People often talk about the change one experiences when being alone in nature for an extended period of time. It's happening. I can't quite describe it, but I can give an example.
Hummingbirds have been special to me since my mothers passing. She said she would send them, and the day after her death, a little beauty flew into my 4th floor downtown apartment back home in San Jose. Fast forward to the start of my PCT journey... We parked at Hart's Pass and as soon as I set my pack down and lit my last cigarette (ha), a hummingbird flew right up to my nose, maybe four inches from my face, to wish me well on the journey. I know they are common out here, but every once in a while, you can feel a presence more profound.
At the Big Lake Youth Camp in Oregon, a worker found a dead hummingbird on he porch. I managed to keep it, but knew it would rot in my pack. This little sweetheart was nearly weightless and still looked alive with its glossy eyes. I held it close to me for several hours before taking a sliver of obsidian to slice off its wings and claws and then I buried its body under a tree. Uhgggg.... What kind of person have I turned into? I just mutilated a flying beauty to pack out part of its body. My hands trembled and heart felt raw. I remember reading that children who torture animals turn into psychopaths... But this one was already dead. People pay big bucks at Paxton Gate in San Francisco for their taxidermy treasures, so is it really wrong for me to carry a set of weightless wings on my journey? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know, but I definitely feel like a different kind of wild human out here after that experience.
ashes to ashes dust to dust