On a Good Hike You Get Lost

That time in Nicolet Forest:
Staying at a friend’s cabin,
knowing no one in the area,
ecstatic to hike alone.

It’s Bear Season,
and getting dark.
I retrace my steps
three, four times, searching
for trail-paint on trees,
trying to recall the landmarks.
All I do is circle
back to where I’m lost.

I got lost because
I was loving each step,
because I was present!
The forest had felt friendly.
From the thickening darkness,
I feel bears waiting, watching.
What scares me more
are drunken hunters.

Fear creeps in.
The night will be cold.
I wear no orange,
have no matches.
No one knows where I’ve gone.
No one will miss me.
I stop, and tell myself,
I live in the temple.

As the paths float me forward,
a pilgrim in a new land,
my body becomes the journey.
The medicine of uncertainty
works within me.
I am lost but I know
I’m just another animal
moving through riverine woods.

I can call the sacred
anywhere, anytime.
I call the sacred now.
I stand still.
It’s a good hike, someone said,
when you get lost.
I wonder, Were they hungry?
Was their water gone?

It’s a good hike, I tell myself,
and a sacred place right here.
I surrender to the lostness
that surrounds me like
a very naked truth:
I am small, I am in need.

That time in Nicolet Forest:
A way to learn in my bones,
an unclothed knowing of the earthling state:
In a good life you get lost

©Susa Silvermarie 2022

2 Responses to “On a Good Hike You Get Lost

  • I can’t help asking…and then what happened?

  • Pattie Sartori
    1 month ago

    Oh my gosh, I could feel you Susa. You once told me about this experience. I remember. I’ve remembered ever since. But this poem you wrote, now, here, about the lostness and the sacred and the fear and the knowing…love it. Such a sense of in the present.