I’m on the Tahoe Rim Trail surrounded by mule ear and butterflies weaving their wings in between the leaves. I weave my body through them on the trail. The scent of the lupine, fragrant in the morning and night, phlox, and periwinkle blue flowers dress the landscape. This trail is a lot easier than what I encountered in the Sierra. It gives me miles upon miles of time to think. When I get to the ridge the wind blows and I feel like I am walking on the beach with an old self. Chatting, we try to understand why we are here.
It is quiet and lonely and overcast. This 2600 miles requires a lot of balance. Yesterday, with the big miles, I slept really poorly. Yesterday I was told to keep the twinkle in my step from three Bay Area men. I felt glowing and happy and free hiking alone once again. But now I am tired and my miles are slower and I woke up early but I didn’t start hiking until 730 and I am alone.
I recall part of the reason I wanted to hike the Pct is to become stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. heavy sigh. Blis commented a couple of times this past week how he felt like I had changed – that I was not as strong as a month ago. I wasn’t prepared to ask him what he mean’t by that. Stronger emotionally? Physically? Mentally? It’s hard to not take his comment as a dagger into the structure of the past three months of my existence.
I’m learning that strength is riddled with paradoxes. To be emotionally vulnerable sometimes is courageous. To demote oneself in rank for others to succeed, is this not a sign of strength? What sort of strength do I want to manifest? I crave to be physically strong. To be emotionally and mentally strong too. But what do these qualities even look like?
And then I listened to a podcast by Radio Lab. A neouroscientist talked about how biology is what drives all of our decisions and that free will is actually a falsehood. So what biologically is driving me to walk to Canada? Perhaps the parasite inside me is stronger than me. It needs a ride to Canada really badly. Ok, friend, here we go. When you leave me, just leave me with strength.