Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thinking about thinking

Mike just got back from a month-long trip photographing a hunter-gatherer tribe in Brazil for NatGeo. It seems a bit blunt to put it that way, but I'm not sure how else to put it other than "my tall, pale partner was in the Amazon and all he came back with was a body stained with blue paint."

He wrote a journal and gave it to me when he got back. I was supposed to do the same thing, and I had every intention of doing so. However, I missed one day. Which led to me missing two days, then three. It's like holding onto a rope that's dangling from the basket of a hot air balloon that suddenly and unexpectedly lifts off the ground. You could let go when you're 5 feet of the ground but you don't, because it could hurt. You consider letting go when you're 10 feet up, but the ground looks scary and hard. Then eventually you have no choice but to hang on for dear life because if you let go you will DIE. I am inferring that if I had to write a week's worth of material in one sitting, I would keel over, clutching my writing hand, and pass screaming into the night.

This may sound like it does not bode well for me writing while on the trail. However, there is an important distinction between now and then. When I am hiking I will have nothing else to think about other than writing. In fact, I suspect that I may become irritatingly Steinbeck-ian in my florid descriptions of leaves, trees, and god help us, maybe even a turtle.

They say that one of the hardest things about the trail is not the physical exertion (though that is nothing to sniff at). Rather, the act of getting up every day and doing the exact same thing (walking) has a tendency to make people go a little loony. I hope this means that there are signs put up in towns off the trail, warning people against the proliferation of thru-hikers who burst through the doors of grocery stores, wearing cooking pots on their heads and declaring "I'VE GONE MAD! MAD, I SAY!"

I do think that there is some credence to the thought that it will be hard to have nothing to think about. There will be no to-do lists, no social calendar, no paperwork to complete, no mobsters to blackmail. I know that I will need something to occupy my brain, lest I settle into a litany of silent complaints that will only serve to make the physical exertion harder. Contrary to the very popular belief, saying "it's hot" over and over again, does not actually make the temperature any more bearable. I think it actually makes it worse- for me, anyway. 

So, what is there to do? I am going to write. And during the day, I will think about writing. What will be interesting is that after I scribble something and mail it out to my sister, I will have no way to check on what I have already written. I wonder if I will say a lot of the same things? I hope not. If I do, I apologize in advance, and beg your forgiveness. I will do my best to keep to a minimum any rambling ruminations on the meaning of life. I seem to be magnet for all manner of bizarre situations (it's not my fault!) so I can only hope that I will be able to put those things into words for you. 

And when there's nothing to say, maybe I'll invent a story about a turtle crossing the road, and pretend that it's a really important comment on society as we know it.

Or maybe I'll just draw pictures of unicorns.

1 comment:

  1. I'd settle for drawings of unicorns! That sounds lovely. :) <3