Recent events in my life have left little time, energy, or interest for hiking or writing this blog. In early October, my husband of nearly 30 years was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Nick’s health continued to worsen during the next two months, and on Dec. 15, 2010, he died. The weeks since have been filled with an unbelievable surge of raw emotions. I have yet to truly grasp what has transpired, much less find a way forward.
Friends are supportive. Those who know me best are encouraging walks in the woods. The peace and solace of nature are excellent therapy. But for the lousy weather and other impediments, I’d be actively pursuing that therapy now and certainly plan to incorporate it. A friend said, “ The Smoky Mountains have been frozen and snow covered for the past several months. I think it will melt soon and as the Gaia in
earth thaws, she might enjoy having your feet massage her trails.”
Just when I will get back to hiking is still uncertain, but I am looking at late May for a week of backpacking on some new trails. Unfortunately, my conditioning has taken quite a hit, and it will take some time to regain lost strength and stamina. At this time, I also plan to participate in the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in late April. Perhaps a blog post or two could arise from that.
It was the support and freedom Nick provided that allowed me the time and space to head to the mountains when the mood struck and stay numerous days, while he took care of the house, stayed in touch with our children, Kate and Sam, and loved our two cats, Pickles and Tucker. Without Nick, my responsibilities are greater and my schedule less flexible. Worst of all, when my hikes are finished, I can never return “home” again. In Nick’s absence, our home is just a house, even with two sweet kitties to welcome me back.
This blog and my journey along the park’s trails are still very important to me, and I will gratefully embrace both soon. In the meantime, I beg your patience and understanding. I have a feeling that once I get back in the Smokies, it will be as though I never left. This sense of belonging should revive my spirit and hopefully help heal my heart.