There’s no date anywhere in this book that I pulled out of a box that has been in storage for a long time. I don’t remember writing this, but I think it’s drawn from my first solo backpack trip about 10 years ago:
I felt like a great sage descending from the mountains to bring my newfound wisdom to the turmoil of the city. My hair was as wild and tangled as the scrub brush that whorled its way up the hillsides with me to sweat beneath the purest rays of sun and to breathe the thinnest air. Alone on windy peaks my heart had found victory over fear and all my past dissolved away into insignificance. A thousand bumps and riddles spread out beneath the sun and me, each one signed by rocks, slabs, granite, scree, grass, and tiny flowers casting their labyrinth of shadows away from me, the source of light. Long piercing shouts would rise from my breast of their own accord, falling through the atmosphere to find no human ear. Not until the sun had touched the edge of the sky and the earth had told its story in a dazzling dance of shadows would I descend — to find each mystery multiplied right before my eyes with every step.
At long last, when my life had become so small I had all but forgotten it, I let my descent continue into valleys and forests, along creeks and streams and rivers, over trails and log bridges to a dusty parking area where I greeted my old blue van as if for the frst time.