Sounds, sights, and struggles of a shakedown hitch

 

Chomp, chomp.

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Not on the trail,

and I’m already hungry?

 

Pout, pout.

Did I really forget my tent stakes,

I guess I’ll blame Ally.

 

Ha, ha.

Thinking I’d go three days

without coffee.

 

Creek, crash.

The unyielding wind humored itself

And pushed over a dead tree.

 

See, saw.

Nothing like bucking rotten wood

on a dew-laden slope.

 

Drip, drop.

Surely it won’t rain much harder,

I hope.

 

Oh, *#@&!

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Did I really lose my rain fly?

How could I.

 

Squish, squish.

“Certainly my boots won’t soak through,

right guys?”

 

Ebb, flow.

And the caressing sounds of the river

cradle me deep into sleep.

 

Smile, eyes shutting . . .

I think,

I can’t wait to come back out here next week.

 

Eyes open, slap.

And I’d thought I’d go three days without bug spray

That’s just too long a streak.

 

When I’ve at last remembered my tent stakes and an adequate supply of coffee grounds

Sights and thoughts from a final hitch

 

When the mosquitoes have finally quenched their thirst,

When the rain has subsided

And subsided, in fact, for 24 days,

When my muscles no longer ache at the prospect of bearing the burden that is my pack,

When I’ve (finally) learned that two granola bars a day just won’t suffice,

And I’m faced with a mile of dirt path that pulls me to the work day’s closing

With an ominous sky paired with ominous cracking, booming sounds

With a steeply sloping cliff that gives way to a river playing hopscotch amongst the rocks

I am left with the opportunity to claim my own thoughts

To sift through and debate my own ideas

 

Indeed, the wilderness is not a place

Set to a rigid structure of rules that claim the pristine.

It is not fostered by capitalism and bound by the unyielding destruction of man.

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It is an opportunity, a mindset

The capacity to think and act on my own terms

And decide where my own limitations lie.

This mindset, for me

This place is the wilderness.