Hey, dear readers! Happy autumn; glorious colored trees!
There’s a saying on the trail that basically translates to: “You’ve gotta do what you feel is right.”
Related to all of life.
Here are some scattered pieces of brain from the past few weeks, after I flew back into Quebec (whew, they let me in).
Before I got back to the mountains, some 300 or 500 or whatever miles north, Mother asked me to stay in a hostel for some days, so I could have an address to receive a package. I slowly traipsed through the city, restlessly read too many books while I was waiting, and banged on the poor hostel’s piano, like a deranged stripey badger. So it goes.
While I was in cityland, a lovely Englishman and I were chilling at a bar, when we heard a screech and a crash from the nearby intersection.
*OK DRAMATIC PAUSE because
four travelers just walked into this tiny cafe in-the-middle-of-the-Gaspe-peninsula, and one of them is wearing a jacket from the fleet of schooners I worked for in Maine. They know the captains I worked with, and have been sailing with them for ten years, alright.
WOW tiny towns.
Ok. Back to story.
The screech and crash belonged to a car and motorcycle collision, with the distraught driver standing helplessly nearby, and the helmetless dazed rider in a spreading pool of blood and gasoline on the ground.
I sat on the couch at the hostel that night, with the smell of gas fading into black stains on my fingertips, being quiet and occasionally reading my book. We weren’t the only ones there. She was fine (hopefully).
We didn’t do much, only made the driver turn off their car; carefully removed the motorcycle from on top of the motorcyclist; and poked at her like chickens until she was out of the spreading pool of gas. Afterwemadesure it could be done without making anything more injury, and would improve the situation greatly, kids, that part’s kinda really important.
I’d forgotten I had done that in my life; things, sometimes, in emergencies.
I’d gotten so used, this year, to being simply Happy Small Hiker Woman, talks like 2-year-old French child, how nice. The biggest thing (also in life, I suppose) is to make sure that whatever you do leaves the person better off than before. There might be hurts that aren’t bad unless the person is moved. Sometimes it’s best to just be still.
That’s ok, too.
I’d been mildly grumpy, because I was tired of folks making incorrect assumptions about me, who I am, whether I’m a fuctional hiker or not. And I internalize it, a bit. It’s hard not to. But a good part of becoming most fully you involves walking with confidence in your own story.
Not in an arrogant way (though I do that all the time, ugh). More just understanding what I can do, what I can’t do now, and maybe ideally a clear picture of what someday I would dream of doing, with a good bit of forgiveness for making mistakes, and being ok with learning from them.
Maybe I’ll be better next time, because of this. Maybe I’ll just keep being awful, which is ok too. Can’t expect a fish to climb a tree, after all.
I read somewhere along this hike (bookkk???) that every time you encounter a conflict, it’s a chance for growth. For two colliding spheres to become something more; to develop something deeper, or begin creating something new.
Conflict recurring over and over was something something a sign that there was further growth to be done something… But each time you meet that conflicting bit, and address it (whether with inanimate objects like mountains or small rocks; or with other people and groups) there is growth that happens. Every single time. Sometimes it takes a lot. Sometimes it can take a while. You’re doing good.
Be patient with that.
Umm… speaking of my life conflicting because of incomplete stories… I used to parallel park 77-person-capacity schoolbuses in tiny spaces, which is an ability I have probably already lost, but wish more people knew about and thus will proudly proclaim until I’m 90. “WE KNOW, GRAMMA.”
This has no part in the stories people think when they see me, but it certainly is a part of the entire story that makes me me, so TAKE NOTE.
I just had to say that to all of you, so thank you for reading.
In other news, I’ve been walking through lots of cool places. It snowed yesterday. Look at this snow face, which is happy unlike my freezing cold toes that walk the woods in moist and despairing socks….. and these caribou that I walked past.
Be good people, or at least as long as we’re all trying I’m sure there’s hope. Here, look at this mountain.
More later. Maybe. My phone’s gonna die, and I don’t know if I’ll have a charge for such many days. Maybe after I’m out of Quebec.
Be so well, my peoples!
Freeland says “middle finger emojis”. That’s his way of showing support.
I say 😲😻👍❤☀❄🏔🌈
Is that a hiking staff?
Beautiful pictures and great to hear about your adventures?
After Quebec is it Port aux Basques?
Now you are making sense. Wisdom beyond your ears. Or is it “years”? Ya gotta do what you gotta do. “Sail” is what happens when you go where the wind takes you, Often against your will. Where you will be happy to be. To paraphrase the last line from the preface of my latest book, written 20 years ago.