We take one more stop before we reach the cabin- this time to Tahquamenon Falls. It is -12 degrees and a short walk to the water.
We are accessing it from the world of people– where you start in your car and walk through the parking lot past the gift shop down the paved path to the viewing platform to observe nature. The last time I was here, I accessed it from the world of nature– where you start from the dirt trail and walk to the scenic overlook to the paved path to the gift shop to observe people. Once again I was a victim of the weather, driven there by crushing rainfall- the campsite flooded and evacuated. Back then, I felt guilty retreating to the human comforts, inauthentic as a hiker, lazy even. Never mind that I’d already hiked a few hundred miles, never mind I had no alternative– I felt how I felt. I couldn’t handle the lack of control. I couldn’t handle my seeming failures.
That day, as I sat there, I watched the rain, and I ate. I ate a snack, and then all the snacks. I ate a meal, and then all the meals. I ate the pita bread and peanut butter, the packs of tuna, the chocolate, the nuts, and the beef jerky. I ate all the food I had just purchased for the next leg of the trip that I was now prevented from embarking on. Only two weeks after I had solemnly and passionately given myself over to a new life without bulimia, I relapsed on that bench right there.
That night, I stayed in Paradise in the same cabin that mom and Grandma and I are headed to now. It was the scene of my tragic reconciliation with myself, the consequences of my inability to accept my lack of control. The next morning I shared a breakfast in Paradise with a man who dropped me off on my trail. As I left, he wished me luck and said “I can tell you’re carrying a heavy load.” I walked that damn paved path from the parking lot to the trail with tears in my eyes because he was right. I wasn’t “better” yet.
And that was almost two years ago now. I have not been back to the scene of my failure since then. The memory weighs on me heavily. In so many ways, my life has changed from what it was at that time, but I am still carrying that load, I am still on that trail, I am still not better.
The falls are beautiful but it’s extremely cold and we all want to get back to our cabin. I lay in bed that night and ask myself the same questions I pondered that day on the trail. Is it possible to pick up from where I left off? What other choice do I have but to try?
Just one more, if you care to aim your clicker and click your trigger right here
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