About December and January, but then I didn’t, and now January is practically over. It went like this: I got systemic poison oak, my face swelled up, I didn’t want to get steroids. I stopped kissing my dogs, I washed everything I owned, I acknowledged the existence of poison oak everywhere in the forest here. My face continued to swell, and my arm, and my hip, and my leg, and I felt so awful. I gave Potato to a friend. I moved to a little cabin without electricity on a defunct land project in a beautiful valley full of post-punk hippies who build their homes from mud. I got steroids from the ER for my poison oak and they made me feel crazy. I wrote in manic bursts. I took care of the goats and chickens and ducks. I wrote. The systemic poison oak went away and I only had the oak in patches, a little bit here and there, all the time. It snowed and the snow melted. At night everything turned to ice crystals and in the afternoons the land baked in the sun. My heart broke over, and over, and over. I hiked in the hills behind my cabin, I went running, I felt so lonely I thought I would die. Then!
I STOPPED REACTING TO POISON OAK
I GOT A JOB AS A DELIVERY DRIVER
EVERYTHING BECAME SUDDENLY ALRIGHT
Also, anything is possible, did you know? Like, absolutely anything. I’m attempting to grapple with this wonderful fact right now as I try and plan the rest of my year. For example, I kind of want to buy a camper van. I lived in a camper van in Alaska in 2009 and it was almost as awesome as I thought it would be, and I’m thinking of giving it another go. I’d really like to be able to travel to see dear friends who are far away and I’d really like to have a tiny house in which to keep my things. But! Gas is expensive and cars are awful money pits and driving is not my favorite way to travel, so there is that. Also! I have been working hard on my manuscript, which is exciting. Trying to turn a large, spilling-over thing into a neatly formed and nicely braided thing. When will I be finished, and what will happen then? It’s exciting and I have elaborate, indulgent fantasies about it when I’m running. I know it will not be at all anything like I imagine it will be, but I don’t care. Onward, to whatever comes next!
Here is my biggest secret, though- I want to hike the PCT again. This year. I want to hike it so bad it hurts. I can’t tell if this is a reasonable idea or an absolutely insane idea. I can’t tell if I want to hike again because I love hiking or because I want to run away from everything else. I’m planning to hike the CDT in 2015 with Spark and Instigate and I don’t know if it would be a bad idea to thru-hike this year too- would it be too much to ask of my body, to walk half the year for three years in a row, to live off almonds for fifteen months out of 36? Would it stunt my growth as a human being? Would it damage my already limited ability to stay in one place, to commit to things, to put down roots? And how the FUCK would I pay for it?
Of course there is a giant bucket of variables here. I don’t know what’s going to happen or in which direction I should go, and so for now I will keep doing what I’m doing, and dreaming, and dreaming, and dreaming.
I’ll quote Keats here- I am certain of nothing but the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.