Surprises

Updated: May 21

By Mary Anderson

Talk about surprises. What is that doing in the desert?

I have changed plans for my upcoming hike at least five times. I’ve had to take into account the best season to cross the Wyoming desert, the high snowpack in Montana—which, as of this writing is still over ten feet deep in places—the extremely high and dangerous river crossings in Wyoming, which won’t subside until after the snow melts, extreme mosquito season in the mountains, Covid closures which are now opening, and much more.

I think I have it nailed down now, but during that time of uncertainty I was just muddling along in a fog, not sure where I was going. Some days I gleaned information that helped move me along. Others, I just held onto the end goal and tried to keep going. Some days I felt I slipped backwards, more confused than when I began.


But now I have arrived at a solid plan. (Hah, let’s see if this one changes due to fire closures, lack of ability to get a permit in national parks, bear closures, early snowfall in August or some other unforeseen reason.) It surprises me how obvious and simple this current itinerary is. Why didn’t I see it sooner?


I can't help thinking how this correlates with writing. Sometimes we muddle along, creating pieces, not sure where they will go. Some days we create more that we will discard than save. But if we keep going, pushing through the fog, we will arrive at an end place. Often we have no idea where that will be until we get there. The fog is not fun to navigate, but I love the surprises that emerge when the fog lifts.

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