Walk To Remember Essay

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We keep our eyes on the back of the person in front of us, whose leg hairs are aquiver with burrs. We will reach the river sooner now that we have not stopped.

From time to time, we imagine ourselves in a clearing, sitting on our humped packs in the shade—past selves who stopped to rest back there.

The path is beginning to fade in and out, becoming threadbare as we continue. Perhaps none of us ever enjoyed it, even early on when our legs were fresh.

As we push thorny branches out of the way, sometimes they accidentally ricochet into the face of the person following. Maybe even back then we all secretly wished it were over.

Gone are the RVs towing boats, the buzz of jet skis on the lake, the crush of cars heading north to Glacier National Park.

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Gone too are the hummingbirds and the bees, the snakes and the bears, the turtles and frogs and toads — even the woods take on a sort of hush.

Even as we agree that the pieces of sky through the trees are very blue, as we admire the persistence of the tiny streams, the marvel of the scrambling through them, a thought hums between us: If we had turned back before, we would be home now.

We try to recall some sweeter hours when we weren’t thinking about the end, but our memory is blurred by footsteps and by the sticky wash of leaves against bodies. A small voice asks if maybe we should stop and rest for a few minutes. There is a momentary slackening of pace, and uncertainty ripples up and down our number.

On any walk into dense bush, at some point we ask one another, “Why are we doing this?

” We could be at home, we say, where there is hot water and a flushing toilet.


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