I’ve been thinking about this entry for days. There’s a growing conflict between mind and body on this ﬂat, unending, prairie highway. I think it is born of necessity… small cerebral skirmishes to ease tension before the all out meltdown. (If this isn’t a metaphor for a mans life, what could be). I have walked no less than 23 miles a day for the past 7days. There have been a few days that eclipsed 30 or came very close. The body is fatigued, but it is the mind that is the real challenge. There isn’t much to do as you walk 10 hours a day. There is an urge to ﬂy away like the birds overhead and at my side … of course God has left that possibility only to my dreams. God left too much to my dreams. My mind fills with highs and lows, answers and questions, light and darkness. And all the time the body chugs on. We are such a fine piece of machinery. The legs keep moving and the feet keep pounding this endless highway. The mind drifts to a pain in the hip, and a plan ensues to change the way your feet strike. The sun begins to heat your head up, so you water down a bandana. A light headwind begins and you hurry your pace to beat what may grow terribly strong as the afternoon progresses. It is all about maintaining the machine for optimal performance, and to cross the ﬂattest piece of ground one could imagine… at only three miles an hour. Patience is on the table. I never had patience. It was something wise people like my father alluded to in their daily walk. Humbly I say, I know something about patience now. I wasn’t born with it and it didn’t come naturally, but it has nevertheless arrived! When options diminish we learn to outfox ourselves and keep those feet moving forward. It might be one of the grandest gifts given we humans, to walk. It is a place or state of being that allowed we thinkers to solve or create our problems since the dawn. You might attempt to cheat with ear buds and be carried away by the highs and lows of a Beethoven or a Leonard Cohen. This can only be temporary. The road brings you back. It always brings you back. I thought of every one of you as I have made my walk. I am close to certain that over these past 3.5 million steps, everyone I know, everyone I hope to know, and everyone I will come to know, have been recognized as the gifts they are to me.
It’s you who are the gift! You always had patience, now you are patience itself. Change and grow and reflect over these miles but not so much that you can’t come back to us and accept the grace and charm of our southern ways. There is value in a good sit on the porch with a friend!
Sacrifice if you must but there should be an end to it. When your body screams to stop or when your mind cannot take another day, or when your path has found it’s end. Surely the march is as individual as each who takes it and the finish line is not one anyone but you can draw. You had not taken a step when I knew you were a deep and caring soul who was more concerned for the world’s tomorrows than todays.
You are a gift to us, as well! The absolute best walking writer ever!
I love reading your entries! I never knew you were such a prolific writer! As I am currently laid up after foot surgery, I especially appreciate your efforts. I can’t wait until I am able to get back out on the streets of our little hometown! I empathize (to a lesser degree) with your mental struggles, too, as I am now “confined” to my little space in the world. I admire your strength, determination, and your cause. Keep on keep in’ on!