Healing In Nature


Jane offered for me to stay the night, but I politely declined because there was only one guest room available, and I needed to pick up a new water-filtration device from a store. I had lost an end piece from my Sawyer a week back and was using my backup, water purification drops, instead. I said goodbye to Joey and hugged him, marking the last time I saw him. Joey would continue on the AT, headed to Maine; he would never make it there. He last posted on TikTok from Vermont's Happy Hill Shelter, one day before the Norwich, VT Police Department received a call of a missing hiker who had been staying at a hostel near Route 5 and the Connecticut River. Joey was last seen heading towards the Connecticut River, New Hampshire, where his body was found. He drowned. I was at my grandparent's beach house in North Litchfield, South Carolina, in September 2022 when I received a message from Jane letting me know of Joey's recent death. Outside Magazine headlines read, "Hiker Scattering Father's Ashes Along Appalachian Trail Found Dead in Apparent Drowning." I was shocked; it wasn't easy to understand or accept he was gone. I took the next week off trail to rest and reflect. It had been three weeks on the AT, which was a project milestone of mine. While away from the woods, I felt a longing to return. I wanted to go further, and I knew my journey was not over just yet. I returned to the trail., ready for the 'Rollercoaster' section. One day, I came across a moth with a natural coating of a cross on its back. Somebody wrapped a bracelet with a wooden cross around a small rock next to the trail. It felt more than a coincidence; regardless of belief, it felt like a safety net. Between Society and Nature

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