Hike 10: Salmonberries, Snails, and Sartre

June 26, 2011

Having had to work on Saturday, I was left with an abbreviated weekend. Despite this, I took advantage of the remaining time Sunday to experience yet another new trail. Only half of an hour outside of Eugene is Goodman Creek. Followed to the end, the path leads to Eagle’s Rest and sports a phenomenal view, accompanied by a three-walled shelter. Though I was unable to make it to the lookout due to time restrictions, I was grateful for the brief reprieve offered by the heavily forested trail.

It was not long before I encountered a snail, so shy he was scarcely able to endure my presence. With each approach of my lens, he quickly receded into his shell. I felt a twinge of jealousy as I watched my small friend carry away all that he needed without the slightest regret for things left behind. His self-reliance was admirable, and left me aching for a similar existence. Of course I feel entirely unable to cut the ties with which I’m bound to my apartment, my cat, my computer, and I’m torn between the safety offered by the familiar and the freedom of being unattached.

The admirable snail.

But perhaps said gastropod was not left without the comforts of a stable existence. All that she needed was to be found within inches. Not only were food, water, and shelter readily available, but the extravagant decorations with which we adorn our own dwelling places are little more than cheap replications of the decadent ornaments surrounding my introverted acquaintence.

The enviable chandelier.

The Goodman Creek crossing came sooner than I had expected, and allowed me to sit and cool my feet. As usual I lacked foresight and neglected to carry along the necessities for swimming, but would have gladly immersed myself in the deep pool had circumstances allowed.

In time I may reveal my face, but we've only just met dear Friend.

Perhaps the most striking sight along the entirety of the trail were the orange salmonberries lining the path. Their creamy color was irresistible, and I helped myself despite the slightly bitter taste.

I typically find myself reluctant to commune with travelers passing by, but I enjoyed a most delightful encounter on my journey. A man by the name of Stephan seemed more than happy to sit and talk amongst the moss-covered logs, and his presence was a welcome change from the usual solitude. What good, I ask, are my excursions if they fail to impact my interactions with others? Sartre may insist that hell is other people, but it is separation and isolation that allow misery to feed and grow. There is a time and place for the monastic experience, but a return to social congregation must eventually be embraced. Sit under the Bodhi Tree, fast in the desert, but return, return, return.

And return I did. Like a circle, I ended where I once began.

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One Response to “Hike 10: Salmonberries, Snails, and Sartre”

  1. detrie said

    Thank you for reading my recent post. 🙂

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