[From Friday, April 13th]
Lots of people ask about you round here. I come in outta the woods, and they say things like, “Your momma know you’re out here by yourself,” and, “Your momma ok with you travellin’ around like this?” Then I say things like, “What momma don’t know won’t hurt her.”
Just kidding. Usually I just give them my most pitifully compelling face, and ma’am and sir them out to the next town like my good ma taught me, and then they feed me. Still works with a Skrillex-hawk. Whodathunkit. Maybe because it was getting dark outside and they couldn’t tell?
Also, this is the first time in my life I’ve been happy sitting inside with music and food when there is such sunshine outside these closed doors. (such sunshine.) It is because, I think, this is my life; this being outside in the forest – and so it is alright, in my head, to be inside for a very little bit.
* * *
Aha. See? Now we are outside again, sitting on the ground.
The last time I looked through my trail guide to the end of the AT was in Tenessee. It was cold, and raining like the dickens. I felt great despair, and never did it again, until today. (Much nicer, today.) Eighteen days on trail before I get to fly to South Dakota to see my erstwhile students graduate from high school; and then for the North! Onwards! Upwards!
My trail logistics are opposite the usual; life is on the trail, then we get to plan for vacation. Get off trail; see the students. Get off trail; work a brief job. The hardest part is that every old friendship is long distance… But most of you poor chumps are used to that already, though only a few of you have been dealing with it for over a decade. Poor suckers. When did my mom stop paying you? Ouch; the ground is stabbing me.
I recently (finally, while I was sitting on my friend’s NJ farm) looked up another fungus I’ve been passing for hundreds of miles. It’s called wood ear; it’s a jelly fungus, is in fact edible, has an Asian cousin, and is brown and crispy when dehydrated. This fungus and my siblings have so much in common.
Oo. I have a story for you. Remember those unsatisfying stories they made you read in high school English class, and then you sat there and were like, “Why did we just read that” and then your teacher was all, “literature metaphor cultured herp derp?” And then you thought to yourself, “Self… I am wasting hours and hours of my precious childhood on this lavenous kerfuffle.”
Well. The following story is like those stories. Place yourself in my shoes:
You are cruising down the trail one day (your knee does not hurt at this point) and a random twist in the path approaches. You look around. “Self, what a pleasant patch of forest! I should stop for a moment.”
… oh dear. Looks like the weather is clearing up. Hold on… sorry. I’m gonna go pretend to be a hiker for a little while.
To be continued…