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January 29, 2021

The Wilderness Was Calling

I was dying for a glass of water but had to settle for a shot of whiskey. The music inside the bar was so loud I couldn’t hear it. I endured it...and with enough shots, I eventually even toasted that sonofabitch called life even though it’s always treated me shabbily. I tipped another one back, I knew I shouldn’t but I was sky high so what did I care? Some guy was giving me the evil eye for some reason and stepped in front of me on the way out and then wrote some checks his fists couldn’t cash. Well, late at night in the parking lot outside, peace fell out of my pocket. I didn’t start the fight, but I damn sure ended it. 

With that adventure behind me, I went off in search of the ROAD everyone talks about. Mostly all I found were overgrown weeds, cheap strip malls, and gas stations that sold $3.99 ball hats with stupid sayings on them. I really couldn’t tell much difference between them. It was all noise to me. I’ve always been a wanderer...knowing when it’s time to move on. I crossed the river knowing there was no going back to the ways of old. I walked and kept walking, and walked some more. I hopped a bus and got off somewhere in the north country. My mind drifted into the forest...whereabouts unknown. I swear every path I took seemed to be full of black bears I had to avoid. All the experience I had was the wrong kind of experience, but I did all right. 

Out in the forest there was me and my clouds of breath who were my companions. The trees called to me and I answered enthusiastically. Every fallen leaf had a story to tell and I listened intently. It was getting dark and I looked for a place to park this tired body. I found a spot out of the wind where I could rest. I had trouble getting to sleep because of the big full moon in my eyes but I was alright with it. I was free, so free from the evils of society. Odd, but I could only see well when it was pitch black outside. -zzzz -  I finally fell asleep and woke up under a blanket of happiness and an inch of snow. Left the wilderness of civilization for the civilization of wilderness. 

In the distance were the mountains and all I thought they promised, but mountains don’t make any promises. They didn’t keep the promises that I had made for them, and I realized belatedly they were under no obligation to do so. The deep snow can hide a lot of imperfections on the ground. It was a cold indifferent sun that shone that morning, there was nothing warm about it. I didn’t know whether I was trying to find myself or lose myself but much to my disappointment, I wound up doing neither. Everything had changed yet nothing had changed. It was too cold to stand still and too hot to move. Then, I lit a fire and sat by it with dry sticks and a blank mind. I raised the cup of tea I made to the sky and drank in the universe. 

I thought I saw death crouching behind a rock. I tried to ignore it though because fate always had a way of crushing my spirit and I was tired of having my spirit crushed...but it was there. I waited for the winds of change to blow but it was dead calm. My plan was no plan at all and this would end badly if I went through with it. I thought of just sitting in a snowbank and freezing to death and after spending the better part of the day trying to cozy up to the wilderness, I gave up and started trudging back through the purity of the white snow, and the blackness of my mood towards the main road. Maybe a bus or truck would stop and take me to town. Maybe I’d drop dead in a culvert...didn’t matter to me. I tried to hug the wilderness but it was like a concrete slab that didn’t return my affection and now I had nowhere to go.