Right back where he started, the protagonist has encountered his first great obstacle: his body. I drew this little picture of my home the night before I left, thinking this was the last time I'd be here for a while. Little did I know I would be back the following morning. So, here's what happened...
On April 5th I was dropped off in Rockport and walked to Beverly. By the end of the day, my knees were spent. Upon waking up the next day, I was ready to walk again. By the time I got to my front door in Stoneham, my knees were more than spent, they were in debt. I had already planned to spend the next couple days at home so I rested my legs and said what I thought were my last goodbyes. On sunday April 10th I felt 100% and walked to Concord. Once I
sat down on the shore of Walden Pond I didn't think I'd get back up again. I spent the night anyway, stopped by Thoreau's cabin, or at least where it once was, drank some water from the pond and listened to the train that cuts through the woods every hour while I thought about what the Hell I'm going to do next.
My mom picked me up in the morning. I hobbled back to the other side of Walden through the light drizzle of rain. I wasn't alone at the pond, there was already a cluster of people shoving out into rowboats and fishing at seven in the morning. All those lucky people, nowhere more important to be, doing exactly what they want on a Monday morning. If I had my way I would've been on my way to Harvard, MA, continuing my trip out West but, I took the advice from a good friend and listened to what my body was telling me: go back home.
So, now what? I've already said goodbye to everyone (just pretend I'm not here, friends!). I've been planning this trip out for a long time now, I can't just give up on it. I've been resting my legs, they feel better now. I went to the doctor and he said everything looked fine but walking might not be the best thing for my knees. I can dig it but, I'm definitely a little discouraged. I've been walking around wearing my backpack for months to get ready and when the time came to leave I only made it 45 miles before my body told me to turn back.
It's amazing how many banana peels I saw in those 45 miles. I felt like the universe was speaking to me, confirming my thought that life is too short, telling me I was doing the right thing at the right time in the right place. I certainly couldn't pass these peels off as mere coincidence after getting my tattoo right before I left. Maybe this was all supposed to happen. Maybe just doing this on foot was the wrong idea.
The thought of taking my bike has entered my mind. Originally I didn't want to have the burden of the bike in case something broke and I needed to fix it but, at this point fixing a bike would be a whole lot easier than fixing my legs if I wore them down to nothing. This trip was never about walking, it was just about heading out West and seeing the country from a different perspective than a car or a train. The important thing is to not give up on this idea I've had in my
head. I got this little bag from my friends at the Zen center with the all-important message, 'Never Give Up' written on it. This little token seems extra important now and it reminds me of something Joan said the night I stayed in Beverly. She said, 'There's no such thing as failures, just new discoveries.' Nothing can be known until we try; I'm glad I found out I need to do something differently while I was still close to home. I know something will work out but, until then I'll just enjoy being home for a little longer.