Thru Hike

Close One Door and Walk Into the Wilderness

I woke up this morning, all limbs and love, intertwined with a man that I adore. On the floor of my moms apartment. Have I ever been so comfortable? So cared for? I don’t know. But I do know it’s 6am. My sister has to go to work. We hug and we say I love you twelve times. Over & over, in case it didn’t sink in the first eleven. Do you know? How much I love you, how much you mean. I’ll see you in six-ish weeks, but, it’s an eternity and I need you to know… I love you, more than these words will ever pronounce. My going away is a gift, opened slowly. It will reveal its contents in time. We’ll see how we grow together through our being apart. We’ve done it before. She drives away, arm waving wildly out the car window. “I’ll see you soon”.
Ok. Onwards…
We beach. Swim in warm water. Sunlight rising over mountains pulsating with my own steady beat. Live. Live. Live. I dive and hear the call of a whale, distant but distinct. Their song reverberates in my bones and blood, an arrow shot through to my soul. It opens me up in a way only this kind of magic can. Life’s subtle reminder that what we perceive with our senses is only a fraction of what’s being experienced. Song and salt water wrapped around me, and I am clean. Ready.
Back home.
He says aloha to my mom. And as her tears begin to brim, so do his. Tears wanting to fall free, held in place by the urge to laugh at our own surprise. Did you know we’d feel this much? A love, a safety, a comfort, held close for months and now we’re saying goodbye. And thank you. I love you. We knew this moment would be ours. We didn’t know it’d come with so much heartache. Letting go of something so good, trusting the void will be filled with something even greater – what a wonderful, bittersweet expression of faith. Over and over, we hug and kiss and hold each other, for just another moment longer, to soak in each other’s presence. But the parting belongs here too, so we say goodbye, and he drives away, and waves out the window.
Backpack on.
Everything’s in order. Amazing how it all came together and now it’s happening and we’re here, driving to the airport. Stretch your wings, little bird, prepare for take off. Mom, please park and come in. I’m dreading our goodbye more than the others. Let’s prolong it for as long as possible. Boarding pass, check. Backpack checked, check. TSA next. Thank you, Mom. For everything. For inspiring me to grow beyond my current boundaries. For allowing me freedom to explore and granting me the invaluable gift of complete and total acceptance. The ocean behind our eyes swells and spills over onto our reddened cheeks.
I’m hiking this trail for the people I love. The ones whose hearts beat within my own. If I can learn, I can teach. If I can grow and stretch and fly, I can encourage and carry and instill that unstoppable, wonderful, life changing sense of possibility. Of curiosity. Of how it feels to co-create an experience you genuinely enjoy.
I am on the plane now. Typing this into Evernote, freezing my tuckus off. Why are airplanes so cold? Is it because we’re at 30,000 feet? I imagine how cozy and toasty this thing would be if they’d just turn the A/C off. But… in just a few days I’ll be hiking through the desert and dreaming about this air, wishing it was all around me again. That’s the lesson, isn’t it? To appreciate what we have while we have it. That’s the practice.
Good thing I’ve got 5 months and 2,650 miles to do just that.

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