Trail Tripping

Day 113: North of Burney, CA

Life is rife with irony. Yesterday I was noting that I feel more in tune with my body then I ever have in my whole life. This is one of the fittest periods I’ve ever had. I have been doing exercises to my upper body to balance the strength I’ve gained in my lower. I feel I can interpret hunger from thirst, tired from angry from sad without a blink. I have decided, and succeeded, to catch no cold or any other bug during these months outside in radical temperature differences, sharing spoons with friends, and sometimes not bothering to filter my water.  Short of a hangover, I haven’t had a single measly headache.

And yet, today my feet just don’t fit. Maybe it’s because I wear shoes a size too big to allow my feet to swell, but it feels more like a general clumsiness. I have tripped already this morning many times. I have each time caught myself either with my poles or with an agile dance, but I am reminded by each and every foot catch that I could go down to the ground and that would be ugly.

Yet no trip would ever be worse than the one I took late in the Sierras. I was coming down a steep rock staircase when one foot got caught in a boulder and would not release. I found myself completely perpendicular to the ground and two and a half feet above it. At the very last second, when I had already determined I was going to hit the ground face first, somehow my foot released and with lightning speed placed itself under my chest. I was saved by a miracle. I stood up slowly, took inventory, and stood still in a prayer of gratitude for a solid minute.

Generally, each trip is nothing but an annoyance, a slow down.  It made me feel clumsy; I bruised my ego. But when it happens over and over, I do find myself wondering: “how many steps do I have to take until I learn to walk?”

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