Wednesday, February 17, 2016

15 miles to nowhere and back

The plan was to sneak off into the fading whiteness as early as childcare allowed. Climb over snowbanks of swiss cheese. Slip the gate and walk the high wet hallways of the canyon. Plan for mud but carry snowshoes.

I had looked at Bowman's & Gobblers Knobs.  Traced the long dotted line of the Lambs trail sprouting from Elbow Fork. I even considered Desolation to the overlook and possibly Thaynes to nowhere.

I was mostly undecided but I knew I wanted to be beyond the gate. That knocked out Desolation; I hadn't wanted to hike with a ghost dog anyway. Nor had I wanted to lock myself down into the narrow shoots of Thaynes.

But I was willing to drive the canyon she and I used to hide away in. Drinking warm Wyoming beer pulled from her backpack, U2 playing from a tape deck, sisters driving with the windows down, hands out to the wind, my feet on the dashboard.

All night I dreamed my day off. My mind ticking away at what to bring and what to leave behind: pack my work clothing, just in case the day grew long. A couple of oranges, water, my camera, a few of bucks to pay the toll, a few more to buy coffee when I am all done...

But the morning brought a heaviness that filled up all the free space. I already feel 15 miles gone.

Sure I can hike or write or clean the house. I get the feeling it doesn't matter which of those I do. They are all chalk on a blackboard.

But I might as well go because no matter where I step today until I walk through the doors of the gym to take my place behind the desk, I will walk with ghosts.
     

“(September 13) Time is useless here.  Life happens with rhythms directed by the unforgiving heat.  The need for coffee makes it morning, the wanting of shade brings lunch, the mention of whiskey carries the evening, and the hypnotic light of a billion stars resurrects the demons of the night. Just being here is exhausting.  ~Able Manning, Keeper Ranch, Utah”  Life With Man, by mlb


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