It was windy last night, and the stake that stabilizes the front trekking pole came loose, so I woke with a disconcerting weight on my back. First time for that to happen. The ground here does seem to be softer than I originally thought. I also had strange dreams. One where a guy was making me watch a “prank” he was pulling on two people in a delivery truck. “Watch, watch, ” he says, and I do, even though I have a bad feeling. A man and woman are sitting in the front of the delivery truck. People dressed as poor renditions of zombies come pouring out from the back, pretending they are going to eat the couple. Then they pull out a real gun, threaten the couple, and then start taking turns shooting themselves in the head, forcing the couple (and me) to watch their bloody suicides. “Not funny,” I say, and wake up.
I can tell something is wrong this morning. I feel odd, weak. My legs have to be pulled one by one, as if they are made of lead. Trail miles that should be easy-ish are hard and tedious. It makes for a monotonous morning. My thoughts turn inward and speculative. If nature is chaos, then is chaos order? Do Christians know why their God decided to make bodies shit? He didn’t HAVE to design things that way. The sun I’m feeling right now is old news. The moon shining and stars twinkling on me last night were just pieces of the past. Phantoms. Life is such an improbable thing. Maybe my brain had nothing to do with my decision to not be a baby maker. Maybe my DNA planned it that way all along! We’ve given up, this line is a failure, disaster! Abandon ship! Exterminate!
And then the tears start rolling down my face, and I want everyone I’ve known to be here with me right now. My friends, my family, those who hurt me, whom I hurt and then they left me. I want them to tell me that they regret leaving me, that I meant something to them, that I played an important part in their life. That I have meaning. That my absence is a loss.I stumble along the trail, crying, angry. A mess. What would they think of me now? I don’t know. They are like the stars last night. Phantoms from the past.
The trail is an overgrown jumble of things trying to live, and things trying to die. Do I actually see what the trail is, or do I only see a reflection of myself? I trudge up a jeep road, see it’s the wrong way. Backtrack and trudge down a jeep road, which is also the wrong way. Where are we going, trail? What are we expecting when we get there? I see the PCT sign in between the two roads. There it is. Right where it was supposed to be. Is this where I’m supposed to be? I don’t know, I don’t know.
So many downed trees. Is this just normal, after winter conditions? Is it the drought? Is it winter plus drought? I trip over a branch and fall on my hands and knees. Scrapes, scrapes, more scrapes. I make my way to Moosehead Creek, where I decide to stay awhile and rest my legs. A giant Bumblebee takes notice and starts dive bombing me. It zooms round and round me, like my head is a racetrack. “Fucker,” I mutter, and set up my tent. B.B. Comes up under the vestibule and bounces around. “Bzzt. Bzzt.” He’s angry, insistent. “Shut-up,” I say. “Shut. Up.”
I get out my iPod. I haven’t listened to music while backpacking before. I turn on a Portugal, The Man album, and it is pure bliss. The music is crystal clear, intense. I watch the nothing happening outside. I am finally content. Although, I keep feeling my forehead. It seems hot to me. I check other parts of my body. Not hot. Hmmmmmm. Strange.
I stay there an hour and a half, then decide to move on. After about half a mile, I start getting very bad diarrhea. It comes like split pea soup. I make camp as soon as I can, about a mile further. By 7p.m., all my t.p. is gone. I lay in my tent. I’m shivering, but when I look for cool spots on my quilt or body, there is none. I feel a normal temperature, yet I’m jittering away. B.B. seems to have come with me, because all night there is a “Bzzt. Bzzt.” rumbling around the vestibule. “Aren’t you supposed to be in a hive somewhere?” I snap. “SLEEPING?” I hide my head under the quilt.