On My One-Year Trailversary

One whole rotation of the sun ago, I stood at the monument in Campo, California, and started walking north on the Pacific Crest Trail.

I wanted to write a long, meandering, weepy reflection on this day like I tend to do, but I don’t think I have it in me. I really should be grading. (Always. Always.) I’m leaving for a wedding in Virginia tomorrow and I’m woefully underprepared and not remotely packed. I’ve had an IPA and the warm light that’s falling over the grass beyond my deck is soothing me and breaking my heart at the same time.

I just got off a video chat with Andy, Jumbo, and Tribute to celebrate our one-year trailversary and catch up.

It’s hard to say how I’m feeling.

Kinda feels like time to write some poetry. Let’s treat this post like a poem, shall we?

It’s morning and the desert smells crisp. Dark clouds hang in the sky, but they soon part. Light illuminates the gray pillars of wood. Touch that monument, and it will change you. Everything that lies ahead is a mystery. But it’s set in motion right now.

You walk. You laugh. You pass the mile one sign with someone you’ve just met who will become family. You camp at Hauser Canyon, and mountain lions wheeze in the night. You’re here again. Let yourself be. You’ve made it. You’re allowed. You’re safe.

There will be days when you are so tired that you won’t know how to put one more foot in front of the other. There will be days when you are overwhelmed with the bigness of it all. With what your heart is expected to carry. Sometimes it will feel like you are spilling over and no one understands how to catch the runoff. Let yourself spill anyway. Look at the paintbrush, and the lupines, and the scarlet buglers and columbine. And the pines, which may or may not be sugar or ponderosa, and the sky.

You know who you are and where you belong because with every breath you say, I am. I am. Here, here, here. Now.

You’re a pilgrim. You’re a student. This world, these people, are your teachers. No one expected you to be perfect. No one expected your heart not to break. Nothing is written. You’re the writer. All you have to do is walk.

Start walking, hiker. And never stop.

Thanks for being here on this journey. If you enjoy my writing or want to read more about my hike on the PCT, check out my neato zine, Absolute Creatures.

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