“Today I met a flip flopping thru-hiker who called herself Fly Away.
She asked me my trail name. And I said Jeremiah.
Fly Away replied, “Ah, the weeping prophet.”
I laughed and said now you know that’s not far off.
And she told me about a vista overlooking the valley
I had just spent the morning circling, where she ate lunch.
It was just as breathtaking as she warned.”
Going through this trail journal and finding lots of little notes like this between poems. I’m excited to see it all cleaned up and put together. I will have a manuscript shortly, and I’m also working on an audio recording. Everyone who helped me along the journey, and I mean every one of you wonderful people, will receive a copy.
I know I’m biased, but I’ve never written anything like this before. The hike sort of naturally induced a story structure onto the more day to day, experiential journal writing I normally produce. It’s essentially a collection of free range poetry somehow all cooped up in the two months of my hike. Which was actually a pretty rigidly structured, meticulously planned and well rehearsed endeavor.
Each poem clearly uses some visceral detail or setting element as an excuse to answer every single question in the universe. [insert laughter] But divided up into chapters that follow each section of the trail, with little secular notes in between, regionalisms, geography lessons and of course, issues of theology and functional philosophy wrestled with continuously in my writing.
In some ways, I feel like the hike isn’t really done until I have this collection put together and recorded. And even beyond the value of this writing, is this new form. This pace of life. Blended into all my work. Everything I write. The consistency and intentionality required of a hike. Getting from where you are to where you want to be without forgoing everything in between. Which is actually the principal function of poetry anyway.
In other words, about eight hundred miles of trail journal coming to you soon!
I believe that everyone has the right to have their rights not be an amendment to the system that defines them. I believe better and more deeply than our founding fathers did, that our rights are not the fodder of governments. But ingrained guarantees of freedom invested in us by our creator. My rights are not evenly planted rows of corn peppered in patches of soybeans. They are feral weeds. Should we forget to ever garden here again. I am free. Full of flowers and fuzzy grass heads and cat tails and wild medicine and poison. I don’t need a farmer for this field to yield. I need a farmer to help interact safely and amicably with my neighbors, locally and abroad. To oversee vast water tables and plate tectonics and geothermal activity. To connect the dots between surplus and need.
The time of government going through and telling you whether or not you’re full human is over. Black people did not earn the right to vote. Nor did women. They were denied this basic personhood and representation and real acknowledgment in the eyes of the government structures that dictated their lives. Intentionally. Full with purpose. We are still arguing about a system that was, by design, not designed for all of us.
The founders were not imaginative. They were not soldiers in the war for liberty. They saw tax dollars going overseas and devised a way to seize them. Threw a few Latin words together they recalled from grade school and split a crown into five hundred pieces. With the stroke of a pen, they created a new merchant level economic class. Government jobs. That die like zombies. Carcasses always reanimating in one form or another down the line. Not like fashion. Or farming. Or the oil industry. A couple hundred men, some paper, and a pen, redirected a new world’s worth of exported taxes right back to them. And constructed a system that guaranteed themselves positions, and platforms to prop up their children. Representative government makes a monarchy of democracy. A crown broken down and split into a thousand different disease resistant careers.
They didn’t get freedom right, because that was not what they sat down to write.
The best we can do to honor our founders, our ancestors, is to imitate their impulse to revolt.
To revolution. Whenever. However we can. To write out and rewrite our rights.
Our expectations of governments. Of ourselves.
But we have to recognize the flaw of this system is at its base. It’s in little words.
Words like our. For instance. In full regards to the framers of our constitution.
Their our was less than half of our’s.
That doesn’t call for an edit. Or a rewrite.
It means we go back to the drawing board.
Or in other words.
One more American revolution.