on wild solo hikes and purple basil

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after an 8-hour day at work, i visited the salon for my every 6-week appointment to get my hair done. tonight was CSA pick-up night (week 2), and i would have missed it were it not for my very sweet CSA partner. she and i are splitting a share, and since she lives near the salon, she picked up our veggies and delivered my half while i was sitting under the dryer processing highlights.

i didn’t get home until about 8:45 p.m., and i had stashes of greens, herbs (purple basil, cilantro, parsley), cabbage, zucchini, cucumber, scallions, garlic scapes, broccoli and turnip to wash and store. i roasted the turnip and made a salad — both for my lunch tomorrow. i also had some tomatoes and garlic on hand so i tossed it with some of the purple basil — i’ll snack on it with some homemade croutons throughout the day tomorrow and thursday. the rest is stored in my teeny tiny apartment-sized fridge for the rest of the week.

i munched on some of the veggies, some tortilla chips and hummus and drank a couple beers while i worked. i have since cleaned up the kitchen and retreated to my bedroom where i’m trying to stay cool with the fan. a heat wave’s coming, and even though it’s around 11 p.m. now, it’s already steamy.

but it’s also relaxation time. i’m on my third day of shirking all socializing to clear my head, organize my calendar, get my patio/backyard summer ready and finish my application for the new creative writing mfa at st. rose (poetry concentration, of course). and now, tonight, my goal is to finish cheryl strayed’s wild before calling it a night.

here’s a trailer if you aren’t familiar with it:

wild feels so magical to me since long before cheryl and sugar (officially) became one, friends were sending me links to the rumpus column, urging me to believe in myself, to find resolve and strength. i’m not the only one, of course. “dear sugar” was wildly popular.

i’m fascinated by the story not only because i grew up meeting hikers finishing up the appalachian trail (it runs near a campground at the base of mt. katahdin along the penobscot where my dad still spends his summers; and “our” camp store and shower building are also hiker favorites) but also because i lost my mother and gave up my husband in rapid succession just like cheryl. there are some other similarities, too, that feel too private to divulge, but let’s just say i “get” her.

and even though i know that cheryl survives the pacific crest trail and goes on to kick ass, i need to see for myself how it turns out. i am 24 hours out of my third break-up in as many months, and i am thinking i need to go on my own wild solo hike. in my case, it’s only a metaphor, and i’m as likely to drive or take the (happy) bus to get there. but it’s not enough to abandon everything you know: you need to make something in its place.

my day-to-day is part of it, of course. i’m not discounting what i’ve already accomplished. but there’s a some bit of it (purpose? presence?) that i’m missing. i’m not frantic about it. quite the opposite: i’m relaxing and reveling. but i’m also always thinking, always on the look-out … vigilant, hungry, foolish … one foot in front of the other.


  1. I adore any woman who talks about picking up her CSA and getting her hair colored in the same sentence. Loved the wild trailer.

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