I was wearing snowshoes the last time I hiked the Baker’s Tank trail in Breckenridge, and the time before that. It is a familiar-enough six mile loop, half of which wanders through dense forest before it opens and swings along Boreas Pass Road where instead of cross-country skiers, there were mountain bikers galore.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.”
I’ve heard a few people in Colorado spit this quote, in a few variations, and it is precision; exacting in its change. The woman I am now and the padded pine needle path I walked today are evolutions of who and what once was. The stream is no longer frozen and snowed over, and I too, have thawed. Things that melt become easier to see simply because they’ve also disappeared.
I suppose this is what I love about nature: its essence brings about your being, too. And so, it does not matter how many times you’ve walked a path, driven down a road, biked over a hill, or return to people – you will feel different feels and think different thinks, and yet, you will respond with the wisdom of having done (something like) this before.
I could hear myself most clearly while I was in the forest, surrounded by timber: roots at my feet, bark within arm’s reach, and green at every glance – sprouts shooting up and spruce shading down. Hiking, however, is far beyond what you can see. Listen.
A twig snaps, and I am not alone.