If I were a drifter, a gypsy, a wanderer… I don’t think I’d hit the roads with my thumb out. I’d carry my essentials in a pack, find trails and take my time meandering wilderness, bouncing from one place to sleep to the next. I think about places like this, Jones Spring in northern Wisconsin. A sign at the trailhead said you can’t stay on one site for more than 14 consecutive days. Two weeks here, two weeks there, and when the weather starts to turn cold, make my way south where I can repeat the process in new territory.
I suppose I’d have to pick up small odd jobs here and there to earn food money, but I wouldn’t mind. I like work. I could save enough to hit the dirt and go until I ran out again. I often fantasize about walking off into nowhere particular, but headed towards some random, unnamed mountain or forest that I see in the distance that looks like it aches to be explored. I would know when my time there was up, and then I’d head out, aiming for the next beautiful place I can see on the horizon. I imagine what sorts of things I might encounter on the way. The people. The trouble. The beauty. The adventure. I sometimes think I was born to be a gypsy but somehow missed my calling.
This life is pretty good, though. I love someone who loves me, I do work I enjoy so I can do things I enjoy even more, and my future is wide open with all kinds of different ideas and adventures spinning in the universe above me, just waiting to be chosen at just the right time.
Sigh… what a spectacular couple of days this has been. I’ve had so much time to myself that it feels like a week has gone by. Why don’t I allow myself this pleasure more often?
I went for a hike today. I took every trail in the Jones Spring area, and missed one junction that sent me at least a mile down an equestrian trail to a pretty meadow dotted white with daisies, and finally a gravel road. I turned around and went back the way I came, never finding the turn I missed. I arrived back at my last trail junction, not to be defeated, and took the loop in the opposite direction. After hiking through waist-high ferns and discovering, picking and eating tiny, sweet wild strawberries, I came out onto the trail I recognized from earlier. Looking back was an overgrown, tiny hiking path. No wonder I passed it by twice.
I took a lunch break at a ski shelter. I munched juicy celery, m&ms and jelly beans. I laid back and watched the clouds float by. I took my shoes off and put my feet up. I closed my eyes and rested.
I took pictures of flowers, trees, ferns and meadows. I picked up an empty, broken robin’s egg and looked at it closely for a while, wondering what it must be like watch a tiny baby bird peck its way through to light.
I didn’t worry about miles, or time, or speed. I just hiked however my feet and lungs wanted me to hike.
By the time I’d navigated all of the trails, I found myself heading back to camp tired. Exhausted, actually. It felt great. My legs hurt and my hip bones felt bruised from my pack’s hip belt. Things sure have gotten soft since last year! If I had a couple of weeks of hike straight, these small discomforts would subside, and if they did’t, they’d become a part of the day just like anything else… a norm I’d be happy to take.
At camp, I set up my tent, built a bird’s nest in the fire pit, read my book, watched a turtle walk past me like he owned the place, sat by the water, ate instant mashed potatoes and the rest of my m&ms, watched the loons eat and play, and eventually lit the nest in the fire pit. Now here I sit in front of a crackling fire, looking out at the lake in fading light and listening to a trio of trills from some bird I’ve never heard before. Aaaand there goes the darned whooperwill. At first I love the sound. I could even sing or whistle along. Then after about thirty times in a row I wish I knew a way to get the whooperwill to stop whooperwilling without harming it. Too much, whooperwill, too much. Shut up. Let the frogs talk!
Almost time for bed, and when I wake tomorrow it’s back to work. I’m refreshed and I’ll be ready to go. Thank you, forest, for clearing my mind. You are magical.
Oh… and on second thought, maybe I didn’t miss my calling to be a gypsy, or wanderer. Maybe I’m just getting set up for it. Maybe I’m just gettin’ warmed up. Or maybe I already am one. I don’t know where I’ll be three days from now. That sorta’ counts.
Tonight I love the tiny coo the baby loons make when their mumma dives underwater to bring back food for them. Oh, and I love how they ride around on mumma’s back. These little guys are killer adorable!
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!