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Travelogue F18

August 12, 2015

The peak promised much the same view and temptations, more than 150 meters up. Here, where the ground is everywhere stone and the trail melts away, the cairn serves both as marker and primordial object. Although the cairn suggests haphazardness, it everywhere betrays human intentionality and artifice. For with it comes ever a purpose, be it to designate the highest point, to set out path from way untraveled, to serve as a focus for one’s mourning. Signs everywhere enjoin hikers neither to create nor to take away from these stone markers and so leave no trace of their own passing, which runs counter to every human instinct to make’s one’s presence felt, such as I have come to know them.

Down the Beehive’s less dramatic backways, my companion, who is perhaps slowly coming to dominate these writings and eclipsing the natural, made a point of educating me on the dangers of ticks. I would even go so far as to say that he displays an unbecoming fear. In every hanging branch or extended stem, he saw danger. I was not similarly persuaded, but I did find myself thinking on literary depictions of the tick as a creature living in a world wholly unlike our own, a world of light and warmth, rather than a wash of color, movement and sound, for which the closest approximation I could find amounted to little more than the remembered sensation of afternoon sun bleeding through the skin of my eyelids.

On the second of our day’s trails, the Great Head, the headlands are largely devoid of human touches save for one spot where I remarked to my companion on an odd collection of stone: rectangular-cut stone in places and bound with mortar. At a glance, these proved oddities in an otherwise normal rockfield. Upon closer inspection, we could make out more clearly the outlines of the building now disappeared. In these ruins, my companion saw a cabin and myself a veranda, in both cases finding the rubble of a pleasuregoing structure which never belonged here on the point.

This trail was rather more travelled, for better or worse. It proved the latter in this instance as we came upon a small group of young men elsewhere termed “yeahbros” and in whose demeanor I found collected everything that I detest in humanity. At its simplest, this intense dislike resolved itself into an inability to stomach idiocy or perhaps an incapacity to digest the inferior. With hindsight, it occurred to me that this complaint towards others stemmed most likely from their inability to adapt to new environments due to acquired habits, such as fear of germs, discomfort due to temperature changes, and so on. Yet, as then occurred to me, I myself fell prey to just such a critique when citing my inability to tolerate idiocy with which, nonetheless, the world overflows. In a way, this seemed a testament to my own idiocy, second-order or repressed in character.

Jutting into the cold waters of the Gulf of Maine, Great Head, as its name suggested, was a point of which the trail bearing the same name made a circuit. From the cliffs, one could make one’s way down to the rocks, some of which were lost to the tide, but we ourselves remained upon the heights. We surveyed the waters, and I spied not configurations of buoys but constellations, arrayed in such a way that I could not get at the reasoning behind it. Although bound to one another in couplings, the couplings bore no intuitable relation to untrained eyes. It might have been that from above the waters or below, they gave up their secret. Until then, these hundreds of bobbing bits of orange and white escaped whatever claim I might make upon them.

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