Preparing for Departure
This is my first blog post. Ever.
Well, I may have started a blog at some point and never published it. Or published it but never told anyone about it. I seem to have a vague recollection of some kind of incident with a blog-- but I don't think it paints a very favorable picture of me, and I don't quite remember the specifics, which come to think of it, probably go hand in hand.
I'd like to start off by thanking you for reading this. I have no idea at this point what kind of content this blog will report, except that I'll be writing about whatever comes up during my long hike of the Pacific Crest Trail this summer. I tend to write journal entries that share a general sense of what's happening, the day to day life events, and then ramble a bit about whatever I might be thinking of in that particular moment. And since I have to imagine my primary readers will be family and close friends-- most likely my Mom and possibly my Dad if he finds his way back to this website (he is not really a computer person...)-- I am happy to say that I feel a palpable sense of connection to you readers. While I haven't left yet, I will, I'm sure, truly enjoy sharing this experience with you all in this quite intimate, though also very public way.
Today, Patrick and I sorted through the maps and guidebook pages that we purchased a few weeks ago (Halfmile maps and Yogi guidebook for those of you interested in the details), placing each section in its requisite plastic ziplock bag. We're planning a hybrid resupply strategy this time of mailing ourselves some resupply boxes, but buying food along the way whenever possible. When we hiked shorter sections of the PCT in 2007 and 2009 we sent (or rather, Patrick's parents dutifully sent) all of our food to post offices and small pit stops along the way. This strategy became a bit cumbersome when some small stores and post offices had limited hours, restricting the free form schedule that such a trip can so luxuriously afford. Plus, its just not necessary for many points along the trail. My one anxiety about this strategy is that our days "off" in towns will become overly busy and/or stressful. However, I realize much of that feeling of "business" is a mind manifestation. And if I check in regularly with the story my mind is creating, I may find that all the "busy" energy is just coming from that stream of thoughts that is all too easy to tap into.
I think this might be a good time to interject some philosophical/ spiritual bent to this blog post. I just returned a week ago from my first 8 day silent meditation retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. The retreat ended on my 32nd birthday, and the retreat itself could not have been a better birthday present to myself. While I had illusions going into it that the retreat would be a kind of vacation from my life at the homestead-- a week free from planning and projects and working on the house. In its own way it was a break. An amazing, peaceful, break. But the break was really from myself. Or maybe I should say, my "self". I was freed from the self that constantly needs to be busy. That thinks of one thing to do after another. One thing that should be done, that could be done, that I should do, and you should do. The teachers of the retreat often quoted their teacher from the Thai forest tradition, Ajahn Chah. One quote really stuck with me-- its so simple that most friends seem to have little reaction when I tell them about it-- but I heard it at just the right time, in just the right way. Ajahn Chah would say "Don't rush. Never Rush." That's it. For me, those simple words have a profound lesson. He doesn't say, "Don't rush, except when you're late, or you have a deadline." There's no exceptions, no explanations-- just "Don't rush." That's it.
I think part of the reason that I relate so strongly to those simple words is that energy that I talk of fearing on a day "off" in town, resupplying, is just that. It is a rushing energy. It is a grasping, needy energy that can't be quenched except by getting it all done. Which reminds me of another quote that Patrick and I love by Lao Tzu, "Nature doesn't hurry, yet everything is accomplished." And that's the real secret isn't it? There's no need to hurry, to mindlessly busy ourselves. And what Ajahn Chah says implies that even when we tell ourselves, "well, I have to hurry right now, I've just got to get this done by etc., etc., etc." it is not the truth. The truth is, nature doesn't hurry-- and everything truly is accomplished.
0 Miles Hiked-- Still in VT
3/27/2015 03:49:25 pm
Loved your blog, Meggie. I look forward to reading all about your journey. I'm also looking forward to seeing you and Patrick, in a few weeks.
4/2/2015 11:44:06 am
Thanks, Barbara! We are really looking forward to our time out west. Can't wait to visit with you and your family!
3/28/2015 09:22:39 am
Don't rush. Never rush.
4/2/2015 11:45:46 am
It's so great to hear from you Andrea! Thanks for reading! I'm going to try to stick to the blogging... we'll see what computer access is like on the trail...
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Recording moments from our journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. (All pre-2015 entries are Patrick's words on work and life at the homestead).