Today I woke up with the same old pains. The achilles tendons still hurt. The knees, too. I hobbled in pain to the bathroom and then to the kitchen. My feet still felt tender on the hard tile floor. But I felt infinitessimally better. These rest days may be helping.
As I took my morning walk feeling just a little stronger than yesterday, it occurred to me that southbound thru-hikes usually begin at the end of August. There is still time to return to the trail. The added bonus would be that I could pass by many of my old friends on a southbound journey. But is that something I want to do? Or is it just the trail calling me?
A friend of mine says that even years after his hike the trail still calls to him every day. Are these just zero days I'm passing through? Should I return to the trail? When? August? Next April? In a few years? I wish I knew the answer to the questions "if?" and "when?" I felt exhausted just thinking about hiking again. Maybe I should just section hike a little every year. Maybe I should be a trail angel.
On my walk I stopped to read the newspaper. My astrological forecast suggested growing pains in my new role may be uncomfortable, but that they were preparing me for big opportunities on the horizon. Would this mean this path off the trail is leading somewhere wonderful? It suggested my "new role" involved increased awareness and influence. The only thing I'm more aware of is the connection between me and Nature. As far as influence goes, I feel increasingly invisible in this world where people walk past each other and never speak and increasingly sorrowful at the intense disconnect between daily life and the natural world. City life is maddeningly lonely, noisy and polluting and I have as much influence over that as an ant does on a runaway truck ramp.
A favorite movie of mine is the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. I love parrots and enjoyed the philosophy of how all the drops of a waterfall are separate but they are the same river. As I grew more comfortable on the trail living in Nature I could feel that philosophy as a palpable sensation. We are not separate from Nature. We only think we are.
At the same time, I felt almost bitterly rejected by the way animals and birds ran from me. I wanted be their friends. They universally did not. It felt lonely out there.
The man in the movie, Mark Bittner, also wrote a book with the same title. I enjoyed reading about his life. He is now writing another book about his life before he found the parrots.
I feel like his life is similar to my own. I am not homeless or studying eastern philosophies, but my life isn't following a traditional path so I empathize with his untraditional path. I'm looking forward to reading his next book.
Sigh. Another zero day on the PCT. At this rate I'm never going to make it to Canada.