Total Miles: 1,407.5
Stugudalen – September 6, 2016
Bits of songs drift through my mind as I walk, the last, lingering pieces of going into town, of days spent dancing. They sync with my steps, my feet hit rocks and mud to the beats of a clave and conga. I catch myself humming into the growing wind.
The air roars to life in the open highlands, ripping across the land like an invisible river flowing north. Every loose piece of fabric, every strap, whips and spins as I walk, cracking in the wind.
It makes me feel alive. I open my mouth and let it flood my lungs. I feel it on my skin. I feel it pressing against me, constant and fierce, as if the wild nature spirits want to remind me that they are still here in the earth and sky, whispering, shouting, making sure I haven’t forgotten them after six days off.
“I remember,” I say. “You didn’t need to worry, I was always coming back.”
The trail stretches out along the low slopes of a string of mountains. I follow it with my eyes as it curves toward the horizon.
Two specks of people move toward me in the distance. I watch them grow as I walk, getting larger over every ripple of earth, until we meet in a windy gully.
They look overwhelmed by it all, coming out into the wild. Misery fills their faces. Complaints fill their mouths.
“But at least we’re not walking into it,” one says. “It’s harder for you.”
I shrug, look up at the trail, and nod. I hadn’t thought about it, really. The wind just was, like it always is out here, blowing or not, cold or not, fierce or not, just a part of it all.
We wish each other luck and I watch them walk away then turn back to the trail, feeling the wind on my face, letting it fill my lungs.
“Visitors,” I think. “That is the difference. They are just visiting.”
The wind is part of my world. The rain, the bogs, the mountains, the rivers, they are all just part of my world. People go to the wild. I go to town. I am no visitor here. The wind is no stranger. This is where I live now. This is my home.
I breathe it in. I smile. I keep walking.