Lusting After Wanderlust

A friend and I had tea together today, which was so nice, we couldn’t figure out why we didn’t do it more often, though the truth is, we are both busy and our schedules don’t often coincide.

We both live alone, and one of the things we talked about was getting feeble and if there would come a time when we would need to text each other (or text someone, anyway) every day to let them know that we are okay. My next-door neighbors pay attention to the shade in my computer room; if it’s up, they know I’m awake and okay. If it’s closed in the morning or the lights don’t come on at night, they will text me to make sure I’m okay, so I do have that bit of security. More than a bit, actually. It’s very comforting to know that my neighbors would notice if something happened to me.

My friend and I soon decided to change the subject because it was too depressing talking about getting feebler, and besides, it didn’t really seem all that relevant because both of us were feeling good today. Good meaning no real problems. Good meaning not old. Good meaning feeling the way we always did.

Walking home, there was even a spring in my step, and it seemed as if I could do anything I used to do. Until I turned on the computer at home and saw photos from a hiking group I belong to and never unjoined because it seemed too much like giving up. Seeing those photos of various individuals walking on trails way beyond civilization, gave me a bad case of wanderlust.

I might still feel as if I can do what I used to, but the truth is, hiking alone in the wilderness is out of the question. But oh, I do miss those adventures! There was nothing like it, being out alone among the rocks or trees, following a trail wherever it led, nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other and breathe in the freedom. Although I wish I lived closer to a wilderness area, as I did when I lived near the desert, or when I spent that summer in Crescent City with a friend who so generously dropped me off at the beginning of a trail and picked me up at the other end, I suppose it’s just as well I don’t live closer. It’s hard enough yearning for wilderness trails that are beyond reach; it would be almost unbearable if the trails were but a hand’s breadth away and yet I couldn’t trust myself to hike alone.

I might feel differently someday. My knees aren’t really giving me any problem, and I’m gradually getting back in the habit of walking (weather and work permitting) so who knows what I’ll be able to do in the future. And who knows what I won’t be able to do since generally people don’t get younger with the passage of time. But I don’t want to think about that.

Still, walking is good. Trying to get into hiking shape is even better. If nothing else, it will give me something to focus on rather than a possibly feeble future.


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2 Responses to “Lusting After Wanderlust”

  1. Malene Says:

    Pat, all these years later, I still read your blog and, not infrequently, it inspires in me wanderlust. These past to years of being nearly always housebound have made me long for the desert even more deeply. I hope to be able to spend significant time in the Southwest in the very near future. It’ll be balm for the soul. XOXO

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