birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Don’t Go Solo

A rule, a guideline, a plea by the rangers who have to look for you if something happens: don’t hike alone. Some people fear animals, but for whatever reason, I don’t fear animals. Some people are afraid of human attackers, or afraid on my behalf of human attackers, but this fear could so circumscribe my life that I choose not to have it, or have instead a fatalistic belief that nothing I can do will deter someone seeking to hurt a human, and I want to keep hiking in the meantime.

The problem I think is most relevant is that you have little recourse if you injure yourself in the wilderness alone. People who have had that experience are much warier of going solo, much like those who have spent the night out when they didn’t expect to tend to carry a lot more gear in case of an unexpected overnight.

The thing is, I love the quiet, the rhythm. I love keeping the exact pace I want to keep in a landscape I silently chose. I love the bandwidth I have to notice what’s around me, I love the steady state of my mind after a long solo excursion. Someday the rule will apply to me. Someday I will be alone and sorry. But not today, not today.

Always Behind

Wardrobe Function