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[pct-l] 6 months ago

It has been six months since I first crossed the Canadian Border (9/21/96) and I thought you might be interested in reading how one through-hiker may be doing.

I am back living in the city.  I do not feel like throwing up anymore everytime I am in a moving vehicle.  I drive to work, trying to blend in with the rest.  I wear ankle weights (10 lbs each) walking around work from sunrise to sunset like shackles, maybe metaphorically telling me what I feel of this life.  I have begun to lose all those extra weight I gained right after the trail.  I have cleaned my living room.  All my pictures in the PCT are in 12 albums.  I have attempted to show those pictures to some close friends twice but could not get them to relate.  My diet has adapted to this way of life.  I have stopped eating breakfast, just lunch and dinner.  So all in all, I think I am ok.

But last night...

In the midst of the dark, I dreamt that I was speaking with someone about how I felt when I ended the trail.  There, I saw myself crying and that certain heaviness in my heart was more real than ever, the wonderful life, the struggle, the pain, the meaning, the ending, standing straight as if I were made out of steel, protecting myself from all these invisible points that seemed to stab at me.

I woke up in the middle of the night, not being able to breathe easily, stood up, and heard this old clock ticking louder than ever.  In a daze, I shook it, the ticking sound did not dissipate.  What is it telling me?  Time...  I finally unplugged the clock, went back to sleep, and woke up to birds greeting the coming day.  Spring is here.

But I am not ok.  The change that happened to me is very deep that only rises through moments when I am at peace and honest with myself.  Yes, I am still grieving.  Time heals everything, but not necessarily to the same state.  Now, knowing, will I ever be satisfied of this city life?  I do not know.

For all you hikers, may you have a safe journey.  Nourish your self, and if things begin to turn difficult, see it as a sign that you are growing.

All the best, Ben

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