I recommend hillside camping for at least one night

I arrived at the Cosby Knob shelter at about 6 p.m. One of my first 20 miles. I started today at Icewater Spring Refuge.

The tent area in Cosby Knob is a mountainous area with a small stream running through the camp valley. There wasn’t a lot of camping by the time I got there. I found a small plateau next to a strong tree halfway up the hill and away from the stream.

On closer inspection, the plateau was slightly sloping with two levels separated and bounded by roots. The roots made two basins. One for my package and the other for me.

I pitched my tent over the layers. I put my bag in the far root basin and climbed into my tent. You misjudged the score. I was pulled hard down the hill towards my bag. I tried turning and bracing against my bag. I felt the pull of gravity so hard that I thought my suitcase and I might roll down a hill, spinning in a burrito tent.

The sleeping pad and quilt were placed on the top layer and rested in the root trough. I found a way to live in the trough in such a way that I could relax, one opposite thigh and shoulder tucked inside the rooted lip.

It took a while but when sleep came I had the most beautiful dream.

Old friends would drop me packets of seeds at my childhood home. My mother was at home too, answering the door and helping to bring packets of seeds. My mother in the dream was full of vitality and happiness. My mother passed away in this earthly world in 2005.

The packages of seeds were actual packages of seeds in the dream and also seemed figurative. We plant seeds for each other all the time. Every person we encounter, every interaction, alters our course to some degree. We turn away, we turn towards. Do more of it. Do not do it.

Thinking about the seeds of growth, as a teacher, I cannot teach anyone under any circumstances that they are not actually ready to learn. I can sow the seeds though that will germinate later.

I still summon and sprout seeds planted decades ago for me.

“Oh that’s what they meant!”

Back on track, I thought of the many people in my life I bring with me daily in lessons, perspective changes, snippets of memory, and preferences.

I had several conversations with hikers over the next few days about tree intelligence. How trees communicate and share nutrients through underground networks. Mycorrhiza, the symbiotic relationship between fungi/mushrooms and plants/trees.

A few days after my neighbor came home in CT that I share a garden with, he told me that a lilac tree we had planted at least 5 years ago blossomed for the first time.

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