We wait six months for this–the first real day out on the trail. The weather has turned hot and the rivers and creeks are running high with melting snow. It’s time to get out there.
Time to remember how it feels to walk on dirt paths. Time to find out what we forgot to put in our packs. Time to start the chainsaw and set teeth into wood for the first time since last fall. Time to stride out and hike. Muscles remember all the moves. Ears remember the sounds: running water, varied thrushes and winter wrens, jets passing over. Nose remembers the smells: the honey of unfurling cottonwood leaves, the pungent dust of rotten Douglas-fir, chainsaw exhaust. Skin remembers the feelings: sweat under band of the hard hat and where the pack straps go over shoulders, the pecking of tiny sawdust particles thrown from the saw, the slight change in temperature toward coolness when walking over a patch of snow.
It all comes back in a rush, and the corners of my mouth can’t help turning up in a smile. I greet the first pure white trilliums. Home at last.