A Touching Reunion was recorded live at Vermont Public Radio’s 2011 Commentators’ Brunch and broadcast on August 22 the same year.
Despite the events of Labor Day Weekend 2004 as described in this story, Tim and I are still married.
That said, I’m currently hiking the Long Trail with a someone else.
Tim and I picked up the Long Trail where we’d left off the year before, making our way toward Canada on foot. That spring, I’d run a half marathon; I’d never been in such good shape. For the first time in eighteen years of marriage, I carried the tent; all Tim packed was the food.
As usual, Tim pulled ahead.
This isn’t just because he has long legs, but also because as soon as I start walking, my mind wanders, sometimes leading me right off the trail.
The first time he stopped, he was surprised that I was only a few minutes behind him.
But he was out of sight when I came to a clearing where a young woman approached. I continued in the direction she’d come from, until I realized I was headed downhill – and south. I returned to the clearing, picked up the trail, and hurried to catch up.
Meanwhile, Tim had backtracked, looking for me.
When he wasn’t waiting to point out a breathtaking view in the slanting afternoon light, I hoped he’d gone ahead to cook dinner. But when I arrived at the shelter, no one was there.
I pitched the tent and spent a sleepless night wondering how to tell our children I’d lost their father in the woods.
Tim searched for me until dark, and spent an uncomfortable night in the car.
At first light, I retraced my steps.
As I crossed a paved road, an old woman appeared.
“Are you lost?” she asked.
“No,” I said, “but I can’t find my husband.”
“He was looking for you yesterday. He called the police from my phone.”
So did I.
A trooper drove me back to the trailhead, where search and rescue volunteers had assembled.
Tim was there.
He smiled, his face full of relief and concern.
I climbed out of the cruiser.
He approached and looked deeply into my eyes.
Then he turned to the officer in charge and said, “They’re blue.”
Click here to listen to me telling this story.
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