"We dance around the ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows." Robert Frost
This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. When we lived in Maine I printed this quote out in big letters and nailed it along an old beam in our house. I don't know if it works this way for everyone, but this quote explains my process. I am working on something and I am certain of the outcome, but then I often get something else entirely. Something better for me, in the long run. Something bigger than I have the imagination for.
It's possible that I've gotten a little wiser, because when I got the idea to walk & run 1000 miles in 92 days, I thought I had come up with this as a way to combat or fix or wear down this belief that had attached itself to me that told me I can't run very well. Or very far. Or maybe at all. But I also knew that, if I jumped in and stuck with it, it's likely I would get way more out of this experinece than just a restoration of belief in my running ability. Like maybe a belief in my Abilities. But how would covering 1000 miles do that? Or was the secret even deeper? I had no idea. I only knew that it had to be 1000 miles, it had to be on foot, and it had to be this summer. So I started walking.
These miles have been glorious and these miles have been tedious. It's been hot. I'm never not in pain. My coach laid out the reality of taking this on and, despite me being coachable, I'm still behind the 8 ball, because there is only so much you can know about this without taking that first step. He knew what this would entail; I totally believed him; but I'm still in the soup. There are some solid life lessons, which I will write about. But there are also simple, tangible things along the way, things you only get by being out and on your feet for hours a day, that fill me up and make me grateful: Quiet early mornings, and late nights in the dark when I think I've hit my limit, but I haven't. Turtles laying eggs, turtles in the sun, turtles, turtles, turtles. And are there always this many rabbits every summer? Are there always this many cardinals every summer? And chipmunks, everywhere. Urban deer are way too friendly. And birds are not. (I got pecked on the head one day, walking along minding my own business). If you walk in a certain neighborhood there is a cat named Bob who, without fail, will show up and keep you company for a few blocks. There is art everywhere, in back alleys and in impromptu art shows in front yard gardens on a Monday evening. And yellow sailboats on the water at night are maybe the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
I'm closing in on 500 miles, now, and so far I'm still struggling with my anti-runner demon, and waiting for the secret in the middle to reveal itself--the real reason I'm doing this. There's another Robert Frost poem I love called Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. The last stanza goes like this:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Yep, promises and miles to go.