Before the trail, my life was a neatly stacked pile of papers. I spent time making sure the edges of the papers were aligned and that the corners were straight- that every paper was exactly where it was supposed to be. The papers stayed on the corner of a desk, unattended and unread. In the beginning of the trail, a slight breeze blew some papers off the stack, but I swiftly relocated them back to their stack where they belonged. Later on, as I continued north, a storm blew the papers through an open window onto the floor, scattering and shredding the papers that I worked so hard to keep neatly stacked. I had to pick up those papers- reading some things I hadn’t looked at in years, taping together pieces of paper that I had forgotten about or never even seen at all. I read a page about social anxiety and depression- reminding me of something that was once all consuming. I read about emotional and physical pain- pain that I thought could kill me… but I’m still here. I read about love and companionship- a chapter I thought I had read, but really had just skimmed. I read about adventure, responsibility, and irresponsibility. I read about connection, the good in humans and the bad in humans. I read about those temper tantrums I had as a child and then again as an adult on the trail- feeling uncontrollable emotion that manifested as anger and rage, or sometimes just sadness and tears. I read a page about the day I was so fed up that I threw my poles and flipped my backpack upside down, emptying the entire contents of my backpack on the trail-falling to my knees to cry. I was reminded of the first day I busted out 26 miles completely alone, finishing my day in the dark with a headlamp on and a heart full of pride. I read about independence and accomplishment, guilt and failure. I’m still gathering the papers back up, and they’re no longer neatly stacked but rather scattered across my desk with no order at all. Now, I’m wondering , did it ever need to be neatly stacked in the first place?
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.