I injured my back one month ago and today was my very first hike since then. A very easy, flat-ish, 9km-return hike on packed snow. I missed it so much! I missed the rhythmic motion of my body when it hikes and carries me to some icy Wonderland.
And then I noticed the weirdest thing.
We paused at the end of the trail to have our picnic. I reached out and grabbed a handful of nuts. Greedily, I Iifted my cupped hand to my lips and opened them.
I didn’t wolf down those nuts. Instead, I took a deep breath. I looked down at my other hand. It was still holding one of my trekking poles, to balance my still-recovering body.
My hands smelled of the plastic handle of my trekking pole. And that plastic, that particular, soft, blackish material has a very peculiar smell. In any other circumstance, I would have said that it was a bad smell. Pungent. A bit like hot tar.
But today, it smelled of all my previous hikes all around the globe.
It smelled of my restored freedom.
Actually (I took a second deep breath), it smelled a bit like tires. It smelled of the road.
My nose still in my cupped hand, I smiled and wondered at all the smells and tastes that we carry with us and never notice, and yet that carry so much of us with them.
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