I did something pretty great the other day. It involved napping in the sunshine. Next to a river... and a trail. Mud and I went on a short overnight trip to the Suiattle River and up to the PCT. But we didn't get very far. Just two miles into our walk we found a mossy outcropping and dropped our packs. Then we just laid there for a couple hours.
Being from Seattle, a sunny day is a pretty big deal. But being able to soak in it like a lizard, that's an even bigger deal. At first I was cold. Eyes closed, my body on the hard ground. Then the frost started to melt as the sun grew higher in the sky and soon I was in a half-conscious state of euphoria, feeling the warmth. This big ball of fire in the sky, it is so amazing! It goes up and it goes down and it dictates the patterns of almost every living creature on the earth. Including hikers.
After a while it's time to keep walking, so we make our way on the Suiattle River Trail and end up at the junction of the PCT. The signs on the trees remind us of home. A time when our life was a linear game of connect-the-dots between these trail markers.
But by now the sun is already starting to descend. We look for a splotch of it and find one way down the river on the rocky shore. By the time we get there, it'll probably be gone. Resigned to being cold, we gather wet firewood and make camp. Mud spends hours trying to make the fire catch, but it never does. There is no dry wood in sight.
We have no choice but to climb into the tent and wait for morning. I wear all my layers, burrito inside my sleeping bag and lie very still. Feeling chills echo around in my body. My nose is still cold and the rest of me doesn't stand a chance until it warms up. So I drape my raincoat over my face to keep my nose-heat from escaping. Thinking maybe I've finally found a way to sleep in the cold.
Again, I lie for hours in a state of half-consciousness. The cold keeps me from falling completely asleep. It's akin to being on drugs, this half-consciousness. The opportunity to explore a part of my brain that is normally invisible. The part of my brain that can almost see the future, and knows that everything will be okay. The part that has an endless supply of patience and knows, if I wait long enough, I'll get warm.
And I do.
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