There’s a skill I haven’t had before. It involves wit and energy plus time and patience. I believe that equals fortitude and perhaps strength.
Patience with my body, patience with my mind, and patience with my breath. It all comes together when one climbs a mountain in the middle of Maine. It also collides when one is doing so alone.
One of the main reasons I began this trek was to find solitude. “Get away from your device and be closer to nature!” is what I had as a mantra leading up to my departure from Philadelphia. Well, one doesn’t truly leave their device at home regardless of how far one is from the next town, for it has a map on it, and one can see exactly where one is at all times with GPS. Technology is lovably incredible.
Also, being closer to nature is a definite truth, but when it coincides with thousands of mosquitoes and flies, the diminishing effect of the surrounding beauty is instant and disheartening. Believe me, the pock marks on my legs, torso, arms, hands, and even my face are beyond what I’ve ever experienced. Constantly slathering DEET all over is only fun for no one.
So this game I’ve been playing from Monson to Caratunk has been one of the toughest games of my life. The game of fixing and tuning a piano? Unbelievably difficult. Video games after a few beers? Fun, but sloppy and laughable. The mental and physical game of hiking miles alone over mountains and river crossings? Darn near impossible.
37 miles is not a lot. It’s minuscule, but it proved to me that this project isn’t for the weak nor the cocky individual. Going at your own pace and finding the sunlight on a dark day is just as important as getting to the next shelter and getting 8 hours of sleep, then waking up and doing it again. That’s a skill not many people get the chance to perfect, and I’m unsure if there is a way to make it so!