The Journey of a Million Dreams . . . (Pt.2)

This is the second installment of a three part series documenting a recent hike I took along the Appalachian Trail. It was a simple hike whose lessons spoke to me. 

As I trekked along the snow laden trail, my thoughts turned to the obligations of this age we live in. Efficacy is the watermark of this information age, where intellectualism has replaced the romance of philosophical pursuits. A white picket fence existence has been replaced with house flipping, malls have been supplanted by Amazon and writing the great American novel has turned into a need to brand oneself.

Of course, this is all relative. We are creatures of the age we grow up inside of; vulnerable to the whims and the worries, the hopes and the fears . . . just like all the generations that came before us. We oblige. And we do so out of this need to not get left behind.

The great thing is, a hike is still a hike. Venture a couple miles off the beaten path and you are walking inside a timelessness that does not give a fig about contemporaneous illusions. A hike is where Zeitgeist goes to chill. That’s because nature has no reason to play chess with the screaming expletives, it simply exists. It just is. 

Hiking is a union of simplicity and sanctity. The every day complications go small. A hike lets you in on the truths that no living soul can touch. There is a genuine sincerity in the way your steps piece together . . in the measure of your breaths . . in the silence that is busy planting you into its wake. This is where you find hope . . in the silence.

The trail I chose consisted of myriad personalities, each posing a unique challenge. There were the rock strewn slopes that possessed varying degrees of difficulty, depending on their angular disposition. The physical exertion of uphill climbs tested muscles whose utility is rarely called upon in my daily activities. The descents demanded my utmost concentration; I slinked nimbly through each focused step whilst actualizing the next once planted. There was no respite when the trail went flat, thanks to the snow covered paths. I navigated the asymmetrical configurations by marching sideways rather than straight on, lessening the heft with slashes rather than shovels.

I came across a fallen tree, its one branch extended into my path so I had to step over it. The pulpy entrails were bright and flaky and it didn’t seem possible that something so robust could go on living inside of a dead husk. I imagined what the trail looked like in summer. Pine thistles raining down silently, forming sad fragrant ponds inside the grass and dirt. Random leaves still thick with sap, getting lost inside a hard summer wind. And the brilliant facade of this fallen tree; one minute pretending like it had forever to look forward to, and inside the next, the truth of the matter was laying in front of me.

It was as if I had been dropped inside a crater whose world spoke a foreign language. A language whose unapologetic hum of mysterious appraisals behaved very much like cosmic scaffolding; to the time would come the knowledge and to that knowledge would come its time.

 

 

33 thoughts on “The Journey of a Million Dreams . . . (Pt.2)”

    1. John,

      Thank you kindly Sheriff! I kept these short as far as word count because for me, this was more about what I culled from it rather than about anything exciting having happened. In other words, no bear sightings. And thank Jesus for that . . . lol

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Tails,

      You are soooo right! I was swept up in all three of those, and the better for having experienced it. Like I was telling John, this is a rather simple story. But the effects of it were lasting ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Beautifully written, Marco. Your first paragraph is something that I often find myself thinking about, at times wishing we could go back to a “simpler” (to us) time… but then you say it right after at the end of the second one… the fear of being left behind. A conundrum of sorts.
    Thankfully there is hiking (or walking or running or biking….) to allow us time to let it all go and BE. In the moment. No where else, with no other obligation than to concentrate to not break our neck 😉
    Can’t wait for Part 3…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quebec,

      It’s a conundrum all right! I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to just up and go somewhere. Just go. Walk the earth, so to speak. No ties, just being. Learn new languages, settle in towns for a spell before moving on. And then I remembered . . I’m a hygiene freak who can’t go a day without at least one shower or bath, lol. So much for the romantic in me . . .
      Hiking . . yes. Walking . . yes. Running . . yes. Biking . . I see it in my future.
      But whatever it is, it’s done in order to let it all go for a while. To BE. In the moment . . yes.
      I can’t wait for Part 3 either! lol . .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bronx,
        Hah! I’ve dreamt of doing the same. Just up and going to live in a different place (umm… Italy, mayhaps?) and living with the locals, learning the language, the culture. So no problemo with the whole hygiene thing 😉 … Then maybe off to Portugal, Spain, France… hmmmm., Oh yeah. Gotta get rid of my kids first.
        Live. Be. Love.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Quebec,
        It’s the spirit world talking to us when such dreams may come as those. I believe so anyways. I believe we’re spoken to in languages we can’t decipher, and they are delivered in the wind.
        Yup, I am really gonna have to get another hobby, lol. I have been expelled from dinner table conversations lately on account of I sound like I am doing heavy drugs. Shame of it is, I am too tame to ever do such a thing. I’m a lightweight. Alcohol is as crazy as I get.
        But seriously, you have countries! I was like, dreaming about the midwest, Cali, the great Northwest, and for some reason, Montana.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Bronx,
        It is talking to us… must of us don’t even try to listen!
        Then come over to my table. I’ll supply the alcohol – ok, and the food.
        I do. And frankly, Montana is absolutely gorgeous. I’d go back in a jiffy! South Dakota is pretty cool, too…

        Liked by 2 people

      4. You’re right, I think people are so wrapped up in the here and now. It’s amazing how one’s view of life changes when you let go of that which is known and expected.
        Montana looks absolutely gorgeous.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It is definitely worth the trip… And I only saw a smidgen of it with the plan to return. It was, um… back in ’92 when I went so I am more than due to return, dontcha think?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Simply amazing! I’ve often thought about that notion of change vs the “golden age” of a history that seems to exist only in our minds. Nature continues in spite of all the changes and perceived changes going on around us. Very profound piece- it really made me think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So true. I love the cadence of our steps and breath when we escape our routines. Most of all I love the noise that fills the silence on any hike. Thank you for sharing. “This is where you find hope . . in the silence.”

    Liked by 1 person

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