Things I learned this year from the Wilderness (Genevieve)

Owning stuff like a fancy car or jewelry doesn’t make me happy. Unless it’s 2-6 canoes. Owning 2-6 canoes makes me happy.

The winds on the lakes in Maine are jerks. The black flies in Maine are also jerks. But then the jerk winds keep away the jerk black flies. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

March always ends. And you will make it through. And then March will come again. But at least you’ll remember that it has ended before.

That if you’re patient, you’ll continue NOT getting what you want, but you will get what you need. And probably catch a killer sunset or sunrise in the process.

 This is tiny me in a big canyon having a starring contest with a baby rattlesnake unaware as Casey Crosbie snaps a photo. I'm not suggesting you do this. (Have a starring contest with a baby rattler, that is. Snap all the photos you want.)

This is tiny me in a big canyon having a starring contest with a baby rattlesnake unaware as Casey Crosbie snaps a photo. I'm not suggesting you do this. (Have a starring contest with a baby rattler, that is. Snap all the photos you want.)

I learned that although it’s probably a terrible idea to stare into a baby rattlesnake’s eyes for the better part of 45 minutes in a canyon 2 days away from help, if you do find yourself doing this thing you probably shouldn’t do, you’ll come out on the other side knowing that you’re more powerful than you give yourself credit for. And that this power is part of something bigger that you can’t fully describe.

Maps provide the stuff of dreams.

Aram Mitchell, one year later, is still the most unrelentingly delightful, kind, and thoughtful person to share a work life with that ever existed. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. He’s got to be some kind of humanoid delightful robot sent from the future.

The world has hurt many of us in very deep ways. This year it felt particularly hard to be a woman (among many other identities) as we collectively sweat out the trauma many of us have experienced. But being in the wilderness with strangers this year has taught me that trusting people doesn’t make you some kind of nit-wit; it means you’re brave.

I learned that the place nestled in between anxiety and heartbreak is the tender place. And being in the tender place is also brave.

I’m not in control.

I’m not in control. And that’s okay. But I’m still going to pack my waterproof matches and a compass.