Leaving the Rat Race Behind

As my thoughts turn to life on the trail, I thought of a poem that I had written after a day hike on Big Run Trail in Shenandoah National Park. I hope this poem gives you a glimpse of that day as I hiked with two of my children. Hiking in the woods has always had a restorative effect on me. I look forward to leaving behind the madness of modern life in exchange for walking in the mountains. No rush-hour traffic is sounding really good to me about right now. I am a news junkie, a political junkie. I plan on separating myself from the vitriol that comprises politics of our day. Let others deal with that garbage for a while. I am thankful for the support of my wife and family and feel lucky for this opportunity. There was a time that I didn’t think it was even going to be possible.


Beautiful Daughter of the Stars

Big Run Trail, Shenandoah National Park

as summer’s breath lingers one mid-october morn
we drop down into shady tunnel travel
traversing folds — slowly winding through the hollow
ever lower through dew of decaying dampness
between the trees, i glimpse the corpse i am one day to become
deposited on a tender bed of humus ground
in among the rotting logs and lichen crusted stone

just across the stream, beckoning for our boot soles
a skeleton sculpted switchback looms on the ridge
shelf fungus scrutiny draws into focus my fixation
creation unlocks within an ephemeral juncture
then, blinks shut with the wave of a centipede’s legs
while we stop to rest among the quiet elder sentinels
cascading copper foliage trigger an optic nerve dance

far above on the kind breeze a sheen of ravens glide
ever seeking to extend their blood circle — they call down


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Comments 4

  • Ruth Nasrullah : Mar 2nd

    Beautiful poem.

    I’ve taken the opposite view. I postponed my 2018 thru-hike till next year because I wanted to spend this midterm year fighting the vitriol. There are times I regret it. I did an overnight hike a couple weeks ago and was reminded how superior the trail is to the rat race and how much I’d rather listen to the wind blowing through tall pines and watch the clouds scud past the full moon. I’m looking forward to 2019 and hope my thru-hike will get my head in the right place to be ready for 2020.

    Good luck and enjoy the peace!

    • Victor : Mar 2nd

      Ruth, thank you for the complement. I hope my travels open up my mind in a stream of new images, moving so fast that I can’t record it all. I read your post on Night Crawler and thoroughly enjoyed it. Stay focused and incrementally work toward your goal, as I have. We never feel totally prepared. Use 2018 to build a strong foundational level of physical fitness, resolve, positive mental outlook and technical skills 🙂

  • Cheryl : Mar 20th

    I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures and hearing about your trek. I will be attempting my third section hike in late April and hope to finish Georgia. The solice and challenge of the mountains are calming to the storms of our minds . Peace.

    • Victor : Apr 19th

      Cheryl, Thank you for your kind words. Georgia is behind me now and boy was it cold and windy. I hope all has gone well for you.


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