Headed over to Muir Woods to get a long run in (6 miles! Can I get some love, please?!?) and say goodbye to the trees before I left for my adventure. Hard to explain how much this place means to me. For most of 2008 things were not so great for me - so difficult I even told my parents about it! I even called Canada!! My health was at its worst point ever and the doctors were out of options, advising me to swallow a ton of pain meds (I didn't) and just let it "run its course" (it has, and thankfully it chose the better path to take). Being told to let my illness "run its course" brought on an awful mix of emotions, as many people do not survive an illness like mine. I was far away from true friends and family and after being overseas for years I didn't know where I stood in their lives, I was still adjusting to being back in America, and the people I had out here who should have supported me were either unable or unwilling to do so. Other issues in my personal life paled in comparison to my health, but didn't make matters any easier. Somehow, when I really seriously needed a little space of my own to unravel in, the Universe sent me to Muir and it immediately became my place of healing and refuge. I have hiked, ran, and cried my way through some of these trails so often I feel like I could get through them blindfolded. Many of the rangers here greet me by name.
While I wouldn't say I've met too many quality people here, the ones I met on these trails were awesome. One particularly rough afternoon I wandered for hours, and when I was convinced I was deep enough into the woods that I wouldn't see another person, I sat down next to a beautiful redwood that had to be hundreds of years old and I just let loose and cried and cried and cried. All of a sudden there was a woman, maybe in her upper 50s, low 60s, and she just sat down next to me. Never said a word, just sat with me while I cried. Having her unspoken permission to cry was exactly what I needed, and I let shit out that day that would probably still be buried deep inside if she hadn't shown up. When I was finally all cried out, she just handed me a tissue and got up and wandered down the trail, and I thought, ""I've been blowing my nose on my sleeves for hours and you've had tissues this whole time?!? WTF, lady?!?"My time in SF is coming to an end - for the time being, at least. It's such a big world and the time has come for me to get out there and experience a little more of it. I hope wherever I end up I'm blessed enough to find a place that will nurture me and keep me safe in my darkest hours, just like these trees did. I will miss these woods more than any person I've met here. I hope all you guys are lucky enough to have your own Muir, too, and I hope you visit it often.