The Day After

Submitted by Pat


Now that I am home
so many emotions and memories run through me as I walk in the woods with the dogs
and think about our talk on the drive to Maine,
the sense I felt of being off balance, not myself,
to walking into that smelly motel room and a night of little sleep,
to breakfast at the Stratton Diner the next morning
and our arrival at the Firewarden's Trail trailhead,
our laminated signs proudly pinned to our packs,
to the dark ugly emotional place I found myself,
to your observation of the negative lens through which I choose to see,
to seeing that lens,
to knowing I don't want to live that way,
to walking step by step up the mountainside,
moving slowly into my heart with each step, each breath, each push upward,
where I could finally enjoy the moment,
reaching the 66th and 67th summits
and completing our 67 4,000 footers in New England,
to our surprise at how easy it was to reach the ridge,
to all the snow, complete with postholes and drifts,
to the young men we met who celebrated our accomplishment,
to our celebration of #66 on Avery Peak,
to the walk down and then up to our 67th summit on West Peak,
you and me, hand in hand, touching the summit sign, loving the moment,
to carving two small pumpkins last week
with a 6 and a 7 and gluing mica from our many hikes all over them,
to carrying them up the mountain and lighting them,
to feeling the warmth and comfort and struggle and pain the pumpkins represented for you,
to bringing these symbols to a place of strength and joy,
to leaving them behind as a token of closure,
to walking on ice cold feet,
to sharing my peanut butter and jelly bagel sandwich that was hard as a rock,
to celebrating #88 of the 100 Highest on South Horn,
to the hike back down where your words filled me with hope,
brought me comfort, and gave me a glimpse into the passionate soul of someone who believes that it's not about us,
that it's bigger than that,
an invitation to greatness, to sharing, to community, to opening, and to being open,
and with that comfort I was able to talk about my discomfort,
feeling locked in by old trauma,
and I felt better, just saying the words, putting them outside of me,
to calling Don at the trailhead and hearing his Whoo Hooo,
to celebrating with a good meal,
to giving you the book and the snowshoes,
and to you reading me your cards, giving me your book,
a window into your life, your history, your struggle and your triumph,
to telling me what you love about me,
to allowing myself to receive your gift,
to feeling the love and trust in the deepest parts of me,
stunned and open,
and you finding a way to share your book with me, to trust me that much,
to inhaling the hot apples, delicious spices and perfect crust that was our celebratory apple pie,
and then suffering the outrageous fortune of a tummy ache,
to walking down Main Street in Stratton, Maine, farting and burping and laughing,
to finding sleep and a new day before us all too soon,
to reading your cards again,
to having more time to listen
- Life isn't supposed to be about pain, although it can be painful -
it's about joy, shared joy -
to talking about how to transition back into our lives after such a weekend,
of meeting our goal, working through the tension between us, knowing there is so much more,
to hearing you say how you find comfort in writing about the hike, looking at the pictures,
thinking about the next hike,
so positive, so hopeful, so alive,
to coming home and everything looking the same,
animals waiting for food and attention, a silent house, no one here, me in my heart - happy and sad - seeing both - feeling both - inviting both -
to believing that if I remain
in this life
long enough
I will learn to see through a different filter
and maybe
I will be someone who can see, do, love and be big.
Thank you, Nancy, for loving me -
I am here -
I remain -
I don't know what else to do.

67 out of 67 NE 4,000-Footers