The one week countdown begins. I’ll be leaving for Georgia in seven days with ambitions of hiking 2,000+ miles. Mostly I’m excited. I’ve been through a host of other emotions though too (and probably all of them within the past 24 hours)- nervous, sad, guilty, anxious, intrepid, impatient. This is all part of the game though.
I went to two farmer potlucks this past weekend and got to say goodbye to many friends. Many of those same people are gearing up to begin their own adventure: the 2013 planting season! I had engaging conversations with a few people who are even starting their own farms. I was about as excited for them as I am for my own adventure. Their passion and drive is infectious! It’s in their eyes, their voice, their hand gestures. I’m excited to see the results of such energy and focus down the road.
Seeing all these people over the past week made me realize yet again how much I am leaving behind. I know really awesome people here. I have great friends here. I have a rock solid support network. I know that’s not going to go away just because I’m leaving for a few months; it just makes it that much harder to leave. I try not to think of all the things I will miss, but inevitably, I still do.
Besides missing all the amazing people I know, it makes me sad to think I won’t be planting this year’s apple trees. (…even if it is hell on my knees.) I’ll miss transplanting cucumbers and tomatoes. Maybe not onions. But I’ll miss harvesting them. I know that I’ve got many more years of onion harvest ahead of me, though. How many years of thru-hikes do I have? I have very little idea of what the future holds, but I really feel like I’ll always come back to agriculture. I have an extensive list of other interests and gypsy notions, and there’s an incredible amount of things I want to learn about yet, but ag is something that I’ll always feel a connection to. It’s an undeniable part of who I am at this point.
Sorry to wax philosophical. Enough of that. I’ve packed and repacked many times. I hung out in my hammock the other day, tested my stove again, got all my food organized for the first bit of the trip, cleaned my apartment. My favorite climbing tree on the farm will be cut down in my absence, so I’ve got to climb that a few more times and also play with the dogs a lot. Couldn’t get a PO box because I don’t have the appropriate forms of non-photo identification. It made me laugh. Guess I don’t really exist to the U.S. government. Does that mean I can stop paying taxes?
The weather is a little chilly on Springer Mountain right now, but it looks like it’ll be warming up into the mid to high forties by the end of the week. I’m incredibly grateful for the outpouring of enthusiasm from friends, acquaintances and complete strangers. I look forward to sharing my adventure with all of you.