Recently I went to a writing group for cancer survivors. The coordinator gave us prompts, letting us write for several minutes after each prompt. I was surprised to find that much of my writing that day had to do with hiking.
It’s been many months since I’ve been able to take a proper hike – and even more since I’ve taken a proper hike. Between the cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery, the job from hell before that, and a long bout with bronchitis, I haven’t been in a place to hike since before Christmas.
God, how I miss the trail. There are moments on the trail when my heart feels like bursting. When I look around, amazed by the greatness, the beauty, the power. When a cool breeze tickles my face, when I’m on top of the world, looking down on everything. When I feel at one with the universe and all the life it holds.
I feel strong on the trail. Even when I’m huffing and puffing and stopping every 2 minutes because the path is so steep, I feel strong. When I get blisters on my feet I feel strong. When I flop down on the ground, utterly exhausted at the end of a hike I feel strong.
It has been almost a month and a half since my surgery and I feel like my body is almost ready to hike again. (Apparently, my brain is already ready to go.) My stamina is up – I can walk 2 miles on flat ground now. The lingering pain around my incision is gone.
Next week I’m traveling to New Mexico and I am packing my hiking shoes. It may be a short one, but I plan to hike a trail while I’m there. It’ll be the first of many more trails in my future.