Waking early I got to writing as soon as possible. I wanted to get caught up, I was more than a week behind and in a funk, could this be part of it I thought. One by one I met her roommates that morning. Each as excited to meet me as I was to meet them. They were so supportive of the hike in our brief conversations. I secretly hoped to take a zero day so I could spend more time with all of them. I knew that wouldn’t happen, Luigi would want to get moving as soon as he woke up. Good thing for me I wasn’t going to wake him up, he needed the rest.
Sitting there writing, Samantha came down and joined me in the living room. Before long we were looking at old photographs and talking of deeper more meaningful conversation. Maybe she sensed my apprehension, my feelings of lost and bewilderment as she plucked up the piano and started to play. First warming up over Beethoven and then moving to a beautiful song. She gracefully touched the keys with her fingers as her voice rose up in song.
When you don’t know where you’re going and you don’t know why
It feels like another day’s beating into the night
Lay your head on my chest while my beatin’ heart
pounds out the secret of this life
Sitting there watching her fingers play, listening to her voice, it felt as if I was the only one in the world. I just listened to her voice as she sang the words of the song. Reaching deep into me, she knew me to the core in that moment. Her nurturing support and kind words encouraged me to continue this journey, to not falter. Here I was over a thousand miles in on this journey and I needed motivation to keep going. I was tired, my soul was tired and that was alright. I had come a long way and I was reassured by her.
Leaving her place the next morning we went back to the trail, back to the grind. Things were different this morning, you could feel the tension, apprehension and difference in feelings between us. Luigi was on fire, deadest on getting to Pawling NY, to go to the city and for once I was the distraction, I was the barrier for him. I couldn’t find my center and he couldn’t get forward enough together. I knew we would split up that morning, we both needed our time apart to refocus on what we wanted.
Saying goodbye to Samantha was hard to do, I couldn’t find the words to show my gratitude and appreciation for her nurturing and all her kindness. She had taken us in and given more than I could ever want or need. She somehow knew what we, I, needed and taken care of us for no other reason than it made her happy to do so. How could I convey that? I fuddled with my words as we said goodbye and I watched Luigi go. I was on my own again, hopefully back to my center.
It’s been hard to concentrate each morning, getting that focus back has been harder than I thought. I put on the song she played for me and let my mind go. Wandering to the furthest reaches of my consciousness. I was lost, adrift in my own thoughts of worry and despair. The end was coming into view and I wasn’t ready to finish, I was hesitant. I wasn’t ready to let go of this wonderfully beautiful adventure. if I didn’t finish this one there would be no others, I would have to move forward and let go. But how, I thought.
I found myself climbing the mountains lost there in my own world. By the early evening I had just one more mountain to climb for a view before the sun would set. Bear Mountain stood in my way and I attacked it wearily, the days of no sleep had taken its toll on my physical stamina. Laboring up the hundreds of rock steps I kept looking to the sky watching the sun. I just wanted to catch the sunset for once, to take in the beauty I pushed hard past.
Reaching the summit I was greeted by a lovely young couple out on a romantic date. without missing a beat they said hello and asked if I was hungry. Offering me crackers, hummus and water we sat watching the sun slowly drop in the sky. Sharing my story with them and theirs with me, we inspired each other to do more. To keep going in our journeys. I left them to look at the other side of the mountain, thanking them and saying goodbye I slowly started to feel better that evening.
Watching the sun come down over the view. I was surrounded by dozens of visitors who were there for the same thing, a group of young boys looked at a group of young girls, hoping to get he courage to talk to them. One walked over and gave them flowers and said hello while his friends stared on. Couples were on dates, people from all over came to watch the sun come down. We were all here for the beauty that night. Pitching my tent right there I lay awake for the evening, hoping for sleep to come.