I came to the woods and the mountains seeking solace for my soul, and found my way barred by stumps, chains, and red-lettered POSTED signs. I walked down the rock-strewed road, and for a moment, before I stepped across the boundary into the National Park, I was a trespasser. Then one man’s land became everyone’s. I am glad that there are still places as wild as this that have not yet become private property.

Beside the road, in an old, hollowed-out stump, someone had placed a blue bowl full of bones; an offering to the lonesome gods and beasts who wander here. Lately, I’ve felt like that bowl of bones, but this body is all I have and it too is my only offering to the spirits of this place. I am all I have to give to life.

So here I am. I have come here to be lost for a moment in the vastness of this wilderness, and in my mortality, to bask in the warmth of Brother Sun, to feel the wind ruffle my hair like a lover, to stand atop this pinnacle of rock wedged firmly, deeply, into Mother Earth, to listen to the mountain stream which flows far below and let its constancy enter me. I see and hear and feel all of these things and I wonder why I have waited so long to come here.

I think of the stalker in Ohio, the unknown man who kills from the shadows of the woods. It is strange, but even in this place, I cannot escape my mortality. I cannot hide from the great vastness of the wilderness. I am but a speck in a sea of blue and brown and green. This pile of stone, these trees, this stream, will stand, grow, flow, for years and I will succumb to the inevitable plight of man. But my bones will feed this place and in death, I will join the wild earth in a way I could never have in life.

Written February 15, 1993


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