“I do believe that deprived of the softness of dirt beneath our feet, the freedom of fields, and the warmth of the color green, we all get a little thirsty no matter how urban and new age we think we are.” I wrote that a month and a half before I left for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike attempt but had not read this until several hours ago. At the time I was thirsty for adventure and for a natural setting. When people asked me why I came out onto the trail, my response became, “I had itchy feet.” It was a simple response for the complexity of emotions that brought me to this place. I wanted to move, to live, and to experience and I felt that what I was currently doing was robotic and boring and in some sense it was. I had lost the “thirst” that I have always used to define myself.
My name is Grayson. I like my name. Do I go by Grayson? Of course. I have always gone by Grayson and have never had a nickname.
But on my hike I need a new name. I need what thru-hikers call a “trail name”. I have never thought of myself having a different name. The only other name I respond to is Andrew or Andy when someone mistakes me for my brother. I have also been known to reply to any of my family members’ and sometimes dogs’ names when my mom is too angry to think straight. But another name solely to define me?
I am stumped. I like the name my mama gave me. Not many people have a name that starts with “G”. I like that letter. It’s humbly placed a few letters in the alphabet so as not to seem cocky, but it is close enough to the front to display confidence. Additionally, the name grace is just absolutely beautiful…and my name contains that sound. However, contrary to popular belief, I am not the son of Gray, it is just a name.
There is a book called Grayson. It is about the son of a gray whale. I own it (of course) and its my favorite book (of course) and should be yours too.
Upon further inspection, my name does have a low side. Take the first four letters, g-r-a-y. Most people have heard that word before. Some of its synonyms are old, hoary, aged, ancient, dreary, and to top of the optimism, depressing. Huh, well the color isn’t to shiny either.
Grayson is not a stern name like Fred, John, or Chad. It has a sensitive side to it. I like that. So if you would like to suggest a trail name, feel free to leave a comment on this post.