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God, New Hiking Boots and the Appalacian Trail

God, New Hiking Boots and the Appalacian Trail

God, New Hiking Boots and the Appalacian Trail

godmist2

 

I seem to find God when I am hiking. I am fortunate to hike in remote, beautiful places, often alone.  It usually feels disrespectful, or dangerous to listen to music, so I hike in silence.  It’s the perfect formula for contemplation – begging the questions, where did all this splendor come from and why am I fortunate enough to be seeing it? Hiking makes me feel very large and very small at the same time, like a meteor shower does in a place with no light pollution.

 

Sometimes I Stumble…

The greatest breakthrough on my journey toward sobriety happened while trekking in St. Augustine’s spectacularly desolate Guana Reserve.

 

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I walk as one with nature, birds on my shoulders and squirrels scampering in my wake like St Francis of Assisi (or Snow White). In fact, I tramp along with my thoughts, ideas or snippets of memory. I’m thinking of the next footfall and whether my new boots are going to hurt like the ones I took to Canyon Ranch and ended up throwing away in a fit of pique because they made my feet go numb.

 

I was on the Appalachian Trail Saturday: a rigorous enough climb that on a warm, December weekend, there were only a few cars in the turnoff. The AT does not mess around. There are no gradual grades to warm you, no bunny slopes – it starts out going briskly up and keeps on going up. The first part of the hike I thought about my new shoes, my ankles, my tortured breathing and bears.

 

godmist

 

Georgia Mountains in Winter

The Georgia mountains in winter are russet and brown and a Tim Burton-esque study of narrow, odd, oak tree trunks. The mountains surrounding are dusty blue. The path is thick with dried leaves. There is a beautiful monotony to it all and after an hour of being tricked over and over again I was almost to the top, it occurred to me I wasn’t thinking at all.

 

Which started me thinking again.

 

I stopped, and I was in a glen, sun-filled – neither top nor bottom of the hill. I was very large and very small at the same time. And I thought about where I was, about my lifesaving sobriety, about the fervent outpouring of love and help I have received. There was no sound, until I filled the silence with the words, “Thank you,” and “Please God, show me the way.”

 

I can’t be the first wanderer to find glory on the Appalachian Trail. In fact, you can feel it; prayers have risen up from these woods before. Just like the cloud-mist, burning off in the afternoon sun.

 

Today I’m not drinking, because it is not the way.

How come you’re not drinking?

 

Comments (9)

  1. Kim
    Dec 15, 2014

    How come you're not drinking?
    because I'm crying
    I lack the eloquence to express how much your blog movesme

    • Kim
      Dec 15, 2014

      I also lack a space button

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Dec 15, 2014

      It was a real ball fest for me too. I was too tired to go to town last night to email photos to myself, so I had to do it at 7 AM this morning – 27 degrees and frost on the fields, crying piteously…

      Thank you for your part in this journey. I could not have done it without you and your (relentless) spiritual guidance.

      And you ARE eloquent.
      Love.

  2. George
    Dec 15, 2014

    You are on the path to finding the way. And this is th etime to do it. The light you seek to show you the way is here and at the same time, is coming. Soon.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Dec 15, 2014

      It’s funny – all the symbolism about paths and walking toward light… Thanks for reading George. I will never forget you were the first person I turned to when the path was lost…
      xxoo
      M

  3. Jill
    Dec 15, 2014

    Well I can’t say I am not drinking…but the beauty of your writing and the “one with God” when hiking, reflects so much of my own feelings – yet I am not able to express it as well as you. I love you, am SO proud of you, and think of you so often!

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Dec 15, 2014

      I was just thinking of you today. A lot. I saw the photos of Drew and I was thinking how much I miss you and that I hate how much time goes between our conversations. Thanks so much for the comment and I will send you a long email with contact number soon! Merry, merry Christmas my dear!
      Love,
      Marilyn

  4. C
    Mar 6, 2016

    How come you're not drinking?
    Been there, done that. Ready for a new way to look at life and embrace it.
    New to your blog and trying to start my journey to reach sobriety. This post yelled at me because I, too, am a hiker and identify 1000% with your communion with God through nature. Hiking in silence is a form of worship to me. You are a gifted writer and I just wanted you to know you have spoken to me.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Mar 7, 2016

      Thank you so much! When I read this I had just gotten off a long hike along Lake Michigan and I read it to my friends. Congratulations on your new journey and get ready for life to bring you great joy…
      XXXOOO
      M

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