september sixth

August was the month that eradicated my loneliness. This – this is as big as these mountains, as powerful, as compelling. I didn’t know that loneliness was what ran me out of Raleigh until I was gone.

I have found community here like nowhere else I have lived. My roommate moved out this morning and I miss her laughter already. We met at the pizza loft where she works the night before I moved in – that’s how it works here. It’s easy. It’s full of trust. As I unlock my bike to go to back to work after my lunch break, the group of boys at the tent next door shout after me to have a good afternoon. J and M and I get dinner after work. Sometimes we go to the river, sometimes to Vernal Falls, sometimes to the gym, sometimes we just hop up on the bear boxes and drink Fireball together.

At work, a woman is terrified to get on a horse. Her daughters begged her to take them for a mule ride. I put her on Alice and tell her how good Alice is, how slow, how steady. At the end, she thanks me. She says that was wonderful. She’s not shaking anymore. I have a lot to say about work – I’m taking my time.

T yells is that Miss N.C.? at me when I go to brush my teeth. The new guys call me Princess, C calls me longlegs. I have cried three times since I got here: when I drove in the park gate on Tioga Road the first night I got here, when I fell off my bike in the middle of the road, and when N left this morning. I’m overcome with light, full-hearted, completely unconcerned (for the first time!) with what shape the rest of my life will take. I wake up to Half Dome, the Merced River, the quiet of Huff in the early morning. It is a relief I couldn’t have imagined. It is joy I worried I had outgrown.

It’s my Saturday and it’s truly my Saturday, so I’m packing my bag and getting into the wilderness. But I’m just as thankful that I have such beloved faces to come back to. That matters most.

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