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.