Alone in the Woods

A page from my journal..

4/17/21

I am on a Metro-North train headed to Grand Central Station. My back pain is in full force. Maybe the 5+ hour hike in Cold Spring had something to do with it. It’s not all bad. I finally got a taste of LIVING after over a year of pandemic "living." I had micro-happy moments with hikers on the trail and a warm and hilarious exchange with the man who used to make the amazing brownies over at Foundry Cafe. I should check up on them in a few weeks and continue pressuring him into making those incredible brownies again. I feel like the Foundry Cafe is a family affair. They had that lovely small town energy about them.

The hike was bittersweet. It's been over two years since my last hike in Cold Spring. I needed to be in nature. I needed to be a solo hiker on a trail saying Hi to other hikers as we crossed paths. The mountain was different this time. The park rangers have made many changes. The trails are friendlier to beginners. I remember about a decade ago how wild those trails used to be. I also remember how much easier it felt reaching the summit with a body that had not yet undergone years of self-induced abuse. People wear masks now. Another way the trails have changed. I suppose I am also not the same. In less than 48 hours I will turn 42 years old. I’m grateful I’ve made it this far but...

The hike had me thinking about the people in my life; family and friends mostly. I thought about so many occasions where my “loved ones“ said or did hurtful things to me. Then I started thinking about how I’ve allowed them to treat me poorly. It wasn’t until my early 30s that I can remember really speaking up for myself. I’m not a victim but the recent Covid loneliness is getting to me. I know how to get rid of loneliness; Connection, Community, Being of service.... It takes effort though. It requires leaving the house.

This past year living and working from home feels like it robbed me of real human connection but more importantly of the feeling of being connected to people I don’t know, strangers on the train, hikers on the trail. To be seen and see others in public in a place away from home. To be a visitor in a small town. To feel a touch of humanity in the silence of the woods.
 
I’ll be 42 soon. Two years into my 40s, will they be like the terrible twos? Will I throw a tantrum if I don’t get my way? No tantrum will stop my back from hurting. Sometimes caf├ęs stop making your favorite brownies.  That's life, I guess.  But once you start a hike there’s no turning back right? The summit is always there for those who persevere.  We must persevere.  We shall persevere. 

 





 

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