The Morning After
The morning after they stole my reproductive rights, I needed to get away. My husband and I loaded our day packs and two happy dogs into the car and headed to Olympic National Forest—about 90 minutes from home. We drove past strip malls and gas stations and American flags that had been hung for freedom. We drove past clearcuts and quarries, past a little girl who played at a campsite without a care in the world. We parked at the trailhead and began our long, healing hike, past ancient firs and flowing waters and the first snow on the path. I climbed until my soggy boots felt heavy beneath my legs, until my heart felt lighter with each plodding step. I climbed until the alpine ether carried me away, and I soared there like the eagle I watched spiraling above.
Because they can’t steal my wild, no matter how hard they try.
This post originally appeared on Paula MacKay’s blog, Wild Prose. All photos (c) Paula MacKay, unless otherwise noted.
Paula MacKay is a conservationist and writer who has studied wolverines and other wild carnivores for the past two decades. Paula served as managing editor for Noninvasive Survey Methods for Carnivores (Island Press, 2008) and earned an MFA in creative writing from Pacific Lutheran University in 2015. She has written for numerous conservation groups, books, and magazines. Visit Paula’s website at paulamackay.com.