Every bird is out singing at 4 am. I have never heard this many birds at once. And the way the sunlight hits the white canvas tent through a canopy of deciduous trees, the sound of a nearby creek…I have awaken into reality but one which feels more like a dream.
But the dream fades and human reality slaps me around while I bury shit stained t.p., pick up cigarette butts, used tampons, dirty underwear…
The Appalachian Mountain Club has Ridge Runners look after Sages Ravine, a quiet and peaceful, biologically diverse world near the Connecticut-Massachusetts border. But Sages Ravine is on the mend after too many years of unrestricted human use; humans with no concept of Leave No Trace. At peak times, there can be upwards of 100 people staying here.
Last night there were no human sounds to agitate my murmuring hot mess of a heart and cause me to hold in my stomach. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe when humans make lots of noise; when they slam doors and cupboards and drawers, honk their car horns, talk real loud goddamn right I’ll be heard.
But tonight I get a group of adults from Long Island and they don’t know what a privy is. One of them is whacking a tree with a stick.
Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe.
Sometimes hikers unzip the care-taker tent when I’m asleep. One time it happened at 2 am and I almost let them unzip it all the way but then I yelled “Hey! This is my tent!” The last time I let someone in he intentionally showed me a porn pic on his phone. No more, never again.
One day I find a ridiculous knife at Riga Shelter. Someone used it to smoke hash then left it. I place it within arms reach of the cot.