The Good Life|February 2021

The mountains roll away in jagged waves, range after range. I feel like a raven, floating.

This morning we crawled out of the tent into dark specked by a million stars. As we climbed up and up, threading boulders and slipping on scree, the stars slowly dissolved like cream into coffee.

We turned off our headlamps and found our way from cairn to cairn by dawn glow.

Now, at the top of Aasgard Pass, we turn to take in the view just as the first golden finger of sunlight touches the dark jewel of Colchuck Lake.

A breeze tinged with wet granite and moss skims our cheeks, and we snug our wool hats tighter.

My son fires up the little stove and makes us steaming drinks and a hot breakfast, as we watch the day being born.

I inhale the scent of his apple-cinnamon oatmeal, then stare glumly down into my own bowl, where dried cauliflower, crunchy yet oily, swirls in the hot water with wizened carrot strips like fossilized twigs. Huh, guess I should have cut those carrots smaller for the food dryer last week.

I stir, I wait, I let them soak ’til the water is tepid, but still they go down like leather shoelaces. And that internet blogger who extolled cauliflower dried with oil and sprinkled with brewer’s yeast — it’s lucky for both of us she’s not here right now, that’s all I’m saying.

How did I end up here — not Aasgard, I mean this lumpy, greasy mess in my bowl?

I was recently diagnosed with diabetes. And on that day, “What can I eat?” began running around inside my brain, squawking like Chicken Little.

I’ve been searching for a backpacking breakfast that won’t make me go blind while having a heart attack with a side of stroke, and for dessert, my toes chopped off.

I’m ashamed to admit that until my own diagnosis hit me like a falling cartoon anvil, I knew little about diabetes and cared, sadly, less.

I was not aware that diabetes was sweeping America like a tsunami, and striking the least privileged hardest. I didn’t know that diabetes was the most underdiagnosed disease in America.

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