National Walking Day is Today


I made a big deal about National Walking Day and urged others to make pledges to challenge themselves with walking today, and then when it came down to it, I was thinking so much about my upcoming trip tomorrow that I barely even incorporated a walking pledge into my own day.

Tomorrow Jon and I head south to Portland for a night, and then Friday we will jump over to the coast to hike a small portion of the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT). We have been planning this for about a month, and to say I’m excited would be a very big understatement. It will be the first wilderness-backpacking trip of the year, so I’ve been busy making first aid kits, my own Fancy Feast stove (actually, I think it was Purina), piss rags, snot rags, etc. all while walking more and more miles to prepare.

At about 4PM today, I realized I hadn’t even thought about my own Journeyfoot Challenge pledge. I was busy working and then had errands to run before going home to pack. I started to panic because I was afraid I wouldn’t even have a chance to go for my own walk today. A mother effing hypocrite.

As I walked in the door of my apartment around 5:30, the mess surrounded me: clothes here, baggied-up trip food there, tent over there, half folded laundry on the couch, dirty dishes everywhere. My head started to ache. I had forgotten to eat. I threw together some pasta. I bit my lip because I was eating too fast, perhaps because I was in a hurry or perhaps because I was starving. I ran around trying to put away clothes, but also take others out to pack. It appeared that nothing was progressing. The Journeyfoot challenge loomed overhead.

Finally, I said screw it. I threw on my walking getup and walked out the door with endless thoughts doing gymnastics in my brain. I walked faster than normal, eager to get a walk in to calm my guilt and then head back home to finish getting prepared for the trip. My mind was on all that I had left to do, and how much I couldn’t wait for the trip to begin. As is usually the case when I start walking with a full mind, my thoughts slowly started to unravel. I could feel the tension start to dissipate. As I pressed onward through the fresh Spring air and to the marina, I imagined if I wasn’t going on the trip tomorrow. I started to think about how things right then would be different was I not leaving. I probably would have been out on a very long journeyfoot today, strolling and exploring. But there I was, speed walking to get my walk over with because I was more looking forward to the journeyfoot I’d take this weekend.

It’s interesting how our present moment changes based upon the anticipated next moment. If I’m walking on a cold day and I know I’m only a few blocks from my warm house, I find myself shivering more and rushing to get to the heat. If I’m in the same temperature, but miles away from my home, the cold doesn’t seem as unbearable because there is no other option. My next anticipated moment will be walking in the cold still, so I better get used to it.

When my stress subsided while out walking today, I was able to see that I really didn’t have much left to do. I actually was just anxious to get all of this over with so that I could enjoy that. Why would I want to get a beautiful spring evening journeyfoot over with when on most nights, it’s the most beautiful moment of my day? Probably because I was anticipating my “next moment”, aka tomorrow. But with each foot-step further ahead I became one brain-step more in the present. I thought and thought and thought until there was nothing really left to think about, and I was just left enjoying the moment. The sky. The falling sun and the snow capped mountains. The absolutely A-MAZ-ING cherry blossom trees, and the smell of blooming deliciousness swirling in the cool air. Heaven is all around. We only need to open ourselves up to see it.

Happy National Walking Day. I hope your walk was as pleasant as mine, today and always!

Jayme Welch

I write. I explore. I think. I write some more.

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