For the first time since my surgery, I have returned to hiking, and exhaustive physical activity in general. Another first was taking my seven month-old Siberian Husky, Yuki, out with me. It was also the first time I went on a hike with anything or anyone, and that led to some unexpected revelation as to why I have been so hesitant to share my hikes.
Alight to taking Yuki in particular, it is peculiar being responsible for another being, which should have been known having taken care of her, and many other dogs prior, at home, but being in an environment you have little to no control over changed that for me. I found myself being very protective of her, doting on her every movement, monitoring her well-being at every moment. This mindset led to my next revelation.
As a result of my personality, that is to say in the sense that I tend to become guardian of those I am near and especially of those I care about, my mind is unable to wander. I found myself being focused in a way that rarely orders my thoughts. To the same end, I found myself unable to free my mind, to let it wander. Other people hike with their bodies, following the trail by each step, but, for me, my heart and mind hike, my imagination wandering and skipping and leaping from the trail to the rocks beside, over the streams, into puddles. A forest is longer a forest. I am surrounded by knights in a harried melee, swinging furiously to protect my brothers-by-blade, defending my family, the land of my fathers, against the clang and rage of monstrous invaders. I am the sole survivor, dragging my bloody, beaten body to see my children one last time.
I enjoy taking Yuki on hikes, and I will continue to do so for her own enjoyment as well, but I need to be alone as well. In a world of noise and motion and conflict, I need to be alone. To hear the words I need to write, to hear my own heart, to be still in stillness.
Someday, I will perhaps take another person with me. But never with the intention of hiking as I hike. Our world contains many worlds unknown if we look for them, and I will not, can not, stop scouring the trees for these portals and rifts. They whisper and crackle to the lonely traveler, the brave soldier, the observant thief. They reveal themselves to the desperate and looking.