Re-Entry Pains

by Lindsey Rudibaugh.  This is a post I wrote after completing the Appalachian Trail but never published.  News of aspiring thru-hikers hitting the trail this month has me feeling an aching nostalgia, so I brushed this off to finally share.  

Lights.  Everywhere, lights.

Noise. Everywhere, noise…but a dead-sounding silence in the house.  No birds.  No bugs. No breeze.

Flushing the toilet. What a waste. Of water – and of waste!  Compost that shit.

Commercials telling us we need things.  We need so little, and we’re more sane with less.

Air fresheners and chlorinated water, so foul-smelling.  Artificial.  Unnatural.

Climate change dismissal from people who have shelters that shelter them from the realities and vagaries of the weather.

Glazed over eyes, people zombie walking through life, stressed and numbing.  Deaf to their own bodies and their place in the whole.  The whole ecosystem, the whole forest.

Questioning what it really means to be sentient.

Conversation.  People really upset about things that don’t matter.  Slowly becoming them again.

Missing the culture of kindness for strangers. Especially around the holidays…seems kindness is a rare gift.

Long-numb toes coming back on line.  Stinging, but a welcome reminder of the immensity of walking a few thousand miles.

Drops in degrees that I could measure in my body, but I’m back to relying on the mercury.

Missing the sky and the sun, living under them, living by their rhythm.

Walking on just my 2 feet, my poles in the closet.  Losing stability, and my toned arms.

Hearing water, honing in with razor-sharp attention.  Water is life.  Reach for collection tools and remember the kitchen tap.  Too easy…deceptive…don’t forget how precious it is.

Sloth syndrome…a body in motion stays in motion…but this body stopped at Springer Mountain.  This connection severed at a road crossing in Georgia where I transitioned from thru-hiker to rat racer.

I long to go back, to walk back the way I came, the way I Became.

2 responses to “Re-Entry Pains”

  1. Thanks for your post. It reminded me that I have felt ‘too inside’ this winter. I remember the cold hikes we took before your trip. I’m missing the snow which seems to come in small annoying bits this year rather than a big blanket designed for play. Reminders are good…thanks for this one! Love you guys!

  2. The words are full of truth and significane. Thank you for bringing them back to light.

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