Running Back to the Mountains 

It’s 7:36 in the evening and I am driving to the mountains. The air has the heady feeling of autumn, that the shifting of the Earth on its axis makes everything more taut. 

Tomorrow I will hike along the Appalachian Trail, shall return to my mother-trail. I am ready to bury my hands into the soil and feel everything living beneath. 

The leaves are turning in the mountains. In the city where I live, the leaves are clinging to their green, and the colors have taken on a pallid hue. Tomorrow, though, I will walk through a orange-gold lace landscape. 

In so many ways, I feel like I am coming home. I’ve been teaching for six weeks and it feels like my hundred mile hike never happened. I was looking at Appalachian Trail maps today and reading the topography felt almost foreign. 

For the last two weeks, I’ve stood outside and felt the wind tumble around me like an enthusiastic puppy. I’ve wanted to clasp it to me, run with it back to the mountains. But I stayed locked on my flat horizon and looked west. 

But now….now I am returning. I am following the stars on a moonless night and dreaming of hearing the wind in the pine trees. Tomorrow night, I hope Owl Singer will sing for me. 

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