I'm on a road trip but not the whimsical, free-floating kind. It's the kind where schedules are tight and I'm supposed to be back in town by 7:00 but it'll probably be more like 8:00 because I can't seem to pry myself off my friend's sun covered porch, where I've finally stopped to rest for a few minutes.
When we finally extricate ourselves from town, Hank and I pull the car over down river for a fifteen minute "stretch the legs" walk. But then the road turns into a trail, the trail turns into an enticing ridgeline and suddenly it's an hour later and we're hiking straight uphill, with no water, food or shade.
I have the "make it a loop" gene in a big way.
I generally trust my geographical gut to land me back where I need to be although this gene has left me clinging to ridgelines and dreaming of water on more than one occasion.
We arrive back at the car an hour and a half and one sketchy gully later than intended but all in one piece.
At home, I put little index cards on my mirror to remind me of the direction I need to go. All this winter, the index card has read: "To succeed big you must risk big, when you risk big you will sometimes fail big. Learn from your mistakes and keep going."
I'm replacing it with, "Slow down, trust your instincts."
Which is the same but also different. When do we move back and forth on the trail we know? When do we let our mammal bodies lead us off trail and into the unknown? When do we charge forward and when do we slow down? When do we use our mind and when do we use our gut?
The only time I ever get close to knowing is on these green ridge lines, snow-capped mountains on the dry wind.