To Take A Step Without Feet


Life is strange. How does anyone decide what’s really right for them? And is it you who’s really deciding? How many women would hike the PCT if they had a boyfriend? A husband? A house?  A baby? For that matter – how many men would do so? I actually kind of cringe when people tell me they are proud of me or that they admire me or that they in awe of me for taking this on. It’s disingenuous not to admit that the biggest reason of all for me saying yes to this adventure, for being “brave” enough to sell most of my belongings and move across the country to live by myself to become a ski guide in the Sierra Nevadas where I have no friends or family, for me to hike 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, for me to leave my only home, friends, and community in pursuit of this hardship that will make my feet hurt and my heart ache every day for five months – the biggest reason is that I have no reason not to.


If some omniscient being said to me, “Abby – you have two options in life. You can either fall in love and make a family or you can hike the pacific crest trail” you have to know i would choose the former in a half a split of a hair of a second. Fuck this adventure, this embrace of hardship and courage and daring, this proving to myself that i’ll be damned if I don’t do what i said i would – do what i know my body is capable of. It’s totally arbitrary. And there’s not a as much time as you used to think there was. There’s something beautifully simple and good about that craving to create life and be a part of something bigger than yourself. I’ve never questioned that that’s for me because that feeling trumps absolutely. any. other. opportunity. I’ve spent my adult life trying to leave this earth better than i found it and i will raise a family for the same reasons. So what am I doing? I really truly don’t know, but I read (and read, and read, and read) this Rumi poem today:

To Take a Step Without Feet

This is Love: to fly toward a secret sky,
To cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First, to let go of life.
In the end, to take a step without feet;
to regard this world as invisible,
and to disregard what appears to the self.

Heart, I said, what a gift it has been
to enter this circle of lovers,
to see beyond seeing itself,
to reach and feel within the breast.

My soul, where does this breathing arise?
How does this beating heart exist?
Bird of the soul, speak in your own words,
and I will understand.

The heart replied: I was in the workplace
the day this house of water and clay was fired.
I was already fleeing that created house,
even as it was being created.
When I could no longer resist, I was dragged down,
and my features were molded from a handful of earth.

So…yeah. I’m very ready to take a step without feet, without knowing what will happen. If that step is hiking the PCT, great, but if it’s something else – some real and big thing that’s bigger than me – that’s great too. I’ve been operating on a different plane for a little while now. I’m lost and I don’t know much except that I don’t have anyone to take care of or anything else to do except for walk around in the wilderness for a really, really long time. This feels like the only thing I know to do with my very capable body, muscles, skin, bones, flesh, lungs, and pulse – and I have no reason not to. It doesn’t make a lot of sense in my brain, and actually it’s breaking my heart. It feels, more than anything else, like admitting defeat. Will I ever even find what I think I’m looking for?

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