I open my eyes. Still tired. Notice the dew on the tent, the sun just beginning to work. Muscles aching, I wriggle out of my sleeping bag.
I rub my sore feet before lacing up my dirty Altras. What, after all, am I wearing that isn’t dirty? I laugh to myself.
Down some chow, a protein bar will suffice for now. A swig of water. Break camp. Get everything in the pack, hoist it on my tired back.
Time to hit the trail. I grab my poles.
Yesterday morning, I remember how excited I was to see that verdant green as I came over the ridge. The sunlit hills lay before me looking lush and inviting after my time in the forest. There was an incline, but the trail was easy pickings.
The miles passed under my feet as the sun rose, arced over me, and then made its ponderous descent. I pulled my hat low.
As the day waned, I realized the trail was cresting. One foot in front of the other. Left. Right. I looked up as I reached the top.
I laughed out loud. Ruefully. Nature seems to enjoy cooking up all these surprises for me. There before me I saw what looked like the surface of the moon or maybe Mars: a harsh, monochromic terrain, strewn with boulders. It looked like a long, hard trek. I set up camp in the grassy field.
This morning, I look ahead as I approach the forbidding land. It is shrouded with heavy, damp air. The towering rock formations loom like surly titans patrolling the perimeter.
Go, though, I will. I have trudged these many miles alone, discovering my rightful place in this cryptic world both savage and beautiful. This is, after all, the point.
Left. Right. Damn, this pack’s heavy.
One day, soon enough, I’ll crest another hill, and find myself back in the phantasmagoria that I used to call normal. The city lurks unseen, out there, like a distant planet for now — far more ominous and strange in many ways than these brooding rock behemoths.
Thank you, Sue Vincent, for the inspiration of this week’s #WritePhoto prompt.