I have returned from my exploration into solitude- and dutifully recorded on facebook that I am regretfully back to "the real world".... but I'm wondering a bit what the "REAL WORLD" really is.
I am back to the schedules and the chores. Back to the worry and the stress of work and the humdrum of dishes and laundry. My mind, however, somehow seems to have remained in the mountains of Maryland and W Va.
I ran away from home last Sunday- taking only a suitcase and a very large dog. Not even a book. I drove for 4 1/2 hours before I realized that I had never even turned on the radio. I arrived exhausted at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg W Va and fell into bed- only to be awakened by a phone call at 7a. The desk clerk was politely inquiring if I might be missing my car keys- as they had been noted sticking out of the trunk of my car. Do you think I was a little tired?
Two full days lay ahead of me- with absolutely nothing planned. The hardest task I had before me was to turn off my brain-and that proved to be a difficult assignment. I also wanted to find the headquarters for the Appalachian Trail, which is located in Harper's Ferry W Va.
I set off to find Harper's Ferry, with no map or directions, just the vague notion that it was somewhere south of Martinsburg. While this may seem faulty logic to most- it gave me the most relaxing drive, through the most beautiful countryside. Surrounded by mountains, driving on twisting roads... ahhhhh......
Eventually I decided I needed a map- so I meandered my way back toward I 81, intending to stop at the visitor's center. Thank God for ADD. I became distracted by a sign pointing toward the Civil War battlefield Antiem- so I followed the signs and landed there. There are spots in the world where I am sure that you can still feel what took place there. I once stepped through the gates of the concentration camp Auschwitz and felt the coldness overtake me. There was a similar feeling here. Not as dramatic, but present. We wandered across the battlefield, just me and my dog- looking at the mountains and imaging what it must have been like for the young men facing each other in battle on that day, for those same young men to gather their dead and bury them later.
A map showed the location of Harper's Ferry to the south, so we wandered country road, surrounded by those beautiful beautiful mountains until we found the charming town. Towns are not particularly dog friendly- so we had no recourse but to retreat to the National Park and walk on some trails. ahhhhhhhhhh Perfection.
It was not until the next day that I actually located the Appalachian Trail headquarters. The wonderful volunteer Judy (trail name Judo) had through hiked the trail herself- and was a wealth of information and stories.
We completed our day with a walk by the Potomac - a long nap- and room service- and returned to our guys a happy woman and a happy dog
so, here I am a week later- wondering. What is the "real world" anyway? Is it the daily grind of work and chores? doubtful The daily intimacies of family and friends? Much more likely Are those folks who are even now shouldering backpacks and taking another step in their 2000t mile journey experiencing more of what the world really is? Could be..
Maybe the real world is just where we allow our minds to dwell- what we fix our thoughts and our hearts on, no matter where we are?
In any case- it was good to go and it is good to be home