Summer Blues and Hiking in Shenandoah Before the Purple Air Quality
June moody vibes plus hiking old rag and feeling like Lara Croft for a day.
Lately, I’ve been sinking into silent mode, wanting long hours to write and read poems. On Saturday, I went to an outdoor concert, and it wasn’t even all that crowded, but the conglomeration of noises and people, got to me, and I wanted nothing more than to return to my desk. I realize, it’s important to have breaks, to have human contact, or whatevers, but sometimes a girl is just in that mood. Granted, there’s something calming about seeing kids running around and adults making long lines for ice cream. The world might be burning, but we’re-still-enjoying-ourselves-kind of vibe. I know, I’m so sunny.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s stuff to be excited about! I’m starting another round of MFA applications for next fall (since I wasn’t too excited about the schools I was accepted to, and also they didn’t make sense, geographically). In July, I’ll be participating in the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) Creative NonFiction Workshop with Christine H. Lee whose fiction and CNF captivated me. VONA creates a space for BIPOC writers to tell their stories and explore their worldview. A form of social justice is to create stories that go beyond western sensibilities and include our connection to the environment and ancestral knowledge. I was happy to find out my application was accepted. It’s my first time being part of a lengthy, deep-dive workshop. I also have new published essays (see below). In other news, we’re house hunting, but I’m not ready to write about that wasp’s nest.
Just before the wildfires from Canada spread to the east coast, we drove to Shenandoah National Park and hiked Marys Rock Summit, Stony Man, Rose River Falls, each one about about 2 to 4 miles long, some with noticeable elevation though nothing too challenging. Coming back from Rose River Falls took a while, since we went down to see the waterfall, which was quaint, but nothing where you could swim, still watching the water was nice. I listened to music on the way back, and it got me walking faster. The hike that took the most out of me was Old Rag (9.4-mile circuit). One of the most physical hikes I’ve done in terms of terrain, not necessarily length, with the last part being the most strenuous. I was proud of myself, only stopping towards the beginning of the trail, but hauling for most of it, using some sticks we found on a previous hike. To reach the summit, we were forced to scramble over thick, fat boulders with irregular shapes, not conducive to staying balanced. We went through most of the obstacles quickly, though I took my time with the tall boulders, or when I had to climb from a high area, since I’m a shorty (my partner in crime helped in a few tight spots). It was thrilling to grab onto edges and prop yourself to the next boulder like Lara Croft. Although this Lara Croft did slip trying to scale a flat rock, but it was in slow motion and the ground was right there.
We stayed in a Skyland cabin, built in 1939. It was a snuggly kind of place, even with the surprisingly cold nights, but the heater saved us, and kept the room toasty. On the first night, we sat outside for a short while. I wrapped myself in my pink blanket, since it was chilly. We watched the sun coming down, appearing fuzzy against the purplish sky, eventually being enveloped by the horizon. The sun was strangely fuzzy against the sky, like a hologram. Every now and then, birds sat over the wires, chirped away, mostly sparrows, but maybe yellow birds too, a robin for sure. I didn’t realize it was hazy, because of the wildfires until a few hours after, which was a sudden shift in tone.
Skyland is not challenging to get around, but I managed to lost on the way back to the cabin one night from the restaurant. We wanted to see who’d get to the apartment quicker, so my partner walked and I drove. I missed a left turn, so I had to make a u-turn, but there was nowhere to turn, just winding roads. Also, my head was so tired, I went on wrong lane for a few minutes, but then realized something was off. Needless to say I lost that race. On the last day, we went horseback riding through a nearby trail.
My writing is out there!
La Llorona, Indigenous History, and Guatemala’s Political Amnesia -LatinaMediaCo
How Awkward Latina Characters with Deadpan Humor Made Me Feel Seen - HipLatina
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