It’s been 8 years since I made my first steps as a long distance hiker. I never thought it would become my identity the way it has, an obsession, a longing, a need. I need it to be happy, to feel worthwhile, and purposeful. The wilderness is the only place where things make sense to me.
“What are you going to do when you can’t hike?” my Dad asks. The thought makes me uneasy.
I fail at navigating a sensory-overloaded human world, it exhausts me. I’m fucking weird and Mother Nature Don’t Care. I just learned at 32 that “I’m on the spectrum.” This diagnosis is a relief, but it also leaves me feeling scared that I will forever fail at navigating the human world, when I have to go back to it. I have to make money, have friends, fall in love, etc. What if I never have my own house? Health insurance? A partner? Long lasting friendships? I do have one very close long time friend. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, but since I’m transient, I don’t see her as much as I’d like to.
So I’m off to the desert again to see my lizard, coyote, and cacti friends, to sleep with the scorpions on a bed of sweet burnt dusty sand beneath stars blinding bright.