There are many silences in my life which settle me into this rolling landscape. The warrior you once comforted seems to lie dormant amidst urban youth discovering the natural world. There is caving, canoeing, road tripping, rafting, backpacking, hang gliding. There are loud songs and silly sayings. Exploration and mild adventure.
You must understand by now that this tale each of our lives develops has chapters, each distinct from those before and after the one we are living now.
I thought last winter was quiet. But there was a restless quest inside me turning in turmoil for spring to shake out. Spring has passed. The quietness inside me these days is different.
I miss Alta Mons. Sometimes when that landscape crosses my mind I feel as though I've been exiled from my home.
I miss my friends. How odd to be geographically close to so many loved ones and logistically hindered from spending time with them.
I miss Montana. The snowmelt water. The mega wild pulsing just outside myself.
Geronimo is perhaps the happiest he's ever been. He has developed a "Tramp" like existence spending all day everyday by my side or doing whatever he wants. He knows what to time to show up at the kitchen back door for snacks from the cook, where to go for movie and popcorn time and when staff take evening runs he can dog around with Bizzy, a frisbee catching border collie. So far that is the best part of my life here.
Between that, time with Ben, learning to hang glide and coveted time in WV's New River Gorge I am thankful for this time in the Appalachians. But looking forward to four months off this winter.
I suppose this is my first chapter which began with a measure of distance from my past thru hiking life. And somewhere between age and seasons that feels very noticable. I worked and lived here for weeks before those beside me knew my past -Glacier, the AT, Outdoor Trails. Experiences so dear to me, yet my former desire to broadcast them has subsided. It is enough for me. Enough to treasure them in my heart rather than showcase that past.
Sometimes I think I am lonely here. That I need another to be part of this, to understand it and me, to share myself with. Sometimes I wonder if God's put me here to work through our issues. God and me that is. It's been too long since I traversed forests and creek beds in conversation with the divine.
So this silence hovers like fog, whether it's of dusk or dawn is unknown to me. But it seems as if a peace and fulfillment is so near I could reach out and grab it.
You and I used to speak of feeling alive through pain and struggle. Euphoric from primal joy and suffering. Being thankful. Between geographic and logistical distance most talk of such principles lies dormant; resonating in the heart and soul of memories rather than in my ears.
But I am beginning to live here. In quiet evenings with my saxophone on the back porch. In the way these branches quake before a storm. In the sunset soaked clouds that peek above this pine surrounded field.
There is heat, sweat, and hard work - slowly I feel my legs strengthening and spirit stirring. In a sleepy sort of way.
I wonder what these children take with them after leaving this place. I wonder if they feel magic here like I do in places I have lived, loved, and come to understand.
I wonder what shooting stars will collide with my path and when.
Know that I think of you, and hope.
That your dreams stay big, your worries stay small, you never need to carry more than you can hold.