It’s my way of saying goodbye.

Laurel Ridge State Park. Pennsylvania

Laurel Ridge State Park. Pennsylvania

I’ve recognized a pattern. Every time I leave a place I have a desire to spend time outdoors. I’m not sure what this means, subconsciously, but I can tell you how I feel after a twenty mile hike over the course of twenty-four hours.

I woke up this morning to the sound of Wu Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.” as it is set to play on my phone’s notifications. I sat up, looked at my overweight pit bull, Wylie, and immediately started squeezing the swollen muscles in my back and neck. I had just slept for twelve hours straight, not realizing even where exactly I was, although all was familiar, from the coma-like rest I had just been held by.  You see, on Sunday I woke up after only, maybe, two hours of continuous slumber. The feeling I felt that morning was something similar. It was the feeling I had when I left Chicago for Maine. It was the feeling I had when I left the farm for the Appalachian Trail. It was the feeling that struck again, Sunday morning, when I realized I was about to leave another place that I loved.

I think there is something to be said for the role the subconscious plays when going through change. Material change. Geographical change. Emotional change. I think when departing somewhere that has made you feel at home, you should say goodbye to more than just the people you come into contact with. You should say goodbye to the Earth that kept you safe during your time there.

Let’s cut all the hippie shit out. If you live like me, you eat with a responsibility. You create with a vision inspired by your surroundings.

You take.

And you have to make peace with that.

I went to the woods to tell Western Pennsylvania that I love her. I respect her. And I wish her the best.

“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.” -Standing Bear, Ponca tribe.


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