What I did yesterday would have been physically impossible six weeks ago. I had not done fieldwork since March 8th. Yesterday I loaded a light pack and walked a mile and a quarter on the Waptus River trail, and then walked back. There was new snow from the last storm. Water was running in all the little cedar creeks. All of the drainage structures on the trail were working as they were intended to, which is gratifying to a trail worker.
“Overjoyed” does not begin to describe how it felt to go out under my own power. Each tree seemed new to me, the buds on the vine maple an absolute wonder. Hearing and seeing ravens up in the gray sky, the distant rattle of a pileated woodpecker–all seemed right with the world. More than right. Connecting with the woods meant forgetting about myself for awhile, the wondering how I’m doing, thinking about the future. How good to put that aside for awhile and just be outside. Like eating when you’re hungry, resting when you’re tired, receiving a warm embrace when you’re lonely. Like coming back to a safe familiar place after a long scary trip through the dark.