Hiking Lessons

I am hiking up Pālolo Valley with my friend Olav.  We’ve brought along way more than enough beer to fuel us liberally all the way up to Ka‘au Crater and back.

In one way then, the trek becomes easier the farther we walk, since we carry less and less weight.  We even leave the tonnage of the empties in bunches along the trail to retrieve on our return trip.

In another way, however, walking becomes harder.  The more we drink, the more we labor in our steps, each sip impairing our effort to hike in a straight line at good pace.

Finally, we arrive at the goal of our pilgrimage.  We sit, listen to the birds and the rushing water.  Drink a few mandatory celebratory beers.

It’s time to go back, and on that weaving way, I believe we manage to retrieve every one of our now surprisingly and most annoyingly camouflaged green bottles.

There is less conversation as we sink deeper into alcohol induced meditation, each of us mind-wandering whichever way our thoughts take us.  With the exception of the white background noise of birds and the rushing water, it is quite quiet.

Each step, I’m noticing, leaves a soft impression of my passing, nothing squishy or glaringly solid forensic gold if we were committing a crime. We’ve done this hike after it’s rained, and it’s one hard slog, your slippers being sucked off your feet at times as you go ankle deep in mud.

As we do the last Pālolo Stream crossing, I am deep in bleary wonder at how the smooth gray stones each seem to know to choose my feet, water over time wearing on them, even they aren’t hard enough to bare up, each one the ever-diminishing foundation of my life, beaten incessantly by that rushing water.

Clearly, in retrospect, this was too much beer cogitation.  That same forceful water, I realized in one desperate moment, not only threatened to knock me off my feet, but did.  My ass crashed on a big stone, sending a shock from my tailbone to my brain the likes of which I’ve never felt before or since.

Olav, coming back, helps me to my feet.  My whole backside feels numb. Will I be able to walk up the hill to Olav’s house?  Will Olav have to carry me?  Will Olav have to leave me behind to go call for an ambulance?

Finally it’s determined that I can walk.  I limp up the hill to Olav’s house.  We put all the green glass babies back in their cardboard cradles and discover that we have, in fact, brought all of them home with us.

We are stunned, amazed at how sober we must actually be.  My ass can feel again.  We celebrate this all good news with more beers.

The night is young and, back then, so were we.

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterWednesday. Today’s #WritingPrompt is

hiking

Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or simply leave is as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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