I just ordered two paperback titles, quickly and with as little logical impedance as possible. I am now a thru-hiker, and post-trail we are a nearly destitute breed. I do remember reading a quote of H.P. Lovecraft years ago, in which he argued the validity of eating less to afford books. I console myself with such eccentrics.

The first purchase was Bernard Moitessier’s Vagabond des mers du sud or rather the English version; Sailing on the Reefs. I heard about this man through the documentary Hold Fast. Mentally I’ve bookmarked him as someone I need to know more about.

Similarly, I made the second purchase based on a single quote from Rainer Maria Rilke. It’s one I’ve incorporated into a previous blog post.

“For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.” –Rainer Maria Rilke

His words resonated to a very deep chord within myself, which sounded after a failed relationship. A romance, which seriously damaged my desire for future interconnectedness at all. It was this quote which reminded me of the truth that such bonds are the yoke of human existence.

Why books over web searches? Why longer works over succinct secondhand articles? Intimacy of conversation.

Books are the most direct line we often have from one mind to another. Especially when the author is no longer inhabiting a human body. Beyond the depths of the first few chapters, which are often bulwarks set to filter out the unworthy, we find the speaker’s true message. A transmission passed only to those willing to weather dozens of preparatory passages.

To believe that audiobooks suffice in place of visual reading is delusional. There is an additional layer of mastery offered to those who set aside the time and attention required of pages, be they physical or digital.

This was proven to me recently by re-listening to my Audible library while hiking. There were gaps in information, which simply wouldn’t have occurred after reading a hardcopy. Instead of memories filled with the authors words, I recalled images of driving my work truck. Still, audiobooks are better than nothing.

I finished the trail on the 29th. A bear caused me to spend my final night in a fire tower. There will be more explanation of my final days in North Carolina to come. Yes, also the last miles in Maine too. As I write this, I am in a foreign place in the middle of the night. I am here to address the increasingly less foreign reality, of hospitalization in my mother’s life.

I am grasping at what peace the woods provided, while it is still upon me. Life wasted no time in testing my new mile-hewn resolve. It chose to ambush me before I could even make it home.

The reality is that what strength I’ve gained in the past five months, time has manifested equally in frailty on the part of my mother. The change is shocking.

Love is the most difficult task indeed. As if failed romances could ever even compare with the sorrow of watching a parent’s physical form fail. To watch it alter so cruelly that it changes even the perception of who she is. I’m at a loss.

Thankfully, both of my sisters are here. Having had exposure to this months ahead of me, they’re in a clearer mental space about it. After writing this, maybe I am too. For now, rest.

11 thoughts on “Palimpsest

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  1. Ryan I am so sorry to hear this about your Mom. I knew she was with Katie and was hoping she was doing better. Please give her my love and love to all of you.


    1. Will do. Thank you Aunt Catherine. She’s currently at Mission Health in Asheville, NC. She was traveling with Kelly and Julia, but started to have trouble breathing.

      It’s a wonderful hospital, and she’s in good hands. Thankfully Katie and I were only a couple of hours away. We’re still getting information.


  2. Ryan, I wanted to let you know that I am thinking of your and your family. My family is also dealing with a very sad situation concerning my mother. She is in the end stages of dementia and it is just so very sad. It is a debilitating and cruel disease. My siblings take strength from each other and I am grateful daily for them. I am sure your sisters and extended family will be of comfort to you. You just need a little time to “catch up”. They have been living the reality daily and the learning curve will be steep for you for awhile.

    Please tell Amy that Joe and I think of her often with fond memories.

    Sending love to all,




  3. Hey man,
    Glad to see you finish the trail. Ive enjoyed your blog/YT channel the whole time. Condolences on your your moms health. Please reach out if i can do anything for you.


  4. Thanks guys. My mom is still at Mission Health. Kelly and I headed home, and Katie (her medical power of attorney) stayed behind. Thankfully, the hospital has free accommodations for out of town family, and my mom’s insurance is some of the best there is. All of her heart-related conditions have been stabilized with medication. The cardiologist adjusted some dosages. There were chemical indicators for a heart attack, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that she actually had one, just that her heart was very stressed.

    Currently, they are not discharging her due to some concern with her kidney function. They are waiting for some numbers to stabilize. Her insurance will cover a long-distance medical transport, so that may be an option we pursue. The case manager in Asheville has been extremely helpful. She found a doctor in our area who will not only accept my mother as a new patient, but is also extremely likely to request home PT, OT, and in home nursing care for her.

    My mother moved from Florida to Georgia about a month ago, as her condition has worsened (we suspect another stroke) and her care was becoming a major burden on my aunt. We will probably be placing her into a full time care facility, of which there are four within a five mile radius of Kelly. At this time she cannot feed herself, bathe herself, or use the bathroom alone. Her aphasia is still an obstacle as well. The PT I spoke with yesterday seems confident that long-term physical and occupational therapy can help significantly. She had therapists coming to her home in Florida, but it was apparently only a temporary provision.

    The health system in Georgia, and accompanying aid programs, are far superior to Florida. We’re still in the initial stages of everything, but I’m fairly confident she’ll be in an environment much more conducive to long-term stable health within a few months.


      1. I’ve posted this to fb Lynch page.  Sending love, hugs and prayers to all of you.

        ⁣Sent from BlueMail ​


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