I had not thought about my old friend The Big Hurt much of late. It wasn’t until my wife told me a story this week of a co-worker of hers, a nice guy about my age that I’ve met exactly once, that I thought much about it at all. Seems the old boy went through a break up recently with his girlfriend of some years. Many of us have been through it, and it is never a good time. Life throws you in the meat grinder from time to time. My man’s answer to life’s challenge? Go out on a vision quest.
His plan was a simple one, and alluring in design. He would drive north out of the Valley of the Sun, toward the cooler climate of the Verde Valley, or onward to Flagstaff if the snow held off. He wanted it cool, mind you, not frozen. Park the car at whatever trailhead, shoulder the pack, turn from the pavement, work, girl, memory, life, burden, responsibility and pain, and walk in a straight line until he hallucinated. He would have a compass and map, just in case things got hairy. He planned on putting himself deep in the hurt locker. He was going to walk all of the daylight hours remaining in the day, and probably push on through the darkness as well. He was going to go Big. No physical destination in mind, no place on this earth he had to get to or past in his journey. His end point was ethereal; the woods lovely, dark and deep, and many miles to go before the collapse into sleep.
On this point too, many of us can relate. The good old hurt locker. The narrow and welcoming confines. And that’s what got me thinking. I’ve been burying myself in the pain cave for years. Now that I’m up to my waist in law school, and I haven’t the time for trivial matters such as bike rides, I realize what I’ve been missing over the last year of my life – I haven’t gone out and beat myself senseless on the bike in far too long.
There is a very real need, in some of us, to get out there and fucking bury it. Turn yourself inside out and feel the burn. Some climb rocks, some run, some hike. I ride bikes.
I feel a hurt coming on. And I welcome it like an old friend.by