This Feels Like a Breakup
This feels like a breakup because it is.
This feels like a breakup because only one choice made any sense,
Only one choice allows me to be a righteous person,
A responsible human.
Even if that choice completely gutted me
And rocked me to my core
And changed all of my plans and expectations for the near future
And even the distant future.
I believed nothing could tear us apart,
But I had no control over this,
None of us had any control over this,
So we must do the right thing.
This feels like a breakup even though it’s over
Before it officially began.
But I must be grateful for the privilege
Of once calling myself a member
Of this year’s thru-hiker class.
Because it is a privilege
To have the stability to have that goal,
To have communities that are so deeply invested
In the trail itself
And the hikers that pass through,
To have organizations and volunteers
That prioritize our natural resources
And make them available to all.
This feels like a breakup because it’s out of our control,
So completely out of our control
That it feels unimaginable.
Yet I also know we will be OK.
The pain of this loss is bearable
Because we made this choice so that others may live
With a little less fear,
With a little more confidence
That things will one day be OK again.
And maybe we have to convince ourselves of that, too.
This feels like a breakup, but we will be OK
Because we’re in this together–
The 2020 AT thru-hikers,
The 2020 PCT and CDT thru-hikers,
The entire country,
The entire world.
We’re experiencing this in unity
For perhaps the first time in our lifetimes,
So let’s respect it,
And hope for better days.
For now I’ll cry about it,
But I know
I can accept my privilege
And recognize my responsibility
And put public health before my selfishness.
Because despite everything, I know for certain,
Though I can’t say exactly when,
The trail will always be there for me–
We will get back together
I was due to begin my NOBO hike exactly one week from today. I finally accepted this past Monday that I won’t be starting my hike in a week, perhaps not in a month, perhaps not in a few months. I’m trying to be flexible and open to a potential SOBO or flip-flop, but the future is uncertain, and I don’t know for sure when I will be backpacking again. For the time being, I’ll mourn and be thankful for this community and hold out some facet of hope that we will all get through this together and come out stronger.
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