Weariness and Suffering and Joy

“‘Art thou pale for weariness

of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,

Wandering companionless…”

He repeated to himself the lines of Shelley’

There is a point where one is able to laugh at the suffering one is enduring, and it is crucial, for then not only is there misery, but also joy.

Everyone still on the trail has reached this point, and some of the loudest and most joyous laughter can be heard at the recounting of previous trials of the trail.  There is a mental and physical exhaustion that enters and cannot be placated.  The drive to finish in Canada butts up against it and pushes through with the help of the opening of the doors of beauty such weariness can accomplish.   Mountain eyes expand and the tiniest glimpses of trail-side drops on leaves or roiling fog or a slab of open blue sky push one onward.  The sensation often occurs that the world is simply rolling past or rushing toward, and walking simply keeps you in place.  [I would go so far as to say the feeling becomes not of  “you” in a “place”, but merely “All” simultaneously “arising” into existence in a very complex dance].  But it is hard to describe.

Sun has been limited, rain and cold abundant, and every opportunity for dry shelter embraced.  The scenery has been stunning–Mt. Adams, Goat Rocks, Rainier–were all glimpsed between storms.  With only 260 miles to go, I fell ill in Seattle on a one day resupply run that turned into four.  I think my body saw an opportunity to shut down and took it.  Feeling better, I return tomorrow to the more rugged Northern Cascade section via Snoqualmie Pass.   With some gear upgrades and a decent weather outlook, I hope to finish by mid-month.

~ by Scott Hamilton Peters on October 2, 2010.

One Response to “Weariness and Suffering and Joy”

  1. Read this quote last night and thought of you, Scott:

    “Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?'”


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