Yesterday, I set off on a walk that seemed from my map to be short. Just a loop up around a road and down to a lake. Unfortunately, the map was not to scale. So it was a three-hour round journey for me, and in coldish weather. Minus 7 Celsius, with windchill taking that down a few degrees more. Bright sunshine, which added windburn to the mix. But – a few good things came of it too.
I’m sure I’ve heard it said more than once that walking is a kind of narrative. A step, a word, a turn in the road, a paragraph. So for that reason, my walk alone was good. I had the silence around me. Space, and a sense of linear motion to order my thoughts. Such as they can be ordered while overwhelmed by everything there is to take in here.
I should add again, this is all by the side of the road. I wasn’t about to get lost anywhere. Nothing but tiredness and the chill were a problem. I suppose I keep being afflicted with restlessness because I know there is all of this out here, and that later, when I’ve returned home, I’ll have to rely on photographs to flesh out my memory. I’m trying to decide what I’ll do today – dive into writing, or watch an interview with an elderly woman who was a homesteader in the backcountry, or go out to the Cave and Basin, where I went with some others before.
What will I be able to make from this? What can I do with this landscape, the culture of the Rockies? Feel a little bit thin in comparison, right now. And in need of a better, more simple method of absorbing everything. Or just settling on one method – documentary-watching, sitting still in the archives, or really committing to a trail – and seeing it through. But I can’t – dazzled, inadequate.
I have to allow myself the time, but time is a snowflake or a leaf blowing away. Perhaps I’ve decided. Another walk. Because a walk is a story that a place can tell me, and that I in befuddlement, might be able to understand a little more, another day.