Day 25: The River Rages On

Date: March 13, 2020

Miles: Zero

I didn’t sleep very well last night, with the lightning, thunder, accompanying peacock screams and Noodle knocking things over and kicking at the bunkhouse door. Have you heard a peacock scream? It’s an unsettling mix of the insistent meow of a very large cat and a crying baby. And when one starts, they all join in.

The lack of sleep probably increased my normally high level of anxiety when it comes to all unplanned events, making it nearly impossible for me to relax today. MaryAnn and I took a walk to the river to see what had happened overnight, and I died a little inside when I saw that it had nearly doubled in size. I’d have to cross a river in order to get to the still impassable river and that was clearly not going to happen.

I retreated to the bunkhouse to feel sorry for myself. I do not do well with unexpected changes to my plans. I don’t sit back and say, ‘well, I guess I’ll just thank my lucky stars for the great fortune of a stranger’s hospitality when I really needed it and wait calmly for the river to recede so I can continue my journey.’ No, rather, I obsess over minute-by-minute weather changes, and all the options for getting the heck out of here as quickly as possible, and panic that my only connection to the outside world is via expensive satellite beacon text messages which I send anyway because I miss having someone to talk to all the time. I tried to relax with a novel, but I read a whole Tony Hillerman story and I couldn’t tell you what it was about because I skimmed words in between staring at the dark clouds that constantly rolled over the mountains I had just crossed, willing them with all my psychic power to just go away already. They ignored me.

When I expressed some of my anxieties to MaryAnn (I kept a complete meltdown to myself, I don’t want her thinking she’s got a crazy person on her hands), she reminded me that this is just the sort of lesson that the trail teaches. Problem is, I’m just as good at accepting lessons as I am at managing my anxiety.

So why is that? Why do obstacles like this spin me around so quickly? Why isn’t my first reaction to see them as part of the universal flow and not as something to waste energy beating my fists against and crying ‘why me?’ I’m able to go with the flow when I’m comfortable, like when I have a vehicle, or friends around, or a food supply that isn’t in shortage. But take those things away and leave me to my own devices? I’m a basket case.

I took some time this afternoon to think about that, to sit quietly and to breathe. Calm started to come in small waves. I took a walk with Noodle and looked for wayward chicken eggs in the grass. MaryAnn brought me warm-from-the-oven carrot cake and assured me that I am safe and that we would see in the morning if the road out of here is passable. I said a quick prayer to the weather gods that they let up for a while, and started another book.

2 Replies to “Day 25: The River Rages On”

  1. Sounds like you found a true trail angel there. I took my son on his 1st backpacking trip when he was 9. Thunderstorms, snow, and anything that could go wrong did. You are so strong to get through these things anxiety ridden or not.

    1. I didn’t feel so strong at the time, but I know that those are the things that help us find confidence in ourselves! That’s so awesome that you and your son are enjoying those adventures…he will remember that forever.

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