Rainer Maria Rilke helped me, probably more than anything else, to understand that my adolescent confusion with the world and lust for wisdom was not uncommon. When I felt desperately alone amidst the misplaced confidence of college freshman, my mom gave me a card with that quote on the front. It made me feel, knowing that the hesitation and desperation for answers that I felt was ancient, that people had been likely asking these questions forever, that I was not alone. I felt a timeless connection to the writer and the young man he was addressing. Continue reading Timeless questions: Rainer Maria Rilke
The girl she says “I hear its different when they’re your own kids.”
He is quiet. I say “How many kids do you have?” But I have forgotten his name and he is ignoring me, blowing the question off as if it were directed to someone else. Possibly, maybe he thinks I am asking someone else. “How many kids do you have?” He has one of those names that just never seems to stick.
After silence he looks to me and says “Who me?”
I cannot imagine not being proud of my family, especially one I raise and watch grow. He has three kids, two boys and a girl sandwiched in between.
He is still married yet he sounds unhappy. I ask him how long he is out for.
“If I hike for three weeks I get less crap over it than if I go three times for one week,” he says.
It is obvious he is not looking for sympathy. I just hit a sore spot. He is unhappy and I can tell that hiking is his way of escaping all the troubles he has in the world and I wonder, am I doing the same?
This girl, at thirty seven she still seems just that. Just last year she completed a thru hike of the Appalachian trail. She looks at me and envy’s every bit of my life. She wants freedom and more importantly, she wants to have answers.
On the trail, we hike and we eat and we sleep. Of course we have to treat our water, resupply, and general necessities are fairly inconvenient and luxuries almost always come at high expense. But life is truly simple and stress free.
She lives in New York City and her first year anniversary was less than a month ago and she is discontent.
I want to tell her, “Do not have kids. You will not be happy and they will not like you. You will not be a good mother and they will be unhappy children” But I hope she figures that out on her own. That way she will be sure of it.
She lay in the shelter discussing how she does not want to become a mother before she is ready, before she has lived her life of adventure, before she has experienced all that she wants to. “Kids would just take away my life and my time,” she says.
And I realize, I am not running from my problems. I am running, true from unhappiness and depression and troubles, but not from personal problems. In reality, I am facing the issues which cluttered my life. This life of simplicity is opening me up to the mess I have have been in and helping me escape the life I was not supposed to be living.
She is not a mom. She is a little girl that took too long to grow up. He is not a dad. He is a young boy who tried to grow up too fast.
I hope that I never have to return to the trail for sanctuary. The stones to rock hop across creeks and streams do not slide and turn underneath my feet anymore. I think my footing is secure and when I get to Georgia I hope to return with full excitement to my life I left behind. Next time I’m going to do it right.