I’ve been walking. I’ve been carrying a full pack. Not as much as I should be, but I’m doing it. I’ve taken breaks that I didn’t deserve, but I’ve got blisters on my pinky toes that I’ve earned fair and square. Perhaps one of the reasons I am walking the Camino is because I’m not quite sure I can do it. I have some fraction of confidence; otherwise I wouldn’t be attempting a 500-mile hike in 30 days.
Last week I found my rhythm, my pace. I was on a trail through the mountains close to our home when I realized I’d been walking and not noticing I was walking. I had stopped thinking about everything. I had stopped recounting my faults to myself, stopped paying attention to the ache in my left hip with every step, stopped worrying about how fast I was going, stopped composing imaginary blog posts in my head. I had just stopped everything and had been walking. It was kind of like when you go on a long drive and you realize that you’re much further than you thought, but you don’t remember getting there. It was related to that feeling of progress without being aware of it.
This is not something I think will happen everyday for me. Today, I walked for over an hour before I found a hint of it.
It’s like my body takes over and I don’t have to worry about speed or if I’m going uphill or down. I am learning to listen to my body, to hear it say whether it would like to go a little faster today or if it needs a serious meandering walk today. I don’t want to miss the journey I’m on, because I know that it is the reason I’m going. I’m not walking to get somewhere. I’m walking to become someone and it’s the walking that will get me to that person.
I’ve been challenging myself to walk without music. I am falling in love with the sound of my feet crunching through the dirt and what’s left of the snow on the trails here.
I believe walking is becoming a prayer for me. I’m not sure what I’m asking for yet, and I’m not sure where the answers will take me. But I’ve got my boots on and I’m ready to go.