When compelled to disappear for a solo hike, I do it. I’ve come to understand there is an all knowing part of me, pushing me in the best direction, and all I must do, is let go and honor it. I’ve been asked many times why I hike alone… Here’s my anthem:
I walk into the thick of trees, their whispered chorus of “Welcome Home.” A deep, sighing breath swallows my lungs. My fractured pieces show up to be massaged; loyal pups I’ve left too long. They’re trained to meet me here, on the dirt, under the soles of my shoes. I free them from their kennels, lovingly petting them as they walk with me into the trees.
My feet slide in the mud of melted snow, stopped by a covering of fallen leaves. Aren’t fallen pieces the most interesting things to show up and stop your fall? It’s now, in the trip of adrenaline, that my body starts running. It doesn’t hesitate to ask my permission. It knows what to do out here. I let it off the leash and trust.
My heartbeat follows the pace of my burning legs, but my lungs start asking me to stop. Lungs are much like toddlers, asking for candy at breakfast, fully knowing the answer is no, but figured it’s worth a try.
“No. Breathe for me. Please.”
The trees love me well; never asking how long I’ll stay, or if I’ll come again. They just stand as a brilliant constant, ready for me to join them, but mightily contented without me. The freedom in that knowing, bursts open an epiphany in my heart, “Don’t we all want to be loved this way?” We do. I want to love and be loved like a tree.
Emerging from their brilliant, wooded guard, I hesitate before my feet hit the pavement. Every time I leave them, my heart quivers like the bottom lip of a startled newborn. I never want to leave, but I’ve come to believe, from the depths of my heart to the tips of my toes, I am always welcome to come back home.