happy birthday to me
On the occasion of my upcoming birthday (40 + approx @%*!!), I’m heading out on a solo backpacking trip.
During the day, when I think about my trip, I’m all: Wild plants! Connecting with the blessings of nature! Waking up to bird song! Slowing way down! The mental clarity that comes from being alone in the woods! Feeling the power of my own two legs! At night when the doubts come knocking on my cranial door, I have a little mantra I repeat about “peaceful nocturnal animals staying in their own areas.”
And really, the nighttime doubts and fears are more about the unknown (I’ve slept in the woods enough to know that wild animals really don’t want to visit my camp, except for one highly persistent mouse-type scurrying around under my tarp a couple summers ago). The unknown! It’s such a vast, amorphous and shifting little nightmare. And really, I’m onto myself. When the doubts whoosh in, I try to shine the light of awareness on them, catching them before they do too much unaccompanied sneaking around. “Hello there, fears!” I say really loudly, “I see you’re back. Take a number.”
But it’s daytime, so I’m excited again. Excited to experience the wild world directly, to get a glimpse into my own humanity as reflected back to me in an aspen forest, to get curious about the taste of columbine nectar, to loosen the reins of control, to simply walk, to love the rain without a roof (the weather forecast is fierce), or I don’t know, just to not have to share my bacon and chocolate for a few days. I’ve got my sleeping tarp, my rain poncho, one pot, one bowl, one spoon, a book (OK, two books – last night was like speed dating for bibliophiles, scrutinizing the first pages of five books I brought home from the library), a large helping of trust, and the sweetest family awaiting my return at a nearby campsite.
And if you pray, pray for me, but only because I’m not bringing coffee.
p.s. Col and I planted a 3-sisters garden (corn, beans and squash) last weekend. Why does the boy look so aggrieved? Must tone down zealous delivery.