I can still feel the cold gusts of mist blowing around us as we pose and play on the Mt. Katahdin sign. Brooklyn and Legs are wiping away celebratory tears. Willow is cracking an egg over her head in tribute to those fighting ovarian cancer. Soon, Red beard and PBS will start recklessly racing back down Katahdin’s treacherous crags. No more worries about an injury that would prevent them from reaching their goal. We did it. After roughly 6 months, we did it. We hiked 2189.2 miles of the Appalachian Mountains, all the way from Georgia to Maine. I’m topless.
My mind and my body say this all happened yesterday. My feet and knees whine when I walk down stairs. When startled awake at night, or after one of those blissful after-breakfast naps (seriously, you gotta try ‘em), I’m still pleasantly surprised that the warm mass in my arms is Monica. She smells a lot better, and is much more form-fitting than the battle-scared clothes sac that served as my pillow and sleeping buddy for six months. I have a tortilla addiction, and zero interest in treating it.
This body and mind present a great argument, but I didn’t summit Katahdin yesterday. It was 6 weeks ago. It’s time to get back to work. No more breakfast-after-breakfast naps (another quality-of-life enhancer that doesn’t get the acclaim it deserves), and it’s time to stop calling Game of Thrones marathons “potential research.” I’m ready to start writing and sketching again!
In the real world again
“Are you coming to the gym with me again today?” Monica asks me.
“But… I’m in RECOVERY!”
Monica doesn’t stop putting stuff in her gym bag. “C’mon, it’ll be fun. Today’s a leg day!”
“But I just finished 6 MONTHS of leg days!”
“I know Love, and we’re all very proud of you. But, if you spend too much time recovering you’re going to turn into a bearded amoeba.”
To my credit, I usually follow her out the door. I knew that some (most) of the 53 lbs. I lost on the Trail would find its way back onto weird parts of my body, but it’s amazing to see the scale move nearly every day. After the creaking and groaning recedes into the background, it does feel great to be exercising again.
So, I’m out-of-shape. Not “bearded amoeba” out-of-shape, but I have some work to do. I’m realizing that this applies to writing and sketching as well. My writing/sketching joints are stiff from disuse. Facebook, or haunting/ridiculous News coverage lingers just a click away. Once I get past the distractions, when I can imagine myself sitting next to you around a shelter out in the woods, sharing my story and maybe a bag of Doritos, then it feels great to be writing again.
I’m going to continue to share our journey to Katahdin. There will be plenty of digressions, but I’d like to think that they are the side trails that add a little extra scenery to an already interesting experience. I hope that you will continue to follow along. Your comments and encouragement thus far have been invaluable. Please keep ‘em coming!