Birch Bark and Moonlight

posted in: Journal, Walking | 6

I can’t say why wild places draw me. The call originates somewhere out there where four walls end and the horizon catches the last light of the sun. It is something old and frightening, sets my heart drumming, and comes upon me when I am least guarded. I seek it again and again, as if expecting an answer to a question that was asked before I was born.

Table Manners

posted in: Japan, Journal, Life In, Musings | 2

With winter approaching the chances to meet flights of wanderers along the streets of Tokyo would seem to die out with the passing of the summer birds. Summer holds the tickets to all the comings and goings that we do. And yet this last weekend I ended up with three days of encounters: my Friday night dinner with former students, the day long celebration of eating and peeking, and then yesterday, most unusual, a chance meeting with two hikers at an outdoor store.

Jettison

Lately I’ve been contemplating the need for lightening my load. This is meant in all aspects of my life. The idea first took root three years ago when, upon returning from a five day walk in the North Alps, my knees ached so badly from the enormous weight of my backpack that for nearly six months the nerve at the side of my left knee remained numb. I carried all the “right” equipment: all the stuff that the outdoor magazines had insisted were necessary for a safe and successful spell out in the “dangers” of nature. I was protected out there and instead of relying more on my brain for coping with emergencies and circumstances, I limned myself with all manner of gadgets that would make my time in the wild less stressful.

Watery Window

posted in: Hiking, Japan, Journal, Walking | 4

All spring I had been anticipating the ten-day break of August this year, for a chance to escape Tokyo and spend a nice long period walking up along the ridges of the North Alps. My pack was loaded, all the food prepared, and the route mapped out. I even went to bed early the night before to make sure that I was fresh for the exertion.

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