Kindling – Part 1

When someone has hurt me, I take a week off and go to the woods. There’s a trail up to this pond. I leave around mid-morning, when the sun has just reached the top of the trees. The trail is shaded, so it doesn’t get too hot, even in the summer. You can hear birds thrashing around so often, rustling the leaves. It’s different if it’s a rabbit or something. Birds only make one rustle every so often. Rabbits make one big one and you can hear it hop away.

The hike’s not too rough. Only a mile and a half, with a real gentle slope. The tree roots are the real danger. I’ve banged up my knees on just about every single one.

I spend walking that trail thinking. Sometimes I’m angry. Sometimes I’m sad. But I’m out there because someone did something to me that I can’t get out of my head, so I think about it. I’ve been up there enough times that I barely pay attention to where I’m going. Probably why I keep getting caught in the roots.

The pond’s a real looker. I get there usually by noon, when the sun is directly overhead. Frogs start jumping in and the whole thing starts to just glitter like it’s made out of glass. That’s when I usually set up my camp. Sleeping bag, make a survival shelter in case it rain, dig a fire pit, fetch wood, that kind of thing. I have to focus a bit more, so I don’t think as much. Once I get the fire going, I start boiling water. By then it’s getting a bit dark, and there’s not much else to do.

See, in my head, some stuff you just can’t deal with. Like losing a family member. Or finding out someone’s been lying to you for years. That kind of stuff you can’t deal with in just a couple of days. So I put it away for later, like I’m freezing meat. You make your cuts, box up the meat, put it in the freezer, then pull it out when you can. Sometimes you got lots more meat than you thought, or the animal’s a bit bigger than usual. So you cut smart, make use of the space. But for every bit of meat you put in, you gotta take some out.

So that’s what I do. I pull out the old frozen meat first. I scream. Strip naked, piss in the water, walk on the coals, drink, whatever I feel like. Being alone in the woods really eases your inhibitions. I don’t remember when I stop. I think I pass out sometime around then.

The next morning, I sweep and clean the area. The breakfast is small and light on carbs. Nothing heavy. Mostly nut and berry mixes. I might even fast. The day is meant to purge out the last bit of what didn’t come out in the night. All the big bold, easy stuff goes out in the night. Day is tougher. You have to live with what happened. Gotta root out all the small little feelings you didn’t know existed and get ’em out. There’s not enough room in the freezer.

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