After a two week hiatus, I bring you another guest post, this time from the third member of our JMT trio, Katie McCahan. Katie wrote this piece the night before we started the trail while we were staying at the Dow Villa in Lone Pine, CA. It sums up, for me, the feelings of loneliness, fear, and excitement that come right before what we know is going to be a big event…
I am in the prologue of the adventure. We are all making our final preparations, maybe stalling here and there, trying to hold on just a while longer in excited trepidation. It’s like that nervous rush of adrenaline when you know you are definitely going to jump, but your body is still saying, “Oh God, oh God, oh God.” I feel the pull of my fast approaching future like the slow slipping that starts at the top of a slide as gravity gradually works you into the fast descent. Everything will move quickly once we get to the beginning; we will be hiking and traveling in a matter of days. But now, all that can be done is wait as the pieces that have been carefully planned and prepared for fall into place.
Right now the pain of being lonely is fresh. I feel as though I am a child who is so excited for the next day that they do not want to sleep, so their parents gently tell them that the sooner they do, the sooner they will awaken and the day will be there. But what I am about to embark on is not a mere dream to rouse from quickly and detached, and it’s not about being away from those I care about. It is about being with an adventure. An adventure that is yet unknown. An unknown that contains memories and people and food and places that are just waiting to happen, like Christmas gifts under the tree.
It has been a tumultuous tumble to now, with much planning, training, and packing. The three of us have had piles stacked around for months: of dried food and ideas, of gear and goodbyes. But now everything has been organized, sent, written, and said. So here we sit, on the coach and at the table, cooking with stoves and playing with music. I picture us when we get out of our rented car and start walking up a dirt trail in the middle of nowhere -or maybe it’s somewhere- I don’t know yet.
All of us are about to become a character in stories that will be shared around our kitchen tables, but for now I’m stuck anticipating the “You’re a wizard, Harry” part of it. I am experiencing the things that happen and feeling that they are not independent events, but part of a progression to the start. It is interesting to realize that despite my deepest wishing, I cannot slow or speed up the course of time. There always has to be a beginning, so let’s wait around some more, it’ll happen eventually, like all things.
Molly and Katie