In the manicured landscape of Bend, OR, with walking paths marked with rigid white lines and cemented sidewalks, I feel lost. I am a wild animal that detoured into town. I feel a visceral wrongness, a loneliness, an absence of something that makes me feel comfortable.
Have I become undomesticated?
The grass here feels soft and clean, like a down pillow tossed in the dryer with fabric softener.
I am near tears, discombobulated and confused. And then I find a herd of PCT hikers in their stable: REI. I am soothed by their filthy presence in this otherwise groomed and civilized world and I feel a sense of belonging again.