Anxiety in Penn’s state

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There’s no excuse. A beautiful state, the right time of year, wonderful, near perfect weather, and great people. So why this shroud of anxiety? A self inflicted wound is the answer. Since entering the Commonwealth, I have been anxious about one thing or another. The goal looms over my every step. Anything could threaten my projected September 20th arrival at the symbolic George Washington Bridge … every “what if” sits squarely on my chest. I squirmed and fretted over those “hills” of western Pa. They seemed so Chaotic and never let my path make a straight line east. I must count and recount the miles each night. The goal would seem to slip further away some nights. Rarely do I take time to acknowledge the success of a good days walk.

Tomorrow looms powerfully in the psyche, and steals most of my attention. This body/machine of mine has many aches and pains … Will one pain become a “show stopper.” I’ve worried endlessly about the directions, or a lack of directions. Somehow in the midst of this state of mind I manage to walk the miles. Today was another 20 mile day. New York is less than 150 miles away. 10 days remain to get there. What need do I have with this anxiousness? Barring a bolt of lightening, i’ll make that bridge with a few days to spare.

Tonight I’ve taken a few deep breaths and relaxed. I’m thinking of these past days in Pennsylvania… these days that have slipped by in my rush of heightened expectation. What wonderful moments I have had here. For starters the maze of hills provided vistas and hidden valleys that I’ll never see at 3 miles per hour again. Eventually they yielded to the uniform ridges and long valleys of central Pennsylvania. The farmland became a tapestry woven by a multitude of crops at various states of life. The artisans of this landscape, the Amish, projected a lifestyle in tune with climate action. Their carbon footprint is very small by choice. It was not a choice made to save their world from carbon emissions, but rather a choice made to keep their communities anchored to these fields I walked thru. I wish some of their sensibilities had found a way into my life, and the lives around me. I was so very close at 3 miles per hour. I could walk with their children as they made their way home from school with lunch cooler in hand, and bare feet on the pavement. I could see the skittish eyes of a 3 mule team as it past me with harvested stalks of corn laying on the flat bed wagon it pulled. These are moments that raised my spirit, and gave me hope. We have immense capabilities of variation and change.

More on Pennsylvania later. I have four more days of walking across her back.

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The garden and laundry

The garden and laundry

A church marquee

A church marquee

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Amish harvesting corn in Brush Valley

Amish harvesting corn in Brush Valley

Walking central Pennsylvania

Walking central Pennsylvania

The Amish of Brush valley

The Amish of Brush valley

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Old school in Millheim Pa.

Old school in Millheim Pa.

Mifflinburg cemetery

Mifflinburg cemetery

Hiking into Lewisburg Pa

Hiking into Lewisburg Pa

The Susquehanna River

The Susquehanna River

9 thoughts on “Anxiety in Penn’s state

  1. Betty Norment

    You’ve got it now, Buddy! You have inspired so many and touched so many and surely you have been watched over every step of the way! You have been so close to the country that it has become a part of you. Your pictures show a depth of emotion that I’ve never heard you share verbally, but obviously you carry with you!

    Wishing you courage, strength and relief from the aches and pains so you can truly enjoy this last leg of your trip. I wish we could all be there at the end to celebrate with you! But maybe you’ll feel more like celebrating after resting up for a while! All the best, Betty and the rest

    Reply
  2. Gail King

    Hang in there! Your body and mind may be getting tired but your pictures are getting better and better, I am really enjoying your story. Gail K

    Reply
  3. Erika Bond

    So good to hear from you! I will be praying for you to be able to let go of that anxiety, and truly enjoy every last step you GET to take in the next 10 days.

    Reply
  4. Joan Hoffman

    Proud to say I know someone who is close to walking 7M steps across these United States because he understands the earth is sacred and wants to bring awareness of that fact to all who will pay attention. I pray that all of us – young, old, wealthy, poor, laborer, executive, voter, lawmaker – will take notice.
    You are awesome…On to the GW Bridge!

    Reply
  5. Bjørg Brauteset

    Dear Steve,
    Your achievement is already amazing!
    Cheer up! You have to enjoy every step you take – you know better than most people that it is the journey itself that is important – it is not always reaching a goal that matters.

    Of course you will make it!:)

    All the best,
    Bjørg

    Fra: 7millionsteps [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com]
    Sendt: 11. september 2014 03:32
    Til: Bjørg Brauteset
    Emne: [New post] Anxiety in Penn’s state

    7millionsteps posted: ” There’s no excuse. A beautiful state, the right time of year, wonderful, near perfect weather, and great people. So why this shroud of anxiety? A self inflicted wound is the answer. Since entering the Commonwealth, I have been anxious about one thing “

    Reply
  6. Donald Wathen

    Keep the faith, you’ve run a good race, at a blessed walking pace! What you have accomplished already is incredible, don’t worry about the finish. It’s in God’s hands. He knows you have performed heroically! Let that be enough. That said, my money is on you. Love you, man!

    Reply
  7. Shirley Fallon

    Steve, You are almost ‘there’ … I pray for you…St. Anthony and St. Christoper will help you along. Be careful of lightening storms. I love your photography! Ed, my son, asked if I could meet him and yourself as you cross the bridge. Unfortunately I am not able. Good luck and God Bless you on this extraordinary march. Shirley

    Reply
  8. Karen Dike

    I loved this post. I am getting ready to leave for the People’s Climate March in NYC next week, I find I am anxious about a two day train trip! Reading your post this morning is a new awareness to be sure to enjoy the country as we move more slowly than the plane I would normally take. You will be in NYC in plenty of time to rest up for the march a little!
    Hang in there. Your solitude will soon be changed to a scene that includes a mass of people all concerned about our planet.

    Reply
  9. Mary Lee

    Your trek has been amazing & your writing is phenomenal, Steve. Hoping you will publish it together with your photos one of these days. We are praying for you and the steps that are left until the GW Bridge! God goes with you and he will richly bless you, as he has done already. So looking forward to seeing you after this part of your journey is complete!

    Reply

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