Monday, October 26, 2009

Ima Bushwhacker

I'm really a trail follower is what I discovered this weekend. We went over to Uncle Jon's for a warming of the spirit. Uncle Jon lives next to the Saco River at the base of the White Mountains. The Saco was booming on Saturday, after a day long drenching. Its roaring waters kept me awake most of the night.

And because we couldn't cross the river right outside his backdoor, we had to go on a bushwhack to find his little cabin in the woods.

His little cabin in the woods is also known as his big man cabin, where no girls are allowed. Whatever. So sophomoric, isn't it? Well, it's not quite done yet, as you can see. But it was an adventure getting there. We traveled by boat through a sea of yellow, or so it felt.

We stopped to sleep on fluorescent green mossy beds.

And we tickled our fancies on feathery ground coverings.

We ate wintergreen leaves and threw them like confetti to the sun.

And we danced around mushrooms and wrote our initials on the underbellies of fungi.

We learned the Latin names for certain trees.

And collected the biggest and smallest leaves we could find.

And we soaked up...

the sun...

And each other.

And the whole time I was floating in that sea of yellow, I was wondering about if I was a bushwhacker or a trail follower at heart. The bushwhacker gets a choice- around that tree or over the rock? Let's go over this ridge and then down into the ravine. Let's cross the river here...the rocks are less slippery. And the trail follower?? She gets to just walk, sometimes hand and hand with the one she loves. There are rarely choices, and she may not see the unexpected shelf mushroom or hairy mossy rock, but she is content in knowing that she'll end up where she intended to go and not so far away that she doesn't recognize her surroundings when she gets there.

On July 21, 1992 I went to the boardwalk at Seaside Heights, N.J. with my parents. I just finished my freshman year at Iowa. My father grew up in Asbury Park, N.J. and summered, his whole life, on the Jersey shore. It is his heaven. We walked up and down the boardwalk that summer day- exhausted with the sensory overload. I ducked into a palm reader's tiny cave. It was dark. She grabbed my left hand and said this to me:

I am stubborn and don't like to be told what to do.

I have a soft heart and can easily be hurt by this.

I will live a long life.

I will marry at the age of 23 the man I love at 19.

I will have 2 sons that are twins and 1 daughter.

My marriage will not lead to divorce.

I will be successful.

I will be healthy.

My lucky day is Saturday.

My lucky numbers are 7 and 19.


Now, I met Paul Bunyan when I was 22 and we married when I was 25...but that's the only thing (so far) this palm reader got messed up. I wrote all of this down when we got back to our condo in N.J. so I wouldn't forget it. And I forgot about it for awhile. But while I was pregnant with the twins, I remembered what this woman told me. And I checked through my journals from that year. And sure enough, I found this list. And sure enough, I have been really flabbergasted by it. And sure enough, I've been comforted by it. Why? Because I'm a trail follower. I am on the trail that has been marked for me. And I am happy to know that I will end up in the place that I intended to go when I started my life, a life that is obviously mapped on my hand.

I know that many of you disagree with this and that we all have, in some way, control over our destiny. I believe that too, but my experience with my left palm tells me that there is a greater plan for us. Your choice to either bushwhack through life, or follow the trail, doesn't really matter in the end. You end up where you're meant to be.

What are you? A Bushwhacker?? cuz Ima Trailblazer.


  1. Mia Peakbagger. To continue the literal metaphor, i'm an 'early' (ie triple-digit#) member of the Catskill 3500 club. a dozen of the 35 peaks are trailess... these bushwhacks took twice as long, but finding the canister on top was always more exhilerating.. (i admit i preferred the hikes with attentions could wander to a variety of things). or another peakbagger example - take me to a ski mountain and i much prefer to try every trail (of which death is not imminent) before repeating a trail.

    but i'm lost trying to connect this to where i'm meant to be. fortunately i've never had my palm read. or, perhaps that's my loss since i don't have the comfort of the plan in front of me.