time moves strangely; three weeks fold over themselves like maybe they never existed, and i keep writing august on everything even though september is almost over. it's no use to try and describe the trip, nothing that happened makes sense in a world of automobiles and telephones, all i have to show is a ridiculous tan line and a p-cord bracelet with a little blue bead. but.
we walked some sixty miles through the Blue, in the apache-sitgreaves national forest
. canyons with huge logs wedged thirty feet over our heads, and we watch the gathering clouds nervously. when the desert rains, it doesn't joke around. up blinding mesas, heat heavier than our packs, cat's claw and goat's head and prickly pear, agave and yucca, christmas cactus and barrel. a rattlesnake sleeping where i almost almost
put my foot. bear tracks bigger than our own, rubs on the juniper and claw marks over our heads. up and up and up. wide burns with standing charcoal trees, lupine and pin rose coming out of the new soil. aspens, firs, spruce, at 9000 feet finally a forest that smells like woods. meadow. water gurgling out of a cleft in the rocks, not seeping but springing truly, miraculous, and the group leaders turn their heads while we drink greedily, untreated, this water from stone, blood of the desert. i climb a rock, fifteen feet only, toes and fingertips in cracks and reaching around the cactus, get to the top and everyone cheers. swimming with the pack on, cold cold water in the early morning canyon shade. elk bugles and coyote yips, a butterfly that sat on my nose while i packed my pack. a praying mantis that sat on top of my head all during dinner. trail food: rice, beans, lentils, pasta. greasy cheese. gorp and salmon jerky and smashed crackers.
solo. three-day fast, my stomach refusing any more iodine, dehydration. sun. no fire, no flashlight, no food. no schedule, no neighbors, no speaking, no sound but the buzzing of flies and the whisper of the river. then back to the group, a sweatlodge, bathing in the creek, soup. hiking out to the sound of cars that i keep thinking is thunder, the blunt arching shock of a bridge. home, to my little house with its wide soft bed.
and tomorrow i'm going to washington to visit my bestest friend
. then next monday school
begins and look, hey, i live here, here now, this is where i am.