I had the most wonderful Independence Day.
Struggling to celebrate a day honoring freedom after the most recent SCOTUS decisions was tough for me this year, so I chose instead to celebrate the righteous spirit of our treasonous forefathers by enjoying the radical freedom of the Trail.
There is no freedom quite like Trail freedom.
How many people get to rise each day and choose their adventure?
AT Thru hikers do.
And that’s a freedom entirely unknown to me before this hike.
So I celebrated by doing whatever I felt like doing today.
I sewed my patches onto my hat, which I’ve been wanting to do for ages.
My sister sewed the patches onto my backpack for me before I left, but I changed out my pack and hadn’t gotten around to sewing them on again. I decided the hat was a better place for them since I’m definitely not trading it out any time soon.
I relaxed in the hammock while I sewed, and I listened to a “Stuff You Should Know” podcast about the AT.
Some of the other guests and I picked blueberries for the amazing dessert our hostess had made for us.
Then a delicious (as always) dinner.
The boys, Animal and Mayo, did some painting on the porch, and I did a crossword puzzle.
I had a lovely chat with a nice couple who stopped by to check out the hostel. Their 17 year-old Eagle Scout is both a blacksmith and an accomplished woodworker, and I was quite impressed. Also, I tried hard to convince one of them to hike the AT. (C’mon, Tara, you’ve got this!)
I said goodbye to my new friends, and some of us gathered in the grass for daily yoga, which I think helped my back a bit.
I checked out some of the farm animals.
Mayo built a beautiful fire, Phoenix scrounged some marshmallows, and we finished the day with fireside fellowship.
Today was a perfect day of freedom for me.
The world is not perfect, and our country feels broken, but today I chose to celebrate quietly with kind, generous-hearted, welcoming folks who respect each other and the planet we live on. Nothing has renewed my faith in the goodness of the world like hiking this trail.
We’ll be okay, everyone.
I’m sad for us.
I’m sad for Highland Park.
But I refuse to lose hope in mankind or to give in to despair. There’s just too much good still in the world.
Twice a day, before meals, we gather in the yard here and we find gratitude. I encourage you to do the same.
It’s there, that gratitude, residing closely near hope.
Hold tight to joy and goodness and light. Joy and goodness and light and hope fuel activism and positive change.
It is the only way to vanquish darkness.
I wish you all peaceful, happy trails.
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