One of the cicadas fell onto my shoulder. I brushed it off and looked up. In the leaves above me hundreds of red eyes and glittering wings hung from trees like bizarre fruit.
I woke up from my dream and listened to the cicadas’ song. Suddenly I remembered what was hanging from the porch. They hung my dog. And next to my dog they hung my daughter.
The young folks, Cowtail and Steps, sped ahead of me. I couldn’t keep up, but I always eventually caught up with them again. Cowtail’s dog scared me, so I preferred to walk alone anyway. They’d run on ahead, then stop for a rest day in town. I just kept on walking slowly, each day resting briefly, along the way, rarely taking ‘zero-mile’ days in towns. With no money to pay for lodging or food, time in towns just made me feel deprived. Out in the forest, I felt better, surrounded by beauty.
My sponsor’s scant bi-monthly food buckets gave me something to look forward to. Every so often a Trail Angel left a cooler filled with sweet cakes along the trail. “Alms for the penitents,” the cards on these hampers read.
If only my dear Stephen were with me, …