my throbbing thick thighs
sweat slipping down my spine
each breath blasting through my ear drums
climbing me from the base to the peak
more religion than the stained glass
I walk to the edge of the road, gravel crunching under my Hokas and a slight evergreen stained breeze dusting my face. Goosebumps run down my spine, not out of chill but fascination. My only decision was turn left or right. I turn right. Immediately I start pushing up the hill, my legs turning over much quicker than they normally would. We had been in the car close to the entire day. We woke up in Cracker Barrel parking lot after a restless night, stumbled in for some sweet golden nectar and then got back on the road. Stress was a building most of the day. He and I were just not mushing right today. It was upsetting and confusing because I couldn’t pinpoint why.
I’m now a half mile down the road, feet bouncing below me, Lake McDonald to my right. I feel alive. The trees smell like home and the whisper slipping between their branches twinkles through my mind. Finally it feels like my racing mind begins to slow. My panic about us subsides and my determination to simply love with no expectations returns. I think about him setting up the tent back at camp. Probably still agitated over our argument. What was it about? I can’t remember anymore. Tuna fish? Was it maybe about eating tuna fish for dinner? It feels far, far away now. Now it’s just me and the trees and the mountains.
I wonder if I should turn around soon. My attention moves from the peak of in the distance to the bear spray clutched in my left hand. I was still new at this. Grizzlies and I don’t know each other very well. And I really didn’t know what I’d do if I saw one.
“HI BEAR.” I blurted out, a little spit spraying from my lips. Unsure if that did anything helpful and feeling admittedly a little stupid. “HI BEAR” almost like a convulsion, another bursts from my lips. This was probably safe, I thought.
I keep pushing up. The smell is just too good. I know I’ll be able to smell the firey evergreens when I’m back at camp but it’s not going to be the same. It won’t be like this. Peace in movement and lost in thought with a wide open heart. I continued to run. Up and up and up.
At the gates of Glacier, I cried. This place slept in my heart for a very long time, and now we were meeting for the first time. It was overwhelming. We also had run out of food, had no plans for what to eat for dinner, it started pouring as soon as we drove in.
“HI BEAR.” Over and over I’m spilling this line. It starts to pair with my stride which is a little fun. I feel like a human metronome. I was probably a spectacle if someone saw me, but there was no one out there. Just me the peaks and the grizzlies.