the ridgeline of the mountains, she hushed, complained briefly that she was bored, reclined her seat and tried to nap.

And within me?

The tolling of chimes…I’m home.  I’m home.  I’m home.

The trees are starting to change, the leaves drying and curling inward.  Hints of color washed over the tapestry and the Girl and I were part of a world that is steadily moving to fall…towards the winter’s sleep.

We drove past the mountains that I hiked last year.  Every now and then, we passed one of the stone pedestals with the AT symbol carved deep into it.

I’m home.  I’m home.  I’m home.

We drove past Lewis Mountain campground where this year’s hike finally ended and I felt the sorrow once more where I finally had to surrender to the reality that I could go no further.

And yet, I know that I can.  I know that I will.

The Girl and I eventually arrived at Big Meadows.  We asked for a table for lunch, were given a pager, and sat in the lodge room with a panorama vista of the mountains, of the valley with the farmlands below.

I wrote a paragraph.  Deleted the paragraph.  And watched the wind pour into the trees which bent under the wind before righting, a continual dance of light and air.

At lunch, we had hot drinks, tea for me, hot chocolate with cinnamon dusted whipped cream for the Girl.  Exuberantly, she sipped, almost dipping her nose into the mounds of whipped cream as she pulled the heat into her body, smiling and giggling as she first dipped her finger into the whipped cream and gave herself a mustache.

We ate lunch, chatted about the frustrations of people who snitch french fries without waiting for permission.  We talked about writing, about school, about the fact that we were sitting in the middle of the mountains because I was trying to find a quite place to write and instead was just chatting with my beautiful daughter.

After paying, the Girl and I went to the car, dropped off our computers.  She tried to play on a swing only to realize that it was too low to the ground.  Initially discouraged, she and I found a path which lead to a ridge, a low rise of boulders clustered together at a gorgeous vista.

As we walked-hiked to the rocks, I noticed already the changes in my body.  In the last two months, I have rigorously worked out, alternating between yoga to weight lifting to cardio.  And as the weight falls away and is replaced with muscles, I could feel a new strength, a new assurance that was missing during this year’s hike.

The Girl stood on the rocks and stared out across the valley, watched as a blackbird rose from the rooftops of the waving trees and hovered momentarily before angling its wings and rising on the swells, diving down the mountains ribs before catching the updraft again.  Together, we stood in the wind and felt the changing seasons advance, make its presence known.

Briefly, we explored some of the joining paths, found the Appalachian Trail and I felt my heart lift again.

I’m home.  I’m home.  I’m home.

And I knew then that next year I couldn’t start at the halfway point where I had ended this year.  I had to conquer this path. I had to start over again and walk each mile that discouraged me and show that I can not and will not be defeated.

So as the Girl and I hiked back up the path to the rocks, we almost went the wrong way because I am Compass Rose and I still have no sense of direction.

Regardless, we returned to the car.  We drove home.  And I called Owl Singer and told her that I am training now, at least ten months out.  I told her that I want to hit the trail, hike from top to bottom again.

And she agreed.  She’s with me.  We are going to do this.  Together.  The Owl Singer and Compass rose are coming home.  We are coming home.  We are coming home.

And this time, I still won’t get lost.

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