I told them everything, because they were four women with gray hair and strong bodies on a ridgeline in Maine. With the same satisfaction you get when you spot a recycling basket on the block and go directly to it, because that’s where the thing in your hand goes. I learned myself, as I told them.
“I’m so happy.” I said, in response to how I didn’t look like the average north-bounder. “I hiked this 10 years ago.”
“How does this feel the second time?” asked one of the loving women.
“Amazing!” and I mean it earnestly. This is not blowing smoke, and all five of us know it. These four women are watching me like the 11 o’clock number of a powerful musical.
“What is it about this time?” another one asks.
“It’s being 10 years older. I was rushed and unhappy; mad at the rain, grumpy about the mud, ticked at the rocks. I was taking it personally, like these obstacles were in my way, between me and what I wanted. Now I get it. This is the show. Now, I just…(I take a deep breath and they don’t try to fill it in for me) surrender.”
Like four mothers, they smile at me with their eyes. With warmth and gladness. With yes.