Sunday, a day of lesser gardening and work, and hiking instead with my daughters. We took a not-so-travelled trail on Mt. Mansfield, winding around a lovely lake before heading into a pleasant woods.
The trail was not overwhelmingly strenuous, ascending gradually through a narrow valley. My younger daughter counted red trilliums, finally ceasing at 157. As we kept climbing, she remarked there were at least half a million trilliums, which I concurred was more than likely, and then, after a moment, she thought there were two-thirds of 900 trilliums. Older daughter turned around and demanded, Why do you have to keep talking about math?
Younger daughter: Because I like math.
Although the year’s been relatively dry, we passed clear running streams and waterfalls, and near the lodge where we ate lunch, we walked by a series of muskrat ponds.
We saw almost no one. Wildflowers were out in force; the wild apple trees along the trail’s beginning bloomed like there’s no tomorrow.
Hiking, I kept thinking of Hemingway’s bull. How reluctant I am to confront a fierce, enormous animal, stomping in the dust, wild curls of steam snarling from its snout. How much I would rather live in the ephemeral world of wildflowers.
And then, bending down to admire a spring beauty, I realized that bull is within me. Writer, I thought to myself: you fool. Where is the battlefield of this age-old unholy of holy wars? Here I’ve been carrying it around with me all these years, in my rickety skeleton.