Have you ever awoken from a dream so powerful that you can still smell the forest? You can still feel the touch of the wind on your face? The warmth from the lover next to you?
I feel like everyday has been a dream recently, and I’m going to wake up anytime now, only to find that what I thought I was dreaming was reality, and the reality I thought I’d lived was just the dream.
I mention this only because the dreams I’ve had when I’m not out in the wild have been the strongest things. I can smell the pine forests, so crisp and clean on the air. The cool clean feeling of spring water as it trickles down your throat, cooling your mouth and belly. The snap and rush of streams and rivers as the flow past, power that leaves you behind. The taste of the woman I loved on my lips as she parts from a kiss.
When you wake up from something so strong, so real and you find yourself back in the reality of shopping malls, cars, frantic paces and people with no idea of the beauty around them, you can’t help but wonder.
Why am I here? What is the reason? Why did I chose to return here when all I want is out there?
When you hike long distances, going months on end in the woods you want nothing more than to go to a town. You dreams of nothing but TV, hotel rooms, greasy terrible food and air conditioning. The modern conveniences that America takes for granted on a daily basis. When you get those things, you love them, never want to let them go. You gorge on Chinese food, drink coca-cola until your stomach hurts. You watch the worst kinds of trashy TV, because it isn’t what you’re doing, has no basis in the reality you live in. You sleep in rooms that don’t let you hear the outside world.
And when you’re done with a day or two of that, you return to the woods and it’s majestic beauty. You wonder why you left town – it has all the good fun things that you want! You don’t remember months ago when you were trapped in that world of computers and tvs, flashing lights and advertising. When you yearned for nothing more then an open road, a direction that didn’t lead to suburbia or cubicles.
Sometimes we miss things right in front of us, while we look ahead to our yearnings. I know I’ve missed important things that stood right in clear view, important things that led to terrible consequences because I didn’t notice them. But even the little things you miss; the sunset, the drop of water falling from a branch and catching the light, a secret smile between lovers, are so very important.
Open your eyes. Look around and go explore a little. Find the secret spots that are just around the corner, the ones that let you know the world is full of hope and love. Power and beauty.
I think that is part of what life is – finding those moments, making those memories that last forever. Because they are all you can carry with you in the end. They don’t weigh a thing, but are also the biggest burden for a soul to have.
And they are all yours.
I went from sleeping in a hammock or a shelter every night (the hammock was always preferable – so comfortable) to being in a bed.
I wasn’t happy with that.
The novelty of the bed lasted for a week or two. It really did. Hell the novelty of Everything lasted for a week or two. And then it didn’t.
So where does that leave you, if you’re not even comfortable in your own bed anymore? Obviously I can’t hang my hammock up in a basement (yet) but I can sleep on the floor and get some of that shelter feeling back.
So I did. I got better sleep on the floor then I did in the bed. My back felt better, I was more rested and I fell asleep faster. I’ve become accustomed to the “hardship” the average person avoids.
It’s odd how little space you need after hiking. You’ve lived your life out of a 60L pack, keeping it to a weight you are comfortable with because you’re carrying it on your back. You come home and you’ve got all this SPACE! Even something as “small” as a 9×9 room is gigantic to you.
How much space do we actually need as people? I’m currently living with my mother and step dad, in a suburban monstrosity. A 4 bedroom + separate downstairs apartment monstrosity. I had hosted a bunch of hikers here during late June, while my folks were out of town, so that the hikers could see DC, and never ran out of space. A dozen hikers.
Hell just the basement could fit a dozen people with room to spare. I’m living the life right now. And I am in no way happy with that.
I truly think we do better with less. What we lack in choice with less is made up for in ingenuity and happiness. Society it seems places a great value on “stuff” – all the things that show we are successful. For me, the most successful I’ve ever been was when I had everything I needed to survive on my back and under 40lbs. Being able at the end of the day to let it all explode into my tiny little space was the most rewarding thing.
Admire the ladies beachwear sandals there for a minute too. Because you love how awesome they look, and how comfortable they are.
As E.T. would say – do less with more.