Stones from the Weeks-Long Walk

By Bernard Hermant

In naps, I dreamed of shins—of shins tilting up hills, of uphill climbs, of an uphill that endured until it tipped into downhill. In mud, I thought of water. Crossing water, I thought of stones. During the grand rain, streams were called rivers, and rivers were called floods. The water rebelled past the lines the tree roots had drawn for it. It spread past the edges of bridges, and in one forest, a fallen tree seemed a safer crossing than the footbridge. More than many things, I feared slipping a foot into wetness. The river rocks that you must hop across could be covered in slick moss, or your backpack could topple you. And if your socks soak themselves, how will they ever dry in this rain? Walking with wet feet equals blisters, and you can’t stop walking yet.