Tonight (about a week ago) reminded me of many nights I had last May when I would get out of work with just enough time to get to the Wakefield lake. The sun would set as I circled the water, and the sky would change from swirls of blue and pink to a deep violet that stained every surface; those nights when an extra hour of exercise and meditation felt like a step in the right direction to something more worth while, before I even had the idea to walk across the country. Tonight reminded me of when I first felt like breaking the routine I was in.
Walking then and walking now is not the same. I may be in the same place, getting the same extra hour of exercise in my routine but, now I do it with my backpack on, my soon-to-be-home, getting my body ready to carry the weight for the rest of the year. 'Ready' is a tricky term, though. To be ready is not a way of saying you expect to succeed but, that you're mentally and physically prepared to confront the unexpected.
So where have I been? I ask myself this question because this is such a strange and wonderful time in my life that seems to be happening faster than the ordinary flow of time. Physically, for the most part, I've been home or in the woods nearby or at the lake in Wakefield. If you could see my daily route on a GPS you would see a lot of small circles happening very close to my house. Mentally, I've been in some little fish bowl of a routine I've worked myself into: walk, eat, stretch, sleep and then the other important things like planning my walking route to California and spending time with friends and family. A structured daily to-do list is something most of us live with and often try to escape; or at least balance the things we have to do with things we want to do.
And sometimes the things we want to do become the things we have to do, and therefore we're back in another fish bowl. This is where I am right now. I couldn't feel more ready to leave but I need to stick around a little longer to have more time with the ones I love. While I wait, I feel compelled to keep the momentum going and find at least a few hours a day to walk with my pack on. But, it's tough to get excited about walking in the same places day after day when you start to recognize every rock and root you step on (sounds a little like floating between work and home). Everyday isn't like tonight at the lake where it feels like the world is opening up and something new is just on the other side.
I can't help but wonder if there's ever an end to it; if there's a routine that doesn't feel like a routine. I wonder if there's such a right combination of things that makes life feel like an endless ocean of possibilities. We may be stuck in our own little fish bowls, going around and around but I know there are ways to make it seem a little bigger if we just balance the good and the bad and have a little bit of patience. But if you find it impossible to look past the glass surrounding you then maybe the only thing to do is break it. Who knows?