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In an effort to take care of myself, I’ve been hiking each weekend. I had forgotten that hiking by yourself is isolating in a beautiful way and how scary it can be to be alone with your thoughts.
My Mom died when my sister and I were young, and every year around Mother’s Day I think about her more than usual. My dad told me that her ashes were spread up in the mountains, looking over Lahaina and the ocean. He told me she wasn’t the biggest fan of the beach and that was why she wasn’t spread there.
It made me laugh: Who moves to Maui and doesn’t like the beach?
I didn’t think too much more about it until I was sweating up my grueling trail and came up to my favorite place on the island the day before Mother’s Day. It’s a quiet spot away from the highway and beyond the point where most of the hikers who didn’t realize what exactly they signed up for turn back. There’s tall grass on either side of the trail you only know is there because of the indent between the grass tufts. Above, you can see the tips of the massive wind turbines turning. It takes my breath away every time. I realized that it had been months since I’d properly been to the beach and was enjoying the scene like nothing else on Maui.
It isn’t that I don’t like the beach. It’s just that I love this place more.
Of course, this was serene until I realized that the soles of my hiking boots were crumbling off the bottom of my shoes. I had borrowed them from my business partner, who let me know she’d had them for years but only used them once or twice. Those years took a toll on the now dry and breaking rubber soles ejecting themselves from the rest of my boots.
It wasn’t too much farther to the top, but by the time I got there my big toe was wiggling out of the bottom of my shoes. I sat down at the base of the wind turbine to take in the view and relax before starting the trek back. I reflected on the similarities between my mother and I and tried to think of a really “deep” and thoughtful blog post just in time to feel an intense gust of the wind and the chill of rain on my cheek.
I looked up at the rain cloud with something between panic and a sardonic laugh. I now had to try and run down as much of this trail as I could with my shoe soles flapping all over the place. After so many times of the sole folding under my foot, I looked around to find something to tie up the sole. If I could just stop them flapping, I could just get down the mountain, right? A thick piece of grass would do the trick, right?
I gripped the grass and tied a knot around my boot. I pulled the grass tight and it snapped- I knocked my fist into the gravel and hissed with the sting. I now had two flapping boots, rain on the way, and a bloody knuckle!
I persevered another five minutes with my shoes flipping under me and trying to do some weird kicking movement with my foot as I walked to kick to the soles out like some kind of sweaty dodo bird. I’m clearly not a survivalist by any means, but I was proud of myself for finally thinking of unlacing the ankle parts of the boot to make enough slack to tie up the soles with the laces, even if it was after my hilariously pathetic attempt at being resourceful.
I suddenly felt like I was skipping down the trail, not having to worry about the boots anymore and safely out of the range of the rain. I ended up shaving an hour off of my time from the week before.
What lesson did I have to learn on this hike? That I’m more like my mother than I think, but other than that I’m still not totally sure. I do know that I put on my hustle in the face of some challenges and for that, I’m proud of myself.
Sad, Talking boots.
I think I’ll make sure I have some duct tape in my bag from now on.
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