On November 1, I made the 45-minute drive up to the Jones Bridge Unit of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area. The hiking group I was supposed to meet was not at the trailhead at the northeast end of the park, so I figured they had gone on ahead on the trail. I sprinted along the riverbank trail, hoping to catch up, but to no avail. I spent nearly the first hour not seeing a single person.
I walked all the way to the far south end of the park, encountering only two other people. I waited at the Chattahoochee Environmental Education Center and my frustration gave way to sentimentalizing. Situated near a small lake, the Environmental Education Center resembled a summer camp lodge, complete with clunky, aluminum canoes.
I mused upon my bygone summers at Boy Scout Camp, learning to love Nature. In my preteen and early teen years, I had no distress with living as male — for I had many close friends. Learning to handle canoes, catching crayfish in mountain streams, and stumbling around on “unofficial” night hikes provided connection with others like I have never known since. Unlike many transgender people, I did not feel that I was “born in the wrong body.” Rather, my transgenderness results from my faith-commitment to the Great Mother Goddess. Thus, I was blessed with a happy childhood of which the most humdrum things can bring up warm memories, even on days I feel alone and shut out. As I matured to adulthood, my awareness of the Divine Mother grew alongside my awareness that my inner being is more female than male. As the Goddess Cybele is the Protectress of Children and the Preserver of Innocence, She allowed me to grow up before claiming me as one of her own.
As lonely as I felt on this solitary hike, I realized that as long as I’m held by Divine, Transforming Mother, I’m never truly alone. The crackling of the brisk wind in the treetops and the yellowing, browning leaves reminded me to cherish bygone times with friends and perhaps try to reconnect with those who would accept me. Yet I can hope and pray that my Transforming Mother would allow me to make new friends and thus rebuild my wealth of joyful memories.
Hopefully, there are some who read this post who would crave the solitude this river park has to offer. Those who prefer populated public space, such as myself, would do well to meet friends in Piedmont Park. I must keep trying to find people who would walk with me in Nature. It is not necessary that anyone experience the Divine Spirit as I do, only that they enjoy walking and exploring.