I am a terrible person to take for a hike.
Oh, I follow safety guidelines, I pack my weight, and I don’t make bad jokes about going over the edge of the cliff.
I am not a destination hiker.
I do not hike to reach the end point.
The end point is a pleasant side effect of hiking.
I cannot tell you how many steps to the summit.
I can tell you when the mallow is in bloom, where the siskens nest, what the sun looks like when it reflects off the surface of a still alpine pond.
I know what it feels like to run sphagnum through my fingers, to peer so close to the tree I can see the paths created by ants running lace-like through the bark.
My feet are not ephemeral, passing without recognition along a fixed pathway.
They are connected, solidly, to the world beneath me.
I acknowledge this world with every step, with every word I write.
I am not a thousand feet away, staring out from the summit.
Every step, every word-
I am here.
While spending too much time looking at where I am rather than where I am going, I have also written a fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor. It is available here.