Drying Out Our Soul
Your essence lays in pieces around you, soaking wet and saturated with the consistent moisture of the world. To your left lays the Down that once was fluffy and warm in the night, but now only sends a chill to your exposed extremities when climbing into your sleeping bag. To your right you threw down your burdens after unthawing each finger that was frozen in a vice like grip around your trekking poles. Behind you lays your home, your shelter, your reprieve from the elements each night that has now become a swamp. You have floated from pool to pool inside, dreaming of Olympic swimming at night to find that you were only in your personal pool of a tent, the Olympics was a dream but not the pool. In front of you in disarray lay all your assorted items that now impede each step instead of add comfort. Your gear and hence your soul have been drenched for days, it is time to find that patch of sunshine and have a drying out party!
There is hope in that stare, hope in the eyes, sun on our bodies and in our hearts.
There is a special type of misery that arrives when everything you own is wet on the trail. We use heavy metaphors to compare it to having a saturated and soaked soul, but honestly is it a metaphor? When all of your gear is wet, your soul truly does take a beating. You are already exposing yourself to the elements day in and day out, but now it has become exponentially more difficult. Each beautiful view atop a epic peak no longer becomes a awe inspired break spot, but instead a frozen dance and jig as you try to stay warm for a few seconds as the wind and cold rip through your soaked gear. Each valley becomes a new river crossing for your soul, even if no physical rivers are seen or forded. It affects every step, every mile, every minute. When there is no way to get dry on trail, it not only becomes uncomfortable but can become dangerous. That bright soul you brought with you into the journey, needs sunshine for nourishment, and you feel as much as hear the squelch of each footstep upon your heart, as you trudge on looking for this reprieve.
Push aside the days where you feel like you have been swimming more than hiking all day, and look towards the night. The night, when you rest, repair, and recharge for the next day. Your personal paradise, which has now become your personal nightmare. Well, it would only be a true nightmare if you could achieve sleep, now it has just become your nightly torment as you toss and turn. When it has been days upon days and you have not been able to dry out your gear for even an hour or two, the nights can be the hardest. You have fought for each mile, you have shivered against the cold all day, you need to rest. Yet, when you climb into your tent, all that greets you is a void of comfort and a purgatory of pain. Your sleeping bag is drenched, your tent drips moisture, every time you shift you find a new pool of water that sends adrenaline through your already alert body. You shiver, you curse, you pray for sunshine that you know will not come during the night, but hold hope for the next day. If you have enough food left you may try to eat away the holes in your heart and soul, but it is a temporary fix, because then you realize again, you have 6 hours again until light arrives (not the sun but only light) and you can safely move out of your own personal Olympic sized pool of pain.